Late Week Hustle - Week 5

The Late Week Hustle

by @dwainmcfarland

Fantasy football is a fluid game.  Yeah, your waiver wires have already ran for the week and you are probably settling in on your lineups, but things change. 

You have new information at your disposal such as drops your league mates made, unexpected late week injuries, and other news.  That is why each week I will be bringing you an update on Thursday or Friday to help you digest new info and make the adjustments you need to win on Sunday or better equip your team for the long run. 

In the content below you will see me refer to player utilization a ton.  Player utilization refers to the underlying drivers that must be there for consistent fantasy performance. 

  • Team plays tell us about coaching philosophy.  Up tempo play callers give us more of what we want in fantasy - volume. 
  • Snap percentages provide us our first indicator of player involvement.  Not on the field, welp you know rest of that equation ...
  • Routes Ran per Drop Back help us understand who coaches want on the field when the ball is in the air.  This is a very telling, yet often overlooked data point.
  • Target percentages are a well known stat at this point, but can be misleading if out of context.  We don't want to pick up a player with 20% of the targets last week when he was only on the field for 50% of the snaps and only ran routes 40% of the team drop backs.

It is ALL about context and these indicators when used together can paint a very telling picture that will help you dominate your opponents by pivoting away from bad choices to find the true gems.  So, let's dive in and start out hustling your league mates.

Late Week Injury News & Impact

Below is a run down of most skill position injury news we likely didn't have when league waiver wires ran.  If a player missed last week (like Jack Doyle) I likely will not cover them here. 

For each player I provide injury info as well as the potential downstream impacts to other players on the roster.

WR Davante Adams - Popped up on the injury report with a calf issue and practiced in a limited fashion on Friday.  

With Randall Cobb ruled out and Geronimo Allison also listed as questionable rookie Marquez Valdez-Scantling could be forced to play a larger role.  RB Ty Montgomery could also see a bump finding time lining at wide receiver due to all the rash of injuries.

WR Geronimo Allison - Has not been able to practice all week due to a concussion and is listed as questionable, but I would lean towards doubtful on this one.  

See Davante Adams above for impact.

WR Marvin Jones - Popped up on the injury report Friday as limited with an ankle issue.

If for some reason he can't go, both Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay could see a nice bump in targets against a soft Packers secondary.

WR Marquise Goodwin - Ruled out for week 5.

Pierre Garcon could see an increased target share with Dante Pettis also out.  Kittle and the running backs could see a little more work as well.

RB Giovani Bernard - Has an MCL strain and will be out a few weeks.

Joe Mixon is set to return and will probably have to carry more of the load than the Bengals wanted in the first game back.  If you are desperate Mark Walton will get some run as the two, but that is only if you are desperate.

RB Matt Brieda - Was limited all week with the same shoulder ailment that knocked him out of the preseason.  Breida seems to be always nicked up as he carried a questionable designation last week due to a knee issue.

Alfred Morris could have a much larger role tomorrow in a game the Niners are likely to lead versus the Cardinals.  He is not a bad RB 2 play or flex if he is on your bench or if he was dropped in your league after a bad week last week.

RB Lamar Miller - Limited in practice all week due to a chest injury.  Miller split a larger percentage of his work last week when the injury occurred.

Alfred Blue is the clear hand-cuff to Miller right now and will be a low end RB2 or flex play should Miller not be able to go.  This is a Sunday night tilt, so if you are depending on Miller make sure you have pivot options in that game or Monday.

Waiver Wire - Looking Ahead

First of all, if you haven't read Jim Day's weekly waiver wire article please do so here.  Each week in this space I will focus on a few areas:

  • One or two under the radar waiver options I am being proactive on
  • Players on the mend I am being proactive about now
  • Players I am monitoring in week 4
  • Second opinions on any players from Jim's list I may view differently

I may or may not have recommendations every week for each category.  

One word of advice before we dive in on these - only you know your league.  If you are in a smaller league some of these guys may not be viable for you.  If you are in crazy deep leagues (like most of mine) many of these guys won't be available. 

