Written by: Andy Cohen
This season I will be starting a new series I like to call “The Revolving Door: Free Agent Addiction.” If you’re like me then you love to constantly scour the waiver wire for diamonds in the rough, persistently dropping and adding like nobody’s business. If your bench is a revolving door like mine, you’ve come to the right place.
The article’s format will be as follows:
“Safe and Sound” - In this section I have players who are going to be this week’s hot FA adds and who I also believe will have season long value going forward and are not just a flash in the pan. These guys are worth picking up and starting going forward.
“Out in The Cold” - These are players that should be exiting the building and off your roster as soon as you are able to do so.
“Waiting in Line” - These are players that due to recent play or injury of a teammate should be on your radar and waiting in line to be on your roster.
Safe and Sound
Charles Clay (6.7%) -
Week 1 of the 2017 season was a tough one for the TE position with Gronk, Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce, and Tyler Eifert combining for a total of 28.5 fantasy points in PPR. While all of the above guys will obviously pick it up as the season progresses, I think it is important to look at a guy like Charles Clay who is owned in less than 10% of leagues. With the departure of Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, Clay has become the most tenured and reliable pass catcher on the Bills. The Bills’ coaching staff and Tyrod Taylor appear to agree after Clay earned a team-high 9 targets, which he turned into 4 catches for 53 yards and a nice 1-yard score to cap off a 77 yard drive by the Bills. I think this type of production is very reasonable to expect on a weekly basis a la “Delanie Walker-Lite”. There are some concerns that Jordan Matthews could eat into his production but Matthews has not given us a reason to believe he will take the next step in his career and Zay Jones looked a bit lost while only hauling in one of his four targets on Sunday. The TE position is always a finicky one when it comes to fantasy and I think Clay will prove himself valuable as a reliable albeit unexciting option for teams who didn’t manage to grab one of the top 4 at that position. He’s a sturdy and trustworthy add who gets to play the Carolina Panthers next week, who allowed the 4th most points to opposing TE’s in 2016 and allowed rookie George Kittle to catch 5 balls this past Sunday. Clay is widely available so bring this guy inside and give him the attention he deserves.
Tarik Cohen (9%) -
It was his first ever NFL game but I think we may be looking at the heir-apparent to the PPR fantasy fortunes that have come to players such as Darren Sproles and Danny Woodhead over the years. It looks like Cohen is no longer a well-kept secret and the Bears’ offense looked light years better than it has in seasons past. Mr. Cohen has had a lot to do with that. Cohen impressed with 5 carries for 66 yards garnished by a gorgeous
46 yard run where he reversed the field and then broke several tackles along the sideline. He added 8 catches for 47 yards on a team-high 12 targets, which included his first NFL touchdown where Cohen truck-sticked one time Pro Bowl CB Desmond Trufant into the end zone. No need to get cute here, Cohen has real usage, real talent and is arguably worth a #1 waiver priority headed into Week 2, especially if you are a Jordan Howard owner. For those that feel it was a one game fluke and he won’t have real usage, just check out the Bears final RB snap count:
Jordan Howard 38, Tarik Cohen 28, Benny Cunningham 4. Out of 67. Kevin White is the latest Bears’ receiver to hit IR and it looks like Cohen will be the main beneficiary of that. He has a better-than-outside chance to lead the team in targets when all is said and done just like he did this week. I had this guy on all 3 of my rosters Wednesday night and by the time Sunday came around had tinkered so much that he was on none of them. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Go get him and keep him (warm)! Next week, Cohen faces the Buccaneers who are definitely susceptible to opposing backs, last year allowing the 9th most fantasy points to that position.
*This one is especially fun for me to write because we share the same last name. There is definitely a shortage of “Cohens” in professional sports! He’s also on my hometown team. The cherry on top? Tarik wears my lifelong hockey number, #29 (Ken Dryden), so you already know an order has already been made to NFLshop.com.
