Marlon Mack

Fantasy Football: 11 targets after a nutty NFL trade deadline

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USA TODAY

Fantasy Football: 11 targets after a nutty NFL trade deadline

Finally: An NFL trade deadline with some action!

Before the 2017 deadline, the league made several impactful moves after years of mostly-boring inaction. 

Everybody loves a good trade and the league did not disappoint, with guys like Jay Ajayi, Jimmy Garoppolo and Kelvin Benjamin on the move while the Seattle Seahawks bolstered their offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott was suspended (again). 

Here are the fantasy implications of a nutty week in the NFL:

Jay Ajayi, RB, PHI

While it's impossible to predict exactly how Ajayi will be utilized in Doug Pederson's notoriously-fickle backfield, this trade is a clear win for Ajayi's fantasy owners. Even if he doesn't get 25 touches a game like he did in Miami, Ajayi is running behind a much better offensive line on the best team in football that figures to be running to close out leads late in games as opposed to passing to try to eliminate deficits (like the Dolphins). Ajayi should be able to have much more of an impact in Philadelphia even if he sees a noticeable decline in snaps and touches. (Tony Andracki)

Kenyan Drake/Damien Williams, RBs, MIA

With Ajayi out, the Dolphins have announced they will roll with the guys they have going forward. Those guys are Drake and Williams, though you can forgive any football fan if they didn't know that given the two have combined for just 33 touches through seven games. Neither guy is worthy of a "must-add" and there are serious question marks about each guy moving forward: They don't have a proven track record, the Dolphins offense is a complete mess and the offensive line is a huge reason for the struggles. Williams figures to be the passing down back, but Drake is only 23 and in his second season, so he has higher upside and is the most likely of the two to break out and be a legit fantasy contributor down the stretch. (TA)

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, SF

Let's just get this out of the way first: unless your league allows you to play a quarterback in the flex spot, Garoppolo needs to remain on the waiver wire for the time being. Garoppolo is expected to be eased into action with his new club and should be up to speed to start against the Giants in Week 10. However, with a lack of options in the passing game and not being the type of quarterback who will gather points with his legs, Garoppolo will have a hard time posting high fantasy totals in San Francisco. The only thing to look forward to about this move, from a fantasy perspective, is that the 49ers may have found a quarterback who can help Pierre Garcon find the end zone for the first time in 2017. (Scott Krinch)

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, BUF

Benjamin has been one of the most frustrating fantasy players for years now and his insertion into a new offense will almost assuredly come with a learning curve. That offense also features an inconsistent passing game that has yet to promote consistent WR fantasy value given their propensity to spread the ball around and play ground control — Tyrod Taylor ranks 29th in the NFL with only 192 pass yards per game. This move does nothing to help Benjamin's value and really only hurts the value of fringe fantasy players like Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones. (TA)

Jamison Crowder, WR, WAS

The Redskins were rumored to be interested in acquiring a receiver before the NFL deadline but no deal was made. That's fine for Crowder fantasy owners or anybody else searching for a receiver (he's still available in nearly half of ESPN leagues). Crowder was a popular breakout candidate heading into 2017 and after a slew of injuries sapped his early-season potential, he tallied 123 yards on 9 catches and 13 targets in Week 8. Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have both been big-time busts, leaving the door wide open for Crowder to emerge as the clear No. 1 threat in that passing game, especially with Jordan Reed once again flashing his complete inability to stay on the field. (TA)

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT

The guy with the best name since Jim Bob Cooter is still somehow owned in less than 30 percent of leagues. He's on a Bye this week, but after exploding for 7-193-1 in Week 8, the NFL's youngest player is officially on the fantasy map. Not saying he's a must-start from here, but he absolutely needs to be owned in every format and moving forward could provide huge dividends for both your fake team and the Steelers. (TA)

Marlon Mack, RB, IND

Mack was another popular sleeper entering 2017 and despite a Week 1 touchdown was a fantasy non-factor until Week 5. In the four games since, his PPR point totals: 16, 1, 10, 14. Frank Gore is like a million years old and Mack is young, fresh, spry and showing he can be a productive NFL back. Look for more Mack as the season goes on, especially if the Colts continue to fall out of it even more and wind up looking toward 2018 and beyond. Plus, the dude is owned in only 30 percent of leagues, so go grab him on waivers or look to acquire him in a trade if you can pull it off. (TA)

Alfred Morris/Darren McFadden/Rod Smith, RBs, DAL

Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension is back on after a United States District Judge dissolved his temporary restraining order. So what does that mean going forward for the Cowboys running back situation? Your guess is as good as mine. And we probably still haven't seen the last of Elliott trying to fight the suspension. If Elliott does remain sidelined, the most likely benefactor will be Alfred Morris with Darren McFadden nipping at his heels. Both players are must-adds on the waiver wire this week. Through seven games, Morris has served as Elliott's backup, while McFadden has been inactive for every Cowboys game this season. The upside for both players running behind that offensive line is relatively high, but it's a fluid situation right now and it could vary week-to-week with even Rod Smith being a player who owners should keep an eye on in deep leagues. (SK)

