The 2020 fantasy football season has not gone as planned for many due to the overabundance of injuries across the NFL, which is just par for the course. Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Courtland Sutton, to name a few, all suffered serious injuries that are likely altering the complexion of your league.
There are two ways fantasy managers can approach these massive blows:
You can say “woe is me” and throw the towel in on the season.
You can grind it out on the waiver wire and pull it together.
I don’t know about you, but option No. 2 seems like the way to go. Here are the players rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues or less I recommend targeting on the wire this week.
RB Jerick McKinnon, San Francisco 49ers (26% rostered on Yahoo)
A really great opportunity has fallen right into the lap of Jerick McKinnon. Originally signed by the 49ers to be the team’s lead back, McKinnon has missed each of the past two seasons dealing with injuries. Now, injuries have given the running back an opportunity to shine.
With RB Raheem Mostert unlikely to play this Sunday because of an MCL sprain and RB Tevin Coleman expected to miss multiple weeks, McKinnon looks poised to assume an expanded role. He has played well this season, averaging 13.4 yards per touch on nine touches thus far. He’s a locked-in flex play with RB2 upside in Mostert and Coleman’s absence.
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers) September 20, 2020
RB Mike Davis, Carolina Panthers (8% rostered on Yahoo)
McCaffrey’s high-ankle sprain is likely going to cost him 4-6 weeks, a crushing blow for those who selected him first overall. Replacing him is Mike Davis, and chances are if you don’t have a high waiver priority or a ton of FAAB stashed away, you’re not landing him.
Now Davis isn’t a special talent by any stretch, but he showed last Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that he can do what’s asked of him. He brought in all eight of his targets for 74 yards while adding just one rush for one yard. As I mentioned, he’s not a transcendent player, but he’s one with an opportunity. He’s a flex start this week against the Los Angeles Chargers.
RB Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins (16% rostered on Yahoo)
Gaskin has emerged as the lead running back in Miami’s backfield. Through two weeks, he’s dominated the snap share, appearing on 64.2 percent of the team’s offensive plays. He’s also a very decisive, north-south runner, registering a 2.66 efficiency rating, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, the second-lowest mark in the NFL (which is a good thing). He also has the 10th-best rushing yards over expected per attempt at 1.44. That places him far ahead of Matt Breida (-0.44) and Jordan Howard (-0.86). He’s serviceable as a flex option this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, with an opportunity to grow into an RB2.
RB Devonta Freeman, New York Giants (15% rostered on Yahoo)
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 22, 2020
The expectation is that Devonta Freeman will sign with the Giants, serving as the replacement for Barkley who is out with a torn ACL. Freeman has a long resume, which features a successful six-year stint as the lead back on the Atlanta Falcons. The 28-year-old will likely operate as New York’s top RB, which may not be the most rewarding situation for fantasy managers. He’ll be an RB3 this week against the 49ers.
WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (23% rostered on Yahoo)
Last week I told fantasy managers to go out and add Russell Gage. For those who listened, you’re welcome. For those who didn’t, you still have a chance to do so.
Gage benefitted in Week 2 from a less than 100 percent Julio Jones, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. He brought in six receptions for 46 yards and a score against the Dallas Cowboys. His 21 targets through the first two weeks are second only to WR Calvin Ridley (22) on the team. The Falcons, who have passed the ball the fifth-most frequently of any team in the NFL, will continue to air it out given their defensive woes. Gage is a WR3 this week against the Chicago Bears.
Hopefully you added Russell Gage after his big Week 1 - he just found the end zone!pic.twitter.com/5ZbC2Wv4jj
— Sporting News Fantasy (@sn_fantasy) September 20, 2020
RB Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers (40% rostered on Yahoo)
Joshua Kelley is another player I talked about last week. He clearly has a role in the Chargers’ offense, as demonstrated by his 23 carries and two receptions this past week. Even though he averaged just 2.78 yards per carry against the Chiefs, his usage is enough to warrant optimism. Additionally, he has seen the bulk of the goal-line work, handling four of the team’s five carries inside the five-yard line. Against a Panthers defense which has allowed a league-high six rushing touchdowns, Kelley is squarely in the flex discussion for Week 3.
RB Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams (34% rostered on Yahoo)
Both RB Cam Akers (ribs) and RB Malcolm Brown (finger) picked up injuries during the Rams’ victory over the Eagles. Darrell Henderson, the last man standing, had a solid performance, racking up 81 rushing yards and a TD on 12 attempts while adding 40 yards on two receptions. With neither Akers or Brown being a lock to suit up this weekend, Henderson could see another solid dosage of volume against the Buffalo Bills.
QB Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars (33% rostered on Yahoo)
If you’re looking for a QB to stream, look no further than Gardner Minshew. #MinshewMania has run wild over the NFL through the first two weeks. He currently has the third-highest completion percentage above expectation while also owning the seventh-best passer rating in the NFL. Those numbers have translated into fantasy success as he’s currently QB9. He’s completely passed the eye test as well, looking in control of the Jaguars offense while navigating the pocket smoothly. His upcoming schedule, battling the Dolphins in Week 3 and the Bengals in Week 4, are major plusses.
— NFL (@NFL) September 20, 2020
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (36% rostered on Yahoo)
It’s clear that Marquez Valdes-Scantling has an important role to play in the Packers offense. He is the team’s go-to deep threat and the WR emerging as QB Aaron Rodgers’ No. 2 target behind WR Davante Adams.
MVS has hauled in a 40-plus yard reception in each of the team’s first two games this season. Rodgers was hyping up Valdes-Scantling prior to the start of this season, and now we’re seeing why. The 13 targets he’s seen is second on Green Bay despite being behind WR Allen Lazard and Adams in total snaps. As a deep threat, the target volume is more important than the snap count as all he needs is one big play to have a solid fantasy performance. He’s a boom-or-bust WR4 who may develop into more as the season continues.
WR N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots (28% rostered on Yahoo)
The Patriots don’t profile to be a pass-heavy offense, but K’Neal Harry seems to be emerging as a go-to target for QB Cam Newton. Through Week 2, the 2019 first-round pick is tied with WR Julian Edelman for the team-lead in targets (18). Harry is ahead of Edelman in the snap count, however, appearing on 82.4 percent of the plays to Edelman’s 65.4 percent. Against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3, Harry profiles as a WR3.
TE Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers (7% rostered on Yahoo)
If you’re looking to stream a tight end, Jordan Reed should be more than serviceable in teammate TE George Kittle’s absence. Last week, Reed snagged seven receptions for 50 yards and a pair of scores. The 49ers are low on receiving threats with Kittle and WR Deebo Samuel injured, so Reed figures to be heavily involved in the passing attack for the immediate future. He’s a low-end TE1, high-end TE2 in a matchup against the Giants in Week 3 if Kittle is still out.
DST Stream of the Week: Indianapolis Colts (43% rostered on Yahoo)
I, like many others, was burned by the Colts defense in Week 1 when the Jaguars shocked the NFL. At home against the New York Jets this week, I really like this matchup. RB Le’Veon Bell (hamstring) will still be out while WR Breshad Perriman and WR Jamison Crowder are both banged up and could potentially miss this game.
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