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Alex Schillinger

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Another week, another waiver wire. After two weeks of action, here are the best players to give your team a boost.

Calvin Ridley, WR — Atlanta

Owned in 38.2% of leagues

Ridley scored his first NFL touchdown in Week 2 and things are only looking up for him. The speedy WR saw twice as many targets in his second game as he did in his first and turned those targets into four receptions for 64 yards. Ridley will only see more targets as the year goes on, so grab him now while you can.

After Week 1, holdouts, injuries and truly terrible terrible play have many fantasy owners in a panic. Don’t worry, we got your back. Here’s are the top targets to rejuvenate your already struggling team.

Jared Cook, TE – Oakland

Owned in 28.4% of leagues

Wow, was everyone wrong about Cook or what? Going into last week, he was owned in one out of every four leagues. But after Week 1’s 27 point effort,1 he’s leaving everyone who passed him up with a Gruden-sized furrowed brow. Cook has been known to break people’s hearts with his up and down play but he was targeted 12 times in Oakland’s first game. Even if that number falls off, he’ll be seeing a high volume of targets.

Jon Gruden: Super Bowl winning coach, furrowed brow connoisseur.

Ted Ginn Jr., WR – New Orleans

Owned in 17.7% of leagues

The Saints looked up to their old ways Sunday against the Buccaneers. In a barn burner, Drew Brees threw the ball 45 times, six of which were targeted toward Ginn. While his efficiency was damn near perfect – and certainly not sustainable — Ginn showed us he’s still got it. He’ll be a TD-dependent, boom or bust option for the bottom half of your roster.

Jonnu Smith, TE – Tennessee

Owned in 0.03% of leagues

If you’re in a pinch with Delanie Walker out, it might be worth taking a chance on Jonnu Smith. He plays a similar style to Walker—albeit less effectively than the 13-year veteran and former Pro Bowler—and has a big body for Tennessee’s quarterbacks, whoever they are, to throw at. With Rishard Matthews still not 100%, Smith might become a big part of the passing game, especially if backup QB Blaine Gabbert is forced into action.

Tyrod Taylor, QB – Cleveland

Owned in 37.9% of leagues

When he’s ready, this will be Baker Mayfield’s team. There’s no question. But until then Tyrod Taylor is going to play his ass off. Tuh-rod is the star of this team until Hue Jackson says otherwise. That’s not necessarily a good thing for Cleveland but here we are. If you’re in need of a quarterback with lots of options and who is also fast as hell, look for Taylor on the wire.

Last year was The Year of the Rookie. Players like Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Evan Engram showed they can hang with the big boys, racking up numbers that put them in elite fantasy company. But after the rise comes the fall. Or at least that’s what the talking heads want you to think. It’s such a common refrain that you might think the experts, having run out of meaningful things to talk about, are just trotting out old clichés. Don’t worry, they’re not. The sophomore slump is real but it doesn’t happen to everyone. Luckily for you, your friends at The Read Option are here to help. We took a look at some of the top rookie WRs, RBs and TEs since 2013 and analyzed their first and second year numbers to find the truth behind the myth of the sophomore slump.

The New York Jets have a storied history of making terrible decisions. From butt fumbles to foot fetishes1—and despite the very best efforts of the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions—the Jets have been the NFL’s most cringeworthy team for decades. From players that just can’t quite remember the names to all of their children to the signing of Tim Tebow, the Jets organization is particularly disenchanting, but the most frustrating thing about their endless ineptitude is that they manage to fuck everything up the exact same way, over and over. And with intended-savior-but-actually-inevitable-bust Sam Darnold in the mix, they’re primed to do it again. Here’s how:

The value of the QB in fantasy football is declining. Highly sought-after players like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady have name recognition but players like Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins are putting up similar numbers while going for a third of the price. Rodgers, everyone’s dream QB, is expected to put up about one more point per game than Wentz this season and that added production is definitely not worth $20 extra dollars that could instead be used to help you nab a top tier WR or RB.1 And yet, despite that level of performance parity, some people are still dropping serious cash on the quote-unquote top tier QBs. A quick look at last year’s PPGAR reveals the value of “top” QBs compared to other positions, and guess what? It’s not good, you guys. Russell Wilson was the season’s highest ranked QB and he wasn’t even a top ten player by PPGAR.

