NFL

Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 2

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

The following offers suggestions for players to pick up now (who are currently under 50% rostered) so that that you won’t need to use a high waiver claim or spend a significant amount of free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) on them later.

Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

ESPN Roster Percentage: 48.8%

Mike Williams barely meets our threshold of players under 50% rostered, and there’s a good chance he won’t qualify at this time next week. There were questions about Los Angeles' offense this season, as analysts questioned the fantasy-relevance of Chargers skill players in a slower, run-heavier system with a new conservative starting quarterback in Tyrod Taylor.

In Week 1, the Chargers ranked in the bottom-10 in pass rate in neutral situations, per Rotoworld. But on the flip side, they had the second-fastest pace in neutral situations, according to Football Outsiders, and Taylor had the second-highest average depth of target.

Williams was the main beneficiary, as he earned nine targets (13th-most among all players) and 147 air yards (5th-most), both of which led the team. He was able to haul in only 4 catches for 69 yards, but the fact that he saw 8 catchable targets, per SIS, and 5 targets of 15-plus air yards is a positive sign for the future.

Los Angeles will play Kansas City in Week 2, which will almost certainly provide Williams with opportunity for garbage-time production. After that, LA will face the Panthers, Buccaneers, Saints, Jets and Dolphins, all of which ranked in the bottom-14 in fantasy points allowed to receivers in 2019. Grab Williams now before his stretch of potential boom weeks.

Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

ESPN Roster Percentage: 27.4%

Jalen Reagor sits at 53rd in routes run (30) and 66th in targets (4) among all wide receivers after one week of action. This is in large part due to a shoulder injury that kept Reagor from playing a higher number of snaps in Week 1, but it was encouraging to see what he did with his opportunity.

Albeit a small sample size, Reagor leads all players in numberFire’s Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per catch as well as average depth of target. All four of his targets were at least 15 yards downfield as Carson Wentz easily paced the league in average depth per target on Sunday.

Again, the sample size is small, but Reagor should continue to earn more downfield targets and more snaps in general as his health improves. If Wentz continues to attack downfield aggressively and the rest of Philadelphia's skill players remain less than 100% healthy, Reagor has a great shot to be fantasy’s best rookie receiver this season.

Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons

ESPN Roster Percentage: 14.8%

The Atlanta Falcons have a strong chance to be this year’s version of the 2019 Buccaneers -- ample fantasy opportunity in negative gamescripts. In Week 1, Atlanta ranked fourth in offensive snaps (79) and first in pass attempts (54). A whopping 25 of those attempts came in the fourth quarter, so Matt Ryan shouldn’t be expected to pass that frequently every week, but this is undoubtedly a pass-funnel offense to target.

Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst were all popular fantasy picks this summer, and all three ran routes on at least 80% of Ryan’s drop backs in Week 1. With 80% of Atlanta’s snaps coming from three-receiver, 11 personnel sets (fifth-most in the league, per Sharp Football Stats), Russell Gage joined that group in route percentage.

Jones, Ridley and Gage all caught 9 balls on 12 targets for more than 100 receiving yards on Sunday. Gage played the seventh-most snaps among all players -- just one snap fewer than Jones and three snaps fewer than Ridley.

Again, Atlanta shouldn’t be expected to be quite this pass-happy every single week, but there is clearly a role for Gage as the third receiver on a team that may end up trailing a lot due to its porous defense. This week, the Falcons face the Cowboys in what is game with the highest total (52.0, per FanDuel Sportsbook) of the week.

Myles Gaskin, RB, Miami Dolphins

ESPN Roster Percentage: 4.6%

After an offseason full of debate about Matt Breida and Jordan Howard, second-year back Myles Gaskin ended up pacing the backfield in snaps (35), carries (9), targets (4) and total yards (66) on Sunday. Gaskin was the only Miami back to earn a target, but he also had zero red zone carries while Howard, Brieda and Ryan Fitzpatrick all had multiple such attempts.

The correct answer to which Miami running back to roster is more than likely “none of the above,” but Gaskins arguably offers the most upside with his receiving usage on a team that figures to be trailing often. He’s worth a bench spot in deeper leagues in case he ends up earning a bigger role as the season progresses.