Written by: Andy Cohen
Welcome back to the Week 3 edition of “The Revolving Door: Free Agent Addiction.” For those who didn’t read last week, 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
Derrick Henry - RB - TEN - (66.9%)
It was odd to see over 30,000 owners dropping Henry after Week 1. Yes, the Titan’s rushing attack was lackluster in their opening game but I really didn’t understand the logic behind those numbers and I grabbed him in every league in which he became available. I’m thankful I did because Henry had a breakout performance Sunday, rushing for a career high 92 yards on 14 carries (6.6 YPC!!!) and also added a 17-yard score. Henry looked sexy out there, breaking tackles and hitting holes with a purpose. I personally think that Henry is worth a high waiver claim and has a very good chance to have weekly standalone value going forward. Demarco Murray has looked lethargic so far this year with a 3.3 YPC average on 69 scoreless yards and is finally showing signs of aging after defying the odds the past couple years with hamstring issues that could easily linger. His fate isn’t sealed yet but the writing is on the wall and everyone should be targeting Henry on the waiver wire this week if he is available. Mike Mularkey said that Demarco Murray is still the starter, and that may be true, but not for long! Next week Henry & Murray have a tough test against the Seahawks’ defense, who have been surprisingly vulnerable on the ground through two games this year with 241 total yards allowed to running backs and let the combo of Hyde and Breida to average 8.4 YPC on Sunday. This guy should have already been inside the building but now we know he is here to stay.
Rashad Higgins - WR - CLE - (0.3%)
I love it when a practice squad guy makes it into the mix. Corey Coleman apparently broke his hand early on Sunday and is in line for an extended absence. Higgins shone as the WR1 after Coleman left, racking up 7 catches for 95 yards on 11 targets. Those who fear “flash-in-the-pan” trickery should know that Higgins out-snapped Kenny Britt 54 to 42 even though Higgins wasn’t on the official roster until Saturday morning. I think that tells you exactly how the Browns feel about Britt’s contribution so far and also their new found confidence in Higgins’ ability. The 6’ 1” Colorado State product has size and speed to match (4.64 40 yard dash) that make him more than capable of making an impact both in the real world and on fantasy football rosters. Those looking for receiver help would be wise to grab this guy, who will likely be the target leader on a team that will be down often and airing the ball out. In week 3, the Browns face the Colts defense that allowed the Rams receivers to rack up 37.5 fantasy points in PPR in Week 1. After being a fifth round pick in 2016 that was on the outside looking in, Higgins deserves to be inside the building and on your roster as well.
Buck Allen - RB - BAL - (7.8%)
Buck Allen has a distinct chance to end up being the most valuable player on this week’s list (until Danny Woodhead returns) and that goes double in PPR leagues. Allen impressed big time this Sunday against an underrated Cleveland defense logging 14 carries for 66 yards (4.7 YPC) and also adding 5 catches for 35 yards, with one of those heading into the end zone. Allen outplayed “starter” Terrance West and the Ravens apparently share my enthusiasm as he played 61% of the offensive snaps compared to Terrance West’s 22% snap rate. This may have been due to a soft tissue injury that West is dealing with but Allen still outplayed him regardless. Buck appears to be taking over the Woodhead role while also managing to take grinder work away from West, and these facts have pushed himself into the low end RB2 tier. He plays on a team that sports excellent defense and one that has always been committed to the run. Allen and the Ravens face the Jaguars next week who are no cake walk when it comes to run-stopping. I think the 3rd year player is worth a waiver claim this week and could play well enough to carve out standalone value, even if Woodhead comes back. Come on in, Buck! It’s warm in here.
Chris Carson - RB - SEA - (7.9%)
In the wise words of Pete Carroll, “I think we have something there.” After taking down Lacy in a Week 1 competition, Carson disposed of his other enemy for touches, Thomas Rawls, with an excellent performance Sunday which included a whopping 20 carries for 92 yards (4.7 YPC) and one catch for 7 yards. When you compare this with “starter” Thomas Rawls’ 5 carries for 4 yards, it’s easy to see why most feel that Carson has won himself he starting job for the time being. There is still the threat that Rawls was just knocking off rust but Carson proved his worth as he grinded out the win for the Seahawks. He is also worth a higher waiver claim due to his ceiling should this situation in Seattle shake out the way it looks like it’s going to. I like Carson’s chances to hit pay dirt next week against the Titans who allowed Leonard Fournette to score this past Sunday. Welcome inside, Chris Carson.
