Fantasy Sports Edge: Tips for this weekend’s games

Courtesy of Kim Klement (USA TODAY Sports) | Wayne Gallman hasn't seen much action in the first three weeks of the season. With Saquon Barkley sidelined with an ankle injury, Gallman should see a major increase in production, and is worth picking up in fantasy football leagues if possible.
Courtesy of Kim Klement (USA TODAY Sports) | Wayne Gallman hasn’t seen much action in the first three weeks of the season. With Saquon Barkley sidelined with an ankle injury, Gallman should see a major increase in production, and is worth picking up in fantasy football leagues if possible.

Jason Mignanelli | Staff Writer

Sept. 26, 2019

Just as summer has come and gone, so too has Week 3 in the NFL. By now, most of you probably have a good idea of how your fantasy football team is looking. Many of you are pondering your draft mistakes and kicking yourselves for saying, “Patrick Mahomes in the first round? That’s way too early for a quarterback who is bound to take a step back after last year’s record-breaking 50 touchdown season.”

Well, if you said this and then passed on Mahomes in the first round, then you are just like me. I, too, fell into the trap of taking a running back or a wide receiver in the first rounds of my leagues. Even though I did end up with Christian McCaffery and a couple of other studs, I am still kicking myself for not drafting Mahomes immediately.

If you were one of the few people who looked past all of the fantasy football talk and simply went with your heart and took Mahomes, my props to you because even if you completely butchered the rest of your draft, you are probably still leading your league or you are somewhere close to the top.

Now that we have established that the Patrick Mahomes owners are doing just fine, what about the rest of us? Even if you didn’t take Mahomes, you could still be sitting pretty in your leagues. Maybe you got a steal in Lamar Jackson or Mark Ingram, or even both. Maybe you were like me and took Christian McCaffery with your first pick, and aside from last week’s outlier, I’m pretty happy with McCaffery’s production to this point. Additionally, you could have taken Dak Prescott and got a steal in Amari Cooper. Any way you look at it, the players that you drafted are probably doing what you expected.

The most exciting thing about fantasy football is that every year there are a ton of guys that become famous after the first three weeks. Why is Week 3 the magic number? Because Week 1 in the NFL is usually an over-hyped “lion out of the cage” type or “cabin fever is over” type, outlier. You can’t take the results from Week 1 as anything besides that. Now, if a guy continues to produce in Week 2, then we begin to take notice. If he does it again in Week 3, then we can say it’s probably going to be consistent.

The only problem with waiting until Week 3 to make roster moves is that every league has a guy like me who tries to predict those breakout players and hits the waiver wire hard and heavy Weeks 1, 2 and 3.

By this point, the cat is out of the bag on names like Terry McLaurin, Marquise Brown, Jon Ross, Mark Andrews and Mecole Hardman. Most of those guys got snagged up after the first two weeks.

I encourage you to take a look at this week’s “Money Makers or Money Takers” advice that I list below. In this section I will give you my waiver wire moves for this upcoming week. I’ll do my best to help you to begin thinking in the right direction. The Money Makers are the guys that I believe are worthy of a roster spot. The Money Takers are guys that I think you should drop.

Money Makers

Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants

An injury opening up a starting spot always creates a tough waiver wire add situation. Unfortunately, if your league has a waiver wire process with an order then you may not even have a chance to get Wayne Gallman. More than likely, the Saquon Barkley owner is going to be jumping on Wayne Gallman here.

It’s too early to tell how long Barkley will be sidelined, but you can’t wait to find out on this one. You need to add Gallman ASAP. I know, I know, he did absolutely nothing last week when he took over for Barkley, but after seeing Barkley in a boot on the sidelines, this could be serious.

Perhaps a week of practicing as the starter will help Gallman to become an acceptable flex player.

Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

He had more touches than veteran LeSean McCoy in Week 3. McCoy got the touchdown, but Williams showed a lot of promise with nine carries for 62 yards, and five receptions for 47 yards. Not to mention, McCoy is banged up, and the Chiefs would like nothing more than to save those old legs for a Super Bowl run. In a Mahomes offense, it’s only a matter of time until Williams blows up. If you can still get him in your league, do it.

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Remember the three-week rule that I talked about before? Minshew has gradually shown his worth over the first few weeks of the season. His numbers aren’t exactly jumping off the page but he has consistently scored over 17 points in each of the first three weeks. Minshew Mania, the mustache, the underdog, I’m buying it all. Gardner Minshew just looks comfortable. He has weapons in D.J. Chark and Chris Conley at wide receiver. He has a serviceable running game with Leonard Fournette and last but not least, he has a solid defense on the other side of the ball. Minshew may already be gone in some of your leagues but he is my first option, if available.

Kyle Allen, QB, Carolina Panthers

Everyone who drafted Cam Newton is probably kicking themselves over and over again. I saw signs last year that he was falling apart, so I avoided him at all cost this year. However, if you drafted Newton, it isn’t too late to pick up Kyle Allen. Most people in your league are going to get all twinkly eyed about Daniel Jones. I believe Allen is the better option. Allen has something that Jones no longer has, for the time being. That is, he’s a running back that can catch short passes and break off long touchdown runs.

Look at the other quarterbacks who are scoring high points. Yes, they have good receivers, but nothing is easier on a young quarterback than being able to dump off the ball to a great running back and watch him take it to the house. Remember, if the quarterback throws it to the running back it doesn’t matter if the ball flies 60 yards to a receiver or five yards to a running back, either way the quarterback gets credited with a touchdown pass.

Additionally, Allen has big time weapons around him. Greg Olsen looked great last week and his receivers are getting better each week. For me, I’m higher on Allen right now. I’ll take the “wait and see” approach on Jones without Barkley.

Money Takers

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

Don’t get me wrong, Jones looked great last week. He has weapons like Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram and will be getting Golden Tate back sometime soon. However, losing Barkley hurts the young quarterback.

Wayne Gallman is on my Money Makers list only because he is the single tailback on the Giants’ roster aside from Barkley. Jones has the benefit of being able to run and scramble, but I still see the rookie needing some more time to become fantasy relevant.

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

I know, I know. Before you flip out and swear up and down to never read my articles again, let me explain. Do I think that any James Conner owner should simply drop him? NO! Of course not. However, if you have someone in your league that just loves those Pittsburgh Steelers through thick and thin, now would be the time to try and unload him.

I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of Jaylen Samuels and Benny Snell moving forward. Once again, Conner is banged up and quite frankly doesn’t even resemble the guy from last year.

Would the real James Conner please stand up? Unfortunately, I don’t think the real Conner will be standing up anytime soon.

Look on the bright side, you could have been one of those Pittsburgh Steelers fans who stretched for JuJu in the first round, yikes.

I’m just as surprised as you are by the Steelers lack of production so far this season, but when the offensive line looks this bad, that’s when I start to wave the terrible white towel.

Jordan Howard, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

I didn’t see this one coming. Although, I never had high hopes for the Eagles backfield as a whole. Miles Sanders has clearly taken over the lead role and I don’t even think Darren Sproles will see much work moving forward.

Jordan Howard is nothing more than a touchdown dependant, dart throw at this point.

This really gets me thinking. As good as he looked in Chicago at times when he was the workhorse, do some running backs just need the volume to succeed? I think in almost any other system, Howard would be having a decent season.

In Philadelphia, I think he is getting lost in the shuffle and is being under used. It almost makes me wonder why Philly even signed him.

Miles Sanders is clearly the guy that Doug Pederson wants to lead the backfield. So from a fantasy perspective, that’s the guy we want on our team.