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Alex Schillinger

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This week’s waiver candidates double as a legitimate starting lineup for a fantasy team in 2015. Boy, how the mighty adequate have fallen.

Dion Lewis, RB, NE – Owned in 38.6% of leagues

The human joystick is back, baby. Well, sort of. Over the past five weeks, New England running back Dion Lewis has seen his workload consistently rise. And while he’s still not putting up explosive numbers like he did two years ago, he’s getting more looks, which means he’s destined to blow up any game now, right? Right?

Darren McFadden, RB, DAL – Owned in 44.1% of leagues

Despite putting up a total of zero points so far in 2016, Run DMC is still owned in more than 44 percent of leagues, making him the least productive active player in fantasy football. That said, Zeke’s injunction failed and his suspension went into effect immediately earlier this week. As a result, McFadden’s value has skyrocketed. He’ll still be competing for carries with Alfred Morris, but McFadden should see an increased workload.

It wasn’t too long ago that this dude rushed for 1,089 yards.

Eric Ebron, TE, DET – Owned in 24.3% of leagues

Ebron might have bricks on the ends of his arms, but he’s still a starting TE1 and has a relatively weak schedule looking forward. Games against the Browns, the Bears and the Ravens all bode well for the struggling yet freakishly athletic TE.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, TB – Owned in 23.5% of leagues

Well folks, there’s no denying it now. The curse of Ryan Fitzpatrick is real. And he’s getting his first start of the season in Week 10 against his former team2 the New York Jets. He’s replacing Jameis Winston for at least one week, and even though it might be short-lived, Fitzpatrick’s matchup is a good one and he’s got some serious weapons on his side.

School picture day came and went for the Jacksonville Jaguars last week and Leonard Fournette was nowhere to be found. Instead, he opted to bail on his team who then repaid the favor by benching his ass. But this doesn’t appear to be the first time Fournette’s failed to adhere to team rules and, in fact, it’s likely one of many that led to his ultimate benching. This is nothing new. Young, incredibly talented players do – and have always done – stupid shit. Does that stupid shit warrant closer inspection? Yes, yes it does.

You may have noticed1 that we did not publish a Live by the Waiver post last week. I assure you, we wanted to but, to be frank, we’re running out of players we can talk about each week and we’re getting pretty damn tired of telling y’all to pick up Robby Anderson. But with injuries to DeShaun Watson and a boatload of trades shaking things up this week, we’re here to point out a few undervalued fantasy assets that might still be available in your league.

Before I get into how Deshaun Watson’s injury completely fucked your season, let’s talk about how unfortunate it is that one of football’s top young players is lost for the season. He joins the ranks of Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr., J.J. Watt and a whole host of other stars on the long-term injury list. Watson has been lighting it up since he took to the field in the second half of Week 1. He’s putting up ungodly numbers and helped to create the season’s best game in last week’s matchup against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks when he threw for over 400 yards, rushing for 67 more and scoring four times.

Every league’s got one. Someone who can’t figure out why everyone else in the league doesn’t talk to them anymore. Someone who, for 16 weeks out of the year,1 is simply unbearable. The person whose fantasy takes are so stupidly, scorchingly hot that having your knees blown out by Vontaze Burfict seems preferable to listening to them. I repeat: every league’s got one. Which means that if you’re thinking, “That doesn’t sounds like anyone in my league,” then guess what, bro? It’s you. You’re that guy. But don’t fret, we at The Read Option have got you covered. The most insufferable fantasy players come in five varieties and here’s how you can make sure you’re not a single one of them.

5. The “If I Woulda Started” Guy

We get it. There’s nothing worse than losing your matchup by a few points only to find that the guy you drafted in the fourteenth round and promptly forgot about managed to put up 22 points like he was possessed by the fantasy ghost of LaDainian Tomlinson. That’s a tough loss to take but, dude, shut up about it. No one likes a whiny loser. Plus, there’s a reason you didn’t start Cole Beasley over Amari Cooper and it’s because Cooper is way better.2

How to avoid it: Don’t look at your bench and, more importantly, don’t talk about your bench. It can only cause grief. If you find yourself staring down the barrel of a loss, close your computer and forget about your entire team.3