Out In the Cold
LeGarrette Blount - RB - PHI - (100%)
Even in the preseason, there were rumblings that Blount did not look the part of a NFL starting running back and through two games it appears to be true. Blount’s season started out in earnest with 46 yards and a receiving TD in Week 1 but it was clear that the Eagles weren’t happy with his play as rumors came out midweek that his role may be reduced and reduced it was. Blount didn’t receive a single carry against the Chiefs and Philadelphia made Darren Sproles the guy to own in this backfield with his 44 snaps to Blount’s 6 and Smallwood’s 14. I don’t want anything to do with a RB who is 3rd in the pecking order on a team that doesn’t even possess a threatening running attack and neither should you. Blount tweeted that he “could care less about y’all fantasy teams” after his goose egg Sunday. Someone should let him know that it’s “couldn’t care less” as in “We couldn’t care less about Blount’s fantasy value at this point.” Get this man a coat because he is being kicked out of the building.
Mike Wallace - WR - BAL - (100%)
After a 1 catch for 8 yard performance in the season opener I felt I should reserve judgment on Wallace since the Ravens only attempted 17 total passes in the entire game. Then came Week 2 where Flacco attempted 34 passes and Wallace put up a whopping total of…1 catch for 7 yards on 3 targets. Wallace is the 3rd or 4th option on a low volume passing offense where a better version of himself, Jeremy Maclin, is the guy to own. Aside from really deep leagues where you need a spot start, Wallace can be dropped from almost all rosters until further notice. Next week the Ravens take on the Jaguars and I would have to be paid lots of money to start Wallace against the CB duo of Ramsey and Bouye.
Kenny Britt - WR - CLE - (96.3%)
I know Corey Coleman may be out for an extended period of time but that still doesn’t change the fact that you do not want Kenny Britt burning a hole in your bench. The former Ram now has 2 catches for 15 yards through two games and seemed to be disinterested in the game Sunday, clearly mailing it in. You could do a lot better with a stash on someone like Rashad Higgins, who was discussed above, than wasting a roster spot on a guy who just clearly doesn’t have what it takes to make the next step in his career. I wouldn’t give him a second look, even against the Colts porous pass defense in Week 3. I get whiffs of Dwayne Bowe and his tenure in Cleveland watching Britt mull around out there and that only means one thing: Call security and have this guy escorted off the premises and off your roster as well.
Adrian Peterson - RB - NO - (100%)
Some may take this as extreme but when you take away AP’s name recognition and look at the stats, it doesn’t feel like a hard decision at all. Peterson has 14 carries for 44 yards through 2 games and is making the Saints’ front office look silly for signing him. It’s not that Peterson doesn’t have anything left in the tank but rather that he has been horribly miscast on team that doesn’t really need him at all. The only way AP makes a fantasy impact this year is if he is traded to another team. Otherwise, you could better use his bench spot for someone with more upside, namely his teammate Alvin Kamara whose play and usage are more than enough to get me excited about him moving forward in this fantasy season. Next week, the Saints’ backfield matches up against the Panthers run defense which has returned to form for the first two weeks so far and bottled up Shady McCoy for only 9 yards on the ground last week. Sorry Adrian but we are at capacity.
Waiting in Line
Chris Johnson - RB - ARI - (3.3%)
This is an obvious one. After David Johnson went down, Kerwynn Williams was given a crack at the starting job and did not impress to say the least. Re-enter Chris Johnson. CJ2K played well in his limited role Sunday posting 11 carries for 44 yards and was clearly the best back on the field. Johnson is still worth an add in all formats but expectations need to be low. Going forward he is the back to own on this team but owners must remember that he is Chris Johnson, not David Johnson and should expect no better than low-end RB2 numbers with the possibility of more upside should he find the end zone. Andre Ellington is still in the mix but the Cardinals’ coaching staff has made it clear time and again that they do not see Ellington as a true RB. Next week the Cardinals get the Cowboys who are coming off a rough loss to the Broncos in which they allowed Denver’s running backs to rush for a combined 164 yards on 34 carries (4.8 YPC). Johnson is definitely at the front of the line to get inside.
