Welcome to the morning after, folks. In the words of John Winger, “and then depression set in.” It was a long weekend for Boston fans. First, they had give begrudging respect to Derek Jeter for three days, which is stomach-turning enough. Then there was Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City. Hopefully Gronk’s late touchdown did something for some of you. Hopefully a few of you listened to me and stashed Jerick McKinnon, who saved my bacon in a few leagues. No matter what your weekend was like, Rotobahn’s here to help pick up the pieces. Let’s get to work.
The ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that. If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn Monday afternoon and check out my expanded waiver wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.
There is some good news. The Week 5 byes are not as painful as last week’s losses. Only Oakland and Miami have the week off. Not too many fantasy studs on those two powerhouses. Oakland doesn’t even have a coach right now after mercifully canning Dennis Allen on Monday night. The rumor mill is spitting out Tony Sparano‘s name as a possible replacement. Yikes.
Eli Manning, Giants – 48 percent
As I said last week, buy Eli now because the Giants have some solid matchups the rest of the way and they should get rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. soon — perhaps this weekend in a sweet home matchup with the porous Falcons defense.
Alex Smith, Chiefs — 42 percent
The Chiefs were searching and grinding for a few weeks — trying to get the new offensive line in sync. It would appear that they’ve turned the corner and are back to taking good care of the ground game and of Alex Smith. Smith can help you in most leagues as a matchup play. He’s got a very interesting matchup at San Francisco this week.
Joe Flacco, Ravens — 39 percent
He’s a guy you can throw in there anytime you need him. The Ravens are throwing the ball well now that Gary Kubiak‘s system is beginning to take hold. Flacco can be your backup in any format.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 18 percent
He’s a foot-points guy. I love those foot points. Bortles also plays for a team that will be throwing in the fourth quarter almost every single week. The game doesn’t seem too big for the rookie and he can help you as a matchup play or QB2. He’s playable this week in a home matchup against the Steelers, who can’t stop much these days and who do not have Ike Taylor at corner for the foreseeable future.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 33 percent
Arizona’s starting quarterback is a viable fantasy play, whether it be Palmer or Drew Stanton. Palmer is the guy worth owning in smaller formats and he could return as soon as this week. HC Bruce Arians has Arizona moving in the right direction. Palmer should be a solid matchup play the rest of the way, though he might not be able to help you this week. His return may be one more week away. We’ll know more once practice reports start coming out.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings — 17 percent
He’s not a stash anymore. Hopefully you already have him, but make a move for McKinnon if you haven’t already. He could end up being a weekly starter — even in smaller formats. He’s got special talent and freakish athleticism. Check out McKinnon’s full pre-draft scouting report. He must be owned in all leagues going forward.
Isaiah Crowell, Browns — 25 percent
He’s a player to stash in all formats. While Ben Tate should return this week, Tate’s returns are historically short-lived. The guy gets banged up. Tate’s next trip to the trainer’s table will lead to a permanent shift, as Cleveland’s two rookie backs are both outstanding talents. Crowell, as I said in his rookie scouting report, is as talented as any back in this year’s draft class. He could be a must-start option in all leagues in the not-too-distant future. Add him if you can.
Terrance West, Browns — 56 percent
West and Crowell both need to owned in all leagues because they both have great upside. West is the guy with better chops in pass protection and as a receiver. He’s also a high draft pick. My guess is that this backfield ends up being an equal split between West and Crowell. When you consider that Cleveland is a run-first offense, they both could have RB2 value.
Knile Davis, Chiefs — 67 percent
I think we all saw it Monday night and throughout the last two seasons. When Jamaal Charles is out, Davis usually is getting it done.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens — 38 percent
While West and Crowell are stash options, Taliaferro might be playable soon in smaller leagues. He’s looked good two weeks in a row and he may have passed Bernard Pierce on the depth chart. The rookie is a one-cut back and he fits OC Gary Kubiak‘s scheme very well. He needs to be owned.
Matt Asiata, Vikings — 65 percent
I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be a good fantasy start, but I think he’s a safe RB2 for now in 10-team leagues. We saw that Jerick McKinnon is the superior talent, but Asiata has shown well in short-yardage and goal-line situations, and they need two backs.
