Week 3 Waiver Report

Updated: September 19th 2017

Each week we will recommend a group of players that are owned in less than 50% of RSO league that should be rostered. Depending on roster and league sizes not all of these players may be available. For that, we will offer 1 player that is owned in <10% of leagues as our Sleeper add.

Add of the Week

Rashard Higgins, WR – CLE (owned 10%)

Week 2: 7 Rec/95 yards, 1 Car/4 yards

The Browns had a rough go on Sunday against the Ravens. However, Rashard Higgins had a surprisingly good game (7-95-0) in a game in which two different QBs (Keizer and Hogan) were in the game. While it may have been just a young player taking advantage of some playing time in a one-sided game there are serious reasons for this to be the beginning of an under the radar season. Corey Coleman, Cleveland’s first-round pick from 2016, has broken his hand again and could be out 6-8 weeks while Kenny Britt has fallen on bad terms with head coach Hugh Jackson. This opens the door for Higgins to be the primary target on and an offense that projects to be down in more games than up this season. Depending on how deep your rookie drafts are this player may still be lingering at the bottom of some team’s rosters. He’s worth kicking the tires on for a trade if he can be at least a WR4 the rest of the season.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000 – $5,000,000

QB Replacement

Trevor Siemian, QB – DEN (owned 41%)

Week 2: 22 for 32 Comp, 231 Passing, 4TD, 1 INT, 5 Car/14 yards

Through two weeks Trevor Siemian is the QB2 in fantasy (written before Monday night’s game results) yet is one of the least owned QBs that has a starting role. While he might not hold the consistency of a Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers you definitely can do worse over the next 14 weeks. Denver seems more comfortable letting Siemian open up the offense this year compared to 2016 and with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders as options outside he has plenty of talent to work with. There should be a consistent floor of 200 yards and a touchdown (12 points) each week. Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, and Kirk Cousins’ owners should be looking to add Siemian as a comfortable substitute.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000 – $3,000,000 ($7,000,000 in Superflex)

RB Stash

Tyler Ervin, RB – HOU (owned 13%)

Week 2: 3 Car/8 yards, 4 Rec/18 yards

RotoViz loved the metrics of Tyler Ervin coming out of college last season. His pass-catching ability, as well as his size, made him comparable to Danny Woodhead on Player Profiler. Unfortunately, he was also behind Lamar Miller who is himself a decent pass catching back and being paid too much to be put on the bench. Recently, however, Ervin has been playing more out of the slot as a receiver and with all the injuries to the receiving and tight end groups, he’s likely to see more playing time due to necessity. At this point, he would only be a stash candidate in deeper leagues but if you are already feeling the pressure from your RBs production and were unable to secure Cohen or Allen last week Ervin could be a poor man’s Ty Montgomery from a year ago.

Suggested Bid: $500,000 – $1,000,000

WR Replacements

Paul Richardson, WR – SEA (owned 38%) 2 Rec/19 yards, 1 TD

While Cincinnati’s offense has been the joke of NFL fans the first two weeks for not scoring a touchdown, Seattle’s offense hasn’t looked much better scoring their first touchdown late in the 4th quarter of week two’s game against San Francisco. That touchdown came from former 2nd round pick Paul Richardson who was labeled a sleeper WR to add during the offseason. Despite this, his ownership still hovers around 38%. He’s averaged 10PPR points/game and 12 targets over the first two weeks showing that he can be a downfield threat and red zone option for Russell Wilson. If the offense can turn things around and start scoring more than 10 points a game there is a chance that Richardson becomes a flexible WR.

Suggested Bid: $500,000 – $1,500,000

Terrance Williams, WR – DAL (owned 24%) 4 Rec/17 yards

Yikes, nobody expected the Cowboys to be dominated on both sides of the ball like they were against the Broncos last week. At least one silver lining is that the NFL lost their appeal for an Ezekiel Elliot stay so the team should be able to refocus their offensive game plan knowing they will have him for the remainder of the season. This means that defenses will have to keep contain on Zeke and Dak Prescott while double teaming Dez Bryant, opening up one-on-one matchups for Terrance Williams. While his touchdown upside is limited with Dez, Zeke, and Jason Witten in the lineup he still receives his share of the targets each week. He’s an ideal option to have on your bench during the midseason when bye weeks become a lineup killer.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

TE Stash

Benjamin Watson, TE – BAL (owned 5%)

Week 2: 8 Rec/91 yards

The Ravens haven’t been in very competitive games these first two weeks which has reduced their number of pass attempts (51) to the bottom of the league. Still, Watson had 8 receptions vs. the Browns and almost 20 PPR points last week. Dennis Pita received over 120 targets last season and while Jeremy Maclin has been a nice addition Flacco has a history of feeding his TEs, when healthy. Watson has also shown that he can handle a large number of targets from his time in New Orleans. For those who lost Greg Olsen this week, Watson could be a worthwhile replacement.

