The purpose of this article is to draw some extra attention to some very deep players who are interesting for one reason or another, positive or negative. While some young players are viable Waiver Wire pickups, this article focuses more on those players who aren’t yet worth owning in redraft leagues, who might be worth a roster stash in a dynasty league.
Players featured previously in this article that are now on the Waiver Wire or fantasy relevant:
- Kenyan Drake
- Adam Humphries
- Josh Ferguson
- Cameron Artis-Payne
Jacoby Brissett (NE) – The Patriots’ third-round project will be forced into the lineup early than the team hoped for – although they probably hoped he’d never play during his Patriots career. Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a shoulder injury in Week 2 and is expected to miss a couple weeks, although the Patriots are pulling their usual shenanigans saying he has a chance to play and they haven’t signed another QB just yet. The Pats went extremely conservative with Brissett when he entered in their Week 2 blowout. He completed 6/9 passes for 92 yards, with most of the yardage coming on two screen passes. Brissett is a developmental QB for Bill Belichick, and he garnered some comparisons to Jameis Winston with his strong arm and scattershot. We’ll see what he’s made of the next two weeks before Tom Brady returns in Week 5.
Paxton Lynch (Den) – Bronco starting QB Trevor Siemian has done a serviceable job as the starter the first two weeks, but his performances have been less than stellar. He’s thrown 3 bad INTs so far to just 1 TD, which is a trend that could eventually catch up to him. Granted, Siemian is young and has the chance to improve, but he doesn’t exactly have the pedigree that Lynch does. If Siemian manages the team to victories, he’ll continue to lead this team, but if his turnovers start to bite them, HC Gary Kubiak will turn to the first-round pick. Lynch has a much higher ceiling and he gives the Broncos a higher ceiling as well, and it’s probably only a matter of time before Siemian turns back into a pumpkin.
Jared Goff (LA) – HBO’s “Hard Knocks” didn’t do Goff any favors, as it revealed that the #1 overall pick is in over his head and a long way from getting on the field and contributing. He’s actually the first QB taken #1 overall who didn’t start in Week 1 since the great JaMarcus Russell, which isn’t great company to be with. The Rams made him a healthy scratch in Week 1, but they promoted him to the backup role ahead of Sean Mannion starting in Week 2. Goff will turn just 22 in October, so he’s incredibly young coming into the league – Carson Wentz is 22 months older than him. It’s probably for the best if they give Goff some extra time to adjust to the league, but we’d still guess that he’ll see the field late in the year if the Rams are out of contention.
Cody Kessler (Cle) – The Robert Griffin III Era in Cleveland is over after just one game, and if this jersey was still around, it would need to be updated this week with Kessler’s name. I said last week that I’d bet a week’s pay that Josh McCown doesn’t make it through the next 15 games unscathed, and it only took two quarters for him to injure his non-throwing shoulder. The Browns made one of the most bizarre picks in the draft by selecting Kessler in the third round – #93 overall – as he showed below-average arm strength and he looked like a marginal prospect at best. HC Hue Jackson targeted Kessler in the draft because of his “pinpoint accuracy,” and Kessler has an outside chance for fantasy success playing with an explosive set of receivers led by Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman.
Trevone Boykin (Sea) – QB Russell Wilson has played through an ankle injury the last two weeks, and he sure hasn’t had the same mobility that we’re used to seeing. He’s reportedly playing through a high-ankle sprain, which could get a little worst at any point. The former TCU Horned Frog Boykin is behind Wilson on the depth chart and would play in a pinch if Wilson aggravates the injury. He had a strong preseason and training camp, and he has a lot of attributes that Wilson possessed coming into the league with a strong arm and quick feet.
Jordan Howard (Chi) – Starting RB Jeremy Langford played on 96% of the snaps in Week 1, but HC John Fox changed that in Week 2. Langford saw his playing time dip to 60%, with Howard seeing 21% and Ka’Deem Carey playing 19%. The fifth-round pick out of Indiana posted 3/22 rushing and 2/9 receiving in his pro debut, and he actually looked much better than Langford. We were initially very high on Howard entering training camp, but he had an extremely quiet preseason. Fox wants to pound the rock, and Howard is likely his best option to do so at 6’0” and 22 pounds. We had some questions about him in the passing game, but he showed decent hands in Week 2 during garbage time.
Alex Collins (Sea) – Thomas Rawls has been a walking injury since he broke out in the middle of last season, and he couldn’t return in Week 2 because of a leg bruise. Christine Michael has outplayed Rawls since the preseason. If HC Pete Carroll continues to struggle to find his lead back, C.J. Prosise and Collins will start to factor in more very shortly. A window could develop this year for Collins to make an impact as an early-down runner, and he is a powerful inside runner who can push a pile.
