I’m running a little late on getting this out tonight. I thought it was for a good cause. I thought with the trade deadline being today, I’d wait till everything was official and then give you the pinpoint scoop on everything that just happened. I wanted to be able to tell you Rashaad Penny was about to bust out in his new home. I wanted to tell you OJ Howard was free and about to become Gronk in New England. Then the trade deadline came… and it went… and nothing happened. At all. Aquib Talib went to Miami, and a grand total of zero other moves happened. Not one offensive player switched teams. Ha. Certainly, a letdown compared to the excitement the NBA and even MLB have grown accustomed to providing on their respective deadline dates. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, NFL trade deadlines never deliver that level of hype, but this one fell exceptionally flat, unfortunately. That’s alright though, the season continues and we still have plenty of guys to talk about, so without further delay…
The Running Backs:
Jaylen Samuels, Steelers (22%) – The true value of Samuels is dependent on the health of James Conner, which we probably won’t have a definitive answer on before waivers are awarded, but he’s worth a look either way. All accounts point to Conner’s shoulder injury being minor, meaning Samuels probably won’t be a league-winning home run pickup here (at least based on this particular injury), but this isn’t Conner’s first injury scare and may not be his last.
We know Samuels is capable of carrying on his own because we talked about his 17.9 ppg average without Conner, Conner’s first injury scare early this year. He’s also capable of producing with Conner in the lineup, as seen in Week 4 against Cincinnati before Samuel went down with his knee injury.
Mark Walton, Dolphins (34%) – This is Walton’s 3rd consecutive appearance here, and while I like to try and bring fresh guys in and mention the repeats in the Notable section, RB is just so thin that’s there’s nobody else worth talking about. As speculated here last week, the Kenyon Drake trade did happen, seeing him moved to Arizona. That means the lead back role in Miami is Walton’s, just like we thought. Ballage may keep seeing some goal-line work, but the majority of the snaps should be Walton for the remained of the year.
While he hasn’t done much damage with his touches so far, he has seen 14+ touches in his last 2 weeks and 6 targets in 2 of his last 3. The Dolphins have a meeting with the Jets this week and play the Browns in Week 12. Those games should be able to give you a gauge on whether or not Walton will be able to exploit the easiest stretch the Dolphins have all year… Weeks 14, 15, and 16 aka the fantasy playoffs, where they’ll get Jets, Giants, and the #32 ranked run defense the Bengals.
Derrius Guice, Redskins (29%) – Sometimes taken pretty high in drafts, Guice saw another fantasy season pretty much come to an end in Week 1 when he suffered another knee injury. Or, so we all thought. Expected to be out till Week 14 if not the entire season, Guice was mostly written off in fantasy circles. Once everyone saw how bad Washington was, he was completely written off. But as we commonly see these days, guys are beating these expected timetables and getting back on the field sooner than ever.
Guice wasn’t about to let that not be him, returning to practice yesterday, and putting himself on track for a Week 11 return. We all know Washington isn’t great, but they’ve kept themselves respectable, and they don’t face a lot of tough run defenses down the stretch. Guice may be eased back in, but it’s worth noting that Adrian Peterson was a healthy scratch in Week 1 with Guice healthy. Guice is a 1st round talent RB, who can catch the ball. If can stay healthy, he could make some real noise at the end of the season.
The Wide Receivers:
Chris Conley, Jaguars (4%) – Conley started the year making this list a few times, alongside his teammate DJ Chark. I always said, given the choice, give me Clark every time because of the upside and that has turned out well. Conley fell off the radar a bit as Gardner Minshew and Dede Westbrook finally found some chemistry, and Chark emerged as elite (he currently leads the AFC in receiving yards).
So why is he back on the list? Well, with Westbrook coming into the game banged up (shoulder), he didn’t last long. Conley re-emerged, catching 4 of 7 targets for 103 yards and a TD. It sounds like Westbrook may sit out the Jags prime matchup with the Texans questionable pass defense in Week 9, and maybe even more than that. If that’s the case, fire up Conley.
