Week 1 Stash Guide

As Week 1 rapidly approaches, we begin to look at our drafted rosters to optimize lineups. A key aspect of managing our rosters is the ability to remain active and not get complacent. In the past, I have worked on a Game Theory I call “The Revolving Door”. I will combine that knowledge with this article to produce My Week 1 Stash Guide. Check out the full article at www.theleaguewinners.com if you want a full explanation of the theory. For this article, I will summarize it:

“The Revolving Door”

The Revolving Door is simple. Unless you have had extremely good luck in your drafts, you are bound to have two or three players at the bottom of your lineup that you will move on from. Instead of just letting these players take up space at the bottom of your bench, you should be sending out the revolving door in favour of high-upside stashes.

The key to this theory is to break the week of games into slates. Say I have two players on my team that I wish to move on from. Instead of simply dropping them for a player I want, I will go through my flowsheet. First I will drop them for two players I like from the Thursday Night Football game. If those two stashes don’t hit, I will drop them for two players from the 1:00 p.m. games on Sunday. If those players don’t produce results I will then drop them for two players from the 4:00 p.m. games on Sunday. I continue this process for Sunday Night Football as well as Monday Night Football.

Game Theory

So by the end of week one, I will have rotated those two dropped players through an additional eight dart throws. You may be wondering why I would do this. It’s simple. Those players aren’t producing, so I will drop them in hopes that one of the players I stash either breaks out or has an injury in front of him opening him up for an increased role.

Some weeks, this theory produces no usable players, so I continue with it into the following week. In approximately half the weeks, however, I will find a valuable asset. From there I can then choose to keep that player or try and sell high. This strategy frequently keeps me out in front of the waiver wire. It saves me countless FAABs when I already have that week’s hot waiver added to my roster. If I don’t believe in that player, I simply flip him to someone who does. That strategy has no downside. I’m already dropping the two players, so why not take free stabs at a potential league winner? The only thing this strategy requires is some patience and planning by the person who uses it.

So, now that you have an idea of my Revolving Door strategy. Let’s implement it for Week 1 and take a look at some of the players I will look to stash where available.

Thursday Night Football (Lions @ Chiefs)

The options for this game are very tricky, which makes it the perfect game to target. If you weren’t able to secure a high-end tight end and think it may become a problem, Sam LaPorta is your target. He may not be available in deeper leagues but he is potential fantasy gold for tight-end needy managers. Realistically, he is the only unrostered Lion worth stashing.

As far as the Chiefs are concerned, the wide receivers and running backs are all viable stashes. Isiah Pacheco is the presumed lead running back, but Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire could all win the job themselves. The wide receiver room is anyone’s guess which makes it a great option. There could easily be five Chiefs wide receivers on your waiver wire, and any of them could potentially emerge as the WR1 on this elite offence. Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney are likely to be rostered, if not they are the best options. Assuming those two are already rostered, Rashee Rice and Justyn Ross are great homerun swings for receiver-needy managers.

Sunday 1:00 Slate

This slate of games is always the most difficult because most of the teams will play in it. Here I prefer to target handcuff running backs behind injury-prone starters and upside young receivers who could be primed for a breakout. It won’t hold in week one, but young players coming off of a bye are the best targets here.

Running Backs

As far as potentially elite running back handcuffs go, Jaylen Warren is the Holy Grail behind an inefficient Najee Harris. Harris doesn’t fit the injury-prone tag, but he could easily lose his job at any moment. Some great injury handcuffs are Elijah Mitchell, behind Christian McCaffrey and Tyjae Spears behind Derrick Henry.

A severely underrated sophomore running back is Tyler Allgeier. I get it, Bijan Robinson is the starter, but what if Allgeier has a bigger role than we expect? He’s easily worth a dart throw after a 1,00 yard rookie season.

The final candidates for running back are a handful of rookies who face uncertain situations. Evan Hull, Sean Tucker and Tank Bigsby could all return solid value.

Wide Receivers

As I mentioned before, the best targets here are the young receivers. Throughout the season look for receivers whose usage is going up every week, they are the ones about to break out. For week one we simply look for youngsters with a pathway to targets.