4. The Ridiculous Trade Guy

Enough is enough. I get why you’re proposing ridiculously lopsided trades but seriously, stop. No one is going to trade you a top 10 RB for your second string QB. Sure, there are going to be times when a player is struggling and their owner might be willing to listen to trade offers just to shake things up but make sure that what you’re offering at least approximates equal value. Your preposterously uneven trade offers make you seem like a condescending asshole who thinks your leaguemates are a bunch of dumb yokels who’ve never seen one of them there foosball games before. Keep this shit up and soon enough you’ll find yourself blacklisted so that people won’t even bother opening up your trade offers. Then what, trade master? Then what?

How to avoid it: You can use math and trade analyzers if you really want to aim for fair trades but your best friend here is straight up common sense. Stop overvaluing your players and you might find that people stop hating you. Hell, you might even make a few trades once in a while.

3. The “I’m Undefeated In My Other League” Guy

Oh really? Cool. No one cares. Just because you’re tearing it up in some mythical league no one else is in, doesn’t mean you’ve gained any more cred in this league where, coincidentally, you’re getting your ass beat week in and week out. This is the fantasy sports equivalent of bragging about your hot girlfriend who lives in Canada.

How to avoid it: Stop bringing up your other leagues. We’re starting to think they’re not real, anyway.

2. The “I Won The Whole Thing X Years Ago” Guy

Remember that year you drafted LaDainian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander and Marvin Harrison? Good for you. No one else does. Nor does anyone care to hear about it. The thing about fantasy is that everyone plays in a couple of leagues4 and that each of those leagues anoints a champion every single year. You’re not special because you won your office league in 2007, Derek.

“Seriously, don’t be that guy. The one up there.” – Shaun Alexander

How to avoid it: The only year that matters in fantasy is the current year. Any past seasons are moot at this point. You wanna brag? Make your team unstoppable this season. Otherwise, just shut up already.

1. The Champion

Let’s be real. No one likes the champion. With their smug disposition, their air of undeserved accomplishment, their…oh God, please just let me win it this year.

Here’s how to avoid it: Don’t. Win the whole damn thing and bask in the glory of every single person in the league hating you for the next several months. The greatest reward in fantasy isn’t prize money or a stupid trophy. No. The greatest reward in fantasy is seeing the utter, crushing defeat on everyone else’s faces once they have to crown you champion. Bask in that shit. At least until next year starts.5

You started LeGarrette Blount at your Flex last week, didn’t you? Then you watched as a dozen guys who weren’t even on rosters scored more points. It was a lot fun. Now that your season has been tanked by a bunch of hack experts – or maybe because your team has been ravaged by the early-season injury bug – you’re scrambling to find someone to throw in at Flex. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are some Week 3 steals still available in most leagues.1

J.J. Nelson, WR, ARI – Owned in 44.9% of leagues

With John Brown doubtful on Monday night, Nelson is your best option in Arizona. He’s had a hell of a start to the season, scoring two TDs in as many games and catching five balls in each. He’s a great PPR option and should continue to see a decent workload this week.

Tarik Cohen, RB, CHI – Owned in 48.4% of leagues

Jordan Howard is struggling to stay healthy so far this season and can been found on the injury report again this week2 which means Cohen will likely see a good amount of action again. So far he’s made the most of this time on the field scoring one receiving TD and averaging 6.5 yards per touch.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, ATL – Owned in 30.2% of leagues

Sanu has been consistent in the first two weeks of the year as he’s been targeted a team-leading 15 times, catching 11 of those balls. He’s yet to find his way into the end zone but Sanu and quarterback Matt Ryan seem to have a good rapport going and should look to keep it up going up against an improved Lions secondary that will likely key in on Julio Jones.3

Jermaine Kearse, WR, NYJ – Owned in 26.6% of leagues

Kearse has spent his NFL career locked in as the third passing option for Seattle, stuck behind guys like Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham and an assortment of pass-catching running backs. But he’s finally in the primary receiving role and making the most out of it. Kearse leads his team in targets, receptions, yards and receiving TDs. Admittedly, his team is the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Jets, but Kearse is showing that he can thrive in a first option role.