Danny Amendola, Lions (10%) – Amendola busted out of the gates with a huge Week 1 (7/104/1) but completely dropped off the radar after that. That is, until 2 weeks ago when he popped back up. He didn’t get a write-up, because 1 game anomalies don’t get you anything here unless the guy in front of you goes down with injury, which wasn’t the case. Kenny G and Marvin Jones are both alive and doing quite well, but the Texas Tech alumni has now balled out for 2 consecutive weeks alongside them
Danny’s brought in at least 8 balls for an average of 100 yards per game in the Lions last 2 games. With Kerryon Johnson out for the year they don’t have much of an option other than to unleash Matt Stafford and let him throw the rock all over the yard all game long. It’s working, and Amendola has a chance to hold legitimate value, especially in PPR leagues.
Notable: I’ll probably list these guys every week all season, and they’ll still stay under the 50% threshold just because of who they play for, but DeVante Parker (27%) and Preston Williams (13%) should be on teams. I sound like a broken record at this point, but the Dolphins are likely to be playing from behind at some point in any of their games, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is gonna be throwing it. “Fitzmagic” is a thing for a reason, the guy can throw and he put up big stats. He just doesn’t win a lot, but that’s of no concern here. Diontae Johnson (12%) has been mentioned a few times before now, too. While he had a quiet few weeks there, after his 5/84/1 effort last night, he’s averaging about 5 for 70 while scoring in each of the 3 games Mason Rudolph has been in there full time. Also, another guy I’ve mentioned multiple times, Cole Beasley (24%)is STILL averaging double-digit points per game in PPR scoring and has scored a TD in his last 2 games.
The Tight Ends:
Darren Fells, Texans (21%) – In a position that’s been so hard to nail down consistency this year, Darren Fells isn’t exactly the guy you would have expected to be reading about, but here we are. While 4 good games out of 8 isn’t exactly a model of consistency, 3 of them coming in his last 4 games is more what we’re looking for. Over those 4 he’s averaging about 4/45/1. That’s money. Two of those games have seen him score twice, and two have seen him catch 6 balls. With all the attention Nuk brings, everywhere, but especially in the Redzone, Fells has become Watson’s go-to target down there… and they’re getting there often.
Jonnu Smith, Titans (20%) – This is dependent on Delanie Walker’s health, but if he misses more time, Smith has shown some nice ability in his absence. He’s combined for 9 catches, 142 yards, and a TD in the 2 games that Walker has been down, and looked good doing it. It’s not enough to earn him standalone value in that offense going forward once Walker is back, but Walker has been injury-plagued the last few years, so he’s somebody to keep an eye on the rest of the year even if Walker does return this week.
Notable: I’ve been talking about Dallas Goedert since the very beginning, and I’m gonna keep talking about him because despite outplaying Zach Ertz in their last 3 games, he’s still only 20% owned. I think you have to look at this as a TE timeshare at the very least at this point. It remains to be seen whether or not Desean Jackson’s return will hurt or help his cause, because on one hand it could take him off the field in a lot of sets, and on the other, it would open the field up for him even more if they’re out there together. I still think he needs to be owned at this point though, at such a thin position, he’s earned it these last few weeks. One more guy to mention, OJ Howard (44%) is now below the 50% threshold for the first time. I know, I know. He hasn’t done shit, and can’t, cause they won’t throw him the ball. Call me crazy, but if you’re desperate at this position, why not take the flyer? With the Bucs refusing to trade him today, they may open him up a little these next few weeks. They’ll face Seattle and Arizona, who rank 30 and 32 in defending TEs. You’re probably already aware of how bad Arizona is at defending the spot. If there was ever gonna be an OJ Howard game, it’ll be Week 10. Tampa would be crazy not to exploit that matchup. If they don’t, drop him and never look back.
Good luck in Week 9.