Cooper Kupp (14.9%) -
Cooper Kupp generated buzz all preseason long as a favorite to make a rookie impact at WR and it appears that the buzz was warranted. Kupp turned heads this past Sunday, massaging 6 targets into a 4 catch, 76 yard day (team high) with 1 TD as well. While I still think Sammy Watkins is the most valuable WR on the Rams’ roster, I think Kupp has a very realistic chance to carve out a low-end PPR fantasy starter’s role as the season wears on. Goff showed Sunday that he may not in fact be a bag of flour posing as an NFL QB and the connection between him and Kupp was talked about constantly during the preseason. For the above reasons, I think that Kupp is among the top 3 most valuable pickups of the week. The Rams should be passing more with their anemic run game via Todd Gurley. With the main focus of the opponents’ defensive backs’ gaze on Sammy Watkins, Kupp stands to benefit most. I also expect the Rams to be down on the scoreboard much more often in future games and that will only bring more opportunities for Kupp and his pass catching teammates. Next week the Rams face the Redskins and with Norman likely to have his hands full with a healthy Watkins, Cooper Kupp will have a chance to make a real impact again. I think the combined body of work in the preseason and Week 1 has earned Cooper a spot inside the building.
Out In the Cold
Eddie Lacy (100%) -
Ugh. Just Ugh. Without making any overused jokes about Lacy’s weight, let’s get down to the only thing that matters: the guy just doesn’t have it anymore. With Thomas Rawls nursing an ankle injury, Lacy got the “start” and took his 5 carries for….THREE TOTAL YARDS! I drafted Lacy in two leagues and by the time you guys read this, he will be on the WW in both. It’s time for all of us to admit that we will never see the Lacy we saw in 2013 & 2014, when he rushed for 1100+ yards and found the end zone at least 9 times in each season. What’s more, rookie Chris Carson showed that he can out play the aggressively stocky veteran with Thomas Rawls watching from the sideline. I feel that Lacy is going to finish outside the top 35 backs this season in all formats and for that reason he will need a warm jacket as he waits out in the cold. Despite the fact that Seattle faces the 49ers next week who allowed the most fantasy point to RBs last season, I have little faith in Lacy. It also isn’t a bad idea to send his teammates outside with him as I am of the opinion that no Seattle RB will be worth rostering at any point this season barring injury.
Duke Johnson (98.8%) -
I finally broke the cycle this year and decided not to draft Duke Johnson because I knew, just like in years past, I would be anxious to drop him the moment my alarm rang on Monday morning of Week 1. The Miami alumni did next to nothing in Sunday’s tilt against the Steelers, catching 2 balls for 20 yards. Johnson, a running back on the depth chart, was not even given a single tote out the backfield and lined up exclusively in the slot the entire game while rookie Matthew Dayes had 3 carries himself. A repetitive “Black Mirror” version of Ty Montgomery’s 2016, Duke Johnson is a WR/RB talent that is underutilized and only being used out wide in an offense that projects to be one of the league’s worst. With a tougher match up against the sturdy Raven’s D next week, he’s a player that I am staying from away from and you should too. Kick him to the curb before you regret it.
Brandon Marshall (100%) -
This is one of the harsher predictions in this article but I am of the opinion that father time has caught up to Brandon Marshall and that he is destined to return next to nothing as far as fantasy value goes for the 2017 season. He may not be someone you want to drop right away because of his name recognition as use for trade bait but Marshall seems like the frontrunner for the 2017 title of “burn a hole in your roster” veteran. I know it’s only been one game but Eli Manning threw the ball 38 times on SNF and Marshall only got 4 looks, even with target monster Odell Beckham Jr. in street clothes. His only catch came on the second to last play of the game and Sterling Shepard looked like the better talent in OBJ’s absence. This all but cemented Marshall’s ghost status for Sunday’s primetime game. If Odell plays next week, Marshall will have a chance to prove me wrong as the Lions’ top CB, Darrius Slay, will have his hands full. If OBJ doesn’t play, benching Marshall is an easy call. Marshall has played his last few seasons in freezing winter cities of Chicago and New York so he will have an easier time than most surviving outside in the cold once he is cut from your roster.