Lance Dunbar (Dal) – It’s good to see Dunbar back on the field after he tore his ACL and ruptured his patellar tendon last season after a promising start to his 2015 campaign. He caught both of his targets for 26 yards in Week 2 while playing 13%, and he’s shown some elusiveness in the early going. There’s some hope for him going forward in PPR formats after he averaged 5+ catches in his four games last season. We’ve also seen rookie QB Dak Prescott check it down quite a bit to his TE Jason Witten and WR Cole Beasley, and some of those passes could turn into looks for Dunbar.
Andre Ellington (Ari) – I usually don’t feature too many 27-year-old players in this article, but Ellington is an interesting player to monitor because of his explosive skillset and his circumstances. He’s stuck behind David Johnson and Chris Johnson on the Cardinals depth chart, and he saw just 9% of the snaps in Week 2. Ellington is intriguing for Dynasty formats because he’s a free agent at the end of the season, and it’s not out of the question he could get a decent contract and be a fantasy factor elsewhere next season.
Wendell Smallwood (Phi) – Smallwood had a really tough preseason, missing a chunk of time with a quad strain before suffering a concussion in the third preseason game. All the missed time cost him a chance at winning the handcuff job out of training camp, but he could eventually work his way up the depth chart and push Kenjon Barner for playing time. Smallwood played on 7% of the snaps in Week 2, carrying 2 times for 16 yards. Starting RB Ryan Mathews usually has a tough time staying healthy for too long, so Smallwood could get a chance for significant carries at some point.
D.J. Foster (NE) – The Patriots made Foster inactive in Week 1, which was good news for nervous James White owners, as he looks the primary backup to White while Dion Lewis is on the mend. Foster played early in Week 2, catching a 2-yard pass and adding a 7-yard run on 5% of the snaps. Foster flashed onto the scene in the final preseason game with Tom Brady, posting 9/110 receiving on 10 targets and he added 9/22 rushing – although he did lose a fumble in the game. Foster is an intriguing talent, who split his time between WR and RB while at Arizona State, and he would make a fantasy impact if he ever ascended to the top passing-back role in this offense.
Marqise Lee (Jac) – Lee is healthy for now, and he’s making some noise as the #3 WR this season. You might forget that he’s a former second-round pick in 2014 – he actually went ahead of Allen Robinson in the second round that year – but numerous hamstring injuries have slowed his career. If Lee can actually stay healthy for a stretch, there’s no reason he can’t make some contributions in this passing game with Blake Bortles. Lee played on 64% of the snaps in Week 2, and he posted 5/75 receiving on 7 targets, which was aided by GTP. He isn’t likely to lead the team in receiving most weeks, but he could be emerging here if his hamstrings cooperate.
Braxton Miller (Hou) – First-round rookie WR Will Fuller has stolen all the headlines in Houston, but they have another intriguing rookie WR in Miller. He’s a former college QB at Ohio State who transitioned to WR in his final collegiate season, but his move to a new position has gone incredibly smooth. Miller beat out Cecil Shorts for the starting spot out of the slot in 3-WR sets for the Texans. He did sustain a hamstring injury in Week 2, which will likely cost him Week 3 against the Patriots. He clearly has a role in the offense, and while it may be tough to pry away targets from studs DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller, Miller is a playmaker in his own right and he could be lighting up the Red Zone Channel very soon.
Malcolm Mitchell (NE) – Mitchell drew positive reviews during the preseason, which is hard to do for rookie WRs trying to get on the same page with veteran QB Tom Brady. The Patriots have had an absolutely terrible track record of drafting WRs in the early rounds over the last decade, but there’s cautious optimism in New England that Mitchell could break the drought. He made a big play in the Patriots Week 1 win on a 28-yard catch, and he played on 39% of the snaps in Week 2. Mitchell suffered a gruesome elbow injury in the preseason, but he’s recovered quickly and is definitely on the radar if he can give Brady much needed size on the outside.
Paul Richardson (Sea) – Richardson is a former 2014 second-round pick, who’s gotten off to a slow start after an ACL tear in his rookie year and a slow recovery and subsequent hamstring last year. The Seahawks are giving him a chance to rotate in with top WRs Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Jermaine Kearse. Richardson actually played 67% of the snaps in Week 2 with Lockett missing time with an injury, and Richardson connected with Russell Wilson for 3/35 receiving. He has a lot of speed to burn, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes a couple big plays in the near future if this offense can get on track.
Seth Roberts (Oak) – The Raiders love Roberts, a second-year slot WR out of West Alabama, as he played on 68% of the snaps in Week 2. He ended up scoring on a red-zone target in Week 1 and he saw another red-zone target in Week 2. He scored 5 TDs as a rookie, and Carr clearly likes looking for him down by the end zone. Obviously, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are going to see heavy targets each week, but Roberts will battle Clive Walford for the #3 receiver role here with an ever-improving Carr at the helm. Roberts is decent-sized target, so he could be an annoying vulture for Cooper and Crabtree owners.