I will add context where I can on this where I can, but trust you to hold yourself accountable for making the right choices.

Under the Radar

Previously listed:  WR Taywan Taylor

Medium to Large Leagues

QB Jameis Winston - If you have room now is the time to pounce.  Winston was on pace for a top 8 quarterback campaign in 2017 if you remove the games he played injured.  He looked very sharp this preseason and many owners may be scared by his two picks last week.  The game was well out of hand and those things happen in blow-outs.  What is more important is his accuracy was strong and he was pushing the ball down field.  This is an aggressive offense with a ton of weapons - don't forget what Fitzpatrick was able to do in week one and two.

TE Geoff Swaim - Swaim may be on his way to becoming the number one target for the Cowboys this season.  He has seen his target share up to 21% and 15% over the last two weeks.  I have re-watched all of the Cowboys games on All 22 film and he is consistently gaining separation and even earning some double teams by his opponents.  He stays on the field and is always running routes - I have grabbed him everywhere I can that I have tight end issues.  I think his production is sustainable with some upside (missed in the end zone for a touchdown last week).

WR Mohamed Sanu - This one may not be a long term help, but for this week he is a great play against the Steelers in a game that will likely be a shoot-out between Matt Ryan and Big ben.  He is consistently getting more snaps and routes ran per drop back than Calvin Ridley and their targets are very close with a slight edge to Sanu.  If you are hurting at WR don't be afraid to dial him up for this week.

On the Mend

Below are a few players that are progressing well and could return to the field soon, but likely not later than the next couple of weeks.  This is not meant to be an extensive list.

Previously listed:  WR Alshon Jeffery, TE Hayden Hurst

Larger Leagues

TE Greg Olsen - Olsen won't play in week five, but he was able to practice in a limited fashion every day.  He could be back on the field in week six.  Make sure he isn't on your wire.

RB D'Onta Foreman - Reports on Foreman have him on track to return when eligible in early November.  He is returning from a torn Achilles that he suffered last November.  If you need some late season upside at runner and have room to make a stash, Foreman could provide some stretch run value.


Removed From List - WR Martavis Bryant, WR Terrelle Pryor, WR DeVante Parker, TE Jonnu Smith

Remain on List - TE Mike Gesicki, TE Jonnu Smith, WR Cameron Meredith

Larger Leagues

WR D.J. Moore - Had his highest snaps, routes ran per drop back and targets week 2 before the Panthers bye.

It can often take rookie wide receivers time to get up to speed in the NFL.  Moore has talent and if the trend above continues it may be time to snap him up after this week.

WR Cameron Meredith - Finally got on the field in week 3 and 4 and is in a high powered offense so we need to monitor.

Snaps and routes per drop back are currently too low, but target share was up to 15% in week 4.

TE Mike Gesicki - Increased snaps each of last 4 weeks and routes ran per drop back up the last two weeks.

Currently not seeing enough consistent targets, but seeing the field more an more.

Second Opinions

All Leagues


Sneaky Cuts

If you are considering picking up any of the players mentioned above but are struggling with who to cut, there is a strategy I like to utilize when in this circumstance.  I call it floating. 

The idea is to cut a player you can likely reacquire next week (i.e. float) because your league mates won't notice them while you get a look at a player that will actually be on the field (and thus more likely to be a hot commodity next week if they go off).

There are a couple of tactics I like to deploy when floating:

Tactic 1:  Cut middling level players that are on a bye.

This week Chicago and the Tampa are on bye.  In smaller leagues you may be able to sneak O.J. Howard (also out with injury) or a Chris Godwin by.

Tactic 2:  Cut middling level players out due to injury this week.  

Well that is it for week five.  Good luck to everyone this weekend, unless you by some random chance are playing me!!!

If you want more information similar to what you found in this article you can every Tuesday on The Tuesday Night Hustle pod cast with myself and Brian Drake.  Listen live or on demand.

Additionally, you can follow me on twitter @dwainmcfarland where I am often posting analytical type info and sometimes film break downs.

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