Welcome to another edition of The Watch List, where the players listed are likely calling the waiver wire home, but scouting them will keep you one step ahead of the competition.
Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins, Quarterback) – I know, you are likely thinking why should you scout a quarterback whose coach wasn’t even sure if he would start this week. Well, part of me thinks that was coach talk, trying to ignite a fire under the young QB and get him going. This week he will get the Vikings, who rank 13th against the pass, allowing 225 yards per game. Tannehill has struggled, as he has yet to throw for over 250 yards in any game this year, despite throwing over 30 times in all three games and over 40 in the past two. However, he has had some tough matchups against the Patriots, who rank first against the pass, the Chiefs (11th vs pass) and the Bills, who historically have played him great. This week against the Raiders could be his coming out party, despite the fact that they currently are the fourth best team against the pass.
Devonta Freeman (Atlanta Falcons, Running Back) – It is no secret that I have fully backed Freeman in the past, and despite having single digit Fantasy points on the season, I still back him. His ownership rate has plummeted, particularly after rushing for 12-yards on 11-carries and a fumble last week against the Bucs. What some may not realize is, Freeman was running with the Falcons second team, that’s right, back ups, against the Bucs starters. Plus, the Bucs knew the Falcons were just killing the clock and going to run it on first and second down. The fourth round pick out of Florida State may be listed as the fourth string RB, but if anything happens to the injury-prone Steven Jackson, Freeman will shoot up to number one. Jacquizz Rodgers is great in passing downs and brings a jolt of electricity, but cannot carry the workload as a featured back. The same can be said about change of pace journeyman Antone Smith. Freeman is the RB of the future in Atlanta, as he can run hard, catch and block, and should still be on Fantasy radars, despite many owners giving up on him.
Andre Holmes (Oakland Raiders, Wide Receiver) – The popular draft season sleeper pick has only had six receptions (nine targets) for 74 yards so far this season. While he only caught one reception in Week 3 against the Pats, he displayed his big play ability, as it went for 29-yards. According to reports out of Oakland, with Rod Streater out with a fractured foot, Holmes will be worked into the rotation and the coaches are confident in his ability. Most importantly, QB Derek Carr says he has built a great chemistry with Holmes. The 6’4” Holmes has great speed for a tall wide out, running the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, and has the size to develop into a nice red zone target. Do not be surprised if Carr throws a few balls his way and Holmes is able to get up and haul them in. Just look at last week’s grab.
Greg Jennings (Minnesota Vikings, Wide Receiver) Jennings is available in roughly half of polled leagues, and for those of you in deeper leagues, if he is available, run now and grab him, I’ll wait…. Okay, now for the rest of you. Jennings is not the superstar he was in the past, but he can be very useful, especially in PPR formats. After having six catches (seven targets) for 58-yards and a TD, he stunk it up in Week 2, posting one catch for four yards. His Week 3 game may not impress you too much, as he had five catches on eight targets for 70 yards, but here’s why it should. He was targeted eight times in the game, just one of those was while Matt Cassel was in, and it was an eight-yard reception. So, with Bridgewater in he was targeted seven times for four catches and 62-yards. While that shouldn’t blow anyone away, it was against a pretty tough Saints defense. This week, Bridgewater should have more time to operate against the Falcons, and will rely heavily on his veteran wide receiver. Jennings can develop into a nice safety blanket, which will gain him a lot of targets going forward.
Jace Amaro (New York Jets, Tight End) – The big-bodied tight end is coming off his best game as a pro football player. On Monday night against the Bears, he caught three passes for 54 yards, granted one was a 43-yard catch, but both were career highs. At 6’5” many thought the athletic tight end would be a difference maker for the Jets right off the bat, but his hands, which appear to be made out of some sort of stone, have held him back. Tight ends have had success against the Lions, as Larry Donnell (5 rec, 56 yards, 1 TD) and Greg Olsen (6 rec, 72 yards) each led their team in receiving against them. Amaro could be in for a nice day, especially if Eric Decker sits, and if so, he could work his way onto Fantasy radars given the right matchup.
Falcons DST – The Falcons completely embarrassed the Bucs on Thursday Night Football last week. They forced five fumbles, recovering four of them, recorded three sacks, an interception that was taken back for a touchdown, oh, and Devin Hester returned a punt for a touchdown. Altogether, the Falcons were hovering around 30 Fantasy points last week, depending on your league scoring. Before that, they were not even remotely relevant, struggling against the Saints and Bengals, but perhaps those were just products of tough match ups. I’m not saying the Falcons are going to be an elite defense, or even a must own, but with another favorable matchup against the AP-less Vikings, and then against the turnover prone Giants, they are certainly worth monitoring. It also never hurts having the best return man fielding kicks.
Who to scout tonight?
Roy Helu (Washington Redskins, Running Back) – Out of 78 offensive snaps ran by the Redskins in Week 3, Helu was on the field for 25 of them, roughly a third of the time. The interesting part? He had one carry, which went for a one yard touchdown. Sorry, Alfred Morris owners. He also had a catch that he took for 55-yards. It is a well-known fact that Morris cannot catch the ball, which leads to Helu finding more time on the field, as he is the passing down back. It will be interesting to see how often Kirk Cousins targets him, and if he continues to see carries on the goal line (don’t think he will) he can certainly work his way into the discussion as a flex option, particularly in deep leagues. Even if he doesn’t get those goal line carries, if he develops into a check down option for Cousins, he can be relevant in PPR formats.
Andre Williams (New York Giants, Running Back) Williams, a popular breakout pick in the offseason, has had 19 attempts for 39 yards, good for 2.1 yards per carry. If you are new to Fantasy, that isn’t good. However, with Rashaad Jennings coming off a brilliant game in which he saw 34-carries, the Giants may limit his workload on the short week. If they do, Williams could receive a career high number of touches, (currently 10) and could start to work his way into the rotation more often. Last week he played 16 snaps, roughly 23 percent of them, compared to Jennings’ 56 snaps (76 percent). Williams will not be able to steal Jennings’ job at this point, but he could work his way into upward of 30 percent of the snaps, and double-digit touches if he has a strong game tonight against a depleted Redskins defense, who are surprisingly allowing the third fewest rushing yards per game, at 64.
If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them my way on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.