*Two new names added, both in the top 5...
This is not the complete list (as of 11/7 kickoff), just 15 names on our way to 50+ with commentary and another 25+ of ‘honorable mentions’. This is just the first 15 names out of the gates…players I see as ‘on waivers’ or are completely undervalued/easier available in trade/bottom of the roster kind of players (for others).
The names we’ll add over the next 1-2 weeks…some will jump into the top 10. This early list in Week 10 is not the ‘holy’ 15. They are guys more available now, as I pen this. Example D’Onta Foreman is on too many rosters as a ‘handcuff’ to call as ‘stash’ right away. However, I will add him into this as a guy more easier to acquire in trade…and adding guys like him (like a Marlon Mack, let’s say) to show where we value young prospects among the stash names.
Give this list another week or so to fill-in more names before you ask ‘What about ____.”
Here are 15 names to consider, in order of preference and the player data on free agency and a numerical ‘grade’ of our interest (0-10 scale) will be displayed shortly.
One thing I can tell you about this list, and it was noted last year…there is a glut of WRs. The WR position in fantasy is becoming massively oversupplied with ‘good’ and ‘interesting’ and ‘in the right spot…’ options. You’ll see the other positions elevated/valued higher because of it.
OK, onto the list…
QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago (2018: Age 24, Free Agent 2022)
You could argue Jimmy Garoppolo over Trubisky, given where Garoppolo just landed…and who Trubisky has for a coach. I’m going to assume Trubisky will have a new coach next season, and the hope is it’s an offensive-minded coach. There is a real risk it isn’t.
In the end, I think Trubisky is the modern-day Aaron Rodgers and is three-years-younger than Garoppolo. It’s splitting hairs. Trubisky is a little more athletic and might add another 1.0-1.5 PPG with his feet over Garoppolo.
I’m not trying to twist your arm because I love them both but Trubisky gets an ever so slight nod. When the coaching situation plays out, we could see Trubisky tumble down this list a little…sadly.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (2018: Age 27, Free Agent 2018)
My commentary here changed radically upon the news of his trade to the 49ers.
You have to dive right into this one – Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the best QB talents I’ve ever scouted and he now goes to a team who wants him and is coached by one of the best offensive minds (and they’re not many of them) in the NFL. If Kyle Shanahan can make miracles with Matt Ryan – he’s going to go to a Super Bowl with Garoppolo eventually.
People are excited now (Week 9) because of the trade an ex-Patriots guy, but they really don’t ‘believe’ like we do. His trade value, if needed to get, will lessen each week as this story dies down. You dive in now and you’re paying up…which is still a bargain. But next week cheaper. Once he plays doesn’t throw for 700 yards in a game, his value will dip further/normalize. Don’t panic into him, but definitely get him for 2018.
RB Tarik Cohen, Chicago (2018: Age 27, Free Agent 2021)
On this first pass of Stash ‘names’, something struck me as odd – the lack of RB names of interest. Subsequently, there are a million WRs. Finding a hidden RB gem is getting to be much more difficult than locating an upside WR.
Cohen is one of the best pure players I’ve seen this season. Like, he could have been a Rookie of the Year, 10+ TD guy this season in the hands of a better offensive mind. Instead, he ran into John Fox…the death of the forward pass.
Cohen has it all – hands/receiving ability like a WR, but the pop and toughness of a great RB. Like a small Barry Sanders with Larry Fitzgerald’s hands. There aren’t many players in the NFL that come close to the skillset Cohen has. However, someone has to want to utilize it.
We’re highly assuming the Bears will make a head coaching change. That change will matter greatly for Cohen. Example…if Cohen were traded for Chris Thompson today, for real in the NFL, Cohen would be a top 5 RB for the ROS. He just needs targets and touches. Cohen is better than Thompson because Cohen is good enough to be a literal WR, running medium and deep routes.
QB aside, there is likely to be no talent more unique, nor greater on this list than Tarik Cohen. He’s a poor man’s Tyreek Hill at running back.
I impatiently wait to see who his new coach will be.
(NEW) RB D’Onta Foreman, Houston (2018: Age 22, Free Agent 2021)
Foreman is likely, the Texans 2018 starting RB. The Texans can either pay underwhelming Lamar Miller $6.8M to be their RB next season or cut him for $2M. It’s a no-brainer.
