WE are starting to get into the real NFL fantasy season, with the trade deadline either on the horizon or just days away. There’s still time to make a few deals to strengthen your playoff-bound roster, with the waiver wire now more important than ever. Things aren’t as cutthroat in the NBA, but nearly one month of gameplay has given us a great insight into which players were a flash in the pan and who’s production’s here to stay.
All numbers/stats provided are based on ESPN fantasy leagues
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- THERE were a few small time roster moves over the last week with the likes of Jordan Murdoch (Suns) and Jarryd Lyons (Lions) finding new homes. Former Geelong Cat Dan Menzel returned from an overseas holiday to have a medical with the Swans, with Sydney expected to make a decision on Menzel in the next week. Probably irrelevant from a fantasy perspective, but a change of scenery could bring out an uptick in production next season, with Lyons especially one to watch.
- WE are at every AFL Fantasy coaches favourite time of the year!! Hot phrases like hitting the track early, time trial and role change are starting to rear their heads, with some veterans such as Rory Sloane, Kade Simpson, Luke Hodge and others returning to the training track ahead of schedule.
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WAIVER WIRE WATCH
ADD – TWO pass catchers are near the top of my wishlist this week. Adam Humphries (Bucs, WR, 24.4%) has been one of the hottest receivers over the past fortnight, putting up crazy fantasy numbers. It’s pretty unlikely that Humphries will maintain this level of production, but he still shapes as a good option moving forward along with Giants TE Evan Engram (Giants, TE, 64.9%). I talked about Engram earlier this week pointing out that even though his production hasn’t shone through since returning from injury, his upcoming fixture and the lack of depth at the tight end position makes him a viable roster add.
DROP – WITH a bunch of quarterbacks on the bye last week I took a chance on starting Matthew Stafford (Lions, QB, 65.0%) in one of my leagues last week. Big mistake. Maybe I’m just bitter and it’s worth noting that Stafford still completed a high percentage of his passes, even though the Vikings D tore him up last weekend. However, Stafford has to go through a gauntlet of tough teams in the next month, making him expendable.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON – DUKE Johnson’s (Browns, RB, 68.2%) coming out party against Kansas City has seen his ownership spike considerably this week. While I’m all for taking a chance on him and adding him to your bench, I’m a little cautious, with one game too small a sample size for me to make such a move. Injury worries for Chris Carson also provide Mike Davis (Seahawks, RB, 36.7%) with a similar potentially large workload. The Seattle back could be a great streaming option this week should Carson be held out (which seems likely at this stage). Finally, if you’re desperate for help at QB don’t sleep on Nick Mullens (49ers, QB, 10.0%). He could help you through your quarterback’s bye this week with a match against the Giants hardly the most intimidating task in football.
WEEK 10 BYE TEAMS – Broncos, Ravens, Texans, Vikings
- STICKING with the aforementioned Chris Carson (Seahawks, RB, 87.3%) for a moment, who missed Thursday’s practice. Owners might want to roster Mike Davis in case Carson is forced to miss the Rams game.
- DEPTH pieces Raheem Mostert (49ers, RB, 3.6%) and Geronimo Allison (Packers, WR, 9.9%) are likely done for the year, after being sent to IR with a broken arm and core muscle injury respectively.
- THE fantasy future of Bengals wideout A.J. Green (Bengals, WR, 98.1%) is up in the air after he was ruled out, for the next few weeks at least, with a toe injury. My guess is if Cincinnati loses a few games on the trot and falls out of the playoff race then Green might be sent in for early end of season surgery *cough*sell high*cough*.
- LASTLY, perhaps the biggest football story of the last seven days was Dez Bryant signing with the New Orleans Saints for the rest of the year. I expect him to be a touchdown-dependent guy for the rest of the year and he could slightly eat into Michael Thomas’ production. Still, if the former Cowboy stud suits up this weekend watch him closely, as Bryant could be a nice roster add for Week 11.
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WAIVER WIRE WATCH
ADD – HEADING into last year’s draft I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jaren Jackson Jr (Grizzlies, PF/C, 24.0%) with his game a little too raw for my liking. He has shown off the flashes of the potential player he can be this week, including an impressive five block performance against the Warriors followed by stuffing the box score (20pts/7rebs/3stls/3blks) against Denver two nights later. Tick. Another youngster in Nets wing Caris LeVert (Nets, SG/SF, 67.0%) has starred recently, leading Brooklyn in scoring through the early season at over 20 PPG. LeVert can also contribute in a variety of areas, making him a MUST ADD if he’s still on your waiver wire.
DROP – FOR those coaches who took a preseason gamble on Lance Stephenson (Lakers, SG, 6.2%) I think it’s time to cut your losses. He garnered a boost in playing time early on when the Ingram and Rondo’s suspensions impacting their depth, but now he offers very little fantasy upside. Similar to Collin Sexton (Cavs, PG, 44.7%) who looks like a true rookie out there on an NBA court. He can be a good player one day, but that day is still a while away.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON – TANKAPALOOZA is alive and well in New York which is a good sign for Allonzo Trier (Knicks, SG, 2.6%). The former Arizona Wildcat is enjoying his time in Gotham, especially in the last seven days, racking up 78 minutes (out of a possible 106) in the last two contests. If he can find some consistency with his game then Trier could be a worth taking a chance on. Quinn Cook (Warriors, PG, 0.3%) is another player who has made the most of his opportunities in the past and he might be on the verge of another streaky run. Steph Curry’s latest injury setback opens the door for Cook who averages 14.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 18 starts a season ago. Golden State plays five games next week as well, just saying.
- INJURIES to two All-Star’s would usually floor a team, regardless of how severe they are. The Warriors are no ordinary team, but they have their work cut out for them moving forward without Draymond Green (Warriors, PF/C, 98.3%) and Steph Curry (Warriors, PG, 99.9%). Green (toe) is expected to return early next week for the Dubs, with Curry undergoing an MRI today, to determine how bad an abductor strain is.
- ANOTHER superstar fantasy god in Russell Westbrook (Thunder, PG, 99.8%)has been dealing with injury woes this week. The walking triple-double suffered an ankle sprain against NOLA earlier in the week and is still day-to-day after missing OKC’s last two contests.
- SOME positive injury news to close with Knicks youngster Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks, PF, 12.0%) apparently progressing in his rehab from an ACL tear. Porzingis took to Instagram to post photos of him sprinting after Knicks coach David Fizdale stated the start forward had returned to ‘light-running’ activities but wasn’t sprinting yet. While we aren’t sure if he will see the court at all this season, this is a positive sign for those who have him stashed in their league.
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