The Wire: 2020 Week 2
By Levi Ellis
It’s that time of the week again where you must decide which players to target. With more and more leagues going to FAAB budgets during waiver periods, we will also give you some advice on what to do with your FAAB budgets. These decisions are what separate the experienced fantasy players from the inexperienced. If you’re reading this article then you’re off to a great start.
We all knew going into this Covid season that depth was more important than ever however after this past week many of us are left scrambling to fill holes and those holes were not created by Covid instead they were created from a gluttony of injuries. Week 2 brought us more injuries than I can ever remember from one single week. Week 2 also brought us some breakout players that may not be owned in your fantasy leagues. Let’s take a look at some of this week's top targets.
If you haven’t already picked up Gardner Minshew run to your waiver wire and place that bid NOW. Through two games he has over 500 yards passing and 6 touchdown passes and has his talent deprived Jaguars team actually competing when many thought they would challenge for the first overall pick. He also has a favorable schedule coming up with games against the Dolphins and Bengals and it’s likely that the Jaguars will play from behind a lot this year. Drop guys like Kirk Cousins, Sam Darnold, Drew Lock, and Jimmy Garoppolo to pick up Minshew and join me in Minshew-Mania. Feel comfortable bidding up to 15% of your remaining faab budget.
For super flex and two quarterback leagues consider placing bids for Justin Herbert, Nick Mullens and Jeff Driskel with injuries to Tyrod Taylor, Jimmy Garoppolo and Drew Lock. In one quarterback leagues these guys do not need to be owned, but keep a close eye on Herbert as the Chargers offense looked much improved with him under center. Bid no more than 5% of your budget on any of these guys unless you are absolutely desperate.
Sunday also brought us injuries to Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman. While both may not be too serious we have seen what Jerick McKinnon can do with the ball in his hands (3 carries 77 yards and a TD this week). McKinnon should be owned in all leagues as I anticipate his role to grow throughout the season. Remember this was the guy that Shanahan hand selected to be his lead back when he agreed to coach the 49ers. McKinnon is finally healthy and we are seeing what he is capable of in this offense. It also appears that Mostert and Coleman will most likely miss a few weeks, only increasing McKinnon’s role in the offense. We all know how valuable 49er running backs are. Don’t be shy with your FAAB dollars when making a bid for McKinnon and feel confident bidding up to 50% of your remaining budget. Don’t let him get away.
With the season ending injury to Saquon Barkley the Giants will surely make a roster move at the position with just Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman on the active roster. Devonta Freeman already has a workout planned with the Giants and is likely the best outside candidate the Giants can find at this point in the season. Lamar Miller is another guy to not overlook when considering this opening as he has many years of experience and has been effective in both the running and passing game throughout his career. These guys should be monitored closely and if you can grab them now for a reasonable bid and they do sign with the Giants then they could be the steal of the season. Both guys fit the offense and either back should unseat Dion Lewis for the lead role. Lewis is a very good change of pace back but not a guy to assume the lead role. I would spend your money on a guy like Freeman before Lewis even though the latter is already on a roster. Freeman is worth taking a gamble on and bidding up 50% of your FAAB. Even if he doesn’t land the Giants job, he will find work soon and he will have a role in an offense. With Miller, I would be more conservative and not bid more than 10% of your budget unless he does in fact sign with a team that has a need.
I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now about CMC missing the next 4-6 weeks. In the meantime Mike Davis seems like the most likely beneficiary to assume the lead role. Davis has more value in PPR leagues as he is a great pass catcher and Timid Teddy likes to checkdown to the running backs quite often. Bid up to 40% of your remaining FAAB dollars for Davis and if you are an owner of CMC just suck it up and outbid the field. It’s the cost of doing business!
Keelan Cole is a player that needs to be owned in all formats. Through two weeks he has 11 receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns. The Jaguars will play from behind a lot and as I mentioned earlier, Minshew is killing it this season and has shown a tendency to look Cole's way early and often as Cole is leading the team in targets. Go get this guy but don’t spend more than 25% of your remaining FAAB dollars on Cole due to the amount of talented pass catchers that Jacksonville has.
