As Week 4 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 4 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.
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 @ Packers)
The Lions and Packers game on Thursday Night isn’t exactly a free-agent stash bonanza. The only consistent and reliable options in this game are likely rostered already. In the event either tight end is still available in your league, add Sam LaPorta or Luke Musgrave immediately, especially LaPorta.
As far as running backs are concerned, Craig Reynolds is a decent stash in the event of further David Montgomery injuries. On the Packers side of the ball, we seen Patrick Taylor get more work than anyone else in the absence of Aaron Jones. He is stashable only in the deepest of leagues.
The receivers are interesting. Josh Reynolds has proven to be a serviceable flex and should be added if available. For the Packers, if Romeo Doubs or Jayden Reed is available they are must-adds. This Packers wide receiver room could shake out in many different ways, so either option has the potential to be the Packers WR1.
The London Game (Falcons @ Jaguars)
The London Game gives us the benefit of an additional standalone game to exploit. The easiest play in this game is at running back. If Tyler Allgeier has been dropped in your league, stash him. He is a potentially league-winning handcuff should Bijan Robinson suffer an injury. Tank Bigsby is very similar to Allgeier in the sense that he is a potential league-winner in the event of an injury, but also holds some standalone value even with a healthy starter in front of him. Both should be rostered in all leagues.
Zay Jones is a viable stash if he has been dropped due to his injury. He is the only potentially useful receiver to stash in this game of the players that are likely to be available.
Brenton Strange is an intriguing stash for dynasty leagues as a highly drafted tight end, but barring an injury to Evan Engram he has little value. Jonnu Smith has somehow been made relevant by confusing playcalling. Instead of using stud Kyle Pitts, the Falcons have chosen to target Smith. If you’re desperate at tight end, he is a potential stash option.
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.
The 1:00 slate this week has a long list of options as always, so it’s a case of choosing your favourite target of the long list.
Zack Moss needs to be owned if he isn’t already. He is easily the best short-term option for production. If you need a deeper play with the more long-term appeal, Kendre MIller, Tyjae Spears, Roschon Johnson and Sean Tucker are all rookies with potentially high upside.
Latavius Murray and Justice Hill are somehow relevant in 2023, not sure how that happened. If you need a low-ceiling option at Flex, they may be your only option.
The options at wide receiver are all mostly rookies hoping to break out in the second half of the season. Josh Downs, Charlie Jones, Andrei Iosivas, Marvin Mims and Jonathan Mingo are all decent long-term plays if you have patience and roster space.
If either of the young Texan’s receivers is available add them now. Although Tank Dell is highly unlikely to still be on the waiver wire. John Metchie is a solid long-term play though.
Cade Otton, Chigoziem Okonkwo and Durham Smythe would be the long-term stash options at the tight end. All three have seen heavy usage so far this season, but it hasn’t translated into fantasy production. At some point, one of them is going to pop, take a shot on one of them and hope you land on the right one.
Dalton Schultz, Cole Kmet and Irv Smith are all reasonable options and should be added if they are available. None have a huge amount of upside, but all should finish as top-12 tight ends.
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.
The 4:00 slate presents us with some interesting options, mostly in the handcuff category. Keaontay Ingram, Rico Dowdle and Zamir White are long-term stash options if you have the roster space. Elijah Mitchell is by far the best of the handcuff options. If Christian McCaffrey ever goes out with an injury, he is an instant top-12 running back.
Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller are interesting options with Austin Ekeler struggling with injuries, but neither are very good and are desperation flexes.
At wide receiver, the options are slim, very slim. Joshua Palmer is easily the best option. It’s a 50/50 chance that he sees a huge uptick in usage with Mike Williams out, but it could easily go to Quentin Johnston instead.
After the Charger’s receivers, there are no good options. Rondale Moore, Michael Wilson, Jalen Tolbert and Devante Parker are all deep-league stash options, but they all come with no floor and a low ceiling. Kendrick Bourne has been usable so far, but it’s unclear how long we can trust him.
It’s all youth at tight end once again. Jake Ferguson is by far the best option if you need immediate production. If you can spare a dead roster spot for a little bit, the best options are Michael Mayer and Trey McBride. Both have elite upside if either of them can ever take over the role of TE1 on their respective teams.
Sunday Night Football (Chiefs @ Jets)
The Chiefs present us with a long list of stash options as their entire roster consists of inconsistent players that are going to be boom-or-bust all season with no defined pecking order.
At wide receiver, basically, add anyone who is available if you want a shot at a lottery ticket. Rashee Rice, Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and Justyn Ross could all be steals if they are ever able to win the WR1 job in Kansas City. It’s likely to continue to be a frustrating split among these guys, but if you wanna swing for the fences, why not do it on one of the best offences in NFL history?
The running back situation has a bit to offer from both sides of the ball as both teams have seemingly ambiguous backfields. All three Chiefs running backs scored more than 12 1/2 PPR points in Week 3, so all three of Isaih Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire need to be added, in that order. As far as the Jets go, Dalvin Cook, Michael Carter and Israel Abanikanda are nothing more than stashes in case this running back room thins out a bit and one of them takes over.
Tyler Conklin is a reliable low-end TE1 in most weeks if he is available and you are desperate at tight end, he is your guy. Aside from that there is little to see in this tilt.
Monday Night Football (Seahawks @ Giants)
The Monday Night game has some interesting stash options to decide between. The Giants receiving room has by far the best options to choose from. Throw a dart on one of them and hope it hits. Jalin Hyatt, Parris Campbell, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Wan Dale Robinson and Isaiah Hodgins are all decent dart throws if you are in need of a receiver. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a solid long-term stash in the event he is available, but he will require some patience.
At running back we have Zach Charbonnet who has a huge amount of upside should Ken Walker be lost to injury at some point. The Giants are seeing Sqauon Barkley struggle with injury, so any of his backups could be viable, but they seem to have formed a committee. At this point, Eric Gray, Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell are desperation options.
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.