Free Agent Forecast: Week 6

Free Agent Forecast: Week 6


Free Agent Forecast: Week 6


Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Grab & Stash Grab & Stash
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Dumpster Dive Dumpster Dive
Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale

$ $0 – $5
$$ $6 – $15
$$$ $16 – $25
$$$$ $26 – $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

Given the diverse scoring systems and sizes of fantasy leagues, producing a weekly list of free agents that satisfies the masses can be challenging. For the most part, the column will hone in on players who are available in at least 35% of all fantasy leagues. If you play in a small league (8 teams), chances are there may be better players to pick up than you see listed here. If you play in a large league (16 teams), the majority of the players highlighted may already be on a squad; however, expect to find hidden gems, as well.


Brian Hoyer, Browns
1 Week Plug & PlayHoyer has thrown for at least 290 yards in back-to-back games. On Sunday against Tennessee, he had his best game of the season throwing for 292 yards, three scores and one interception. One thing Hoyer has going for him is Cleveland’s defense has been surprisingly awful, so the Browns have been playing from behind often. In Week 1 against the Steelers, Hoyer finished with 222 yards passing and one touchdown. Expect much better numbers out of him this time around.
Availability: Owned in ~ 8% of leagues.
Forecast: Hoyer will throw for 250+ yards and two scores against Pittsburgh.

Austin Davis, Rams
Grab & StashIt looked like when the Rams were forced to go to their third-string quarterback, St. Louis’ offense was doomed. However, the exact opposite has happened. Davis has actually given the Rams passing game an unexpected jolt. Davis has thrown for 300+ yards in consecutive games against Dallas and Philadelphia. He has a 6:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio in those two games. Things get a little tougher for Davis this week against San Francisco but he’s worth grabbing if pickings are slim on the waiver wire and you need help at the position. 
Availability: Owned in ~ 6% of leagues.
Forecast: Davis will continue to be an effective QB2 throughout the season.

On the Radar: Mike Glennon (14%), Kyle Orton (6%)

Running Backs

Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
Rock StarMontee Ball left Sunday’s game with a groin injury and is expected to be out at least two weeks. Hillman replaced him against Arizona and ran for 64 yards on 15 carries. This could almost be a blessing in disguise for Denver if Hillman can hang onto the football. Ball has been struggling to find holes and break tackles. Hillman was selected in Round 3 of the 2012 draft, so the team had high hopes for him. However, fumbling problems landed him in the doghouse and he’s never really gotten a chance to play for an extended period. Hillman is a good receiver and an explosive runner in the open field. If he can hang onto the football, Hillman will be a big fantasy factor. If not, get to know Juwan Thompson and C.J. Anderson.
Availability: Owned in ~ 10% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$-$$$$
Forecast: Hillman will be a weekly RB2 while Ball is out.

Branden Oliver, Chargers
Rock StarThe Chargers couldn’t do anything on the ground after Ryan Mathews got hurt. Then Oliver emerged on Sunday and ripped the Jets for 114 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also added 68 yards and a touchdown on four receptions. Donald Brown went nowhere since filling in for Mathews. He had rushed 50 times for 107 yards in three games before leaving Sunday with a concussion. Oliver has clearly passed him on the depth chart. Even when Mathews returns, Oliver will still be a big part of San Diego’s offense as the pass catching back taking over for the injured Danny Woodhead.
Availability: Owned in ~ 12% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$
Forecast: Oliver will be a big part of the Chargers offense for the remainder of the season.

Andre Williams, Giants
Rock StarRashad Jennings is expected to miss a couple of weeks with a sprained knee. Jennings is a productive back when healthy but injuries have plagued him throughout his career. Williams provides virtually nothing as a receiver but he’s a piledriver between the tackles. He rushed for 65 yards and a score on 20 carries against Atlanta filling in for Jennings on Sunday. Williams gets the Eagles and Cowboys defenses over the next two games. He’s a must-add this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 55% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$-$$$$
Forecast: Williams will be an RB2 over the next two games, or until Jennings returns.