With the potential possibility of Sammy Watkins missing some time due to a hard hit he sustained in Sunday’s game, you may want to consider guys like Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson. Both guys should see more playing time in the event of Watkins missing time however I don’t expect either guy to have a consistent week to week role so spend sparingly and not more than 5% to 10% on either guy.
If Jamison Crowder continues to miss time and/or Breshad Perriman misses time, look at guys like Braxton Berrios and Chris Hogan simply because the Jets have to throw the ball to someone. Neither guy is a must own but either one could have a role. Berrios would be the target if Crowder misses and Hogan would be the target if Perriman misses. Do not bid more than 5% of your remaining budget for either guy.
With the news of Courtland Sutton missing the season, take a chance on KJ Hamler. He’s finally healthy and he will be used to stretch the field. Bid up to 10% of your remaining FAAB budget for Hamler.
Isaiah Ford is another guy to consider gambling on. He had 7 catches for 76 yards on 9 targets last week and the Dolphins are likely to be playing from behind a lot this season. Ford has a firm grip on the #3 WR spot and if Parker re-aggravates his hamstring then Ford is almost assuredly to start in two WR sets. Ford is a guy that could be worth 10% of your remaining FAAB budget.
Dalton Schultz should be on your short list. He started his first game with Blake Jarwin out for the year and he didn’t disappoint. Schultz hauled in 9 catches on 10 targets for 88 yards and a touchdown. This game was a shootout, but Dak looked to Schultz and trusted him enough to throw some key passes to him and he delivered. Historically, the Cowboys love to involve the tight end into the offense. Schultz will have a role moving forward especially after this fantastic showing. If you’ve played fantasy football long enough you know that tight ends are hard to come by and although there may seem to be an abundance of them early in the year, you will learn by mid year there doesn’t seem to be enough to go around largely due to players not living up to the offseason hype. Don’t let Schultz get away. If you need a TE then bid up to 33% of your remaining FAAB dollars.
With CJ Uzomah going to IR the Bengals TE job belongs to Drew Sample and he proved that on Thursday night putting up 7 catches for 45 yards on 9 targets. Burrow looked Sample's way over and over on their final couple drives. If you need a TE this is the week. You don’t have to break the bank with all the options so do not bid more than 20% or your remaining FAAB dollars on Sample.
Another guy that may have earned himself a full time role moving forward is Mo Alie-Cox. For the last three offseasons we have heard rumors that Mo was going to be a playmaker for this Indianapolis team. Well 2020 may finally be the year we see Mo breakout. It’s not a secret that Rivers loves to throw to the TEs and Mo is more of a playmaker than Jack Doyle at this point. He showed that this week with a stat line of 5 catches for 111 yards. I believe Mo has earned himself a role moving forward but he’s the definition of boom or bust moving forward. Bid on Mo Alie-Cox at your discretion but I recommend not going more than 15% or your remaining FAAB budget.
This guy may be more of a short term replacement but Jordan Reed must garner consideration after this week's showing and the fact that George Kittle is battling an injury and the 49ers can’t seem to keep a WR healthy. This week Reed exploded with 7 receptions for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, you’re reading that right, two touchdowns. Reed led the team in targets and he looked like the 2015 version. Although his run may be limited until Kittle or Deebo are back or until he unfortunately may be hurt again, he is a solid contributor for the time being and is worth a roster spot. Due to Reed’s long injury history and the fact that he is still the backup to Kittle I recommend not going more than 10% of your remaining faab budget for Reed unless you are just desperate at TE.
Quick Recap - Go get Jerick McKinnon...as he’s #1 on my list...followed by Devonta Freeman, Mike Davis and Gardner Minshew! Finally, if you don’t own Kelce or Andrews then Dalton Schultz, Mo Alie-Cox, and Jordan Reed are worth a look. What are you waiting for? Go place those bids now!
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