Foreman, at this point, stands to reason as their guy for 2018. He’s got nice athleticism for his size. He has a power runner’s body. He has way better hands than anyone, including me, realized. He’s built to be a three-down workhorse.
There’s a problem – Foreman may be a handful off the field. His effort to stay in shape and his work in practices has been an issue back to college. He’s not so special, and the RB position is not so lacking, that a team has to put up with nonsense. I could see a clash between he and O’Brien coming. However, if Foreman can get it together – he could be an RB1 contender in 2019. With Miller gone and no real effort to sign or draft a name RB…Foreman will be a fantasy top 12 RB, possible top 20 overall name next season…especially with the thought of working with Deshaun Watson.
(NEW) TE O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay (2018: Age 23, Free Agent 2022)
We have a lot of things converging right now that allows Howard to stay under the radar/not producing in fantasy, but then also a few things that are moving to help him get to TE1 status faster than we thought previously…
Howard is under the radar because Tampa Bay stinks. Jameis Winston prefers Cameron Brate. The head coach hasn’t really pushed Howard as a weapon. 3-4-5 weeks ago, when Tampa was EVERYONE’S (not ours) favorite sleeper team…this list of sad realities for OJH seemed like they would be realities for the next 2-3 years.
However, now things are changing. People are starting to realize that Dirk Koetter is a bad NFL head coach (shocker). People are actually waking up to the reality that Jameis Winston is not very good and is a terrible face of the franchise. Winston has effectively been benched and may miss the rest of the season, and now the possibility that the team doesn’t sign him long-term and maybe trades him in another year or two…depending upon the new coach, etc., it is now at least ‘on the table’ for early discussions.
Howard should be a tight end the team builds some of the passing game around but instead, he’s a blocker and occasional misdirection target. Howard is an excellent TE prospect and a potential top 5 TE1 kinda weapon in a better offense…but not so with this current Tampa regime.
I believe the Bucs will move on from Koetter this year or next, but likely to move into a head coach to coddle Winston…and then we’re right back where we started. There’s a chance ‘good change’ happens ahead but not likely. The NFL isn’t that smart in most all cases. Hope is here, but odds are against. Howard is enough of a talent and a critical FF position to sit and take a cheap look if you can.
This is a bet that personnel guru, the man who really is to ‘blame’ for Dallas’s rise to the best-run team in the NFL, Will McClay…a bet that he continues to outfox the entire NFL and builds a true dynasty in Dallas.
The defensive line is getting loaded…Taco Charlton hasn’t even emerged yet – and he will. The linebackers are fine with Sean Lee, but will add talent to back him up this offseason…Dallas has been in trouble when Lee has been out hurt. The young secondary is getting better and better, and Byron Jones is one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
Dallas is loaded with young talent. They are excellent at personnel evaluation, so they’ll keep adding to it. The offense is amazing, so they’ll be able to control time of possession and always play from ahead. The Cleveland Browns have excellent young defensive talent, but they have nowhere near the organization that Dallas does.
The added bonus for Dallas DST 2018…the schedule rotation gives them the AFC South and NFC South. The Saints and Colts would be the top offenses for them to face next season, but Drew Brees is getting close to 40-years-old and who knows whether Andrew Luck will ever be healthy again. Because Green Bay won’t likely win the NFC North…no Packers on the rotation if Dallas wins the NFC East, and they’ll face offensively-stiff Minnesota instead. Dallas will likely get the Rams in the rotation, however, assuming the Rams win the NFC West.
Within the NFC East…Kirk Cousins will likely be gone. Eli is dying off. Carson Wentz/Philly is the only threat…and I’m not afraid of Wentz. I would also bet matchup #2 with Philly will be Week 17 for Dallas next year…another pearl for the Dallas DST.
WR Corey Coleman, Cleveland (2018: Age 24, Free Agent 2021)
Coleman has three things strongly in his favor, and he’s the only WR in ‘stash’ consideration I could claim ALL of these three things on…
1: Most impressively, to me, is that Coleman is a tough, professional WR. I thought he might be more of a speedster-threat only, but he’s more Brandin Cooks than I realized. It’s hard to see because he has functionally incompetent QBs throwing to him.
