Week 6 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Alexander Mattison & More
Week 6 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Alexander Mattison & More
Another week of watching Mike Davis absolutely crush his opponents is a reminder that as much as we think we know, there is always something surprising waiting for us on the waiver wire. D’Ernest Johnson earned absolutely no roll behind Kareem Hunt in Week 5 (but is still an extremely valuable handcuff), while one of our targets from Weeks 3 & 4 in Chase Claypool is now a top add.
This time of the year is when the small edges start to pile up. Most of your competitors are probably not grinding the waiver wire *as* hard, and the “guy behind the guy” types are going for $0 bids instead of $5. Defenses with amazing matchups two weeks from now are just sitting for free. Tight ends who are seeing big upticks in routes run are free for the taking. Let this be a reminder to scan your league each week when you go to make waivers and don’t just assume that all the assets worth holding are being rostered.
Each week, we will look at three tiers of players: the “must adds” or players that we expect will be picked up in every league and in every format, the “borderline” tier, and the deep-league darts. The focus will be on 12-team PPR leagues as our frame of reference and as always, if you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me on Twitter @DavisMattek or in the Daily Roto NFL Slack channel.
All players referenced in the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire column are under 50% owned in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues. It is possible these players might be owned in your league.
Absolutely Should Be Owned In Every League, But You Will See There Name In Other Fantasy Football Waiver Pieces: Chase Edmonds, Brandin Cooks, Mecole Hardman, Austin Hooper, Henry Ruggs, Damien Harris, Phillip Lindsay, Laviska Shenault, Tee Higgins, Christian Kirk
POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE MAKERS (THESE ARE PLAYERS WORTH > 25% OF YOUR FAAB, OR THE #1 OVERALL WAIVER CLAIM) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
Alexander Mattison + Mike Boone
Dalvin Cook injured his groin in the Vikings loss to the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. He tried to gut it out and come back into the game but could only do so for one snap before Alexander Mattison took over entirely. Mattison rushed 20 times for 112 times and caught all three of his targets for 24 yards. Mike Boone played only five total snaps but rushed twice for 19 yards. If we were gonna get our #HandInTheDirt and try to decide who is “better,” I actually believe that Boone is more talented than Mattison, but for as long as Cook is sidelined by this groin injury, we can anticipate Mattison getting a Dalvin Cook-esque amount of work.
Just as we saw with Mike Davis (and its painful if your bids were not enough for Mike Davis), Mattison is going to get a chance to step into an elite workload in an offense that is built around using a “star” running back. Cook was leading the NFL in rushing at the start of this week and had 16 targets through 4.5 games. It’s clearly one of the best situations to enter as a handcuff in the NFL. What’s maybe even more interesting for Mattison, specifically, was that he was targeted nine times on limited snaps already this year and was a great pass catcher in college (60 receptions in two years of starting). This is probably one of the last/best empty-the-FAAB-clip situations we are going to have this year in fantasy football. We will likely know more about Cook’s injury when FAAB bids are due, but Mattison is clearly the best add of the week if he is on your wire.
Additionally, Mike Boone is an elite “guy behind the guy” 5% bid as a 91st percentile SPARQ running back. Make sure you are adding him this week if you don’t have enough firepower to get Mattison.
The Dallas Cowboys offense is too big to fail. Even with the offensive line cratering around Ezekiel Elliot and Dak Prescott, the offense continues to put 35+ points every single week. Dak is not going to be back until later in 2021; Andy Dalton is the starting quarterback for the Cowboys for the foreseeable future, and he walks into one of the best situations you can have for a quarterback. If this was the Cowboys offensive line of yesteryear AND Cooper + Gallup + Lamb, then Dalton would have an argument to be a top-five quarterback in fantasy from this point forward. As such, he is in such an elite spot in Dallas that he is the first quarterback I have written up this year in our waiver wire segment. For the most part, waiver wire quarterbacks have been super replaceable this season and haven’t come close to matching the highs of the dominators at the position.
Dalton has the ability to change this. Dalton had finished as high as QB5 in 2013 when Marvin Jones and AJ Green were at their peaks. That Bengals team wasn’t even in the same stratosphere of talent and didn’t have a defense that gave up four touchdowns a game. The basis thesis behind spending meaningful FAAB on Andy Dalton in single-quarterback leagues is that he has the ability to approximate the absurd fantasy output that Dak had produced without the rushing production. Particularly if you own Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, or Dalton Schultz, I believe you should be comfortable bidding 15-25% on Dalton.