Suggested Bid: $500,000 – $1,500,000

Sleeper Add (<10%)

Deonte Thompson (owned 2%)

Week 2: 4 Rec/57 yards, 1 TD

The Bears looked more like the team that experts thought they would be in week 2 being shutout till the final moments of the 4th quarter. With injuries piling up at the WR position and likely a QB switch at some point it could be a long season for Da Bears. It is hard to tell how much of Deonte Thompson’s week 2 production came due to a blowout but some needs to catch the ball and he could be the next man up. Thompson has a strong speed adjusted score (92nd percentile) and showed some potential in the Bears’ preseason game against the Broncos earlier this year. With Kendall Wright and Josh Bellamy dropping several passes last week Thompson could be a volume add, similar to Jermaine Kearse last week.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

Value Town: TEs

Updated: June 10th 2016

Most people like a deal. Receiving good value for that new phone, TV, car, or any other item allows us to put our hard earned resources into other things we value.  Obtaining good values on players in Reality Sports Online (RSO) leagues is a must when putting together a winning team.  The Value Town series examines the good and bad buys from the 2015 season in RSO leagues plus the overall state of positional groups in an attempt to get owners ready for the upcoming 2016 season.

This article examines the tight end position group from 2015. You can find more information on methodology, assumptions, and definition of terms in the first article of the series here.

State of the Tight End Position

The tight end position remains simultaneously one of the most consistent and fluid positions. The elite of the position has not changed as Rob Gronkowski finished as the overall TE1 once again, the fifth straight season in which either Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham has finished as the top tight end.  Greg Olsen continues providing solid value finishing as a mid range TE1 for the fourth consecutive season.  Several young talented young players joined the TE1 ranks including Jordan Reed, Tyler Eifert, and Zach Ertz.  Reed led all tight ends in fantasy points per game while Eifert dominated the red zone topping the position with 13 touchdowns in only 13 games.  The “old” players proved the NFL is not just a young man’s game as six players in their 30s finished in the top 12.

Tight End Values

The Good

Gary Barnidge –  Average Salary: $0.5M, Approximate Value: $23M

Barnidge wins the “Best Value” award for any player in 2015 with a top four finish at the position from a guy who was likely claimed off waivers in your league. His 79 reception/1,043 yard/9 touchdown performance was one of the few bright spots on a Cleveland team that went through multiple quarterbacks and struggled on offense all year.  The 30 year old also takes my “Where did that come from?” award with a season that accumulated more receptions, yards, and touchdowns than his previous eight seasons combined in the league.  Barnidge was rewarded for his impressive year with a three year, $12 million contract in the offseason.  He provides one of the few veteran presences on a team who just drafted four receivers.

Jordan Reed –  Average Salary: $1.2M, Approximate Value: $31M

We were finally able to see what a (mostly) healthy Reed could do in 2015 as he broke out with an impressive 87 reception/952 yard/11 touchdown season in fourteen games. The often injured star has played only 34 games in his three year career suffering through a variety of injuries including multiple concussions.  His hands, athleticism, and fluidity as a receiver make him a matchup nightmare when on the field though, resulting in an incredible 0.76 reception to target ratio throughout his career.  The Washington tight end was also rewarded with a contract extension in the offseason and should remain as the focal point of the emerging offense.

Ben Watson –  Average Salary: $0.6M, Approximate Value: $11M

Another veteran who made his presence felt is the well traveled Ben Watson. The thirteen year veteran took full advantage of the high powered New Orleans offense on the way to his best statistical season in the NFL.  His season was highlighted by a 9 reception, 147 yard performance against the Giants.  The 35 year old takes his talents to a crowded Baltimore depth chart in 2016.

