The 2017-18 NFL season has been a season of injuries and mediocre play by the Patriots at home. It has been a strange one for sure, and a difficult one for fantasy owners. If you somehow have made it this far without any major injuries to your team, you are incredibly lucky and are probably off to a good start. Like most of you, I have not been lucky enough to escape the injury bug in most of my leagues, so that is why I compiled quite the list to help this week. With the running back position being decimated by injuries, that is what my main focus will be.
My fantasy team has lost Andrew Luck, Allen Robinson, David Johnson, Sam Bradford, John Brown, Dalvin Cook, and Chris Carson to injury 😐
— Peter (@PeteGawason) October 2, 2017
On top of the injuries and underperformers, we now have bye weeks to worry about. The four teams on bye are the Falcons, Saints, Broncos and Redskins. There is a lot of fantasy relevance between these four teams, so plan accordingly and find those streamers!
Let’s just jump into it! I will be giving you some suggestions of players you should add or drop, with each player’s ownership in ESPN leagues.
Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, and Trevor Siemian will all be on bye this week. We are also still without Andrew Luck, Derek Carr will be out with a back injury, and Marcus Mariota is questionable. Here are a few guys you can grab to stream this week.
QB Deshaun Watson, HOU (29.6%)
Houston, you have your answer at quarterback. Do I expect him to put up 33 fantasy points again this season? No, but he has proved he can be effective and get his team wins.
QB Jacoby Brissett, IND (2.9%)
Brissett has looked alright throwing the football, and he can obviously do damage with his legs. This makes him a good streaming option this week against the 49ers, who have allowed a combined 649 passing yards to Jared Goff and Carson Palmer in back-to-back weeks.
QB Eli Manning, NYG (44.7%)
The Giants are playing terribly, but they have been better the past two weeks. If it wasn’t for two last-second field goals, they’d be 2-2 instead of 0-4. He’ll probably pass for about 300 yards again this week against the Chargers.
Running Back Adds
Like I said before, this will be the meat of the article. There are too many running backs that are out with injuries or will be playing with them. If you have been patient with Doug Martin, you will be getting him back this week, but who knows how he will look on a short week against the Patriots. I’m going to give you a bunch of guys to look at, so I know a good share of them are available in your leagues.
Pro tip: even if you don’t need one of these guys, it’s worth it to drop your kicker and grab one. You can drop them and pick up a kicker before Sunday kickoff, so then your running back-needy opponent cannot use them against you. You may also be able to trade them, never know.
RB Alex Collins, BAL (5.9%)
Buck Allen will continue to serve as the passing down back in Woodhead’s absence, but it seems that Collins has hurdled West for the early down role. Nine carries isn’t much, but he did go for 82 yards. It’s a bit better than West’s four carries for -7 yards. Collins has a 8.2 YPC on 25 carries so far this season, so it would be interesting to see what he does with a heavier workload.
RB Wendell Smallwood, PHI (47.2%)
I said to add him last week, and I’m saying it again here. He has ten carries for 34 yards and a touchdown, to go along with four catches for 45 yards. Sure, Blount made the headlines with 136 yards rushing, but he only played 32.9% of the snaps. Smallwood was on the field for 44.3% of the snaps.
RB Andre Ellington, ARI (29.9%)
When you can’t run the football, you throw it. That’s what the Cardinals have been doing the past two weeks. They pass the ball nearly 70% of the time, which is the highest in the league. Because of this, Ellington is benefiting. Over the past two games, he has 14 catches on 22 targets. He also has ten rushing attempts between the two games.
RB Alvin Kamara, NO (42.5%)
He’s on bye, but the rookie needs to be owned. He’s averaging five catches per game, and he’s been effective with those receptions so far.
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN (2.7%)
Rookie Dalvin Cook is lost for the season due to a torn ACL, so McKinnon’s only competition for touches currently is Latavius Murray. Basically, this means McKinnon will get plenty of touches by default. Murray is an absolutely atrocious running back. I wouldn’t be surprised if Minnesota brings someone else in, but for now, McKinnon and Murray both have some value. McKinnon gets the hesitant “add” due to being a good athlete. He actually tweaked his ankle at the end of the game, so that’s something to keep an eye on.
RB Elijah McGuire, NYJ (1.3%)
Veteran Matt Forte was out last week with the “week-to-week” description, and I don’t think they’ll rush him back after what McGuire and Powell did in his absence. The rookie played 19 snaps and gained 131 total yards with a touchdown.
