As Week 5 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 5 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 (Bears @ Commanders)
The Bears and Commanders are slim pickings for Thursday Night stash options. For the most part, you are looking to scoop up players on these two teams that have been dropped in hopes they will turn it around. Curtis Samuel, Antonio Gibson and Jahan Dotson may have been dropped in the first bye-week crunch of the season and if you have the room they could make for interesting speculative adds. The talent is there for both even though the Commanders have been spreading the ball around a lot.
On the Bears side of the ball are Roschon Johnson and Tyler Scott. Both should be considered long-term stashes for the second half of the season as neither is likely to explode this week and skyrocket in value. If you have the bench space though, they have the potential if this Bears offence figures it out.
The London Game (Jaguars @ Bills)
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 handful of potential options. Jaleel McLaughlin was the hot waiver add and should be stashed if still available. His value will skyrocket if Javonte Williams doesn’t stay healthy. Zack Moss has sneaky value as we wait to see how the Jonathan Taylor saga will play out.
Jaylen Warren and Tyjae Spears both offer long-term appeal if you can afford to add them and be patient. At this point, Spears would seem to be the more likely breakout candidate.
Aside from that, the best option is an IR stash. Jeff Wilson is set to return in the near future and could be a worthwhile stash even with the breakout of Devon Achane.
The options at wide receiver are mostly rookies to stash in case they happen to break out. Jonathan Mingo, Marvin Mims, Tank Dell, Jalin Hyatt, Demario Douglas, Alec Pierce and Josh Downs all have significant upsides as we are yet to see what they can really do. Stash them now if they are available in case they are able to secure an increased workload.
Jameson Williams is the most immediate stash option as he will return to action this week. If he’s available, stash him now and see how he looks in his return.
The tight-end market has options that are less of a stash and more like a short-term streaming option. Jonnu Smith, Dalton Schultz, Durham Smythe and Chogoziem Okonkwo have all seen games of marginal usefulness. None are exciting options with high ceilings, but they can all be relied on in a pinch.
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 almost no viable options at running back. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Kenneth Gainwell are the best options as we stash them in hopes of an injury or a miraculous increase in workload. Neither are worthy of much FAAB, but could all become relevant flexes if the situation plays out in their favour.
At wide receiver, the options consist of three potential breakouts. Michael Wilson, Rashee Rice and Tutu Atwell have all been surprises this season and all three have had at least one boom week. All three should be rostered in hopes of taking the next step and becoming a top-24 receiver.
The only other options here are to stash a Bengals receiver and hope one of them steps up in the absence of Tee Higgins. tyler Boyd, Charlie Jones and Andrei Iosivas are all decent stash options.
Similar to the 1:00 slate, the 4:00 slate is mostly streaming options and not actual stashes. Tyler Conklin and Tyler Higbee have good matchups and could be low-end TE1s in the right situation. Neither has a top-five upside, but both are better than most streamers.
The only true stash at tight end is Trey McBride. He has lost out on snaps to veteran Zach Ertz, but should Ertz get injured again, McBride has the talent to be an instant breakout.
Sunday Night Football (Cowboys @ 49ers)
The Cowboys and 49ers figure to be the game of the Week in Week 5 and both teams present us with a few options to stash that could potentially increase in value.
The unquestioned gem in this game is Jake Ferguson. Dak Prescott loves to target the tight end position and he is set to break out at any point. If he is still available in your league and you need a tight end, add him now. The Cowboys also have a handful of deeper stashes at wide receiver and running back. Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn are both solid handcuffs in the event of a Tony Pollard injury, while Michael Gallup and Jalen Tolbert could see viability in a high-volume pass offence.
On the 49ers side of the ball, we have only one real option. Elijah Mitchell is the Holy Grail of running back stashes. Christian McCaffrey is the lead back and has both an insane workload and a lengthy injury history. Should McCaffrey miss any games, Mitchell would be an RB1 in those matchups without question.
Monday Night Football (Packers @ Raiders)
The Packers are a mix of pass catchers who all have boom or bust value. If Romeo Doubs or Jayden Reed is available, they are must-adds in case one of them seizes the role. At tight end, Luke Musgrave has proven to be a high-end asset. He hasn’t yet had an explosion game which is why he is likely still available, but if you wait much longer it’s going to be too late.
For the Raiders it’s dart-throwing time. Hunter Renfrow, Zamir White and Michael Mayer could all be useful in the even of an injury, but unless that happens and they move up the depth chart they are unlikely to have a usable role.
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.