The Bad

Jimmy Graham –  Average Salary: $13.8M, Approximate Value: $5M

The Saints traded Jimmy Graham to Seattle prior to the 2015 season in one of the biggest moves of the year.   Events did not quite go as expected by many with Graham producing as only a low level starting option for fantasy teams while he was in the lineup.  The Seahawks certainly utilized their new tight end, probably more than many realized.  His 74 targets in only 11 games was second on the team for the entire 2015 season and easily eclipsed Seattle’s tight end targets from all of 2014.  The one area in which Graham truly disappointed fantasy owners was in the touchdown department of which he managed only two on the season.

Graham suffered a patellar tear in week 12 ending his season. His prospects for the 2016 season are somewhat in doubt.  Seattle is hopeful he will be ready for week 1 this season but he could easily be placed on the PUP list for the first six weeks of the year.  We simply do not have many examples of players with this type of injury and fewer yet who have made a full recovery (You can read more about his road to recovery here).

Jordan Cameron –  Average Salary: $3.3M, Approximate Value: Not Worth a Roster Spot

Many people were excited at the prospects of Cameron moving to Miami last season. The former Brown was expected to be an integral part of the offense going forward.  Cameron proved to be a disappointment. He was targeted more than seven times per game over the first five weeks but only managed an abysmal 5.5 yards per target over that span.  The Dolphins eventually decreased Cameron’s role and he did not eclipse 35 yards or 5 targets in any game for the rest of the season.

Looking Forward

Greg Olsen continues as a rock at tight end and Gronkowski is simply one of the best to have ever played at the position (although with his own substantial injury history). However, there are more questions than answers going forward which is not unusual for the tight end position.  Will the likes of Barnidge, Walker, and Watson build upon career years in their 30s?  Will young and talented, but often injured, stars such as Reed and Eifert stay healthy for an entire season (I write this as Eifert recently had ankle surgery)?

The position remains as fluid as ever. I could make legitimate arguments for why a large number of tight ends including Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Ladarius Green, Eric Ebron, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins could join the starting fantasy tight end ranks in 2016.  Fortunately, the tight end position is a good place to take multiple cheap gambles in RSO leagues.  Only five tight ends averaged over $5 million in RSO auctions for the 2015 season with the 6th through 20th ranked salaries averaging about $2.5 million.   This allows for a lot of value upside at the position and not much downside with the cheap salaries.

Bio: Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

Cap Analysis: Saints

Updated: March 1st 2016

New Orleans Saints

Trending: Flat →

A lot of the Saints players, coaches, and personnel department have turned over during the last two or three years, but Drew Brees, Sean Peyton, Mickey Loomis remain constant. There’s been an ugly intrafamily ownership battle taking place for the last year, but last week judges determined owner Tom Benson to be competent, allowing him to keep control of the Saints and Pelicans. It seems unlikely that the Saints would be able to unseat the Panthers at the top of the division in 2016, and more likely that the Bucs or Falcons could end up as surprise contenders.

Projected 2016 Team Salary$148.9M (not including escalators and NLTBE* incentives) *Not Likely To Be Earned

Projected 2016 Cap Room: ~$7.77M (~$155.27M Estimate; ~$1.4M Rollover)

Situation: Weak 

The Saints have very little cap space, thanks in large part to a monster $30M cap figure for Drew Brees. That could change if Brees, 37, and the Saints agree on some sort of a new “lifetime” contract.

Some of the space they have was created by the release of Jahri Evans. The Saints will probably create some more space a day or two before Free Agency with the release of additional veterans.

Notable Free Agents:

Saints FAs

The Saints released Jahri Evans after 10 seasons, 153 starts, and $51.8M – which is among the all-time leading hauls for a guard.

