When will it end? When will the football gods stop robbing us of all of these great players? This week’s biggest casualty was Houston Texans rookie sensation Deshaun Watson. This undoubtedly hurt the fantasy stock of his entire team, as the statuesque Tom Savage takes his place. It may force some fantasy football teams to look for replacements to make up for the drop in production. Even for teams who do not have a Texans player on their squad, it is always necessary to keep an eye on unknown players who are ready to break out. Here is this week’s list:
He’s Been Under-the-Radar for a While Now
This week’s top watch list candidate is Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee. The Jaguars have been trying to fill a void at their number one wide receiver position since Allen Robinson went down as soon as the season started week one.
Many thought Allen Hurns would fill that role, but it hasn’t panned out so far. While Lee hasn’t done anything spectacular so far, he has been pretty solid and is developing a good rapport with signal caller Blake Bortles in Robinson’s absence.
His role looks to be growing, as he has at least six targets and 70 yards receiving in the last three games. He has put together many solid games, but is falling through the cracks because he has not gone over 100 yards receiving once this season, and just caught his first touchdown last week.
Still, he put together a nice eight catch, 75-yard game that included his first touchdown. Touchdowns sometimes come in bunches, so he could have a lot more coming his way this season. He could also be a good matchup guy in the playoffs. In week 15 he goes up against Houston, and then week 16 he goes against the San Francisco 49ers.
Keep track of how he looks moving forward, and he could be a pickup that will help teams bring home the championship.
A Rookie Finally Finding His Footing
Sticking with wideouts, another name to keep track of is Buffalo Bills rookie Zay Jones. He was a trendy sleeper candidate at the beginning of the season because the Bills got rid of anyone who could catch the football. It took a while for Jones to catch on at the pro level, but last week he looked like he was finally taking the next step.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been sticking with Jones as he adjusted, targeting him at least four times in all but two games. Up untill recently, he couldn’t turn it into anything, dropping balls all over the place. Last week however, he caught almost everything thrown to him.
His routes looked crisp, and even though he suffered what looked like a nasty knee injury, he finished the game. Overall, he hauled in six passes for 53 yards and a touchdown. The catches and yards were his highest of the season.
Some might want to stay away from him because the Bills just added Kelvin Benjamin via trade from the Carolina Panthers. Benjamin’s acquisition seems more like a long-term project though. He didn’t play even play last Thursday, and it will undoubtedly take him time to learn the offense and develop chemistry with Taylor.
Stick with the receiver who has been on the team the entire season, and see if he can add some consistency to his game the next few weeks. If he does, he could be worth an add pretty soon.
Out of the Shadows
Last week focused on how the Jay Ajayi trade would affect the Miami Dolphins backfield. As expected, Kenyan Drake got the start, and the backfield was split pretty evenly in touches. Neither really jumped off the field, but the Dolphins second back, Damien Williams showed that he might have some value moving forward.
Just looking at his rushing total wouldn’t tell the whole story. Williams had seven rushes that he only turned into 14 yards. What gives him potential is in his pass catching game. He was very involved in that aspect, catching six balls for 47 yards and scoring a touchdown on a play where he made multiple Oakland Raiders defenders look silly.
Overshadowed by Drake having more yards was the fact that Williams actually got the start. Even though Drake had more rushing yards, rushing nine times for 69 yards, these numbers can be deceiving. Most of those yards came on a 42 yard run. Take that away and his other eight rushes only gave him 27 yards.
At this point the Dolphins backfield belongs to anyone. What fantasy team owners really need to do is keep an eye on both Drake and Williams. Both of them actually might have value, especially in PPR, if they can stay involved in the pass game.
Really Deep Redux
Good redux candidates are tough to come by these days. Most of our players on the list have graduated to rosters. A few have faded into obscurity. One name worth mentioning once more is Carolina Panthers running back, Cameron Artis-Payne. We gave him his spot after incumbent starter, Jonathan Stewart left a Thursday Night game with negative fantasy points.
We thought Stewart’s poor performance would get head coach Ron Rivera thinking about making a change, and giving Artis-Payne a shot at the job. He did make some progress, and has finally been active in games this season, but still hasn’t gotten many carries.
Well, Stewart is up to his old tricks. He must have decided he wanted to laugh at the fantasy owners who stuck with him through his struggles year. Or perhaps he wanted to set a new record in negative points gained. Whatever his reasons, he managed to end the game with -1.9 points in standard leagues, after losing two fumbles.
The Panthers showcased their rookie back Christian McCaffrey after Stewart’s second fumble, but despite his decent numbers, he just doesn’t look to have the build to be a between the tackles back that can carry the load. Teams should keep Artis-Payne on their radar in case Carolina decides to shake things up.
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Week Ten NFL Fantasy Football Watch List