Mapletron has arrived! This is actually his third appearance in my waiver wire column this year as it became clear that 1) JuJu Smith-Schuster is no longer a true alpha WR1 and 2) Claypool is simply better than James Washington and maybe even Diontae Johnson. With Diontae Johnson banged up for a second time, Claypool ran 28 routes and was targeted on 32% of the Steelers passing plays with 11 targets. He also received three rushing attempts and scored on one of them. While Mattison and Dalton are great adds and you can start them immediately, it is probably Claypool who offers the most championship upside.
Claypool is 6’4 and weighs 238 pounds while running a 4.42 40; this is the sort of athlete who truly comes around once a decade. He is not the most polished route runner in the world, but the rushing attempts and deep targets that he has been receiving through four games are pretty evident that the Steelers know what he is capable of RIGHT NOW and that it is important to them to get the ball in his hands. Pittsburgh has already gotten through their bye, Diontae Johnson is banged up with a lower-body injury, JuJu is at a career-low in targets per route run, and the Steelers run game looks inefficient at best. It seems more probable than not that Chase Claypool is 2020’s answer to “Who is this years’, AJ Brown?”
For receiver-needy teams or teams battling through injuries, Claypool is a 50%+ waiver wire add.
BORDERLINE STARTERS (THESE PLAYERS LIKELY ARE COMING OFF A GOOD GAME BUT DO NOT PROJECT AS MULTI-WEEK STARTERS, WORTH LESS THAN 25% OF YOUR FAAB) FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
Tight end is the most miserable position in fantasy, so when someone like Fells gets an extra amount of snaps with an elite quarterback, it is worth paying attention to. If you spent picks on Tyler Higbee, Noah Fant, Zach Ertz, Eric Ebron, or any of the other disappointing tight ends, then these waiver wire tight ends should interest you. Fells falls into this category as Jordan Akins is battling through an ankle injury. While Fells has only two targets over the last two weeks, he has played over 80% of the Texans snaps, and DeShaun Watson threw the ball 35 times in his first game without Bill O’Brien as his head coach. There is no reason to think Fells is going to be the next Darren Waller, but it is certainly possible that he could score greater than 10 FPPG if Akins and one of the Texans wide receivers were to suffer from an injury. I am making small bids on Fells, especially in FFPC leagues that offer 1.5 points per reception for tight ends.
Preston Williams has now been dropped in enough leagues to make his way BACK into this article after popping up early in the season last year. The odds are that he will not top DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki in the pecking order in Miami, so in order for him to be viable for fantasy, Ryan Fitzpatrick has to be dealing and deal he has. Fitz is having his third-best YPA season ever but has only thrown seven touchdowns, so perhaps you could even argue he is getting a little unlucky. There is enough volume in the Dolphins offense that their third option is actually a viable flex play as we head into the bye weeks. Williams was targeted five times last week despite playing only 60% of the Dolphins snaps; that increase in targets per route run is actually a bonus as he was really struggling to get open and create separation at the start of the year as he continues to rehab a torn ACL. The Dolphins have two tough(er) matchups coming up against the Chargers and Broncos, so there is no need to go crazy on PWill, but he is a solid 8-10% bid this week.
Collin Johnson/Keelan Cole
With reports that DJ Chark is now dealing with an ankle injury in addition to his previous knee injury, there is now room for a WR3 to play alongside Laviska Shenault, who looks like he is now pretty clearly the Jaguars WR1 after another great performance against the Texans. Johnson saw his first meaningful reps against the Texans, caught a touchdown, and played 31% of the Jaguars snaps while Keelan Cole played 80%. To be frank, I am not much interested in playing Cole while Shenault is active because Shenault is better at the things that Cole does well than Cole is. Johnson is more interesting to me, in terms of profile, because Jaguars beat reporters consistently named him one of the starts of camp and has the sort of size profile (6’6, 225) that could project him as a meaningful touchdown scorer in the NFL. One dollar would be more than enough to get Johnson on your roster, and my guess is that Cole is probably rostered in basically all competitive leagues at this point. However, if Chark is due to miss games, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Johnson get the start the X over Chris Conley, who is just objectively not good enough to be an NFL wide receiver.
