The Watch List III

The Watch List III

Players to watch and players to add in big formats
By: Pete Davidson : October 03, 2013 2:19pm

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This is the third version of the Watch List and it's still growing.  These are players that have significant fantasy potential, but that are, for one reason or another, on the fringe of ownership in deeper formats. I own a few of these guys and I’d own a few others if had the roster space. Some are just players that I follow in case they start getting the requisite snaps and touches.

I’ll do my best to give you the appropriate context with each player, so you’ll know what to look for and when to act. Of course, if you just read our weekly Waiver Wire, you’ll know. I used a threshold of 15% ownership in CBS leagues. These are players who could break out at any time and I want Rotobahn’s readers to know about them early.  I may add a player or two to this list as I continue to watch film from Week 4.  The preliminary Week 5 rankings will be all be posted before kickoff tonight, and check out my recent blog posts on Johnathan Franklin and the Giants backfield.

Here are some guys who were on the last Watch List  or Watch List II but have graduated past the 15% threshold.

  • Julian Edelman - 100%
  • E.J. Manuel - 36%
  • Julius Thomas - 100%
  • Joique Bell - 97%
  • Robert Woods - 34%
  • Stephen Hill - 26%

Kenny Stills, WR, Saints - Owned in 13% of leagues.

Here's a tricky one.  Stills was on the first Watch List but was taken off of the second installment after his ownership rose sharply.  Its now declined again and is down to 13%.  This is a player we really like as you probably know.  We expect his role to grow as the season wears on.

Terrance Williams, WR, Cowboys - Owned in 11% of leagues.

If Miles Austin doesn’t get healthy and show a little more life, this kid could start to build momentum.  The Cowboys probably want Williams to take over for Austin in 2014, so I doubt they will hesitate to make the switch early if Williams shows week-to-week improvement. He is definitely a player to watch closely.

LaMichael James, RB, 49ers - Owned in 8% of leagues.

He should be owned in more leagues as both Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter have rich injury histories. James is a very solid talent and he’d be quite valuable if he was getting regular snaps behind the 49ers line.

Jeremy Kerley, Jets - Owned in 8% of leagues

His ownership just went under 10% and he should actually be on the upswing with all the injuries in the Jets receiving group.  Kerley should be a key component this week and he's a good add if you need a flex option in a deep league.

Zac Stacy, RB, Rams - Owned in 7% of leagues.

He could become the starter at some point and he should definitely be owned now in deeper leagues as his upside in the Rams offense is pretty high. He's was active last week and he may start in Week 5 or at least get significant touches.  He has the most fantasy upside of all the Rams tailbacks for the long term. OC Brian Schottenheimer’s offense, with its substantive verbiage, is notoriously hard on rookies, so be patient.  Here's my original scouting report on Stacy.  It's got some solid footage.

Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins - Owned in 6% of leagues.

This kid has a very high ceiling in the Redskins’ offense and he is there for the taking in most leagues. I own him in my long term leagues and larger redraft leagues. This guy could bust out any time.  A knee bruise slowed him down and ket him out of Week 4, but he looks liek the TE to own in Washington

Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers - Owned in 6% of leagues.

His ownership is up a few points since the last time we did this article and with Malcom Floyd finished for the season, Allen could become a weekly contributor.  He should be owned in all 12-team leagues coming off of his strong Week 4 performance.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Steelers - Owned in 6% of leagues.

He could break out at any time and more importantly, for those who play in long term formats, he’s almost a lock to be a starter in 2014. His playing time has begun to rise while his ownership has fallen.  The time to act is now if you are in a large format.  The Steelers' offense will get better now that Le'Veon Bell is back and that'll open up opportunity for the receivers.

Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles - Owned in 6% of leagues.

He’s going to start gaining steam as a matchup play. We’ve seen him having trouble with quality corners, but as the Eagles settle in, he will begin to see the ball more, especially in the red zone. He’s a player to own for sure in large formats with 14 or more teams. His 12-team viability is not there yet, but things could change.  He's clearly not running 4.53 anymore, but Cooper's role should continue to grow, especially in the red zone.

Mike Goodson, RB, Jets - Owned in 6% of leagues.

He's apparently not in great shape, so his debut could be Week 6 for all we know, but Goodson has ability and the Jets need bodies.  He's a guy to keep an eye on.

