Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 3
This weekly article series will attempt to help you in two ways. First, we are going to be examining players who may not be the hot waiver pickups of the week. This will save you Free Agent Auction Bucks (FAAB) or waiver priority for when you need it most. Second, we will be diving into stats and trends that point to players improving their fantasy scores next week, not this current week. The goal is to sift through the rough to find those diamonds who emerge every single year, except you won't be sweating over whether or not you claimed them on waivers, because you will already own them. At least that's the goal.
Here's the first transparency report of the season. Before Week 1, I told you to grab these guys for a Week 2 start. Here's how they did:
|Player||Rush Yards||Rush TD||Receptions||Rec Yards||Rec TD||Half-PPR Points|
Overall, we didn't do too terrible outside of Nick Vannett, who has been beaten out by Will Dissly as the Seattle Seahawks top tight end. Unfortunately, there was not a single touchdown from any of my picks. Oddly enough, four out of these five had a huge Week 1 performance, so they're all likely owned now, especially with T.J. Yeldon working in place of the injured Leonard Fournette.
Now, on to next week! Here are some guys who may not be startable for Week 2, but could be valuable next week and beyond. So, if you have space, add them now or hope that they fall through waivers after this week.
Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos
Yahoo Ownership: 9%
Courtland Sutton strikes me as an intriguing candidate for a mid-season breakout for the Denver Broncos. In Week 2, he played 82% of the team's offensive snaps against the Oakland Raiders --up from 60% in Week 1. So far on the season, he hasn't accumulated prolific numbers yet, but he has caught 3 balls for 54 yards (on 11 targets). There are two things that make me like him going forward: his increased time on the field and Demaryius Thomas looking like his age is catching up with him. Sutton is an elite athlete with an 84th percentile SPARQ, in addition to having a 66th percentile breakout age and a 73rd percentile dominator in college (via Player Profiler). And, as you can see, many of his workout metrics jump off the page.
Sutton's Week 4 matchup will come against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have allowed the fourth-most points to the wide receiver position so far this season. They ended the 2017 season allowing the second-most points to the position and they've given up the most receptions (40) to boot. Without a doubt, I can safely say that their secondary is one of the worst in the league. Additionally, with the way the Chiefs offense has been putting points on the board, the game script should be favorable for the Broncos' passing attack. This game is a prime situation for Sutton to break out, and it could be a springboard for his production the rest of the season.
Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears
Yahoo Ownership: 16%
The second rookie wide receiver on this list is Anthony Miller. If you watched Monday Night Football in Week 2, you probably saw a Chicago Bears offense that looked much improved from the 2017 season. Mitchell Trubisky and the bunch topped the Seahawks 24-17 in a game that mostly featured fellow wide receiver Allen Robinson. Miller has had a minor role thus far; he's only gotten 6 targets, converting them into 4 receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown. But we're not worried about the past! It's time to look to the future. Taylor Gabriel is currently playing second-fiddle to Robinson, but he has not impressed through two regular season games. The 5'8" 165-pound wideout has had success playing the gadget role for the Atlanta Falcons but may not be cut out for full-time duties in Chicago.
In Week 4, the Bears face off with what could be the only team with a worse secondary than the Chiefs: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have given up the second most receptions to wide receivers through two games. The only difference is that Tampa Bay's defensive backs have seen 24 fewer targets (46). If Miller can continue to expand his game and play more from the outside -- he went from 6 wide snaps to 13 in Week 2 -- then he should draw coverage from either rookie Carlton Davis or another rookie defensive back M.J. Stewart. Either would be a juicy sport for Miller to contribute.
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Yahoo Ownership: 17%
The big-bodied, third-year tight end Austin Hooper lands on this list because, frankly, I'm sure some people are quite desperate for a startable tight end out there. Last season, Hooper tallied 208 snaps out of the slot, 61 snaps out wide and 609 inline. There's no doubt that he plays more of a blocking tight end role most weeks. That being said, he's known to have a boom week or two. In 2017, he had five games with 7.5 or more points in half-PPR formats. Figuring out which games those are is the tricky part.
Well, forget Week 3 if you're looking for a Hooper boom week. The Atlanta Falcons play against the New Orleans Saints who have held each tight end position group to a measly 6.5 points per game so far. Looking forward one week, we see the Falcons draw the Cincinnati Bengals. Through the first two weeks, the Bengals have allowed the most points to opposing tight ends, and by a considerable margin. They have allowed 20.3 points per game to tight ends, while the second-most allowed are 17.1. The Falcons should look to exploit the Bengals' weak side linebacker, Jordan Evans, in two tight end sets. Per PFF, Evans is the fourth-worst linebacker in coverage so far this season.
Case Keenum, QB, Denver Broncos
Yahoo Ownership: 38%
This choice pairs nicely with the aforementioned Sutton. I believe that Case Keenum is turning out to be a solution to the Broncos' recent quarterback issues, at least in the short term. Keenum started the year off in gunslinger fashion. He threw the ball 39 times, which he turned into 25 completions for 329 yards and 3 touchdowns. Keenum also tallied three interceptions in Week 1, but Broncos offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave seemed to have dialed the offense back a bit in Week 2. Keenum only threw for 211 yards and a touchdown on 19 completions.
In Week 3, the Broncos' free agent signee gets to play the balky Ravens in Baltimore, so I'd suggest not starting him there. However, the week after is much more enjoyable. That's right -- it's the Chiefs. And all the same reasons that apply to Sutton apply to Keenum. This Chiefs defense has only had one interception so far on the season with only two sacks. While the Broncos' offensive line isn't elite, it will be strong enough to hold off the weak KC defense. Keenum will have Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Sutton as his main pass catching weapons, and should have no issues putting points on the board.
Yahoo Ownership: 33%
I'll be straight with you: Carlos Hyde has looked mediocre so far for the Cleveland Browns. He's been putting together fantasy relevant outings thanks to volume and touchdowns, but his efficiency metrics are pretty ugly. Nick Chubb is a running back who was the 35th overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Chubb is a strong runner with a Georgia pedigree and three-down work potential. If Hyde continues to falter, Chubb will be in line to steal his job.
This week against the New York Jets will be another tough running matchup for Browns running backs. Their front seven is stout and has only allowed 112 total rushing yards through 2 games. This will likely be another game in which Hyde struggles. In Week 4, however, the Browns square up with the lowly Jon Gruden-led Oakland Raiders. Combining Weeks 1 and 2, the Raiders are the second-worst team against the run. They have allowed 5.8 yards per carry so far, second only to the Detroit Lions (at 6.8). This game could be where Chubb steals the lead role and takes advantage.