If you can get your brain to rewind all the way back to Thursday, it was Cam Brate SZN (sort of) as he played 41% of the Buccaneers snaps and recorded six targets for 44 yards against the Chicago Bears. With Rob Gronkowski continuing to run like a stick person, Chris Godwin battling through a hamstring, and Mike Evans playing through not one but two different lower-body injuries, there is more room for someone like Brate (or Tanner Hudson) to emerge as a strong intermediate target for Tom Brady. In all tight end premium formats, Brate needs to be owned, and he will entire the streaming conversation as we hit the bye weeks.
As much of a bummer as this is, JD McKissic is probably the correct running back to own on the Washington Football team right now. In any sort of “deep” format or high stakes league, he might even have a solid-enough role to be considered a fringe starter. He has played over 50% of the snaps in each of Washington’s last three games and has been targeted 16 times in their last two games. With Peyton Barber playing an average of 3.5 snaps per game since Week 1, this is now a two-man backfield in Washington, and for whatever reason, it is McKissic who is holding the more valuable receiving role than Antonio Gibson.
Travis Fulgham + John Hightower
I have to be honest with you all: I don’t know how many more times I can type the name “John Hightower” or add him to one of my deep(er) fantasy teams and watch him rack up the air yards. While Fulgham stole the headlines with a truly absurd day with 13 targets, 152 yards and a touchdown, it was actually Hightower who lead the Eagles wide receivers in snaps and air yards. Fulgham’s measurables are actually all of the “mostly fine” variety but to expect any pass catcher in this Eagles offense to be a startable-commodity week over week is rather tough right now. Both Hightower and Fulgham are worth adds this week, especially if Zach Ertz is really as cooked as he looks (six targets, one reception against the Steelers). Hightower, you should be able to get for about 1% of your budget and I would expect Fulgham to be a 10-20%’er.
DEEP LEAGUE TARGETS AND BENCH STASHES FROM THE FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE
This is how desperate things are getting for the New York Jets: their fans are hoping that JEFF SMITH can become the diamond in the rough of their 0-16 season. Somehow, Adam Gase still his job, and somehow, Jeff Smith has 20 targets in the Jets’ last two games while playing 99% and 95% of the team’s offensive snaps. Smith is a legit speedster but has a lacking collegiate profile, which makes me less bullish on him out-earning targets over Jamison Crowder over the long run. Should the Jets No. 2 wide receiver be owned? I suppose so, but any week you start him is going to feel absolutely miserable.
While the Colts offense, holistically, is not one that we are super excited to invest it, Trey Burton is now their No. 1 tight end was a guy (not that long ago) that loads of fantasy football people were extremely high on. This is how the Colts’ tight end routes and targets have broken down since Burton returned from the short-term IR:
Burton 38 routes, 11 targets
Jack Doyle 32 routes, 3 targets
Mo Alie-Cox 18 routes, 3 targets
While Mo-Allie Cox has been easily the most efficient of all the of the Colts tight ends and Jack Doyle is truly not worth rostering at this point, it is Burton who has seen the most consistent involvement in an offense that is crying out for someone to emerge alongside TY Hilton.
Irv Smith, Jr.
I am absolutely sick of touting these dusty tight ends but finding some sort of solution at this position is going to win people leagues this year. There is so little production at the position that finding someone who will see six-plus targets per game from this point on is absolutely massive. Irv finally had a solid game in Week 5 against Seattle. He has played over 60% of the Vikings snaps in all but one game this season, and it never really made sense that he wouldn’t take the next step and be targeted more after 47 targets as a rookie tight end last season. There wasn’t *that* much a difference in performance per route between TJ Hockenson and Smith Jr. last season. I wouldn’t hold Irv Smith Jr. as my third tight end, but there is upside in the context of a younger player with a high-draft pedigree in a team that still has an opening for their second target.
Look Ahead Defense Bids (5% of FAAB or less): Philadelphia Eagles (They get Daniel Jones at home on Thursday Night Football…does it get better?), Detroit Lions (While they have not been a #good defense, they play the Falcons on the road)