Waiting in Line
Kendall Wright (13.3%) -
As mentioned earlier, Kevin “Mr. Glass” White made it a half a game before his 3rd NFL season was ended with a fractured shoulder blade. Although I do believe that the aforementioned Tarik Cohen will benefit most from White’s absence, there is something to be said for Kendall Wright. The former Titan is now the unquestioned #1 wide receiver on offense that is coordinated by Dowell Loggains, the Titan’s coordinator who helped Wright post his most successful season of 94 catches for 1079 yards in 2013. Much in the way the Kamar Aiken became a suitable PPR asset in 2015, I think Wright will be a magnet for the target vacuum that hangs over the Chicago receiving corps. He only managed 3 catches for 34 yards on 4 targets Sunday but I think that changes this week as he becomes the new favorite to lead the Chicago pass catchers in snaps. I placed him in the “waiting in line” section because I’m not entirely sure the Bears pass attack as a whole has the ability to support a high volume/low production type player. We’ll know more when the Bears face Tampa next week.
Nelson Agholor (5.3%) -
I’ve always hated Agholor. I thought the Eagles reached for him at 20th overall in 2015 and after the combined 59 receptions and 648 yards in the ensuing two years, I felt pretty good about that sentiment. However, Agholor has a chance to play up to his 1st round potential if he can put together more games like he did this past Sunday. Agholor managed 6 catches for 86 yards on a team-high 8 targets. He added a touchdown as well on a play that succeeded with 99.9% of the credit going to Carson Wentz and his ability to keep the play alive. Many expected Alshon Jeffery to be the guy and he still likely will be but Agholor excelled this Sunday as an outlet for Wentz ,while the Redskins focused on stopping Jeffery and Ertz (failed). I wouldn’t expect a score every week but it is realistic to expect 3-5 catches and 50+ yards as a floor in offense that will be throwing a lot. The Eagles get Kansas City next week but they will be missing Eric Berry and will likely have Marcus Peters on Alshon Jeffery. Get in line Nelson!
Kerwynn Williams (1.3%) -
Williams' value is obviously entirely dependent on the health of one David Johnson. As of the writing of this article, reports have suggested that Johnson could be out for an “extended period of time” and is supposedly a candidate for IR. If DJ does indeed miss a ton of time, I’m highly skeptical of William’s ability as a “plug-and-play” RB who can come close to DJ’s production which is why I don’t think you should be using a high waiver priority on him. He did manage a score after Johnson set him up with a 1st and goal on the play where he got hurt, but only had 10 yards on 5 total carries otherwise. Andre Ellington will always be mixed heavily in to the game plan should DJ find himself on the bench and is the more valuable add in PPR especially. I’d say Williams is at the back of this line but he’s definitely in it due to potential opportunity and volume along with a juicy match up against the trainwreck that is the Indianapolis Colts.
Kenny Golladay (7.8%) –
Detroit beat writers felt that Golladay had little chance to be heavily involved in the Lions’ plans as the season began and it appears they were wrong for the 1st game at least. Golladay turned 7 targets into 4 catches for 69 yards and two TDs, one of which came on an absolutely spectacular diving catch with the game on the line. We may have found our replacement for the Lions’ premier red zone target after Anquan Boldin retired. Many thought it might be Eric Ebron, but Golladay is taller and heavier than any other pass catcher on his roster and showed grit on Sunday by making a couple difficult and contested catches. He appears to be molded in the same vein as Marvin Jones Jr and eventually, he may take the veteran’s job away. With all that being said, I really like Golladay and his game but there are many mouths to feed in this offense and I expect the Lions to establish the run more often than they did against the Cardinals as the season wears on. They will still have to air the ball out some against the Giants next week, so Golladay has an opportunity to show that he can be consistent. The talent is absolutely there. I’m just not positive about the volume and for those reasons he’ll have to wait for his chance in line for now.
That’s all for this week’s edition of the “Revolving Door: Free Agent Addiction”. Check back next week to see who made it through the line and who will be asked to vacate the premises. I love feedback, positive and negative, and am always looking to improve so please let me know if you have any questions or critiques.