Working the Wire: Week 5

Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Strategy

By Kevin Payne

This column is geared toward “standard” 12-team leagues and based upon a $100 free-agent budget. Please, please adjust for your league based upon both the number of teams (I’m in a 24-team league, for example) and budget. This column is posted every Tuesday to, hopefully, accommodate the various waiver schedule. I’ll update it in the comments section during the week; please keep in mind a lot can change from Tuesday to Sunday.

Week 4 will be remembered as the youth movement at quarterback after three youngsters were profiled here last week. Mike Glennon led a comeback win with a touchdown pass in the final seconds, leaving many wondering why Josh McCown was under center to start the season. His touchdown throw to Vincent Jackson also provided some carnage for those still in their Survivor pools. Teddy Bridgewater looked like a veteran with his pocket presence and decision making against the Falcons. Hopefully, the ankle injury doesn’t keep him out this week. Lastly, Blake Bortles may not have been as successful as the other two but drew the toughest start of the three, on the road against San Diego.

QUARTERBACK

Primary Targets

Eli Manning, NYG – This is breaking a rule of this column as Eli is owned in more than 50 percent of leagues, available only in about a third of fantasy leagues. But the Giants look like a completely different team, and Eli looks like he finally has a good grasp of Ben McAdoo’s new offense. Victor Cruz looks like the fantasy stud who emerged in 2011, Reuben Randle continues to develop and Larry Donnell looks like a top-5 tight end. Outside of a Week 10 trip to Seattle, the schedule appears to be nicely set up, especially the games within the division. FAAB: $15-20

Hail Mary

Kyle Orton, BUF – Sunday’s debacle in Houston was enough for Doug Marrone to make the switch from EJ Manuel to Kyle Orton. The Bills must have some faith in Orton to abandon Manuel so early in his career, though his play has been suspect the last couple games. Orton has been holding the clipboard in Dallas the last couple seasons, and a look at his numbers years ago in Denver suggest he wasn’t too bad. Orton had a 7.3 YPA along with a 20:9 TD:INT ratio in 2010 and really hasn’t had the opportunity to play since. Realistically, though, Orton probably has the ceiling of no better than a league-average quarterback. He does have some good weapons at wide receiver with Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams and Robert Woods. Keep in mind that if Orton doesn’t produce, the Bills could go back to Manuel as soon as Week 5. FAAB: $1-2; $15-20 in 2-QB leagues

RUNNING BACK

Primary Targets

Jerick McKinnon, MIN – McKinnon has been talked about in the comments section here and finally had a breakout game Sunday. It’s a little mystifying why the Vikings have waited so long to use him with Matt Asiata the only other viable running back. McKinnon, the pride of Georgia State, had an impressive Combine (32 bench presses at 225, 4.37 40) that boosted his draft stock and got him on the Vikings’ radar. Learning a new playbook and pass protection could be what’s limited him until Sunday, though he did a great job picking up a blitz Sunday. McKinnon is a good receiver and appears to have worked himself into pretty even timeshare with Asiata. The only red flag here is playing with a 260-pound running back like Asiata will limit the amount of goal-line work McKinnon gets. On the positive side, there’s a good chance Adrian Peterson doesn’t play another snap this season. FAAB: $15-20

Secondary Targets

Darrin Reaves, CAR – Reaves is the last man standing in the Carolina backfield. An undrafted free agent out of UAB, Reaves had an unimpressive 12 carries for 26 yards against a stout Ravens defense. Reaves added three catches out of the backfield and was anointed by Ron Rivera as the starter, “by default.” Fozzy Whittaker could be back this week and steal some touches, but it appears that Reaves will be the main back for the Panthers this week. Chris Ogbonnaya was also signed Monday and could work himself into the mix once he gets caught up with the playbook. FAAB: $5-10

WIDE RECEIVERS

Primary Targets

Marvin Jones, CIN – Jones figues to be a little under the radar this week after missing the Bengals’ first three games. This week’s game against the Patriots (Oct. 5) has been the target date for Jones to return as he looks to build on last year’s breakout season. Jones had 10 touchdowns last season and had a stellar 8.9 yards per target. This week may not be the best time to use Jones until we see he’s completely healthy, but now is the time to stash him in case he has a big game and is a hot waiver commodity a week from now. FAAB: $6-12

Eddie Royal, SD –
There might not be a better team in the league than the Chargers, and Royal has been a big reason his last two games. Royal has four touchdowns over that span with 154 receiving yards as teams focused on slowing Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates. Philip Rivers has looked as good as any quarterback in the league, and the Chargers may choose to air it out if the running game struggles. Keep in mind that Royal has had some big games in the past only to disappear or get injured. FAAB: $5-10

Secondary Targets

Andre Holmes, OAK – Before running to get Holmes, make sure you have a spot for him on your bench with the Raiders on a bye this week. Holmes will probably still be sitting on the waiver wire next week, but if you want to be proactive, get him this week. Holmes carried some sleeper buzz in preseason and turned in a nice performance across the pond with five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Holmes has size at 6-foot-4, and with Rod Streater injured he should see plenty of snaps and targets (12 Sunday). FAAB: $4-8

Jarius Wright, MIN –
The switch to Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday worked out well for Wright, who posted a career day. As often happens, being backups at their respective positions likely means the two are familiar with playing together. It’s hard to get overly excited about Wright after watching him record only three catches over the first three games. However, if the chemistry is there between Wright and Teddy (who is dealing with an ankle injury), he might have some PPR value. FAAB: $3-6

TIGHT END

Secondary Targets

Eric Ebron, DET – Ebron scored his first touchdown of the season on a seam route against the Jets. Ebron should see some added targets and snaps as long as Joseph Fauria is out with an ankle injury. The 10th overall pick in this year’s draft, Ebron has a ton of upside given his athleticism. Look for his role in the offense to continue to grow as the this season. FAAB: $3-6

DEFENSE

Secondary Targets

Cleveland Browns – A few things are working in the Browns favor this week. First, they’re coming off a bye and have had two weeks to prepare for the Titans. The Titans will either have Charlie Whitehurst under center or Jake Locker, who won’t be 100 percent with a sprained wrist. The Browns have a solid defense led by Joe Haden that has five sacks, three interceptions, a pick-six and a fumble recovery in three games this season. FAAB: $3-6


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