2: He has high-end athleticism. Like, real high-end…supposedly. I have yet to see the ‘wow’ moments but there have been very small glimpses…hard to consider since he always breaks a bone and disappears for most of his two seasons so far. He could be a 4.3+ runner with a 40”+ vertical. He didn’t participate in much pre-draft, official measuring so we can only speculate.
3: He has ‘draft status’. He won’t be easily ignored or dismissed like a Tyrell Williams is with LAC.
Coleman is a more multifaceted WR than I believed coming out of Baylor. I thought he’d be a killer speedster WR but now we see he also makes tough catches in coverage. He’s been more ‘professional WR’ than just ‘speed demon’. He just hasn’t had the QB play to show it off much.
The downside risks…
1: The QB play in Cleveland has been a disaster and who knows if they will ever fix it. First, Hue Jackson has to be removed…that will be a step in the right direction on Coleman. Second, they need to land a real QB. Third, they need a decent new head coach…not some hack defensive coordinator or someone from the Rex Ryan coaching tree of running the ball every play.
2: Coleman shows tendencies of not being dedicated to his craft, and potentially hanging out with the wrong crowd. He has all the things you want in becoming a top NFL WR…but I’m not sure he wants it bad enough, and Cleveland is a perfect place to go sleepwalk through a career. I’m not 100% on this, but there is some percentage factor here. The new coach’s impact (or not) on Coleman is a big factor.
3: Always hurt. Every time you turn around Coleman breaks something else. He hasn’t had the ACL or labrum or Lisfranc type problem, but more broken bones…twice. Hurt players tend to keep getting hurt.
Why Coleman at/near the top? If everything were to land right – a fresh, offensive-minded head coach who connects with Coleman, a legit/decent QB, and stays healthy – Coleman has some OBJ and Brandin Cooks DNA running through his veins. The upside potential is massive. He has draft status not to get buried. His upside is not just ‘good’ or ‘great’, there is potential for ‘elite’ here.
TE Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati (2018: Age 26, Free Agent 2019)
Tyler Eifert is a free agent in 2018 and is ALWAYS hurt. Someone not-named Tyler Eifert is going to be the Bengals tight end in 2018 and it is going to be Tyler Kroft.
It’s easy to overlook Kroft. I did, at first, when Eifert got hurt. I didn’t pay him much mind in 2015 when he was drafted. However, it’s easy to forget that Kroft was a #85 overall pick in 2015 when the Bengals already had Eifert on the roster. He was ‘wanted’ by the Bengals.
Once, Kroft joined the team, Eifert had his breakout season in 2015…and no one cared about Kroft for years. All the focus was on when Eifert could return from his various injuries. Of course, Eifert got hurt again this season and Kroft stepped in and is making people forget about Eifert.
Take a look at Eifert’s best two NFL seasons (2015-2016) and compare the per game numbers to Kroft in his last 4 games, his four true, established as the starter, games this season (as of Week 8)…
10.7 FF PPG (14.7 PPR) on 4.0 rec., 5.7 targets, 47.3 yards, 1.0 TDs per game = Eifert 2015
8.7 FF PPG (12.3 PPR) on 3.6 rec., 5.9 targets, 49.3 yards, 0.63 TDs per game = Eifert 2016
8.9 FF PPG (13.7 PPR) on 4.8 rec., 5.5 targets, 43.8 yards, 0.75 TDs per game = Kroft Weeks 4-8
Kroft has come in and looked a little more fluid/athletic than Eifert and it’s showing in the numbers, as Kroft is pacing for more catches per game than Eifert used to produce (early on in Kroft’s 2017 run as a starter). Eifert was lethal in the red zone, but Kroft is showing to be worthy in that area as well. There is intent with Kroft…not just ‘Oh, by the way he’s an option that got used a few times.’ He is getting steady targets and producing output every week (through Week 9).
A solid talent in a great situation, suddenly. Andy Dalton has shown to use the tight end nicely, especially in the red zone.