George Winn, Lions
Injury Replacement1 Week Plug & PlayWinn was the only healthy Lions running back on Sunday after Reggie Bush left the game with a sprained ankle. Winn ran for 48 yards on 11 carries against Buffalo. Both Bush and Joique Bell are questionable for this week’s game versus Minnesota. If neither can go, Winn will be in line for a decent fantasy day.
Availability: Owned in ~ 2% of leagues.
Forecast: Winn will be a flex option if both Bush and Bell are unable to play against Minnesota.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashMcKinnon followed up his big performance against Atlanta with just seven carries for 24 yards Thursday versus Green Bay. Some may look at that as a bad sign but it’s more likely just a bump in the road for the rookie back. No Vikings offensive player had much of a chance last week with Christian Ponder under center. Teddy Bridgewater is expected back for Sunday’s game with the Lions. That’s good news for Minnesota. McKinnon will still have to split time with Matt Asiata but it’s tough to run between the tackles against Detroit. Look for Minnesota to use McKinnon and try to get him the ball as a receiver. On Sunday, the Bills Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined for 10 receptions.
Availability: Owned in ~ 62% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: McKinnon will catch five passes and combine for 70+ total yards.

Bernard Pierce, Ravens
Grab & StashJustin Forsett has emerged as the leader of the Ravens backfield committee and because of that Pierce is being dropped in many leagues. It’s hard to argue against parting ways with Pierce. He only has four carries for 30 yards over the last two games. However, looking long-term, Pierce could re-emerge in Baltimore. Forsett is always going to have a role because of his pass catching ability but now that Pierce is healthy again, he will battle with rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro for carries as Baltimore’s big back. There’s a long ways to go in the season. Pierce may still have value to fantasy owners before it’s all said and done. He’s worth stashing if you have an open roster spot. 
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
Forecast: Pierce will see roughly 8-10 carries a week going forward but his role could expand.

Pierre Thomas, Saints
Grab & StashThe Saints have a plethora of running backs and Mark Ingram is expected to return after their Week 6 bye. However, Thomas has always been New Orleans’ most dependable runner/receiver combo back. He’s coming off his best game of the season against Tampa Bay. Thomas recorded 112 total yards and scored two touchdowns. Ingram will be the best Saints fantasy running back to own for the rest of the season but Thomas is worth adding as well if you need depth for the upcoming bye weeks. 
Availability: Owned in ~ 74% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Thomas will be a weekly flex play option in PPR formats.

On the Radar: James Starks (32%), Antone Smith (12%), Benny Cunningham (15%)

Wide Receivers

Brian Quick, Rams
Rock StarQuick makes The Forecast for the third time but he’s still owned in less than 70 percent of leagues. That will finally end this week. Against Philadelphia, Quick caught five passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He’s scored three touchdowns in his last two games. Quick has eclipsed 60 yards receiving in every game this season and he’s seen nine targets in three of the four. Quick needs to be owned in virtually every league at this point.
Availability: Owned in ~ 68% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$-$$$$
Forecast: Quick is a WR3 in all formats.

Jeremy Ross, Lions
Injury ReplacementAs this goes to print, it looks like Calvin Johnson will miss Sunday’s game against the Vikings. No receiver means more to their team than Megatron does to the Lions. When he’s out, Matthew Stafford’s fantasy stock plummets. If Johnson can’t go, Golden Tate will see a majority of the targets but Ross will also be in line for an expanded role. Primarily a kick returner, Ross has a shown some big-play ability as a receiver in his limited opportunities. He’s worth a look in deeper leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 2% of leagues.
Forecast: Ross is on the WR4 radar with the Lions injuries at WR and RB.

Odell Beckham, Giants
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashFantasy owners have been waiting patiently to see Beckham play. On Sunday, Beckham made his debut and didn’t disappoint. He caught four balls for 44 yards and a touchdown. It was against a lousy defense in Atlanta but things don’t get much tougher next week for Beckham when he faces the Eagles. All of a sudden the Giants passing attack is looking explosive with Beckham, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle at receiver. Beckham is a sneaky flex start this week. He should be targeted on the waiver wire by owners who need help at receiver.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Beckham is a flex option this week and going forward.