A brief tangent as I poor out a little Gatorade and wonder “What could have been?” for Ben Watson’s career (see similar paragraph on Josh McCown’s story). Watson is an athletic freak, owner of one of my favorite plays of all time, and a smart dude (he started his career at Duke and recently wrote a book on race relations in the U.S.). He’s also had an interesting career: Watson transferred to Georgia, which made him a 24-year old rookie after the Patriots selected him in first round in 2004. He spent all but one game of his rookie season on injured reserve (but got a super bowl ring as consolation). Watson had 441 receiving yards in 15 games in 2005 and 643 receiving yards in 13 games in 2006 while splitting time with Daniel Graham, whom the Patriots had drafted in the first round just two years earlier than Watson. In 2007 the Moss/Welker madness began, and it didn’t stop until after the 2009 season. Even though Watson only started in just over half of the games from 2005-2009, he was the Patriots leading tight end in each of those seasons. In 2010, at age 30, he joined the Browns just in time for the Colt McCoy era – he led the Browns in receiving posting 68 receptions, 763 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns. In 2011, Watson suffered 3 concussions, but still managed 37 catches and 410 yards in 11 starts. In 2012 he tallied 49 receptions and 504 yards with Brandon Weeden. In 2013, he joined the Saints, and played behind Jimmy Graham (who in 2013 had one of greatest seasons of any tight end, ever) for two years. Then, finally, in 2015, at age 35, Watson was back in the mix as one of the primary options for a great quarterback – and he promptly posted his best season as a pro – 74 receptions, 825 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns. How can you not wonder what could have been for Watson if his career had a different arc?

Top Projected Cap Hits:

Saints Top Cap Hits

This list won’t contain Brandon Browner when the season starts, and it might not have Marques Colston on it either. **Editor’s Note: Marques Colston was indeed released on Monday February 29th. 

Any one player taking up nearly 20% of your salary cap in a sport that requires 53 active roster players is not a good thing (maybe I would concede on J.J. Watt if you really wanted to argue). Drew Brees is still a great quarterback, but his $30M cap charge is the highest in the league, and he’s not the best player in the NFL. More on this later…

Cap Casualty Watch List:

Saints Cap Cas

I expect the Saints to release everyone on this list.

As mentioned (and linked to) above, the Saints are reportedly planning to release Brandown Browner and Marques Colston on March 9. Browner had a dreadful year. Even though they’ll pay him his $2.75M base salary regardless, and even though his release will bring a $5.35M charge to the Saints 2016 cap, they’re going to do it anyway to avoid up to $2.25M in roster bonuses.

Colston had the worst year of his career, and he will be 33 in June. Still, there’s a chance he could be back on a reduced contract.

Extension Watch List: 

Saints Ext Watch List

The Saints will likely exercise Kenny Vaccaro’s fifth year option, pushing his expected free agency to March, 2018.

The Saints need to extend the rest of the players on this, and they need to do it in 2016. They traded Jimmy Graham and a fourth round pick for Max Unger and a first round pick. I assume they would like to keep Unger through 2020 or so. Unger has the seventh highest APY$ among centers at $6.5M, but could be due for a raise if he’s allowed to reach free agency.

Sean Payton said he wouldn’t trade Terron “4.7 forty” Armstead for any left tackle in the league, which might be hyperbole, though I tend to believe him. The Saints consider Armstead a key building block for the future. Armstead, a third round pick will make approximately $1.7M in base salary in 2016 from hitting escalator provisions in his rookie contract, but will be among the lowest paid starting left tackles in the league in 2016.

The Saints will have a hard time extending Unger, Vaccaro, Armstead, or Jenkins without first creating cap space with a Drew Brees extension. Brees is a few years older than Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Tony Romo, but compares favorably to each when examining their passing stats. If Brees stays healthy in 2016, he will have multiple suitors in free agency in 2017, even at age 38. He could very well sign a “team-friendly” contract in the $17-$18M range, but his cap figure gives him leverage, especially if the team isn’t willing to release him, so it’s more likely his next contract – likely his last – will be for $20-$21M per year.

Position Needs: 

Linebacker, Offensive Line, Corner, Wide Receiver, Tight End.

Sleeper Watch: 

It’s going to be hard for him to get any meaningful touches with the dollars the team has invested in Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but I would really like to see Vick Ballard be in consideration for comeback player of the year.

Matt Papson (@RealitySportsMP) formerly worked in football administration for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is the President, co-founder and creator of Reality Sports Online, a fantasy front office platform that enables fantasy owners to build and manage their fantasy team like a professional sports general manager. The Reality Sports Online platform has been featured in Fortune, on Bloomberg TV, and was the 2012 Fantasy Sports Trade Association Rookie of the Year.

Sources: Spotrac, Pro-Football Reference, and Rotoworld

More Analysis by Matt Papson