Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 3

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve that in a couple of ways.

First, I will identify players who could ultimately provide some value for your teams before they become hot waiver-wire adds. This will save you from spending an exorbitant amount of your free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) or using a high waiver priority on them, ultimately allowing you to save each of these for when you most need it.

Second, I'll dig through the data and player trends to illustrate why these players will be worth taking up a spot on your roster. I'm going to try to find the diamonds in the rough that inevitably emerge each and every year so that you don't have to sweat over whether or not you claimed them on waivers -- because you will already own them!

As promised, this is the first week I'll be posting my report card for how well the players I suggested a couple weeks ago performed this week. My goal each week is to provide you with starting- and flex-caliber players at each of their respective positions. That means I'm looking for top-12 quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses, and top-36 running backs and wide receivers. If I've done that, then I've done my job.

So let's take a look.

Player Positional Ranking Fantasy Points (Half PPR)
Josh Allen 7 22.2
Gus Edwards 72 1.1
Justin Jackson 39 6.9
Marquise Goodwin 12 15.2
Darren Waller 9 9.3

Well, I whiffed pretty big on the running backs, though I do still think that Justin Jackson is worth keeping on your bench in the event Austin Ekeler gets hurt. However, the rest of the players performed well within their respective positions. Josh Allen has shown he can be a viable weekly fantasy starter as he's currently ranked QB12 through two weeks by averaging 20.1 fantasy points per game.

With that, let's get into some more stash candidates ahead of Week 3.

Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts

ESPN Ownership: 16%

A lot of fantasy teams are getting desperate at quarterback with the losses of Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and potentially Cam Newton, so you may find yourself resorting to the quarterback streaming pool. If you are in this situation, look no further than Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Jacoby Brissett.

In the first two weeks of 2019, Brissett has thrown five total touchdowns, which is tied for fourth in the league. Despite low yardage total, Brissett has still posted over 16 fantasy points in both his starts - only 12 other quarterbacks have done the same.

While his ceiling may be limited because of volume, he can be good for a spot start if you're in need. While you can use Brissett in Week 3 at home against the Atlanta Falcons, in Week 4 the Colts host the Oakland Raiders, who just allowed Patrick Mahomes to put up 278 passing yards in one quarter. I'm not comparing Brissett to the MVP, but the Colts' signal caller has a plethora of weapons to work with, which gives him a good opportunity to produce.

James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

ESPN Ownership: 53%

I'm going slightly above the 50% ownership threshold I've set for myself, but for good reason. With Mason Rudolph taking over as quarterback, the receiving prospects for the Pittsburgh Steelers may seem bleak. However, James Washington is set to be the team's number-two wide receiver with Donte Moncrief struggling to catch the ball when targeted.

Throughout the preseason, Washington was playing like he was the number-two receiver as he posted 10 catches for 208 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown from Rudolph himself. Also, in case you hadn't heard yet -- I'm sure you have heard -- Rudolph and Washington played together in college. In Washington's final season, him and Rudolph connected for 19 receptions for 815 yards and two touchdowns just on throws 20-plus yards downfield.

With Moncrief being benched following a terrible drop last week, Washington ended up playing the second-most snaps by a wide receiver this past Sunday. Washington was targeted only once after Rudolph came into the game in relief of Roethlisberger, but Washington did see the most targets from Rudolph when the two of them played together this preseason.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

ESPN Ownership: 14%

Tyler Eifert's fantasy potential has been hindered by injuries for most of his career, but now he's in good health and equipped with a solid passing attack. Eifert is currently third on the team in targets per game with 5.5, behind only Tyler Boyd and John Ross. With A.J. Green still nursing his ankle injury and unknowns about when he'll return, Eifert can continue to thrive.

Currently, Andy Dalton finds himself second in passing yards through two games and will likely continue to be forced to throw. Cincinnati's matchup against the Steelers in Week 4 is also favorable for Eifert as Pittsburgh just allowed two touchdowns to Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly. With the addition of Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers' secondary, targets may be funneled to Eifert as Dalton avoids throwing towards one of the best slot cornerbacks.

Additionally, as pointed out on our own JJ Zachariason's latest 10 Trends episode of The Late-Round Podcast, the Bengals have a 3.93 pass-to-rush ratio in neutral game scripts (when a game is within six points) so far this year. The next closest team is the New York Jets with a 2.5 ratio. Overall, Cincinnati boasts a 3.09 pass-to-rush ratio, which also leads the league. The Bengals are going to be passing and passing often.

Denver Broncos, D/ST

ESPN Ownership: 33%

Gardner Minshew is perhaps one of the most polarizing players in the NFL right now with the amount of swagger he exudes. That said, he shouldn't scare you when it comes to starting the defense opposite him, and in Week 4, that'll be the Denver Broncos. Streaming defenses in fantasy football is about playing the matchups, and the Jacksonville Jaguars have allowed opposing defenses to score 5 and 11 fantasy points in their first two games.

Surprisingly, the Broncos, with their combination of Bradley Chubb and Von Miller, have yet to record a sack. This is likely contributing to their lackluster fantasy performance as they've totaled just two total fantasy points on the season. However, the Broncos still remain in the top 10 of yards allowed as they've only given up 315 total yards per game.