As Week 9 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 9 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 (Steelers-Titanss)
The Steelers and Titans give us little by way of options and the options we do have are not available in many leagues. The best options are the potential league-winning handcuff running backs. Tyjae Spears and Jaylen Warren are both worth stashing in the event of an injury to the starter. Even if there isn’t an injury in front of them they both seem to be carving out a solid role and have some standalone value at present time.
The receiver options are mostly dart-throws. Treylon Burks has a massive upside but has struggled to stay on the field through two years. The other option is Steelers receiver Calvin Austin. Austin is a long shot but is a boom-or-bust Hail Mary option.
The tight end position has only two options and both are underperforming and owned in a fair portion of leagues. Chigoziem Okonkwo and Pat Freiermuth are both worthwhile stashes and have solid long-term potential if either one is able to get there.
The International Game (Dolphins-Chiefs)
The Dolphins and Chiefs have a handful of stashes at running back that could all be relevant in different ways. Jeff Wilson and Salvon Ahmed are all worthwhile because stashing a Dolphins running back is always a good idea. On the Chiefs side, we have Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire who are both more or less handcuffs in the event of an injury to Isiah Pacheco.
The receiver options consist of two players who have both posted useful weeks already this season but are not high-end options. Braxton Berrios has had several good fantasy games but most came with Jaylen Waddle out with an injury. Rashee Rice on the other hand is emerging as the potential WR1 in Kansas City and is a must-add immediately.
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.
In the 1:00 slate this week we have lots of options, most of which are handcuffs that could be league winners in the event of an injury. The best handcuff options in this slate are Zach Charbonnet, Keaton Mitchell, Pierre Strong, Sean Tucker, Roschon Johnson and Kendre Miller. None of them have a great deal of standalone value, but all are stash-worthy handcuffs.
The receiving options are similar in the sense that they could have breakout potential in the second half but are buried on their depth charts. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jake Bobo, Rashid Shaheed, Michael Wilson, Tutu Atwell, Jayden Reed, Trey Palmer, Demario Douglas and Elijah Moore make up a long list of potential breakouts that are worth holding for the week.
At the tight end, it’s getting ahold of the breakouts before it’s too late. Trey McBride, Luke Musgrave, and Cade Otton all look poised for potential explosions and all warrant a roster spot.
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 gives us some plug-and-play options at running back. Zack Moss, Chuba Hubbard, Raheem Blackshear, and Kenneth Gainwell all have some limited Week 9 value but none are long-term assets. If you need an emergency start this week they are your best options, but they are not season-long options.
At wide receiver, we have several rookies who could be in line for monster breakouts if the situations fall in their favor in the second half of the season. Josh Downs, Jonathan Mingo, and Jalin Hyatt all have the potential to break out and be weekly contributors to your fantasy lineup. All three have shown some potential and just need to see an increase in targets.
If you need a tight end in the 4:00 slate, you have a few plausible options. Daniel Bellinger could be a useful fill-in with Darren Waller injured. Michael Mayer looks poised to break out and could also be relevant in the near future. While there are two Cowboys tight ends that are also potentially useful Jake Ferguson and Luke Schoonmaker.
Sunday Night Football (Bills-Bengals)
The Bills and Bengals are beyond slim at running back. Leonard Fournette is the new guy in town in Buffalo and who knows how this backfield will shake out. Fournette is a solid stash until we see how the Bills feel about him and James Cook. On the other side of the ball, we have Trayveon Williams who has been the direct backup to Joe Mixon. Barring an injury to Mixon, there is little value for Williams.
At wide receiver, the options are Khalil Shakir and Andrei Iosivas. Both receivers are young and full of potential, but both face crowded depth charts in front of them. Unless a spot on the depth chart opens up for either of them, it will be difficult for them to provide any significant fantasy return.
At tight end, we have a potential breakout rookie and a chronically underperforming dart throw. Dalton Kincaid got his chance to break out in Week 9 with Dawson Knox ou with an injury and breakout is exactly what he did. Irv Smith has always had the potential to be a star, but years of injuries seem to have him relegated to complete fantasy irrelevance.
Monday Night Football (Chargers-Jets)
The Chargers and Jets have two talented backups on their roster but neither has a chance at being a starter outside of injury. Joshua Kelley has provided some value as of late as the Chargers have looked to limit Austin Ekeler’s wear and tear, but as he gets back to full speed, Kelley has been relegated to backup duty. Israel Abanikanda was an ultra-talented rookie who got a terrible landing
The receiving options in this game have some solid upside if you can get your hands on them. Whether you choose to believe in Joshua Palmer or Quentin Johnston both could be league winners. Allen Lazard is the third-best option, and that’s not saying much.
The tight ends are both low-end options but both could be used in spot-starts. Donald Parham appears to be the endzone option for the Chargers and could give him some value. Tyler Conklin is a consistent producer with a limited ceiling. He is useful if you’re in a pinch.
Bye Week Stashes (Lions, Broncos, Jaguars, 49ers)
The bye week presents us with little in the way of stashes. Elijah Mitchell and Craig Reynolds are the best handcuff options but have little value through their bye. The best stash option at running back is Tank Bigsby to at least see if he gets any added touches after the bye.
The receiver options are slim as well. Marvin Mims and Jameson Williams are the two I would target in case they are integrated into larger roles with their offenses during the bye.
There are no relevant tight ends to stash through the bye weeks.
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.