TE Trey Burton, Philadelphia (2018: Age 27, Free Agent 2018)
Trey Burton may have broken out in the NFL by now if it wasn’t for the fact that he stuck behind Zach Ertz. Trey Burton is a potential Jordan Reed TE if any NFL team is looking. The question is… Is there any NFL team looking?
I’d love Burton joining the Rams and Sean McVay to reprise the Jordan Reed role, but McVay may default that to 2017 rookie Gerald Everett. I think Burton is far superior in that role over Everett… but Everett is already there.
Burton is definitely leaving Philadelphia because it makes no sense for him to stay and be a backup. He can be a starter/star in the right offense somewhere else. I’m good with betting on the talent here, the real gamble is his landing spot. Where he lands, the progressiveness of the offense of his new place – that means everything to his fantasy value.
You have to rank him higher on this list because there are not many stash TEs as proven as Burton. Nor as many on this list certain to be a starter for their NFL team next season.
WR Trent Taylor, San Francisco (2018: Age 24, Free Agent 2021)
I wouldn’t have had Trent Taylor in the top 10 before the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, but Jimmy G. adds a special secret sauce to this to consider.
Before the Jimmy G. stuff, we start with the fact that Taylor might be the best ‘Wes Welker’ type WR since Wes Welker and is probably a much better Wes Welker. Taylor is far more athletic.
5’7.5”/181, 4.63 40-time, 1.58 10-yard, 6.74 three-cone, 4.01 shuttle = Taylor (2017)
5’8.6”/195, 4.65 40-time, n/a 10-yard, 7.09 three cone, 4.01 shuttle = Welker (2004)
Taylor is a little smaller but just as tough, and much more nimble…much more able to stick his foot in the ground and separate away in an instant. I watched him frustrate and mostly destroy Tyrann Mathieu in Week 4 (5 catches, 47 yards, 10 targets). Mathieu, who is a first-class jerk, was trying to intimidate Taylor with cheap shots, late hits, grabbing during the routes, and Taylor had his breakout moment just running routes that carved up Mathieu. Only, Brian Hoyer is a terrible delivery system…and inexplicably the 49ers did not build on that ace game by Taylor the week(s) after.
Now, we have Jimmy Garoppolo. Now we have the guy who comes from a system tutored by the master that used Welker/Edelman as extreme weapons…and great for PPR purposes.
In his two starts in 2016, Garoppolo…
Week 1 v. ARI – Edelman 7 catches, 7 targets, 66 yards
Week 2 v. MIA – Edelman 7 catches, 10 targets, 76 yards
In the 2017 preseason, Garoppolo gravitated towards UDFA WR Austin Carr, who played a little like that style – OK athlete, great routes/hands.
Because it’s possible that Brady-to-Welker has been reincarnated in Garoppolo-to-Taylor, Trent Taylor is one of our top dynasty stashes for 2017.
2016 at La. Tech: (14 games) 136 catches, 1,803 yards, 12 TDs
WR Tyrell Williams, LA Chargers (2018: Age 26, Free Agent 2018-Restricted)
Tyrell shouldn’t even be gracing this list. He shouldn’t have even been a name I wrote down as I gathered names for the list…not after his 2016 breakout performance. However, NFL teams/QBs tend to stick with a pattern of familiarity when established…and they tend to dismiss UDFA players no matter how successful they might appear to be. All that…and then add in that the Chargers are very poorly run and Anthony Lynn is a passing game nightmare…and here we are.
Tyrell 2018 faces all the same issues – Rivers only has eyes for Keenan Allen. Anthony Lynn only wants to run the ball and never pass, if he could have his way. Mike Williams was drafted, highly, and when he was Mike Mayock (because he was who I was watching when it happened) said it was a great pick because all the Chargers had was Allen, Travis Benjamin, and Dontrelle Inman…Tyrell never mentioned. He might as well have been speaking for the Chargers’ front office.
So, if everything is so bleak -- why have Williams on here?
Two potential upsides…
1: Keenan Allen gets hurt every other year. If Allen goes down again…Tyrell becomes a very important piece of the puzzle. He’d get more of a fair shake with Allen gone a la 2016.
