So after a rather unnecessarily lengthy back-and-forth regarding Drew Brees’ status for this week, Sean Payton came out and told us Friday that his QB will not suit up against the Panthers. Given the way Brees looked after injuring his shoulder last week, I’d imagine Brees owners (of which I am one) were already scrambling for a contingency plan, even if he were to play. Luke McCown will start in his place, but you want no part of that dumpster fire, I can assure you.
Here are five options you may be able to pluck off of your fantasy football league’s waiver wire I like a good amount this week:
Tyrod Taylor (BUF) vs. Miami
Taylor has performed fairly well in his first two starts for the Bills this season, totaling ~17 and ~20 ESPN fantasy points, respectively. He’s only owned in about 42% of all ESPN leagues, meaning there’s a solid chance he’s still available to you. He has enough weapons around him to where he’s not a one-man band, but he’s also shown good escapability and rushing ability. The Dolphins’ defense hasn’t performed to their capabilities thus far, as evidenced by their loss against the damn Jags a week ago. I’d probably rank Taylor ahead of Brees this week even if Brees had decided to play.
Derek Carr (OAK) vs. Cleveland
The Browns have a few quality players on defense, and banking on Raiders (let alone on the road) isn’t exactly the ideal fantasy scenario. However, Carr has shown flashes of brilliance during his brief time in the league, highlighted by last week’s dominant effort against the Ravens. Carr tossed for 351 yards with 3 TDs and no picks (32 ESPN points), which made him one of the highest-scoring QBs of the slate. He could always crater, of course, but I also wouldn’t tab the Browns as some sort of nightmare matchup. Just 18.8% owned, you can probably snag him.
Blake Bortles (JAX) vs. New England
I know what you’re thinking: Taylor, you are high. But hear me out! The Jags are on the road in Foxboro against what appears to be the best foobaw team on earth this week, which means they’re likely getting murdered (there’s an Aaron Hernandez joke in here…somewhere). On the bright side, Jacksonville is likely to have to take to the air in a futile attempt at making this something of a game, which means Bort could be in for a good number of garbage time fantasy points. He’s got some pretty solid weapons at his disposal (the Allens, Hurns and Robinson), and it’s not like the Patriots have exactly shut down either Pittsburgh or Buffalo through two games, either. They’re vulnerable to the pass, making this matchup look less fearsome than you might think. Just 7.5% ownership across ESPN leagues on Bortles, too.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (NYJ) vs. Philadelphia
So, through two games with the Jets, Fitz has looked…pretty stable?! He’s racked-up 16 and 17 fantasy points through his first two games, with 4 TDs and 2 picks. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker makes for quite the nice group of targets, as Fitzy can kinda just toss it up there and there’s a solid chance they’ll come down with the ball. The Eagles appear a mess, and the Jets seem likely to win the game, which means Fitzpatrick could be in line for another ~15 fantasy points. Just 11.5% of all ESPN players have Fitz on their roster currently.
Ryan Mallett (HOU) vs. Tampa Bay
Mallett was pretty shaky in his start last week, and I’d take him right off this list if DeAndre Hopkins (concussion) isn’t able to go. It sounds like he will, though, so have no fear. Tampa was opportunistic against the crappy Saints last week, but I don’t expect them to respond particularly well to back-t0-back road games. The Texans are desperate for a win, and I think Mallett will fare much better on his home turf than he did on the road in Carolina last week, when he still put up 17 fantasy points. He’s owned in only 4% of leagues.