Essig's Week 4 Post-Waiver Savvy Swoops
It sounds like D'Andre Swift is going to be held out through the team's Week 6 bye with a shoulder sprain. A multi-week absence means you should be targeting the Detroit backfield. Obviously, Jamaal Williams is a top add, but he's likely not available.
Craig Reynolds is the backup in Detroit, and had six carries on Sunday. In Reynolds first game of 2021, he had 11 carries for 83 yards. In his first start of 2021, Reynolds had 26 carries for 112 yards. Despite starting 11 games, Jamaal Williams never received 20 carries in 2021. Reynolds has stash appeal.
I have Gus Edwards stashed on my IR slot, because I believe he will be the best RB on Baltimore this year. No disrespect to J.K. Dobbins, but he's coming off a ACL, LCL, meniscus and hamstring tear. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Dobbins is in "good shape" after his season debut in Week 3. I'm not convinced.
Dobbins rushed seven times for 23 yards, adding two receptions for 17 additional yards. That stat-line, albeit a miniscule sample size, doesn't sound promising.
Meanwhile, Justice Hill rushed six times for 60 yards, and out-snapped Dobbins 29 to 26 in Week 3. Plodding journeyman Mike Davis didn't receive a touch, and Kenyan Drake was a healthy scratch.
If I'm looking for a lottery pick at RB, I'm targeting backups of a starter who has a history of leg injuries. That means I'm stashing Hill, and adding Edwards to my IR.
Speaking of targeting backups of a starter who has a history of leg injuries, Jeff Wilson Jr. lost a fumble late in the 4th quarter on Sunday Night Football and cost the 49ers a chance at winning the game. He had back-to-back solid starts, topping 100 total yards both times. But again, I am advocating for undrafted rookie Jordan Mason.
Wilson likely starts again next week, but does he get his carries scaled back after a costly fumble on primetime? Not to mention, Wilson has a litany of leg injuries throughout his career. Mason is worth an end-of-bench stash. Marlon Mack played zero snaps and likely is not worth an add, but in the deepest of leagues, why not add Mack as well?
Tyron Davis-Price had 14 carries before getting injured in Week 2. Someone besides Wilson and Deebo Samuel will get carries in San Francisco. I'm stashing TDP if I have two IR spots, keeping Mason on my bench in 12 team leagues, and adding Mack in 14 team leagues, or 12 team leagues with deep benches.
Dalvin Cook has a dislocated shoulder and was ruled out in the 3rd quarter of Week 3. While he's listed day-to-day, he tore his labrum and dislocated his shoulder in 2021, and had a shoulder injury in 2019 as well. His re-injury risk is extremely high, and will likely need surgery at some point. We know Alexander Mattison likely isn't available, but rookie Ty Chandler probably is.
Chandler had a helluva preseason, (seriously, check out his highlights), played well in every preseason game, and survived final cuts to make the roster. According to my rookie model, Chandler was the #2 rookie RB prospect that weighed at least 217 lbs. He looked explosive, and is in line for carries.
If Minnesota keeps losing, Mattison, a rumored trade candidate in the preseason, and in the last year of his contract with the Vikings, could find himself starting on another team by November. Meanwhile, with Cook's shoulder history, Cook could get shut down.
That makes Chandler an extremely smart and forward-thinking add. Chandler is what savvy swoops are all about.
Prayers up to Sterling Shepard, who just tore his ACL. He is the only WR in Reception Perception history to beat at least 70% of man coverage in a season, and never top 1,000 yards receiving. He's had terrible luck with injuries, and is perpetually one of the most underrated receivers in football. That might've been his last game, and the when question may become a what if question.
Unfortunately, we have a short attention span in fantasy football, so we do have to consider who's up next. Will Kadarius Toney leave the doghouse? First, he needs to stay healthy. Can Wan'Dale Robinson become the #1 in Big Blue? Both of these receivers need to get healthy. Toney is the most talented of the group, the current Giants staff didn't draft him, he was reportedly on the trading block in the offseason, and Robinson played ahead of Toney in Week 1. The current leading Giants receiver is Richie James, and David Sills is the #2 and was one of my recommend savvy swoops last week.
So, which Giants WR am I adding this week? ALL OF THEM! (Except for Kenny Golladay.) My order: Robinson, Toney, James, Sills. But I'm stashing all of them if I have bench space, in hopes someone breaks out and becomes the #1.
Panthers #3 WR Shi Smith saw his snap share decrease from 77% and 71% in Week 1 and 2, to 36% in Week 3. That's because we saw the debut of Laviska Shenault, who did not disappoint. Shenault caught both of his targets for 90 yards, including a 67-yard TD. Coming to Carolina in a late August preseason trade, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said Shenault was granted a couple of weeks to catch up on the playbook. Week 1 hero Robbie Anderson has since fallen off a cliff. After his 102 yard game in Week 1, Anderson has just 46 yards in his two combined games since. D.J. Moore has had exactly six targets in each game, but just 7 catches for 88 yards total this season. Shenault is the Panthers best WR after the catch, and with just an 18% snap share in Week 3, he's definitely trending up. It would not surprise me to see Shenault supplant Anderson as the #2 in Carolina. And if Christian McCaffrey gets injured, he could receive carries from the backfield, as he did in college. Shenault is worth an add.
I understand the willingness to avoid any Bears pass catchers. They throw it about as often as the 1940s Bears before Sid Luckman. But with David Montgomery likely out in Week 4, as good as Khalil Herbert was in Week 3, the Bears will likely run it at least 1% less. Equanimeous St. Brown has been the Bears most efficient receiver, and is second on the team in WR snaps. Byron Pringle was just placed in IR, but he wasn't playing more than a third of the team's snaps anyhow. While I don't expect this offense to turn into the 99 Rams anytime soon, I also don't expect this pass offense to be this bad all season. And the breakout pick in Chicago is EQSB.
Jalen Tolbert does exist! The summer projection to become the #2 in Dallas, Tolbert was a healthy scratch in the first two weeks, before playing 36% of snaps in Week 3. Michael Gallup is on the horizon to rejoin the team, and Noah Brown likely isn't going anywhere, but Tolbert's role is growing. He's worth an add.
Falcons #3 and #4 WRs Bryan Edwards and KhaDarel Hodge were healthy inactives in Week 3, which meant a season-high snap share for #2 Olamide Zaccheaus (and that buy-low window for Kyle Pitts is closing quickly). Zaccheaus only caught both of his targets for 49 yards, so he's not in flex territory yet, but he's definitely a strong stash. (Oh, and with only two WRs active, that also means more Cordarrelle Patterson at receiver, which likely means more Tyler Allgeier usage at RB in the near future.)
And that's it! If you have any start/sit or waiver questions, hit me up on Twitter @IanLeeEssig