Punch Drunk Wonderland

Week 3 Waiver Wire Targets

Week 3’s Waiver Wire Targets are courtesy of our friends at numberFire.

Sell or Drop Tyrod Taylor

I’m not a fan of “but if you take away his big plays, he wasn’t very good” analysis, because some players are good at creating big plays. Take Adrian Peterson‘s career as an example.

With Tyrod Taylor, though, we can’t ignore his journey to fantasy points. Because generating production through big plays means variance, and variance means unpredictability. That’s not what we want from our fantasy starters.

In Week 2, Taylor had a nice end-of-game stat line: 18 of 30 for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns.

He also went threw for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 3 passes. Meaning, his non-scoring throws saw him with a 55.56% completion percentage and 124 passing yards.

It’s true that I loved Taylor coming into the year as a high-upside, late-round quarterback option, but that came with plenty of caveats. The most important one being that he needed to be a more consistent passer — last year, despite finishing in the top 10 within our per-pass Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, Taylor ranked 22nd in Success Rate. In other words, he was really efficient, but because his passing Success Rate — or the percentage of positive throws made by a quarterback — was so low, it was clear that he was stabilizing that high efficiency with big plays.

So far this season, Taylor has a 37.07% Success Rate, which is second-worst among relevant quarterbacks. The only passer who ranks worse is Case Keenum.

And not only are those big plays tough to predict, but they’re also even more difficult to come by when a star wide receiver like Sammy Watkins isn’t 100% healthy.

Considering Taylor plays a position that’s entirely replaceable in most fantasy football formats, he’s fine to sell off the big performance, or even dump completely. It doesn’t help that he’s got the Cardinals, Patriots, and Rams defenses upcoming, either.

And, look, if you’re screaming at your computer because “my league isn’t a normal league,” then keep him around. Just understand it’s more than likely going to be a roller coaster based on what we’ve seen these first two weeks.

Add Quincy Enunwa

If you watched the Thursday night game, you saw what I did: Quincy Enunwa with a heavy involvement within the Jets offense.

It’s real, guys. Enunwa’s presence is real.

So far this year, the team’s number-three wideout has been on the field for 75% of the team’s snaps, which includes when he missed part of Week 2’s action due to a rib injury. In turn, Enunwa has 14 targets, barely trailing teammates Brandon Marshall (17) and Eric Decker (15).

Given the Jets don’t have a reliable pass-catching tight end, there’s plenty of volume to go around in what looks to be an above-average offense. And that offense may need to throw the ball more than it did last year (626 drop backs, 16th-most in the NFL) given the secondary has gotten off to a slow start this year versus where they ranked last year (they ranked 7th against the pass according to our schedule-adjusted metrics in 2015).

No, he’s not taking over for Marshall or Decker without an injury to one of those guys, but Quincy Enunwa can serve as a flex throughout the season, making him a worthwhile guy to snag off the waiver wire.

Add Dwayne Washington

There were a ton of running back injuries in Week 2, which means fantasy owners are about to blow their free agent auction budget load on a bunch of backup running backs entering Week 3. Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker are two of them, as Jonathan Stewart is likely to miss time. And then there’s Jay Ajayi or Kenyan Drake, who should see more action with an injured Arian Foster (surprise, surprise).

But a low-key add this week is Dwayne Washington, a rookie playing for the Detroit Lions above the big-bodied Zach Zenner, who’s been inactive both games to start the year.

It looks like Ameer Abdullah has a foot sprain, which might sideline him. If that’s the case, Theo Riddick will clearly see a bigger role, but Riddick’s never been a big early-down guy. In fact, he had never topped seven attempts in an NFL game prior to this past weekend.

Enter Washington, who stands at 6’2”, 226 pounds. Washington already served as the goal line back this year, scoring next to the end zone in Week 1. With those duties going his way and the opening for more early-down work, he makes for an interesting snag off the waiver wire.

Sell Todd Gurley

Among the 49 backs with 10 or more carries so far this year, Todd Gurley‘s Success Rate (again, this is the percentage of positive plays — in this case, runs) ranks sixth-worst. And his Rushing NEP per rush — efficiency, measured by numberFire — ranks second-worst.

That’s frightening for a guy you probably selected early in your fantasy football drafts.

In this column last week, I mentioned that panicking early on in the season is fine because, well, sometimes situations don’t get any better. That is, after all, what drove a “sell Adrian Peterson” recommendation.

We’re in a similar situation here with Gurley. The offense is set up to be the worst one in football this year, and Gurley isn’t even the primary pass-catching back within it. As a result, he’s bound to play fewer snaps than someone in a superior role like David Johnson — Gurley hasn’t been a top-10 back in percentage of team snaps played so far through two weeks, despite being an easy top-10 back for many in fantasy football prior to the season.

And then you look at the schedule. Over the next two weeks, the Rams will face Tampa Bay and Arizona, two teams that can stop the run. He’ll then face the Bills and Lions, which may not cause many issues. But then — then — Gurley will take on the Giants and Panthers, two squads who could easily end up in the top 10 at stopping the rush by season’s end.

So not only has Gurley been worthless for fantasy owners thus far, but also four of his next six contests look tough. That’s a difficult thing to stomach if you have him rostered right now.

Buy Le’Veon Bell, Sell DeAngelo Williams

My goal with this recommendation isn’t to make you say, “duh.” Because it’s fairly obvious that having Le’Veon Bell on your squad is a good thing, let alone getting Bell in a trade just one week prior to his suspension being fully served.

But there are leagues with all sorts of people. Some of those people may think that, given the way DeAngelo Williams has run thus far, the Steelers won’t completely give the job back to Bell. But last season when Bell was healthy, he never saw fewer than 88% of the team’s snaps. And when D-Will took over, Williams never saw fewer than 89% of the team’s snaps.

We know the top running back spot in Pittsburgh is an attractive one. It’s one that has a ton of scoring opportunities, and it’s one that’s always on the field. A Bell owner may be winless so far and looking for a change, though, and serving up higher-end players for Bell can do the job. This is merely a reminder that Bell is about to come back from his suspension, and that Williams will become nothing more than a handcuff.

Add Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata

Adrian Peterson has a torn meniscus, and there are questions surrounding the length in which he’ll be out. One report says at least four weeks, while another says just two to three weeks.

Regardless, Peterson is going to miss time, which means Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata are going to get run.


Continue reading at numberFire.com… (@numberfire)


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