Alfred Blue, Texans — 23 percent
With Arian Foster’s hamstring woes, you’d be nuts to own Foster and not Blue. The rookie has looked pretty good in limited action and he’s an RB2 option if and when Foster sits out. He’s a classic handcuff option.
Rueben Randle, Giants — 62 percent
He is starting to find his groove, and the Giants are throwing the ball more and more. Randle can be a WR3 for you in all formats and he’ll have even more scoring potential as teams begin to account for Larry Donnell in the red zone. Randle should be owned in all leagues.
Jordan Matthews, Eagles — 35 percent
Here’s the upside play. Matthews has the ability to become Philadelphia’s No. 1 option in time. The Eagles are getting him good matchups out of the slot and he’s making plays against smaller slot defenders. Get him rostered in all formats.
Brian Quick, Rams — 56 percent
He’s been effective in every game and his talents are very real. Only the Rams’ nasty QB situation is holding him back. Quick’s a player to own in all formats. He can help you as a bye week replacement. Quick scored his first touchdown last week.
Kenny Stills, Saints — 14 percent
He’s been doing a little more each week, and he will have plenty of big-play potential as teams continue to crash on Jimmy Graham and Brandin Cooks. Stills is a nice bench option in smaller leagues and a very nice flex play in bigger leagues. Once he gets all the way back, he could be a WR3 in all formats. Roster him now.
Marvin Jones, Bengals — 15 percent
Here’s a very nice target of opportunity. Jones was ticketed for big things until a foot injury sidelined him back in August. He should return to the starting lineup this week and he could end up being a very nice WR3 in 10-team leagues once he’s in the groove. Add him now if you have a spot for him.
Greg Jennings, Vikings — 46 percent
I’m not jumping over people to get Jennings, but both he and Cordarrelle Patterson have better days ahead because all of the smaller names in Minnesota have been crazy productive with Teddy Bridgewater under center. Jennings has WR4 appeal for as long as the rookie stays healthy, and the ankle injury he sustained on Sunday appears to be minor and might not even keep him out for Thursday’s game at Green Bay. Jennings might just be up for that one.
Davante Adams, Packers — 5 percent
He’s a stash right now because he hasn’t taken the third receiver job clean just yet. That said, he is looking good and has top-shelf ability. Adams had a beautiful touchdown called back on a penalty last week. He’d have some buzz if it had counted, but he’s still a bit under the radar. Stash him if you have space.
John Brown, Cardinals — 13 percent
Brown can do plenty for you as a strong bench option with weekly scoring potential. As we told you months ago, the rookie is for real and his coaching staff really wants to keep him involved.
Eddie Royal, Chargers — 24 percent
Mr September is back, and this time he has a chance to be productive for the whole year. In smaller leagues, you consider riding the host streak, but Royal could be a year-long flex option in bigger leagues. The loss of Danny Woodhead means Royal’s role could be more consistent week to week.
Odell Beckham Jr., Giants — 2 percent
Do you like to get ahead of the curve? Here’s a chance. Stash Beckham Jr. and you could have a weekly option in the near future. If his hamstring holds up, he could start posting nice numbers very quickly. This kid is a high-end talent. He’d be ripping it up right now if not for the hamstring injury. I’m stashing him where I can. I suggest you do the same. Low risk. High upside.
Larry Donnell, Giants — 56 percent
You can still get him in a lot of leagues. He’s getting a huge percentage of the Giants’ red zone looks and he’s obviously scoring a lot of fantasy points. This guy is for real.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs — 68 percent
He’s a weekly starter in big leagues and needs to be owned in all formats right now. Grab him even if you have a strong top option. Kelce will have a lot of trade value if he keeps this up, and he has the talent to do it. It’s all about staying healthy.
Dwayne Allen, Colts — 40 percent
His hip is holding up and he’s scoring touchdowns. Allen has plenty of unexplored fantasy upside.
Jordan Reed, Washington — 44 percent
He should return this week, though the matchup (vs. Seattle) is bad. Reed will be a solid source of fantasy points for as long as his health lasts. He should be owned in all leagues.