This was a rough week. Andrew Luck retired, and Lamar Miller tore both his MCL and ACL. As unfortunate as both of these events are they do provide us with a few players who will now be given an oppurtunity to gain some fantasy value.
Luck’s retirement has turned Brissett into a starter with value in superflex leagues and Chad Kelly into an intriguing stash. If Brissett struggles and loses his job, then the Colts could turn to the talented Kelly. As I discussed at length, Brissett has a legitimate shot at a QB1 season tied to Frank Reich‘s offense, so I don’t think he’ll lose the starting job. If he does falter and can’t provide what the Colts need at the position, they could then turn to the talented Kelly.
Kelly was as talented as any quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft, but his history of poor decision making off the field caused him to be Mr. Irrelevant. Last season Kelly was rumored to be poised to take over as the starter from a struggling Case Keenum. Instead, he was arrested after a Halloween party and the Broncos cut him. If given the oppurtunity Kelly could be a legitimate starter in the NFL.
Damarea Crockett and Karan Higdon (RB – HOU)
With Lamar Miller lost for the season every running back on the Texans roster slides up a notch. Duke Johnson is the starter, but that doesn’t mean the other running backs can’t hold some value. After an impressive freshman season with Missouri, Crockett failed to build on that momentum. He had an injury-plagued sophomore year and a mediocre junior season. This contributed to him going undrafted in this years NFL Draft.
College stats courtesy of Sports Reference
Crockett decided to sign with the Texans as an undrafted free agent, in part due to the thin running back depth chart. Besides the names, nothing’s changed on that front. Crockett has seen plenty of work this preseason with 17 rushing attempts for 83 yards while getting touches ahead of Karan Higdon. Crockett is not a pass catcher, as you can see from his college stats. This will cap his ceiling even if he were to take over for Duke Johnson due to injury. Crockett might be rostered in your league.
If he is, go ahead and pivot to Higdon. Higdon had impressive junior and senior seasons at Michigan. He’s not a pass catcher either, so his upside would be capped as well if given the starting role at some point. In a best-case scenario, you pick up Crockett or Hidgon, and they get a chance to start a game or two. If they do and impress, then you can immediately flip them for a late-round rookie pick.
Maxx Williams (TE – ARI)
Scott Barrett noted that Williams has been the TE who has primarily on the field when Kyler Murray has played during this preseason. Incumbent starter Ricky Seals-Jones underperformed with the oppurtunity he was given last season. Williams is a monster of a human who dominated in college. He was a second-round pick in the 2015 draft but is still just 25 years old. Williams would not be the first TE to flame out with his first NFL team to later find relevance with a new team. Delanie Walker and Martellus Bennett are the most prominent examples of this phenomenon.
The once confusing and deep wide receiver corp of the Cardinals has hit some bumps this preseason. Andy Isabella has failed to progress as the Cardinals hoped and Hakeem Butler has been sent to the IR for the season, freeing up some expected target volume. Williams is behind Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, and Christian Kirk when it comes to preferred targets but could have some streaming value.
Damion Willis (WR-CIN)
I can’t lie. I had no idea who Damion Willis was prior to the below tweet.
Rookie, Damion Willis will be starting in the presumed #1 spot while AJ Green is recovering!
Go throw some claims in or round your draft out with him.
— Rookie Fever Podcast (@RookieFever) August 26, 2019
Now I know who he is. A starting wide receiver that’s available on every single waiver wire is a unicorn. Willis went undrafted out of Troy after a productive senior season, with 876 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. While his counting stats may seem light, his Dominator Rating exceeded 42% and placed him in the 84th percentile. He has prototypical size, 6’3″ and 201 lbs., and speed, 4.51 40-yard dash time. He also has at least the first week of the season to make an impact in fantasy. This past Thursday he hauled in three of six targets for 55 yards and a touchdown. If he can approach that level of production once the season starts the Bengals will be forced to involve him further. Until A.J. Green returns from his ankle injury the Bengals receivers of note consist of Tyler Boyd. That’s it.
John Ross is healing from a hamstring injury (again) and is expected to return for the start of the season, but he’s yet to do anything to indicate he’ll ever be a reliable fantasy option. In fact, you put in a waiver claim on Stanley Morgan Jr. while your putting in a claim for Willis. Morgan Jr. is currently listed behind Ross and Cody Core on the depth chart, but could easily find his way to a role with the Bengals. His late breakout age, and being an old (23) UDFA rookie obviously aren’t ideal. But he’s a plus sparq-X athlete who was produced at a nearly elite level in college who’s worth a roster spot in deep leagues.
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