4 Star Free Agents – Week 1

Pass Happy/Run Happy – Week 1
September 5, 2018

It’s always important to remember context when looking at your lineup early in a season. For instance, if you were an Amari Cooper owner I hope you didn’t panic with him after his 9 yard week 1. Now, depending on your WR depth and other match ups I could see a benching of him going into week 2 (in part because of the 9 yard week 1, and in part because of the change over to Gruden’s Way has been less than smooth) but don’t move the guy in a panic trade. Yes, some people do that. What we’ll be doing here in this column until the bye weeks start is look at how to bolster the back end of your roster for the long term.

Beginning with bye weeks in Week 4 the picks here will be of the “pick up and play” variety. Until then, these are picks of the “grab and stash” variety, although if you have injuries or a hole in your roster playing them is certainly an option. So here goes…the 10 best grab and stashes for this week: 2 QBs; 3 each RBs and WRs, a TE and a Team Defense.


Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB – do you remember Anthony Wright? He was a journeyman quarterback who had a very interesting ability: he would get a chance to start, have w white hot 4-6 weeks, then the NFL would catch up with him and he’d be on a bench for 3 years. Then he’d get a start and it would happen all over again. It’s pretty much what Fitzpatrick is doing right now. In some cases Winston is owned at at a higher rate, but Fitzpatrick has the job for at least 2 more games and I suspect he keeps it longer – you HAVE to like 4 TD passes to 4 different receivers. He is the #1 fantasy scorer through 2 weeks in most formats.

Ownership: Yahoo 24%; NFL 20% & ESPN 32%.

Case Keenum. DEN: remember last year when Case Keenum put up a 7 game stretch from weeks 10 to 16 and he was a top QB in fantasy? Yeah, it wasn’t all that long ago, and he appears to be finding his sea legs in a new offense. The fact is, he’s looking good, and has a recent solid track record. Manning, Mariota, Goff, Stafford, Watson and a few more don’t look to be in as good a situation at the moment. And outside of Goff and Watson there’s no upside to keeping guys like that when Keenum is widely available.

Ownership: Yahoo 38%; NFL 14% & ESPN 25%.


Latavius Murray, MIN: here’s an interesting pick. I see him as more of a stash guy long term, but this week with Dalvin Cook nicked and facing a Buffalo D that leaves a bit to be desired he could be a decent flex start if you’re cornered. Otherwise, let’s say you took Rashaad Penny around the 10th round. Or you thought Chris Ivory in the 13th round “represented great value there.” Seattle’s a bit of a hot mess. Buffalo is FAR worse. The Vikings already look playoff bound. If you’re going to choose between a secondary (the RB2) slice of Seattle, Buffalo or Minnesota pie, be honest – which slice do you want? Hint: the Minnesota pie tastes particularly good this year.

Ownership: Yahoo 43%; NFL 14% & ESPN 40%.

Austin Ekeler, LAC – I recommended him last week and he’s still available in over 50% of online leagues (despite ownership doubling and tripling across the board). Don’t let Gordon’s big day fool you re: Ekeler’s usage. This is a dynamic offense, with Rivers making one of his last runs and they clearly have a plan to use this guy no matter what Gordon is doing. And not to sound morbid, but he is a handcuff who could fill in for Gordon and you would still see Gordon like numbers (not 3 TDs weekly but you know what I mean). This week against the Rams is tricky but he has some nice match ups following.

Ownership: Yahoo 45%; NFL 33% & ESPN 43%.

Corey Clement, PHI: with Ajayi and Sproles both nicked up already, here is another RB piece that really could have a nice long term impact for your team and its bench depth. I wouldn’t get fancy and put him in your lineup this week against the Colts, but he bears keeping an eye on if you cannot stash him now.

Ownership: Yahoo 22%; NFL 4% & ESPN 23%.


Keelan Cole, JAX: Week 2 will eventually stack up as one of his best games of the year. That fact, however, should not dissuade you from adding him to your bench. Every year in most every league (10 or 12 teams) a WR corp goes overlooked by and large because of preseason preconceptions. But the simple fact always remains: the #1 WR on any NFL team is worth having over most of the WR2 and all WR3’s on others. Cole is getting a lot of targets and that should continue moving forward.

Ownership: Yahoo 50%; NFL 9% & ESPN 49%.

Geronimo Allison, GBP: while everyone was focused on the Packers bringing in 3 rookie wideouts, it turns out that only was a depth move. Allison now has back to back games with 5+ catches and he’s being thrown to by Aaron Rodgers. Unlike Cole, who you could probably start this week, Allison is a depth and “wait and see” move. But he is off to a great start on a great team (Packer pie) and needs to be rostered.

Ownership: Yahoo 31%; NFL 6% & ESPN 26%.

Dez Bryant, FA: with Gordon leaving the Browns, and injuries to the Eagles I suspect that a few WR free agent dominos will begin to fall, and it likely starts with Bryant. If you have a solid team and can make a luxury move like this, then I suggest grabbing him and seeing what happens until weeks 5 or 6. Despite this being his ninth (!) season, Bryant can score and would make a solid addition to Cleveland, even with the depth there, or Philadelphia and would be fantasy relevant at either place – though I’d prefer him in Philly.

Ownership: Yahoo 26%; NFL 35% & ESPN 28%.


TE – Will Dissly, SEA: going through the TE lists at the websites we cite shows that a LOT of teams are carrying two TEs out of the draft. Pickings are slim, and that says a lot about the change in perspective in tight ends. That being said, this week “grab and stash “ at this position is sort of a no brainer. Virtually unheard of prior to week 1, we now have back to back scores amid a nice amount of targets. Very much worth a look at especially if you have Greg Olsen, or spent a pick on Njoku in Cleveland.

Ownership: Yahoo 30%; NFL 27% & ESPN 25%.


New York Jets: their two stat lines read very different: 5 INTs & 2 TDs week 1 and 4 sacks with 2 fumble recoveries in week 2. You know what those are combined? Signs of a ball hawking defense, and you want a ball hawking defense on your fantasy team. By the end of this year, they will be owned in most leagues. Given a matchup against the Browns this week and 2 against Buffalo this year they will easily become a streaming darling.

Ownership: Yahoo 34%; NFL 18% & ESPN 25%.

That’s it for this week folks – best of luck out there!