With almost a months worth of games in the books, there are definitely players to be picked up and dropped. With each passing week, it becomes more important to look for trends and to pick players up that will help you win a championship. This means you will need to be flexible with the players you’ve drafted and the with the somewhat unknowns on the waiver wire.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is holding onto a player that hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. While it is possible for players that have gotten off to a slow start to rebound, it is not wise to expect this to happen for everyone. If you spent a higher pick on Johnathan Taylor, I don’t recommend dropping him by any means, but at some point it hurts your line up to leave him in there. Similar with an Allen Robinson.
As a reminder players that make this column need to be rostered in less than 50% in ESPN leagues. Let’s take a look at some players you can pick up that may be able to provide either useful depth or a quick spot start to allow you to pick up that win:
Chuba Hubbard, CAR
It needs to be said the Chuba Hubbard will a very popular waiver wire pickup, but the question is does he need to be top priority? To answer this question depends on how needy you are for a running back. For a Christian McCaffery manager, this may make more sense. Chuba is only a short term move until McCaffery comes back healthy.
Hubbard came into the game and gained 52 yards on the ground on 11 carries. He also caught 3 of 5 targets for 27 yards. All together Hubbard had a covetable 16 opportunities in less than 4 quarters of action. While it remains to be seen how much of a workload will get split up between Hubbard and Royce Freeman, 16 potential touches is worth you taking a look at.
The Dallas Cowboys are next up for the Panthers, who have not been very generous to running backs. They are the 8th hardest match up so far this season, giving up 19.37 points per game. What will overcome a tough matchup however is a big workload. If you can get Hubbard as a spot start or a trading piece, he can benefit your team in some fashion.
Emmanuel Sanders, BUF
Emmanuel Sanders has received no less than 6 targets in a game so far this season. While that is not among the league leaders, playing with an MVP caliber quarterback in Josh Allen, those targets carry more weight than others. The Buffalo Bills average the 4th highest number of pass attempts per game at 42.7. This means there is a greater opportunity for targets, yards, and touchdowns.
Sanders will still ultimately be a touchdown dependent player. His season high in catches is 5 and yards is 94. Without a touchdown that is a respectable week, but not someone you’re dying to get into your lineup. He will however be a serviceable player on your bench.
If you have been holding onto a player who you took a shot on late in your drafts, but have done next to nothing, Sanders is worth swapping for on your bench. There is also a chance that Sanders earns more targets down the road with Allen if he can continue to produce. With his range of outcomes still not decided, take a shot in Sanders and stashing him for his upside.
Hunter Renfrow, LVR
The Raiders offense has picked up from where they left off and them some from 2020. With Darren Waller being the primary target on this offense, the question becomes who does Carr look for next? According to total targets, after Waller’s 33, Hunter Renfrow is second on the team at 22.
Against the Dolphins, he had 5 receptions for 77 yards and receiving touchdown. With both Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards on the outside, Renfrow has been free to roam the middle of the field and take advantage of defenses focusing on other receivers. With Carr averaging over 400 yards a game, there are quite a few yards that could go in Renfrow’s direction in any given week.
He will be more of a floor play vs a big upside play week in and out. Having players on your bench that can guarantee a solid floor is needed to balance out a lineup with boom-bust players.
Tyler Conklin, MIN
With Irv Smith out for the year due to injury, Tyler Conklin has been a nice surprise for the Vikings. With several elite options on this offense, only having role players would have been enough. Instead, Conklin caught 7 of his 8 targets for 70 yards and a touchdown. If this target share continues, Conklin will become a viable option at tight end which fantasy football managers sorely need.
Unless you have one of the few elite tight ends, Conklin as a worst case scenario becomes a matchup dependant player. Over the next few weeks, Conklin will play the Browns, Lions, and Panthers. While none of the matchups are particularly difficult, Conklin will look to keep earning trust form his quarterback and the targets that come with it.
What may be an indicator for Conklin is game script. In matchups where the vikings are playing from behind, Cousins might look to stretch the field with K.J. Osborn. While a positive game script may be more beneficial for Conklin when Cousins is just looking to move the ball and pick up 1st downs.
While you may not think of the Bengals as some incredible defense, they have a great matchup against the Jaguars in week 4. The Jags have given up the third most fantasy points to opposing defenses in 2021. Coming off an impressive win over the Steelers, the Bengals now have an opportunity to take advantage against a turnover prone Jaguars offense.
This move is only for those streaming defenses, as the Bengals defense is not a great season long play. This position is one of the most streamable week in and out, and an opportunity such as this should have fantasy managers running to the waiver wire. Far too often, managers will grab a defense early and play them, every week against some of the leagues best offenses.
Even though you have a tough matchup, this does not mean a defense isn’t playable. However, you have the choice to take the easy route each week and give yourself the opportunity to create a disadvantage at a forgotten position. When your starters have a down week, but your defense had a few turnovers and a touchdown it can keep you in the game or push you to a victory.