2: It’s not out of the question the Chargers trade Williams for a bag of beads/something for Anthony Lynn’s precious running game. Maybe, a fullback. The Chargers look right past Tyrell as it is…why not deal him? I don’t think they have that foresight but I could see a savvier team making an offer and the Chargers being stupid enough to just give Tyrell away. If was made GM of a team today, one of my first phone calls would be to the Chargers inquiring about Tyrell…especially after another loss/it becomes apparent the Chargers season is over.
The real reason I write any of this is – because Tyrell has star potential. He has already flashed it. He may be the best WR on this list if given the chance and developed more…not ignored/chucked into the fire because no one is healthy. Not just star potential – superstar potential. He has measurables like Julio Jones. He’s got world-class potential…being locked in a garage for reasons I don’t understand, but am starting to very much understand their new head coach and the issues he brings.
Tyrell shouldn’t be on here because he’s a star that should be closing in on a Pro Bowl…instead, he’s closer to being benched/splitting with Mike Williams.
Tyrell is on here because there is huge risk 2018 is a re-do of 2017…Anthony Lynn will still be head coach and Rivers isn’t getting any better/younger.
WR Josh Doctson, Washington (2018: Age 24, Free Agent 2021)
The arrow is slowly starting to point up for Josh Doctson. He’s moved past Terrelle Pryor into the starting lineup…but that has meant little for any type of ‘wow’ output – but at least he’s starting, confidence shown by the head coach.
It seems like a million years ago, but Doctson was the #22 overall pick in the draft in 2016. He’s a really talented player. He has ‘draft status’. He’s getting some love from the coaches, finally.
In 2018, Pryor will be gone. Jordan Reed is never healthy. There is room for Doctson to be the Redskins #1 WR in 2018…three years in the organization. I would discount ‘experience’ if I thought Kirk Cousins was going in free agency 2018…but I’m not so sure he is now. Cousins may actually stay there since Jimmy Garoppolo wound up in San Fran.
Doctson is a talented WR we had good grades on at College Football Metrics in 2016. The situation seems to be moving in his favor. A lot to like for 2018 with Doctson.
WR Keelan Cole, Jacksonville (2018: Age 25, Free Agent 2021-restricted)
I keep teasing Keelan Cole but not making very many definitive statements about him. There’s a reason I do that – because I still don’t know what we have here.
There are times I think I see a young Antonio Brown trying to emerge. Other times, I worry he’s an easily overlooked-by-the-team, small school UDFA WR. Look at what Tyrell Williams and Cameron Meredith had to overcome to climb to starters in the NFL…and people still don’t believe in them, not even their own teams.
At least, with Cole – the team endorsed him right away. The no-name guy in for a tryout was suddenly starting/running with the starters in the preseason. Before you knew it, because of injury, Cole was starting early in the 2017 regular-season. Whereas Tyrell Williams and Cameron Meredith got ignored by their teams early on, Cole was pushed forward and they stuck by him even as he got off to a shaky start his first few regular-season targets. He’s looking better and better each week.
I like how the Jaguars respect him, but I’m not as excited about my fantasy asset working with the Jaguars. Doug Marrone has no use for the passing game and the Jaguars have other talented WRs as well. It’s not as fertile an offensive situation in Jacksonville for a WR…as it was when I promoted Tyrell Williams and Cameron Meredith before there breakouts.
I’m not in love with this situation, but I push Cole higher on the list because there are flashes of talent here that make me wonder if he might be one of the three best WR talents from the 2017 NFL Draft…and he wasn’t drafted.
WR Terrelle Pryor, Washington (2018: Age 29, Free Agent 2018)
Terrelle Pryor is being dropped all over fantasy football. A top 50 overall pick in the draft in the preseason, now he’s been rendered worthless. What happened? Is it his talent? Is it the situation?
If you watched him with the Browns in 2016, you know there’s some talent there. At times, he was majestical. Calvin Johnson-esque working all over the field. His break out WR performance in 2016 only landed him a solid one year ‘prove it’ deal in Washington…and he’s done anything but ‘prove it’. He’ll be on the move again in 2018. If he falls into the right landing spot and goes back to his 2016 ways…he’s a top 20 fantasy WR.