Even though you’re not going to waste draft capital on a QB, there are still fantasy players who haven’t yet discovered The Read Option2 and some of them are bound to overspend on a QB. But which QB, you ask? We’ve got you covered. These are the five most overvalued QBs heading into the season.

Tom Brady

Seriously? He’s the second most expensive QB right now and he’s going to be 41 when the season starts. I understand that he’s an ageless wonder but even TB12 can’t overcome the wear and tear of nineteen NFL seasons. Fun fact: the Golden Boy’s played so many playoff games that it’s as if he’s played 21 total seasons. That is incredible and terrifying and exhausting and detrimental. No quarterback is worth $25 at the draft, especially not an aging one. Even if he is the GOAT.

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers might be the best quarterback in the NFL and dammit if he’s not everyone’s favorite State Farm spokesperson,3 but he missed the vast majority of last year after breaking his collarbone for the second time. I’m no doctor but that sounds like two times too many. Rodgers is ready to get back under center, but taking a risk on an aging veteran like Rodgers isn’t worth the price you’ll pay if he finds himself on the IR again this year.

Deshaun Watson

When he was on the field, Watson absolutely killed it last year. But he only played in seven games and, right now, he’s the fourth highest drafted QB in fantasy.4 His knee injury looks to be healing up nicely, but with no significant playing time under his belt, he remains at risk of both injury and regression. Drafting him for more than $2 or an eighth round pick is a gamble.

Patrick Mahomes II

Do I even have to put him on this list?5 Of course he’s going to be overrated. I’m not saying he won’t be good next year, it’s just that he definitely will not be good next year. I know it’s still early but he barely set foot on the field last year and somehow he’s going for $2 which ranks him above established names like Matt Stafford, Alex Smith, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers. Please, everyone, just stop it.

Baker Mayfield

Despite becoming a Brown, the first overall pick may actually have landed in a great situation. He’s got an arsenal of pass catchers that can do amazing things with the ball. He’s inheriting a team that is the embodiment of a dumpster fire, so if he can manage to win even three games he’ll be sanctified. And he’s joining what should be a pass-heavy offense.6 The only problem? Hue Jackson. It’s hard to get behind any Cleveland player with such an atrocious coach at the helm. Mayfield may very well end up being great but that’ll have to wait until Hue Jackson and his 1-31 record with the Browns are long gone.

237 Yds | 4 TDs | 0 INT | 115.8 QB Rating

That’s Nick Foles’ line from last Sunday’s monster performance against the New York Giants. As bad as the Giants are, any game where a QB can put up numbers like that is impressive. And while no one’s ready to hand over the MVP award to Foles after last week, he has earned a hell of a lot more respect than he was afforded over the past few years. (Or weeks.) Going into the championship week for most fantasy football leagues, Foles is – shockingly – a legitimate fantasy asset. His ownership has jumped 24.1% since Sunday’s breakout game.

Nick Foles – Philadelphia Eagles
4 GP | 71.4 Comp. % | 98 YDS | 0 TDs

Alex Schillinger : Last week, the NFL – and millions of fantasy rosters – lost one of football’s most promising and talented young QBs. I’m talking, of course, about Tom Savage. Wait, what? Carson Wentz is out for the season? A torn ACL? Fuck. There goes my championship.

Or does it? Once upon a 2013, Nick Foles was a lot like Wentz: promising, talented and young. Four years into his journeyman future, can he serve as a stopgap for the remainder of the season?

To Everyone Who Didn’t Make The Playoffs,

Dude, that sucks. I feel your pain. You just spent the past three months analyzing every skill position in football and now that the playoffs – the most exciting time of the year! – have arrived, you’re on the outside looking in. Try not to think about the number of hours you spent researching which New Orleans Saint RB to draft1 and debating whether or not you should pick up Robby Anderson.2 Even worse, it’s not like the people who made it into the playoffs at your expense even deserve their success, right? They totally lucked their way in by drafting players like Carson Wentz, Adam Thielen and Todd Gurley II.3 Who could have seen that coming?