We all knew there would be a bump in the road, and this past week certainly got rocky for the football world. The Tennessee/Pittsburgh game was wiped off the schedule completely, and late in the week a positive result from Cam Newton put the New England/Kansas City game into question. Fantasy owners everywhere were swarming while commissioners were just hoping it would go away and the teams would play.
As for the play in the field there were not a lot of standout performances from potential free agents. As a result, we will group everyone listed in this week’s story as “On the Radar.” The list does have several, as there is at least a little something for everyone from which to pick. Runners, throwers, catchers. A little bit of everything.
We get a “soft” entry into the real bye weeks, as Detroit and Green Bay will sit out the festivities next weekend. There will be four teams sitting out in future weeks, so depth will be at a premium. Make sure your squad is ready, paying particular attention to your defense as you want to be thinking a week or two in advance especially if you are a weekly streamer.
On to the wonders.
On the Radar
WR Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans
Given the opportunity for some playing time with Michael Thomas on the shelf, Smith made some fantasy noise this week as the New Orleans passing game looks like it may finally be waking up from its slow start. He made the most of his four catches this week against Detroit, hitting pay dirt with two of those grabs. Even when Thomas returns, Smith has proven that he deserves to compete with Emmanuel Sanders for playing time. He’s a good player to grab now and watch develop into a solid WR4, especially with Drew Brees looking good again.
RB D’Ernest Johnson, Cleveland
The departure of Nick Chubb from this week’s game against Dallas got Johnson onto the field, and he took advantage of the soft Dallas defense. We will take his 13 carries for 95 yards with a grain of salt, with Chubb missing time, Johnson will be in the mix as one of the top rushers in the Cleveland backfield.
RB Matt Breida, Miami
Myles Gaskin continues to be the surprise leader of the Miami backfield, but lurking in the shadows is Matt Breida. He has been quiet so far this season, not surprising given that he has not been given much of an opportunity to see the ball during games. He has only been getting a few chances to carry the rock, but this week against Seattle he got a little bit more love as he got involved in the passing game, hauling in three passes. He is worth a look for those teams that are in need of depth at the running back position.
RB Reggie Bonnafon, Carolina
Though Mike Davis has been carrying the torch in Christian McCaffrey’s absence, Bonnafon is emerging as a threat to some of his touches. This week against Arizona, Bonnafon was busy both by land and by air. He rushed 1o times for 53 yards and caught two passes out of the backfield, one of which was good for a touchdown. Davis is likely to continue to be the top option for Carolina, but Bonnafon is making a case for a bit of a timeshare situation.
WR David Moore, Seattle
On a day where Tyler Lockett was very quiet, Moore stepped up for Seattle. He made good on this three catches against Miami, turning them into 95 yards to go along with a touchdown. Up to this point Moore had been quiet, but in the first four weeks this season he has hit pay dirt twice. With a good matchup coming up against Minnesota, teams in need of a receiver can jump in here and get involved in what has been a prolific passing attack all season.
QB Dwayne Haskins, Washington
Playing against a tough Baltimore defense, the hope for Washington is that Haskins has turned the corner of being a competent quarterback. Though he did not end up with a touchdown throw, he had a completion percentage over 70 and rolled up 314 yards in the air. He tacked on a rushing touchdown to help his fantasy day, so the hope is that there will be happier days like this ahead for the youngster. Washington has a soft schedule coming up, with the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Dallas on tap.
WR Tim Patrick, Denver
Denver has had difficulty keeping ball catchers healthy, and this week against the New York Jets Patrick stepped up and was the top-option for Denver. He hauled in six passes for 113 yards, with one of those being good for a score. Keep an eye on the others on the Denver roster, but especially if Noah Fant continues to miss time, then Patrick will be a viable fantasy option.
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay
With Leonard Fournette on the sideline, Tampa Bay has been forced to play the rookie a little more than quarterback Tom Brady would like. In general, he does not like breaking in rookies, especially ones who are responsible for keeping him off the ground. This week against the Los Angeles Chargers, Vaughn caught two passes and rushed three times, with one of his catches resulting in a touchdown. Not a lot of production, but that little bit gets him a bit closer to Brady’s circle of trust. He is worth a look and a stash in deep leagues.
WR Jeff Smith, New York Jets
In uniform for the first time this season, Smith got a ton of looks from Sam Darnold in this week’s game against Denver. He caught seven passes on the day, and he ended up with 81 yards. With so many of the other Jets wideouts hurting, Smith is in line for continued fantasy production.