In Week 3, Jeff Erickson had one of the all-time kick-yourself moments in fantasy football.
His plan was to foresightedly stash Coffee on his bench in anticipation of a Frank Gore(notes) injury, which would leave Erickson with the incumbent starter and thus save him a pricy auction bid in the league's FAAB format.
Hours later, Gore aggravated an ankle injury that will now keep him out at least two games, and Erickson had to pay $79 of his $100 budget to get Coffee back.
"Clearly I made the wrong call on who to drop," Erickson said. "And my choice to replace Coffee went oh-so-spectacularly well – Robert Meachem not only didn't hit for a big play, but got shut out entirely."
Without a doubt, roster stashing is a high-stakes game, and Erickson isn't the only one playing it.
Every week, owners in the 14-team expert league are taking a hard look in the free agency for players worth stashing, for "the next Glen Coffee." Get the player before the chips fall into place, and the price tag is but a roster spot. Get them afterward and be prepared to unload the wallet in an expensive bidding war.
If there is one nature to this game within the game, it's that attachment to stashed players is brittle at best. This point was highlighted in the results of a recent email survey. In it, I asked a handful of experts to provide an outlook on a player they're stashing and to share how secure that player's roster spot was heading into Week 4. Soon after issuing that survey, two owners had unloaded their stashed player.
With that in mind, let's take a quick look at who some are/were stashing.
Chase: "I wish I could give you a detailed insight into why I'm keeping Crabtree in hopes that his agent will soon come to his senses and get his client to San Francisco, but I cut that dead weight earlier today because David Akers(notes) is on a bye week and I needed a kicker. (I then later cut David Akers, but that's a whole other story.)"
"The only prescient decision I made on draft day was concluding after the draft that my team would be awful. I blame this mainly on a bad strategy and poor planning exacerbated by the fact that Michael Turner(notes) fell to me at No. 7 and I felt the need to take him even though I had spent the previous month badmouthing him to anybody who would listen, and some who wouldn't. Because of this, I was desperate after Week 1 to make some waves and picked up Crabtree with the hope that he'd sign and make an impact, even though it's rare for rookie receivers to do so and even rarer for ones who hold out for two months. The only reason he was still on my roster this week was because I didn't have anyone to replace him with. Now that the byes have started up, that changed."
Liss: "Green's on thin ice on my team, but one injury to Thomas Jones(notes), or even Leon Washington(notes), and he could be a monster on that team. It's a short bench, so with byes, you can't carry guys for too long. But you should always have that top waiver wire guy on your team before he becomes the top waiver wire guy. The way to do that is to stash players with the most upside."
Salfino: "In a league where you start 10 and go to 14 before drop/add, you can't wait and hope on anyone. Laurence Maroney just survived the cut this week."
"I wanted to hang on to Lance Moore(notes) but, to my complete disappointment and professional embarrassment, he's a No. 3 receiver when healthy. And he's not healthy. Fortunately, for every Lance Moore there is a Percy Harvin(notes). So I can shrug that pick off. It's tough to find a back in this league with most teams stashing anyone with any upside. Maroney's is marginal, but Fred Taylor(notes) is 33 and will not last as a feature back. Kevin Faulk(notes) and Sammy Morris(notes) can't man that role, either. BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) might be more deserving, but the Patriots picked Maroney and stuck with him. So any faith I have in him is really rooted in the faith I have in them. For one more week, anyway, it's enough (barely) to keep him rostered. "
Romig: "I have to be honest: he's a total Hail Mary (pun intended)."
"My WR depth was compromised when Anthony Gonzalez(notes) went down Week 1 and it hasn't helped that Domenik Hixon(notes) has been injured and ineffective. My best-case scenario for him would be a return by Week 6 and a rekindling of the chemistry he showed with JaMarcus Russell(notes) in the preseason. Judging from what I've seen of the Oakland offense, the most I could hope for is a couple of home runs here and there; you know, your standard 2 rec., 68 yards, TD-type games."
"To say his position is not secure would be a glorious understatement. I already cut him once. He wouldn't be on my roster right now if I hadn't lost out on a few FA bids."
Other currently-stashed players of note: Mewelde Moore(notes), owned by Brandon Funston; Ladell Betts(notes), owned by Scott Pianowski
Most stash-worthy players who are currently available: Jamaal Charles(notes), Peyton Hillis(notes), Matt Leinart(notes), Danny Ware(notes)
Working the Wire
The following section catalogs the transactions made in the Friends and Family League following each week of the regular season. Every owner has a $100 free agent acquisition budget for the year to be used on players clearing waivers.
The move: Dalton Del Don dropped Joey Galloway(notes) and added Davone Bess(notes) for $23.
The logic: This is the latest in Del Don's aggressive efforts to address his wide receiver corps through free agency. Bess was Chad Henne's(notes) favorite target in Week 3, so Del Don is investing in that trend to continue.
The move: John Hansen dropped Laurent Robinson(notes) and added Bryant Johnson(notes) for $11.
The logic: Johnson entered the season as one of the better deep sleepers in fantasy. With the Lions often playing from behind and defenses double- and triple-teaming Calvin Johnson(notes), he figures to see regular targets against man coverage.
The move: Andy Behrens dropped Hills and added Kevin Faulk for $9.
The logic: Faulk is due to receive more attention from Tom Brady(notes) after seeing only four targets in Weeks 2-3. The third-down specialist can be left to float in free agency in standard leagues, but he's a commodity to be had in our 0.75 PPR format.
Other adds: Brett Favre(notes), Heath Miller(notes), Buffalo defense, Cincinnati defense, Maurice Morris(notes), Hakeem Nicks(notes), Visanthe Shiancoe(notes), San Francisco defense, Andre Caldwell(notes), Mike Wallace(notes), Joe Nedney(notes), Rob Bironas(notes), Josh Scobee(notes), Houston defense, Matt Prater(notes), Indianapolis defense, Marcedes Lewis(notes)
Other drops: Kyle Orton(notes), Michael Clayton(notes), Trent Edwards(notes), Seattle defense, Jeremy Maclin(notes), Louis Murphy(notes), Oakland defense, Tennessee defense, Michael Jenkins(notes), Lance Moore, Shaun Suisham(notes), Jason Elam(notes), Neil Rackers(notes), Bobby Wade(notes), Michael Crabtree, David Akers, Matt Leinart