Donald Brown, RB, Colts - Owned in 5% of leagues.

Keep an eye on Brown, who could be an interesting player if Ahmad Bradhsaw's neck continues to be a problem.  Brown's a JAG, but he's could enough to put up numbers if he edns up getting regular touches.

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles - Owned in 5% of leagues.

Mike Vick gets hurt.  There's no way around it.  And, when it happens, Foles will get a shot.  He's got enough ability to be rostered in really deep formats if you are invested in Vick and he'll be a hot waiver wire add if and when Vick goes down.

Bobby Rainey, Browns - Owned in 3% of leagues

Rainey is a kid with some skill and he's going to get a chance to earn a bigger role.  He's battling with Willis McGahee and Chris Ogbonnaya for snaps, but he's the youngest and quickest of the group, and that could help him.  I like what I have seen in limited action so far.  Rainey may have made it as a Raven, but his 2012 season was completely derailed by a knee injury and Bernard Pierce established himself during that time.

Denard Robinson, RB, Jaguars - Owned in 3% of leagues.

MJD is showing ominous signs of decline and this team will be in “future mode” soon if they aren’t already there. Players like Denard will be getting long looks over the season’s second half and “Shoelace” could be an asset in large formats. He's dinged up right now, but his time will come.  Check out some of his talents in our original pre-draft report on the ex-Michigan QB.

Stepfan Taylor, RB, Cardinals - Owned in 3% of leagues.

Andre Ellington has the buzz right now and rightly so, but don’t forget about Taylor, who has more size and is incredibly sound fundamentally for a rookie. In larger formats and in long term leagues, this is still a player to own or at least monitor.

Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles - Owned in 3% of leagues.

He’s very talented and in Chip Kelly’s offense, the tight end is a high profile position. Ertz could start gaining fantasy steam at any point. Keep an eye on his snap totals. If they begin to rise, you should consider adding him in deeper formats.

Jon Baldwin, WR, 49ers - Owned in 2% of leagues.

The time to add Baldwin is this week as he may get a legit shot at playing time.  If you are wondering why this kid was a first rounder in the first place, check this out.  Can Jim Harbaugh get him back to being the play-maker he once was?  I'd say it's worth a roster spot while we find out.  Baldwin is a quality high-upside stash in leagues with 12 teams or more and he's got some solid dynasty value.

Justin Hunter, WR, Titans - Owned in 2% of leagues.

He only has two catches on the season, but both went for big scores.  Hunter is a kid you might remember from our pre-draft article called Rotobahn's Guys.  This guy has crazy ability and it's starting to show.  Combine that with Kenny Britt's demise and you have an intriguing player.

Quinton Patton, WR, 49ers - Owned in 2% of leagues.

Patton is a player with a high ceiling and he can be stashed in larger formats if you have the bench space. Patton had just moved into 2nd position on the depth chart when he broke his foot on Thursay Night Football in Week 4.  He'll be back in 4-6 six week, so he's a player to watch.  Patton’s very much a Jim Harbaugh guy and his lack of usage early on was related to all the missed time Patton had in camp.  Depending on how Jon Baldwin and others do in his absence, Patton could still return to a significant role.

Khiry Robinson, Saints - Owned in 2% of leagues.

He's a good looking back and he has the best combination of talents of all the backs in New Orleans as far as early downs are concerned.  If Mark Ingram continues to struggle with injuries, Robinson's role could grow.  He's a player to keep an eue on in large formats.

Kenjon Barner, RB, Panthers - Owned in 2% of leagues.

He’s still working back from an ankle injury but he could find a role when he returns if he’s 100%. We expect that return to take place this week.  The Panthers need something more dynamic to pair with Cam Newton and the Williams/Stewart combo is starting to wear thin.  Barner has the ability to shake up that backfield if they give him a chance.  We'll see what happens.

Joseph Fauria, TE, Lions - Owned in 2% of leagues.

Touchdowns. This kid scores touchdowns. If Brandon Pettigrew continues to misfire and make mistakes, we could see more of this kid, who already has two scores on the year. There will also be an increase in 2-TE sets with all the injuries to the Lions' receivers.  I like Fauria in long term leagues as he could be a primary red zone weapon by 2014 or even late 2013.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens - Owned in 2% of leagues.