I’m guessing he’ll land with a lower-level franchise that cannot attract real free agents – he’ll go somewhere like the Jets or the Browns, etc. and when he lands on one of these bad teams with little to no talent – he could walk in the door as instantly the most gifted WR on the roster. There is still time for him to rehab from his 2017 nightmare…but it’s unlikely.
I have to wonder if there is some issue with Pryor off the field because it’s strange fall from grace…he’s not the swiftest guy I have ever come across. A player expected to be the team’s #1 and now he’s effectively benched. It could be Pryor’s fault totally. It probably is Pryor. However, it could also be Jay Braden is a terrible head coach at developing his players. Any running back he’s brought in as failed. Josh Doctson has been a huge letdown. Samaje Perine has been undeveloped, torn down and ignored for the likes of Rob Kelley – showing concrete proof Jay Gruden is out of his mind. Could be that Jay Gruden is a pretty good manager of a team and playbook but terrible developing and evaluating personnel. Sean McVay may have propped Gruden up and we don’t realize how bad he is at the talent evaluation and development part of the job. We’ll see. The potential for this little theory gives some hope Pryor just got mishandled by Washington.
There’s only a handful of guys on this stash list that have the physical talent that prior does…and almost none that have a proven NFL season under his belt like Pryor does.
WR Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco (2018: Age 27, Free Agent 2019)
I don’t know if Goodwin is ever going to be a consistent, starting WR, much less go on to matter big-time for fantasy. Here’s what I do know…there are physical attributes that would allow Goodwin to be a superstar if everything could get unlocked.
He gets knocked as a ‘track guy’ trying to play WR, but he’s really worked at his craft and has improved as a more legit WR versus just a deep-ball guy. Add to that A+ athleticism and a team that paid shockingly good money to bring him over in free agency – there are a lot of things to like here.
5’8.7/183 and ran a 4.27 40-time, a 6.66 three-cone, posted a 42” vertical – he’s an incredible physical specimen…the closest thing to Tyreek Hill in the league (on paper).
I don’t know how long he’ll be a ‘stash’ candidate for because Pierre Garcon has gone on IR and now there is a void with SF…who will be the main WR? Trent Taylor or Marquise Goodwin? Either way, Goodwin should get more looks and then we can see how good he might be. At times, he’s flashed brilliance, athletically, this season.
RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City (2018: Age 31, Free Agent 2018)
Jamaal Charles has been totally disrespected by Vance Joseph in his time with Denver… He has since the preseason. To me, it looks like he’s the most athletic, breakaway runner the Broncos have -- yet Vance Joseph never seems to give him the time of day.
At least, Charles proved he has still ‘got it’ in 2017. He’s 30+ (nearly 31) years old but that’s not ancient in today’s running back era. It looks like he has another good year still in him. He’s a free agent at the end of the year and he will definitely not be back in Denver.
Charles will go to a contender in 2018 to be a backup or complementary back or brought in if a freakish summer injury hits a team’s #1 RB…you know how things change in the RB world. Injuries and let downs abound. If Charles still has a little bit of magic left, he could be a productive, even shocking starting RB somewhere next season. That’s value you can use or trade-off.
WR Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia (2018: Age 26, Free Agent 2018)
I still believe Jordan Matthews is one of the better, professional WR in the NFL. He was the best WR on the Philadelphia Eagles for a couple of seasons, and now he’s the best WR on the Buffalo Bills. One of the problems being the Eagles top guy was that he had garbage for a passing game his last two years and he then joined the Bills with a pretty muted aerial attack as well. He keeps winding up the best musician playing with a terrible band.
Next season, he’s either retained by the Bills and could be their best WR again…but the Bills could have a totally different QB. Maybe, a good one? There’s the potential for that but with Buffalo, you’d bet more against it then for it – Sean McDermott is a defensive head coach and will play conservative on offense to support his defense, most likely. You don’t want to go there with Fantasy assets related to the conservative passing game. However, McDermott could open up if he had a QB to do it with. It’s not an absolute either way…we have to see how it plays out.
The other opportunity Matthews has is -- he could be a free agent on the move and lands in a better place. Bad organizations will ignore Matthews. But the more savvy ones would realize what a quality WR he is and then he could in a wonderful passing game and be part of their ensemble. I love Jordan Matthews as a #2 WR instead of being the obvious #1 and drawing top coverage.