The story of this week? Wild NFL trades! These trades will not just impact the players that were traded. The effects will also be felt on the other players from the teams they departed from, and the teams they went to. Jay Ajayi went to the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelvin Benjamin was shipped over to the Buffalo Bills. Most are going to rush to pick up the player who replaces them on their former teams. This will let some guys slip through the cracks this week. Read on to see who’s on this week’s watch list.
Week Nine NFL Fantasy Football Watch List
Trade Beneficiary, or Waste of a Waiver Pick?
Now that the Dolphins have sent Ajayi over to Philadelphia, Kenyan Drake looks to take over as the top dog in Miami. The question is, will he have an impact? There were likely a ton of waiver claims changed yesterday, and many put Drake as their number one priority.
But will he perform? On the season Drake has ten carries for a paltry 25 yards. It’s unfair to really evaluate Drake from such a small sample size. Still, fantasy owners should look at the overall run game from the Dolphins this season. Even departed starter Ajayi has been up and down, but overall, disappointing on the season. As a team the Dolphins are ranked 31st in rushing yards per game, with 76.4.
Ajayi is talented and wasn’t doing so well for the Dolphins. Drake is an unknown up to this point, and it is highly unlikely that he somehow bursts onto the scene and performs better. He is someone to keep an eye on, but not someone teams should try to go all in on for this week’s waiver period.
The silver lining here though might be to pay close attention to how he does, and play matchups with him. The Dolphins will likely have him share carries with the other backs on the roster, like Damien Williams. Impatient owners might drop Drake if he fails to put up numbers in his first few weeks. This is where it will be time to pounce.
Pay close attention to his carries and role in the offense. If his workload trends up he might be a guy to swoop up if he gets dropped, even if his stats aren’t great.
More Unknown, But More in Position to Gain
Probably the biggest shocker of the trade day deadline frenzy was the Panthers sending their top wide receiver Benjamin over to the Bills. While it immediately elevates third-year man Devin Funchess to the number one spot, it should actually benefit their new number two receiver, Russell Shepard a lot more.
Funchess was already averaging a healthy 8.3 targets per game. His 33 catches on the year are actually one more than Benjamin had. That being said, unless quarterback Cam Newton plans to target Funchess at least 15 times a game, he really doesn’t have room to increase his workload.
Instead, the targets should trickle down to their new number two guy – Shepard. With the Panthers ground game as inept as ever, Newton will be forced to keep airing it out, regardless of the skill level of who he is throwing to. This could give Shepard some fantasy value based purely on volume.
On the season, he only has 11 receptions for 133 yards, but as Newton force feeds him moving forward, he should match those numbers within a few games. Star tight end Greg Olsen is still out indefinitely, and who knows how the adjustment will be for Funchess moving into the number one wideout role.
Put a star next to Shepard’s name, because he could create a buzz pretty quickly.
Returning at Just the Right Time
One player who could quickly gain some attention is Tennessee Titans rookie receiver Corey Davis. He is set to make his return to the field this week, after playing his last full game in week one. Davis was the first wide receiver taken in this draft, and has a ton of talent.
So far this season, no Titans wideout has established himself as the number one guy, so Davis should quickly jump right into that role. In week one before he was injured, Davis showed some of his potential, catching six passes for 69 yards. If he can even keep up that pace, he’ll already be better than any of the Titan’s receivers.
Rishard Matthews so far leads Tennessee with 27 receptions for 393 yards on the year. Breaking that down, he is only averaging 56.1 yards and under four catches a game. To say that the passing game has underwhelming without Davis is an understatement. They need him to come in and quickly become the guy they drafted him to be.
Davis is another guy who could get snatched up quickly if he puts up big numbers this week. For teams with room on their roster, he might be worth a stash as a free agent pickup. If not, keep a close eye on him this weekend, and decide if he is worth a waiver claim next weekend.
Quoth the Raven: Redux
Collins is finally gaining some attention, going from just 34 percent ownership, all the way to 69 percent after this week’s waiver period. Still, that leaves him available in a lot of leagues still, so teams should snatch him up where he is still a free agent. Since he was highlighted in week five, Collins has had at least ten touches per game.
Last week, he likely put a stranglehold on the starting position, and showed that his role should increase moving forward. He saw his highest snap count of the season with 32. Collins made the most of those snaps too, rushing 18 times for 113 yards. He also caught his first two passes of the season for 30 yards. His yards per carry average on the season is a robust 6.0. The most important stat though? He hasn’t fumbled since week four either.
He is only going to see more and more snaps as he gains the confidence of the coaching staff. More snaps means more opportunities, so go grab him while he is still out there!