Houston has the most wide-open receiving room, so both John Metchie and Tank Dell make the list. Jonathan Mingo is a great stash on a Panthers team that has no defined Alpha WR1 and Michael Wilson is a big, fast receiver who could easily become the Cardinals WR1 with only Marquise Brown to compete for targets.

Trey Palmer does not fit the criteria of a pathway to targets, so he is the lowest on the list. What he does have going for him is a team about to enter a rebuild, that could potentially move on from their veterans quickly.

Sunday 4:00 Slate

The 4:00 slate of games is not as big as the 1:00 slate, but it’s still a hefty one to sort through. The same principles apply as above, handcuff running backs and young receivers.

Running Backs

Let’s start with Jaleel McLaughlin of Denver. Javonte Williams remains a mystery health-wise and Samaje Perine doesn’t profile as a three-down workhorse. By all accounts, McLaughlin will have a sizeable role in this backfield. Stash him and see how it shakes out.

Roschon Johnson and Kenneth Gainwell are my two favourite targets as both should have stand-alone value even without an injury. If either of them is on your waiver wire, scoop them up. Johnson could easily be the bear’s lead back by week 2 and Gainwell is an electrifying pass-catcher.

Zach Evans is an interesting stash in the event the Cam Akers saga goes off the rails again in Los Angeles.

Wide Receivers

There are three potentially league-winning targets at receiver in this slate of games. Quentin Johnston is the most high-profile, but is still available in many leagues. He is one injury away from being a star.

Jayden Reed enters a Packer’s receiver room that lacks any definition. The WR1 job is up for grabs if he can take it from Christian Watson. Puka Nacua is the hot name to add lately with Cooper Kupp set to miss some time. Van Jefferson is supposed to be the WR1 for the Rams in Kupp’s absence, but the Rams could go full youth movement and turn it over to Nacua.

Sunday Night Football (Cowboys @ Giants)

The Cowboys have a trio of longshot stash options. The longest of which is the diminutive Deuce Vaughn and sophomore receiver Jalen Tolbert. It will be a tough path to relevance for both, but the potential is there. The favourite to emerge in Dallas is tight end Jake Ferguson. Dak Prescott has a proclivity for targeting tight ends and Ferguson could be the latest beneficiary to see Dalton Schultz level volume. If you need a tight end, he is a prime target to stash.

Two options in New York can be summarized as “Handcuff or The Receivers”. Rookie Eric Gray is a great stash behind often injured Saquon Barkley. The receiver room is so ambiguous there are probably six realistic options you could target. All of them could be the Giant’s WR1 or get cut from the team. Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Sterling Shepard and Wan’Dale Robinson are all stash worth as Hail Mary receiving targets.

Tight end Daniel Bellinger is also worthy of a stash. Before a season-ending injury put a damper on his rookie season, he was having a solid campaign. With the injury-prone Darren Waller in front of him on the depth chart, he could see his chance at any moment.

Monday Night Football (Bills @ Jets)

The Bills have probably the worst options I’ve come across so far, as most of the fantasy production is consolidated to the high-end players.

Damien Harris could prove to be a flew-worthy running back and Khalil Shakir could be a flex-worthy wide receiver. There are no real options here that I expect to return value.

Israel Abanikanda was a stud in college before having his fantasy stock tanked by a crowded Jet’s backfield. Dalvin Cook and Breece Hall both battle injuries frequently, which could leave the door open for Izzy.

He is a long shot due to the depth chart, but if he gets his chance he could be elite.

Tyler Conklin is a desperate attempt to leave week one with a startable tight end if you need one. Who knows what Aaron Rodgers will do with him, but he’s an option.

Final Thought

The theme here is preparation and patience. This strategy is not for the casual fantasy manager. It’s for those of us in tough leagues who realize even the smallest edge can be the difference between winning and losing.

Not all of these stash players will hit. Realistically, most of them will miss. Even if we only hit on one of these stashes a month, it’s an extra four undrafted players that we paid nothing for, but who added value to our fantasy team.

If you would like to see more of our rankings and projections. Head over to www.kingfantasysports.com.