Allen Hurns/ Marquis Lee - WR - JAX - (7.6%)(30.2%)
Don’t worry, you’re not alone in having decision anxiety about which one of these guys to grab. It seems like a total toss up at this point but the important takeaway is that they both have a weekly shot at being the Jacksonville garbage time receiver that has brought riches to fantasy owners in the past. Hurns and Lee both succeeded in that respect this weekend with Hurns totaling 6 catches for 82 yards and a score and Lee adding 7 catches for 76 yards on a team high 12 targets. Almost all of this production came in the second half when the Jags were down big to the Titans. In fact, Hurns’ first reception came with just under two minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Their production will be largely game script/matchup dependent going forward but on a team that will likely find itself behind more often than not, there’s hope for consistent production. Nobody and I mean NOBODY has a real answer for which guy is the one to pick between these two, which is why I’ve placed them in the “Waiting in Line” section. Until one distinguishes himself, that’s where they will stay. It is interesting to note that Lee appears to be playing the Allen Robinson role with the lion’s share of the targets and for that reason, I lean slightly towards him. Neither is an ideal start for a start next week against a Ravens’ D that has only allowed 10 total points in their first two games, but one will likely return value on a spot start. I’m only letting one of these guys inside and they’ll wait in line until that is decided.
Hunter Henry - TE - LAC - (60%)
Antonio Gates has his touchdown record and now Hunter Henry’s season can begin for real. Phillip Rivers has been looking to get Gates this record for a while now and now that he has it, he can stop staring the future Hall of Famer down every time the Chargers get in the red zone. Gates clearly has little left in the tank as he approaches 38 years of age and Henry is quite obviously the superior player at this point in his career. He ripped through the Dolphins pass defense on Sunday on his way to securing all 7 of his targets for 80 yards. The upside for Henry is endless if Rivers peppers him with this many targets on a weekly basis. There are still some concerns with Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams to feed but with more red zone looks coming his way, Henry is someone to watch. We may have to wait one more week to see the full extent of Henry’s ability, as they play the Chiefs who are typically tough against TEs, but also lost Eric Berry to an Achilles injury. Ertz didn’t seem to have much trouble with them. With the injuries to Gronk, Olsen, Reed, and Eifert, owners are undoubtedly looking for a replacement at TE and will be happy to see him waiting in line.
A quick look back at last week’s Revolving Door:
Safe and Sound:
- Not a great showing this week (3 catches for 23 yards) in a plus match up but with the shortages at the TE position due to many injuries, Clay is still a guy that I want inside and on my team in PPR leagues.
- 12.8 points in PPR is nothing to scoff at but Cohen’s week 1 performance is closer to what he will achieve in most weeks, especially with Jordan Howard potentially missing time.
– Kupp came back down to earth in week 2 with only 3 catches for 33 yards. He made some impressive grabs and he gets San Francisco next week for a great bounce back situation. He may be better fitted to Wait in Line until he proves to be consistent. The talent and volume is there though.
Out in the Cold:
Eddie Lacy (100%)
– Spot on. Lacy didn’t even dress this week. He’s gonna freeze to death out there.
Duke Johnson (98.8%)
- Got more work at the RB position this week but that still only amounted to 11 points in PPR. That’s his ceiling in my opinion. If you’re desperate, his best dart throw would be next week against the lowly Colt’s but I think that’s Crowell’s game.
Brandon Marshall (100%)
- He has not played as of the writing of this article.
Waiting in Line:
Kendall Wright (13.3%)
– Looks like Kendall Wright will be the guy in Chicago as he reeled in 7 catches for 69 yards. Think of Wright in the same way you would think of Kamar Aiken in 2015. He’s a viable flex play by way of countless injuries.
Nelson Agholor (5.3%)
– Caught his only pass in the end zone at the end of this Sunday’s game. Two touchdowns in 2 games but only 7 total catches. He’s still waiting in line.
Kerwynn Williams (1.3%)
– What a bust. This guy is getting tossed to the back of the line. He dropped the ball on his starting chances with 9 carries for 22 yards. Chris Johnson is the guy to own here.
Kenny Golladay (7.8%)
- He has not played as of the writing of this article.
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.