Jalin Marshall (NYJ) – Marshall has earned the #4 WR job for the Jets, as he’s behind their two standouts and emerging Quincy Enunwa. Marshall made some noise in Week 2, catching 3 of his 4 targets for 45 yards while playing 35% of the snaps. Marshall is an excellent returner because of his quickness and explosiveness, so he’s likely to stick around every week. Brandon Marshall (hamstring) and Enunwa (ribs) are also battling injury issues heading into Week 3, and he’d clearly have a bigger role if he’s a top three WR here.
Laquon Treadwell (Min) – The start to Treadwell’s rookie season has been awfully painful since he looked to be a perfect fit as the X receiver in a Norv Turner offense, and he was also one of the more pro-ready prospects in the class. Treadwell is buried on the depth chart behind Adam Thielen and Charles Johnson, so he’s not going to bust out any time soon. The good news is that Charles has completely underwhelming with 3/20 receiving through two weeks, so it could be just a matter of time before they give Treadwell his shot to win this job. The Vikings used a first-round pick on Treadwell and they are getting nothing across from Stefon Diggs, so it would be wise to give him a shot to develop with Sam Bradford.
Austin Hooper (Atl) – Hooper had a limited role in the Falcons offense in Week 1, with Jacob Tamme unsurprisingly leading the way at the position. That changed in Week 2 with Hooper seeing his snaps jump from 13% to 31%, and he made the most of the increase in playing time with 3/84 receiving. However, Tamme has been quite active in the first two weeks, but at some point the Falcons need to get a more explosive TE in the fold to help out Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in the passing game. Once Hooper gets some more experience under his belt, the Falcons would be wise to get him on the field more than Tamme.
Hunter Henry (SD) – Henry was our favorite rookie TE coming into the season, but he landed in a tough spot to play right away with Antonio Gates in front of him. However, Gates looks even more sluggish than he has in recent years, and Keenan Allen is now out for the season. Henry actually played 57% of the snaps in Week 2 but went without a catch. He should see plenty of run going forward if the Chargers stick with more 2-TE sets with Allen out for the year. I compared him to Greg Olsen in our “Rookie Report” because of his size and ability, and Rivers won’t be afraid to throw it to his TEs with his weapons dwindling.
Trey Burton (Phi) – Starting TE Zach Ertz could miss a little bit of time with a displacement of his first rib, which he actually played through in Week 1 after suffering the injury early. Brent Celek drew the start in Week 2, but Burton was the receiving threat at TE while playing 43% of the snaps. He finished with 5/49/1 receiving on 7 targets, finishing behind only Jordan Matthews in targets. Burton clearly showed he has more potential as a receiver than Celek, who has made a career out of being a blocker first. Burton is another move TE out of the University of Florida, in the same mold as Jordan Reed and Aaron Hernandez, as Burton can move and checks in at 6’3”, 235 pounds.
Tyler Higbee (LA) – The Rams offense has totaled 9 points through two games, so clearly they aren’t lighting the world on fire with Case Keenum in charge. Higbee has just a 2-yard catch through two games, and he’s played primarily in just 2-TE sets with Lance Kendricks, seeing 42% of the snaps in Week 2. However, the Rams eventually need to get more playmakers on the field and Higbee is certainly much more talented than Kendricks. Higbee is unlikely to ever go off in this limited offense this season, but he’s a player to watch for in Dynasty formats if Jared Goff ever starts to show some promise.
Tyler Kroft (Cin) – Starting TE Tyler Eifert is still out after his off-season ankle surgery, and he could miss through at least September. Kroft is the best option to fill in for Eifert, but he missed the entire preseason with a sprained knee, opening up playing time for C.J. Uzomah in the season opener. However, Kroft got a little healthier for Week 2, and started to take back his job from Uzomah as both players saw 54% of the snaps. Kroft was one of our favorite TE prospects in the 2015 draft, as we compared him to Zach Ertz at the time, and he has the chance for some fantasy relevance if Eifert doesn’t get back to the field soon.
Maxx Williams (Bal) – Williams missed a huge chunk of training camp because of a knee issue, which hurt his chances of opening the year as a starter after Ben Watson went down with a season-ending Achilles injury. Dennis Pitta has taken the starting job and run with it after missing the last two seasons because of hip injuries. We’re very skeptical about Pitta being able to stay healthy for long this season, and Williams could work his way into a bigger role if he can edge out Crockett Gillmore for playing time. Williams is an intriguing prospect, but we worry that he’s not a good enough blocker to work in-line and that he’s not a good enough athlete to win in the passing game as a move TE.