Jordan Matthews, Eagles
Grab & StashMatthews is still an inconsistent rookie but if you need a receiver to help during the bye weeks, he’s worth a look. Matthews plays on one of the NFL’s most explosive offensive teams that just happens to also have a terrible defense. Matthews has also been getting opportunities. He’s seen 23 targets over the last three games, although Matthews has caught just 16 of those passes. Now that Nick Foles and Matthews have played a few games together, expect that ratio to go up. Riley Cooper has regressed this year. Matthews could be big over the second half of the season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
Forecast: Matthews will emerge as a WR4/flex play over the second half of the season.

Justin Hunter, Titans
Grab & StashHunter was dropped in many leagues after a slow start to the season. He had his best game of the year on Sunday catching three passes for 99 yards and a score. The three receptions tied a season high for Hunter. Here’s the deal: Hunter has been a huge disappointment. He’s a talented but immature (and sometimes lazy) receiver on a bad team. However, if Hunter is on your waiver wire and you play in a deeper league, he’s worth considering. Sometimes with players like Hunter, the light goes on and they start producing. Don’t drop a productive fantasy player for Hunter but if you’re still holding onto someone like Toby Gerhart, Hunter is the better gamble.
Availability: Owned in ~ 32% of leagues.
Forecast: Hunter will be a boom or bust receiver for the rest of the year.

On the Radar: Davante Adams (9%), Travis Benjamin (1%), Taylor Gabriel (1%), Louis Murphy (6%), Allen Robinson (40%), Jarius Wright (8%)

Tight Ends

Dwayne Allen, Colts
Rock StarAllen is in this column every week. Hopefully though enough people will pick him up after his 4-catch 59-yard and one-touchdown performance that we won’t have to write about him anymore. Allen has scored in four of five games this season. He has four receptions in three of five games. Allen is owned in 70 percent of leagues. Jordan Cameron is owned in 99 percent of leagues. If you’re tight end is letting you down and Allen is on the waiver wire, go get him.
Availability: Owned in ~ 70% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Allen is in the weekly TE1 conversation and locked in as a strong TE2.

Owen Daniels, Ravens
Injury Replacement1 Week Plug & PlayDaniels caught five passes for 70 yards against Indianapolis. The yardage was on the high side for but 10-12 points is about what fantasy owners in PPR leagues can expect out of him most weeks. Just replace the yards with a short score. Now Daniels plays a Tampa Bay defense that struggled to defend the Saints tight ends even after Jimmy Graham got hurt on Sunday. There’s a good chance Daniels finds the end zone against the Bucs if you’re looking for a tight end this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
Forecast: Daniels will rack up double-digit points once again in PPR formats this week.

On the Radar: Eric Ebron (38%)


Brandon McManus, Broncos
Rock StarIt was believed McManus would only kick for three games until Matt Prater returned after the Broncos bye in Week 4. However, that changed when Prater was released. McManus is now Denver’s kicker for the remainder of the season. The good news coincided with McManus’ first strong fantasy day. After a slow start to the season, McManus connected on 41 and 44-yard field goal attempts against Arizona, while adding five extra points. McManus did miss a 53-yard attempt. The Broncos usually get the ball in the end zone but kicking on the Broncos brings with many scoring opportunities.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
Forecast: McManus is a viable option any week kicking for the Broncos high-powered offense.

On the Radar: Dan Carpenter (38%)

Defense/Specials Teams

Buffalo Bills
Rock StarThe Bills defense has been underrated by fantasy owners all season. Through five games, Buffalo has recorded 17 sacks, six interceptions, recovered four fumbles and scored a touchdown. The Bills have done this against some of the better offenses in the NFL too like Chicago, San Diego and Detroit. With three of Buffalo’s next six games against the Vikings and Jets, now is the time to pounce on the Bills defense.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
Forecast: The Bills will continue to be one of the better fantasy defenses thanks to their strong front seven.

San Diego Chargers
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Chargers defense is owned in more leagues than the Bills, even though Buffalo has been much more productive for fantasy owners. Over the last two weeks, San Diego has recorded five sacks and picked off three passes in large part because of its competition (Jaguars, Jets). The trend upward should continue this week when the Chargers take on the struggling Raiders offense. The Chargers don’t have a great fantasy defense but the matchup is friendly if you need a play this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 76% of leagues.
Forecast: The Chargers will register three sacks and a couple of turnovers.

On the Radar: No one


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