Jack Doyle, TE, IND

Doyle has been a target machine this season, accumulating 55 through seven games. Doyle had his best game of the season in Sunday's loss to the Bengals as he hauled in 12 receptions on 14 targets for a season-high 121 yards and his first score of 2017. Doyle is now fantasy's seventh-highest scoring tight end and should see his numbers continue to climb on a team that will be playing from behind the majority of Sundays for the remainder of the season. (SK)

Robby Anderson, WR, NYJ

There haven't made been many positives from a fantasy football outlook when it comes to the Jets offense, but one emerging player who needs to be on your radar is Anderson. The second-year wide receiver has seen a minimum of five targets in each of his last six games. Anderson has reached in the end zone in consecutive weeks and has become a favorite target of quarterback Josh McCown. (SK)

Paul Richardson, WR, SEA

Who would've predicted that Richardson would be the Seahawks' No. 1 fantasy wide receiver through seven games? Definitely not this guy. Over the last two games, Richardson has eight receptions for 166 yards and three touchdowns. With the Seahawks showing zeo interest in running the football, Richardson is a legitimate flex option this week and the rest of the season. (SK)

Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 6 and beyond

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AP

Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 6 and beyond

Another week. Another rash of injuries in the NFL.

Odell Beckham Jr. was one of three New York Giants wide receivers to go down with season-ending injuries. Bilal Powell, DeVante Parker and Travis Kelce all exited their team's victories after getting struck by the injury bug. 

While the majority of these injury cases won't really do much in terms of elevating another player from obscurity to fantasy relevance, we've done our best to gather a list of reinforcements who could be worth a roster spot on a thin waiver wire week.

Here's a list of 10 players who should provide some help in Week 6 and beyond. 

1. Adrian Peterson, RB, ARI

Just when you thought you could forget about the artist formerly known as AP, the Arizona Cardinals go out and make him fantasy relevant once again. The Cardinals pulled off a rare in season trade by dealing a 2018 conditional draft selection to the New Orleans Saints for Peterson on Tuesday morning. While Peterson looked pedestrian at best (81 yards on 27 carries) during his four games with the Saints in 2017, the trade gives him an opportunity to join a backfield in which he'll likely be in line for early-down work and an offense which better suits his running style. In a week where there aren't many upgrades on the waiver wire, Peterson has the chance to provide flex value in Arizona. 

2. Jerick McKinnon, RB, MIN

If you watched Monday's Bears-Vikings game, you'd know that McKinnon is hands down the best running back on the Vkings roster. Murray plodded his way to a meager 31 yards on 12 carries while McKinnon took control of the backfield with 16 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown, while also adding six receptions for 51 yards. McKinnon has teased us before, flashing high upside and off the charts athleticism early on in Minnesota, so it's easy to be pessimistic, but he's currently the only quality back in Minnesota and he'll certainly get the touches moving forward.

3. Aaron Jones, RB, GB

If you missed out on Jones last week, shame on you. He's currently owned in 66 percent of leagues, meaning there's still a chance he could be available for you. If so, he should be your No. 1 priority. Jones looked explosive in his first career start against the Cowboys, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown with an eye-popping 6.6 yards per carry. Even if starting running back Ty Montgomery returns this week, there's a good chance the Packers ride the hot hand until Montgomery is 100 percent. 

4. Elijah McGuire, RB, NYJ

As the first-place Jets (try saying that with a straight face) get set for a showdown with the New England Patriots, they'll likely be without Bilal Powell (calf) and Matt Forte (knee), meaning the rookie McGuire will be in line for a heavy workload against a Patriots defense that's allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. McGuire doesn't possess the highest ROS upside, and he'll likely be relegated to third-string duties once the Jets are fully healthy at running back, but he's a player that should be targeted for the FLEX position in a juicy Week 6 matchup. 

5. Marlon Mack, RB, IND

The rookie out of South Florida had the best game of his young NFL career on Sunday, rushing for 91 yards on nine carries and flashed his explosiveness with a 35-yard touchdown run. Mack won't be stealing Frank Gore's starting job anytime soon, but his big-play ability and change-of-pace style could force the hand of head coach Chuck Pagano. As of now, Mack is stash and watch candidate who could provide major value later in the season.

6. Matt Breida, RB, SF

Following the 49ers loss to the Colts, head coach Kyle Shanahan uttered the words no fantasy owner likes to hear, "the team will use a hot hand approach" at running back. This news, coupled with Carlos Hyde's lingering hip injury, means Breida needs to be scooped up in all formats. Breida has seen an uptick in touches in every game this season, and had a career-high 10 carries for 49 yards in Week 5. Look to see those touches continue to climb moving forward. 