RB Wayne Gallman, NYG (0.8%)
Perkins got a bit banged up last game, so Gallman received touches and looked much better. Sitting at the bottom of the league at 0-4, the Giants are now in panic mode. Gallman’s role will grow, and the offense should start to operate a bit more effectively.
RB Aaron Jones, GB (1.3%)
Ty Montgomery is reportedly dealing with multiple broken ribs, so if they pain is too much for him to play through, Jones should see the majority of the work. Even if Montgomery does play, he surely won’t continue to have the largest snap percentage in the league anymore.
RB J.D. McKissic, SEA (0.2%)
The rookie Carson is not on IR, and McKissic came out of nowhere to score two touchdowns. While it does seem like Lacy will also get some work, I don’t trust him to be consistently effective with those touches. McKissic is the guy to keep an eye on.
Pass Catcher Adds
WR Devin Funchess, CAR (24.8%)
Funchess had a big week against the Patriots, and he could have another against the Lions this week. As long as Olsen is out, Funchess must have a big role in the offense for them to be successful.
WR Will Fuller V, HOU (18.9%)
In his first game back from injury, and with his new quarterback, Fuller caught four passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns. That connection should continue to get better.
WR John Brown, ARI (38.7%)
Now back from injury, Brown was on a snap count against the 49ers. He still had three catches for 47 yards on seven targets. His role will continue to grow as he becomes healthier.
WR Tyler Lockett, SEA (27.9%)
I said last week to pick up Lockett before he has a breakout game. While this game wasn’t a “breakout,” he still performed well. He caught four passes for a team-high 67 yards, while also gaining 24 rushing yards and 16 return yards.
WR Geronimo Allison, GB (3.1%)
After taking a scary hit against the Bears, Davante Adams may miss this week. If he’s out, Allison comes in to play Adams’ outside role, which should be a valuable one against the Cowboys.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ (8.3%)
Here at FlurrySports, we target tight ends against the Browns. So far, they have given up 22 catches for 216 yards and four touchdowns to Ben Watson, Jesse James, Jack Doyle and Tyler Kroft. These names aren’t top tier guys, and neither is ASJ, but he will be useful this week. He has received ten targets between his first two of the season.
TE Evan Engram, NYG (55.3%)
Engram has at least four catches and 40+ yards in each game this season. As he gets more comfortable in the offense, his role will get even bigger. On an offense that is forced to pass a lot, Engram will continue to be a consistent weapon with high upside.
QB Derek Carr, OAK (95.2%)
If you have room to hang onto him, you can, but you don’t need to. He is set to miss multiple weeks with a back injury, so we don’t really have a great timeline to base things off of. Maybe he returns week eight against the Bills or the week after against the Dolphins, but then he still has a week ten bye. It’s not like was so incredibly valuable before the injury, so feel free to drop or trade him. There’s probably someone else out there.
QB Cutler, Flacco Bradford (14-20%)
Unless you’re in a 16-team or a 2QB league, what are you doing? Drop these guys. They are all owned more than Jared Goff, who is currently the QB10. (Side note: that is really pathetic that Goff is QB10 considering he has scored more than 20 fantasy points just once.)
RB Dalvin Cook, MIN (93.6%)
Out for season with a torn ACL.
RB Chris Carson, SEA (81.0%)
Carson broke his leg and went on IR.
RB Terrance West, BAL (77.7%)
It seems that Collins has hurdled him for the early down work, so you can drop West.
RB Adrian Peterson, NO (69.8%)
This just isn’t working. Maybe he’ll get traded or released, but I wouldn’t bet my fantasy season on it. We’d also be hoping he looks good on his new team, and I just don’t know.
RB Paul Perkins, NYG (55.2%)
The Giants offensive line is horrendous, but Perkins hasn’t done them any favors either. You don’t need to be patient, because the Giants won’t be anymore either.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers, TB (72.1%)
Not a must-drop, but Doug Martin is back this week.
RB Matt Forte, NYJ (63.9%)
You don’t need to hang onto him if there’s someone out there with potential. Forte isn’t suddenly going to become an every week starter for you.
WR Jordan Matthews, BUF (52.9%)
Matthews will miss about a month recovering from thumb surgery. Again, not a must-drop, but don’t make sacrifices to hang onto him.
WR Eric Decker, TEN (68.7%)
Don’t sit around waiting for him to suddenly look like his past self, especially if Mariota misses time.
TE Coby Fleener, NO (57.0%)
He is on bye and will see a dip in production with Snead back. Sell him if you can, but he’s droppable.