There was a collective gasp when Jimmy Garoppolo went down with what turned out to be a season ending ACL tear. But don’t worry, that handsome mug of his is just fine. That said, there’s a decent chance you’re looking for someone to fill a catalog model shaped void on your roster this week. The Read Option has you covered.
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.
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.
It’s the greatest time of year. Draft time. And what better way to get prepped for your draft than auto-playing YouTube videos for hours on end? So let’s check in with fantasy football expert and that creepy guy in the back of your college economics class, Field Yates.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cam Newton was dreadful last year. His completion percentage was an abysmal 52.9% and he threw only 19 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. He struggled mightily in the run game too, as he went from ten rushing TDs and an average of 4.8 YPC in 2015 to 4.0 YPC and only five touchdowns in 2016. But in 2017, Cam has returned to form. Despite losing Kelvin Benjamin and Ted Ginn Jr., he’s been significantly more effective in both the passing and rushing games. He’s completing 60.3% of his passes and has thrown for 21 touchdowns while rushing for five more. While his total passing yardage is down from last year, he’s been far more efficient in 2017 and the result is that he’s now the fourth rated QB in terms of PPGAR. A lot of people, myself included, counted Cam out after last year’s Super Bowl hangover. However, he’s definitely back and seems poised to continue his success, perhaps even winning some fantasy football league championships in Week 16.
When Josh McCown signed with the New York Jets this year, most figured he’d be a punching bag for opposing teams as the Jets willingly tanked their way to the top of a 2018 draft class that has all sorts of potential. The Jets’ offense seemed doomed. It would have been a pleasant surprise if McCown had been serviceable. That’s not even close to how things unfolded. Shockingly, McCown has been – brace yourself – really good. He’s the 7th rated QB in terms of PPGAR, ahead of more respected names like Matt Stafford, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. Even more incredible, he’s been doing it without any star power at receiver other than Robby Anderson who, it should be mentioned, was completely anonymous going into this season.
If McCown is the surprise of the season at QB then Alvin Kamara is the big story at RB. Through Week 13 , it’s honestly incredible how productive Kamara continues to be. In the last six games, Kamara has averaged 27.4 PPG. That’s six more PPG than Le’Veon Bell. Not bad I say. Not bad at all.
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?