7. Ricardo Louis, WR, CLE

The wide receiver position has been like a game of musical chairs for the Browns this season. One week it was Corey Coleman, then it was Rashard Higgins, after that it was Kenny Britt, and as of late it's been Louis. A fourth-round draft choice in 2016, Louis has shown promise in Year 2 as he's seen 17 targets the last two weeks and hauled in 10 receptions for 135 yards. For a team that's going to be playing from behind in a majority of games this season, Louis is a must-add as the current de facto No. 1 in Cleveland.

8. Juju Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT

The Steelers have been searching for a viable No. 2 option in the passing game behind All Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown, and while we all thought this would be the year that Martavis Bryant breaks out, his struggles have forced the Steelers to get Smith-Schuster more involved in the offense. The rookie wideout has seen more snaps than Bryant over the last three games and has seven receptions on targets for 105 yards and a touchdown in his last two contests. Smith-Schuster may not be a WR2/FLEX option just yet, but he's worth stashing.

9. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, NYJ

We've been waiting for ASJ to become fantasy relevant for years now, and it appears his time has finally come. Seferian-Jenkins caught his first touchdown in a Jets uniform in Sunday's victory over the Browns. Since returning from suspension, he's hauled in 15 receptions for 106 yards and a score. On a team that's thin at weapons in the passing game, ASJ is a must-own in all league formats.

10. Jacoby Brissett, QB, IND

With injuries piling up (Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr) and players on bye weeks (Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson and Tyrod Taylor), now may be the time you need to hit the wire in search for a streaming option at the quarterback position. Despite not throwing a touchdown pass, Brissett had his best day as a passer, tossing for 314 yards in a win over the 49ers. Brissett's steady play should continue against one of the league's most charitable defenses (TEN) for opposing signal callers. If you're looking for a one week option, Brissett should be your guy. 

2017 Fantasy Football Sleepers and Busts

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USA TODAY

2017 Fantasy Football Sleepers and Busts

As we inch closer to the 2017 NFL season, the CSN Fantasy crew unveiled their sleepers and busts on Thursday's edition of the Fantasy Football Fix Podcast.

Listen to our Podcast for more in-depth analysis and take a look at the complete list of sleepers and busts from Tony Andracki, Scott Krinch and Glynn Morgan below.

SLEEPERS

De'Angelo Henderson (RB), DEN - ADP: 170 (undrafted)

A true sleeper - a sixth round pick who has come out of nowhere (Coastal Carolina) to turn heads in camp. CJ Anderson is locked in as the starter in the Broncos backfield right now, but Jamaal Charles is far from a sure thing and Devontae Booker fell out of favor there toward the end of last year. Henderson is small (5-foot-7, 208 pounds) but he was a good receiver in college and was the featured back, showing he's more than just a change-of-pace guy. He's not currently being drafted in leagues and is drawing Maurice Jones-Drew comparisons.

CJ Prosise (RB), SEA - 128.5

From Weeks 7-11, when Prosise was actually healthy, he racked up 369 yards on 45 touches - an insane average of 8.2 yards per touch. Yes Eddie Lacy is in town, but Prosise is far and away the team's best receiver and he will surely get an opportunity to make an impact out of the backfield assuming he is healthy. He's a guy that has already proven he doesn't need a ton of touches to be fantasy-relevant. But imagine if he actually were fed the rock 12-15 times a game. Draft him in the 12th round and get hyped about his enormous breakout potential. About as much fantasy upside as an 11th or 12th rounder can get.

Dion Lewis (RB), NE - 170 (undrafted)

After returning from knee injury his touches per game:

8, 10, 9, 4, 20, 17, 13 then playoffs (15-8-7)

Yes they're fickle, but that was with LeGarrette Blount in town and is Mike Gillislee really going to change things all that much? Lewis totaled 489 yards in 10 games coming off an injury. You never know what you're gonna get in Belichik's backfield, but Lewis is their most dynamic running back and is now presumably healthy. White only had 5 touches in 2 playoff games before breaking out in the Super Bowl, while Lewis had 21 touches. Don't forget what Lewis did in only 7 games in 2015 - 234 rushing yards, 36 catches, 388 rec yds. He's tantalizing and you can get him shockingly late in drafts.

Rookie RBs: Joe Williams (SF), Jamaal Williams (GB), Marlon Mack (IND), Kareem Hunt (KC), Samaje Perine (WSH)

All rookie RBs that are flying under the radar and all five plus Henderson have the potential to be better than Cook, Fournette or McCaffery just based on opportunity. They're all emerging as the primary backups to more elder statesmen (some more elder than others, *COUGH* FRANK GORE *COUGH*) who have serious question marks, like Ty Montgomery's blocking, Frank Gore being old as shit, Spencer Ware not being able to handle feature back duties, Rob Kelley being unproven, CJ Anderson failing to live up to CJ Anderson and so on.

