Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement are priority adds after Ajayi injury
Well, of course a significant season-ending injury was announced shortly after we posted the pickups piece. Jay Ajayi has been sent to IR after suffering a torn left ACL on Sunday — brutal news. Your highest priority pickup in the wake of this mess is Smallwood, who’s averaged 6.0 YPC on 25 rush attempts while adding 10 catches for 96 yards this season. He’s not only a quality back, but he also happens to be the healthiest runner on Philly’s roster. Clement has been dealing with a quad malfunction and Darren Sproles is still fighting his way back from a hamstring issue. Clement should return soon, but Smallwood offers the most obvious short-term utility. Add wherever you need backfield help.
We should also note, of course, that Le’Veon Bell is currently holding out and on the trade market. Philadelphia would be a dream landing spot for Bell if a trade were to actually happen. It would also solve 80 percent of my current fantasy problems, so here’s hoping.
Schedule: at NYG, Car, at Jac
FAAB bid: $26 for Smallwood, $16 for Clement
We’ve had a Robby Anderson sighting
Welcome to the 2018 season, Robby Anderson. Nice of you to join us, just a few days after you were mass-dropped in fantasy leagues.
Anderson entered Sunday’s matchup with Denver having caught just eight passes for 108 yards and one score over four games, so the fantasy drops were justifiable. Then he roasted poor Bradley Roby and the Broncos, catching three balls for 123 yards and two long touchdowns. Here’s a taste…
Beautiful ball. Beautiful catch.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) October 7, 2018
Just vicious. Anderson still isn’t seeing extreme volume, obviously, but Sunday’s performance serves as a reminder that he remains one of the NFL’s most dangerous vertical threats. Unlocking the deep passing game is a big deal for the Jets’ first-year QB. Sam Darnold entered the week averaging just 3.8 deep attempts per game according to Player Profiler; well outside the top-20.
As we get deeper into the byes, you’ll want Anderson available as a boom/bust receiver. When he goes off, he can be a week-winner.
Schedule, next three weeks: Ind, Min, at Chi
FAAB bid ($100 budget): $14
MVS has a day for Green Bay
Marquez Valdes-Scantling took advantage of the injury-related absences of Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, catching seven balls for 68 yards and one score (and nearly another) on 10 targets. MVS was a fifth-round pick out of USF and he feasted in the preseason. He’s a size/speed combo receiver (6-foot-4, 4.37) with plenty of potential. Allison will likely return for next week’s matchup against the Niners, but Cobb’s status is much murkier.
Schedule, next three weeks: SF, bye, at LAR
FAAB bid: $4
Christian Kirk makes a Week 5 house call
Kirk has delivered over 80 receiving yards in two of his last three games, so he’s definitely clicking with rookie QB Josh Rosen. On Sunday, Kirk delivered three catches for 85 yards and this long score…
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 7, 2018
Arizona’s passing game might be something less than an all-you-can-eat fantasy buffet this season, but Kirk is clearly legit. He was a terrific three-year player at Texas A&M, topping 900 receiving yards in every season. He’s a good bet to produce a few additional WR2/WR3-ish games in the weeks ahead.
Schedule: at Min, Den, SF
FAAB bid: $7
It’s well past time to add Taylor Gabriel
We’re out of fresh stuff to say about Gabriel, a player we’ve hyped in pretty much every edition of the pickups column so far this year. Gabriel is coming off a seven-catch, 104-yard, two-touchdown performance and he’s averaging 7.3 targets per week. But for some reason, he remains available in 82 percent of Yahoo leagues. Chicago’s schedule is uncommonly friendly in the months ahead, and Gabriel is an explosive playmaker who’s seeing plenty of work. Add if you like good players.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Mia, NE, NYJ
FAAB bid: $11
Jameis Winston returns to our fantasy lives
Winston has already been announced as the starter for Week 6, so the Fitzmagic era has come to an end, again (big assist by the Bears defense.) He went 16-for-20 for 145 yards and one score against Chicago last week, and he’s coming off a season in which he set career highs in completion percentage (63.8), yards per attempt (7.9) and passer-rating (92.2). Also worth noting: Winston’s upcoming matchups are ridiculous. Each of his next three opponents currently rank in the bottom-third of the league in pass defense.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Atl, Cle, at Cin
FAAB bid: $8
Josh Reynolds gets interesting in L.A.
Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp were both concussed on Sunday, which led to opportunities for Reynolds, a second-year receiver from Texas A&M. Reynolds has excellent size (6-foot-3) and superior leaping ability, and he flashed plenty of talent in the win at Seattle. He caught two passes for 39 yards on three targets, adding one rush attempt for 10. We shouldn’t need to tell you that if Reynolds steps into a starting role for the Rams, he’ll get interesting in a hurry.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Den, at SF, GB
FAAB bid: $5
In desperate times, consider Latavius Murray
It isn’t always ever a clinic with Murray, but he clearly owns the lead role in Minnesota’s backfield while Dalvin Cook (hamstring) is sidelined. Murray rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries in Cook’s absence, adding two catches for 14. That’s obviously not a stellar stat line, but let’s remember he was facing Philly, the league’s top-ranked run defense. It’s tough to feel optimistic about Cook at this stage, so Murray has a shot at a significant workload in a much more appealing Week 6 matchup with Arizona. The Cards had allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs entering Sunday.
Schedule, next three weeks: Ari, at NYJ, NO
FAAB bid: $7
Jets defense, anyone?
With five weeks in the books, the New York Jets rank second in the league in takeaways (11) and ninth in sacks (14). New York’s D dropped Case Keenum four times on Sunday, intercepted him once, and held the Broncos to just 16 points. Next week’s opposing quarterback, Andrew Luck, has already thrown five picks and he’s been sacked 10 times.
Schedule, next three weeks: Ind, Min, at Chi
FAAB bid: $1
Also recommended: QB Baker Mayfield, Cle, RB Alfred Morris, SF, RB LeGarrette Blount, Det, RB Frank Gore, Mia, RB Ronald Jones II, TB, WR Chester Rogers, Ind, WR Courtland Sutton, Den, WR D.J. Moore, Car, WR David Moore, Sea, TE Cameron Brate, TB, TE Geoff Swaim, Dal, TE Ryan Griffin, Tex