He could make it back during the fantasy regular season. If you are in really good shape but lack a top shelf tight end, Pitta will make a nice high-quality stash option very soon.

Jeff Cumberland, TE, Jets - Owned in 1% of leagues.

I like this kid and he's being held back by the presence of veteran Kellen Winslow.  If Cumberland starts getting more snaps, and he may this weekend, he could end up with significant fantasy value.  He's definitely a player to watch in 12-team leagues and I'd add him right now in leagues with 14 teams or more.  He's has rare speed for the position and he's all the way back from his 2011 knee surgery.  He's a nice dynasty add in deeper formats.  Winslow will be gone by next year and his knee will act up some time this season ... bank on it.  

Vance McDonald, TE, 49ers - Owned in 1% of leagues.

I think he gains steam as we move through the season. In large formats, he’ll be worth rostering at some point. We’ll be monitoring his snaps. He could get some extra love this week if Vernon Davis sits due to his hamstring woes.

Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs - Owned in 1% of leagues.

He’s been banged up and a bit slow to learn so far, but don’t sleep on this kid’s potential if he starts getting serious snaps for the Chiefs--and he could once he’s healthy. In fact, he COULD be exactly what they need.  

Chris Polk, RB, Eagles - Owned in 1% of leagues.

If LeSean McCoy gets banged up, Polk will have a role and any back with a role in Chip Kelly’s offense is worth owning. He’s a player to know about, especially for McCoy and Bryce Brown owners.  Polk got a few carries in Week 4 and he found the zone once.  He also did the little things that coaches like to see.  Polk is a player to know about.

Kris Durham, WR, Lions - Owned in 1% of leagues.

Durham has a preexisting relationship with QB Matt Stafford and that's always something to remember when you are about to blow him off as an option.  Think Fleener/Luck or Bennett/Cutler.  

Brian Quick, WR, Rams - Owned in 1% of leagues.

He has serious upside if he ever gets significant snaps.  Quick has a lot of ability as an outside option.  It's s shame that the Rams have too much talent at receiver and not enough on the offensive line.  Keep an eye on Quick.

Stedman Bailey, WR, Rams - Owned in 1% of leagues.

As with Quick, he is a serious talent buried on a deep roster, but his day is coming--perhaps in 2014, but it's coming.  If Bailey was on the Ravens, he'd be a WR3 right now.  He's got the hands, routes and instincts to be very very good despite his lack of ideal measurables.  If he ever starts, you definitely want him.

Alex Green, RB, Jets - Owned in 0% of leagues.

Green is a player we really like, but the key is for him to get all the way back from his ACL surgery.  He's not a guy to roster right now outside of long term leagues, but if positive news starts to leak about him, he be a guy to add in large formats.  He is a very good fit for the Jets new offense.  Probably the best fit on the roster.

Ladarius Green, TE, Chargers - Owned in 0% of leagues.

He has one grab today and he could be a major fantasy force if anything happens to Antonio Gates.  Huge upside if he can get enough snaps due to his size, speed and red zone potential.

Brice Butler, WR, Raiders - Owned in 0% of leagues.

Denarius Moore's play has improved in recent weeks.  That puts a damper on Butler's short term appeal, but he's still a guy to keep an eye on.  Butler is a guy we liked before the draft. We hoped that he’d land in a place like Green Bay, but he’s shown well since landing in Oakland and he’s playing significant snaps.  All it takes is a single injury.

Cierre Wood, RB, Texans - Owned in 0% of leagues.

All it takes is one injury and Wood will be rostered in most leagues. If there is an injury to either Arian Foster or to Ben Tate, you should be running to the wire to add this kid.

Theo Riddick, RB, Lions - Owned in 0% of leagues.

With the injury to Reggie Bush and with the fall of Mikel Leshoure, Riddick is a player to know about. He’s extremely versatile and sound fundamentally. This kid could post serious numbers in the Lions’ offense if he was getting the snaps. Just remember the name if there are more injuries in Detroit.

Marquise Goodwin, WR, Bills - Owned in 0% of leagues.

Goodwin is on his way back from a broken hand and he has the ability to do great things of Buffalo can get the offense going.  This kid can absolutely fly and he's more than just a track star.

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