Cam Meredith (WR), CHI  - 108.4

Why is this guy still underrated? He was the top fantasy wide receiver for a few-week stretch last year and while you can't evaluate a guy just based off a few hot games, he's emerged as a legit top-flight receiver over the last two years and the ISU kid may very well be the Bears' No. 1 option even with a healthy Kevin White. Plus, they figure to throw a bunch - even if it is Mike Glennon taking those snaps - so Cam should get plenty of work. From Week 5 on, Meredith was a Top 20 fantasy WR, and that includes 3 straight clunkers in which he only had one catch a game from Weeks 7-10.

Kenny Golladay (WR), DET - 134.6

The under-the-radar NIU/Chicago receiver who's turning heads in Detroit during camp. He's 6-foot-4, 218 pounds and on a team that is searching for consistent WR play.

Donte Moncrief (WR), IND - 93.2

Been predicting a breakout for him for the last two years and it hasn't happened yet. With Andrew Luck's shoulder issue, there is legitimate concern about the value of the Indy receivers, but keep in mind, Moncrief is still only 24 years old, he has 16 tuddies in only 19 career starts (though he has played in 41 total games), he's in a high-powered passing offense and you won't need to invest a lot in him. If this is the year he breaks out, it won't cost you much of a gamble. Yeah, he's TD dependent, but he's going 94th overall, the NO. 37 WR.

Eric Ebron (TE), DET - 130.8

We're still waiting for him to breakout. Could that be this season? He finished as the No. 14 fantasy TE last year despite scoring 1 TD, missing essentially four games and dropping a bunch of balls. He had only 1 target in a Week 12 contest but averaged more than 7 targets/gm in his other 12 contests and set a new career high in catches and yards. This is the year he becomes a Top 10 TE and has the potential to be a Top 5 TE. Remember, he was the former 10th overall pick back in 2014.

MORE SLEEPERS

Eli Manning (QB), NYG

Deshaun Watson (QB), HOU

Bilal Powell (RB), NYJ

Doug Martin (RB), TB

Dalvin Cook (RB), MIN

Paul Perkins (RB), NYG

Jamison Crowder (WR), WSH

Terrelle Pryor (WR), WSH

DeVante Parker (WR), MIA

Martavis Bryant (WR), PIT

Zay Jones (WR), BUF

Cooper Kupp (WR), LAR

Martellus Bennett (TE), GB

Austin Hooper (TE), ATL

Gerald Everett (TE), LAR

BUSTS

Leonard Fournette (RB), JAX - 22.5

Going to be awfully tough to live up to draft stock, the Jags' line is rough, teams can stack the box, he's still a rookie, etc. He's going in the second or third round, as the 9th RB off the board. It's going to be nearly impossible for him to live up to that.

Devonta Freeman (RB), ATL - 9.9

I feel like I doubt Freeman every year. Is he really the No. 4 RB? He already has one concussion this year, he had one in 2015 as well and don't forget about Tevin Coleman now that it appears he's got his sickle cell under control. And OC Kyle Shanahan is gone now. And he just got paid, so no contract year anymore. There are plenty of causes for concern, and not a guy I can feel comfortable about drafting in the Top 10.

Joe Mixon (RB), CIN - 56.2

How could he possibly live up to this ADP? The off-field issues, he's a rookie, Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill are around, etc.

Dez Bryant (WR), DAL - 20.1

Over the last 2 years, Bryant has played in 22 games, but his stat line only looks like this: 82 rec, 168 tgt, 1,197 yds, 11 TD. That's right, he's caught only 48 percent of his targets, and those are season numbers, not 2 year/22 gm numbers. Yes, he's had some terrible QBs playing with and rookie Prescott last year, but still. He hasn't even been a per-game elite asset since 2014. Way too high a price tag for a guy with that bio.

Rob Gronkowski (TE), NE - 17.7

Has only played 16 games in a season once in his career. The last 5 years, he's missed 24 games and he had several games played last year where he didn't notch a fantasy point. He's clearly the top tight end and far and away the No. option on a game-to-game basis, but only when he's healthy and since that isn't a sure thing, can't justify drafting him in the second round.

MORE BUSTS

Dak Prescott (QB), DAL

Cam Newton (QB), CAR

Spencer Ware (RB), KC

Eddie Lacy (RB), SEA

Adrian Peterson (RB), NO

Matt Forte (RB), NYJ

Latavius Murray (RB) MIN

Julian Edelman (WR), NE

Brandon Marshall (WR), NYG

Alshon Jeffery (WR), PHI

DeSean Jackson (WR), TB