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With guys like Charles and Griffin going down, there’s going to be a clear run on the obvious backups inserted into starting jobs. Along with those, we’ve highlighted a few targets to go after if you miss out on the top pickups like Knile Davis and Kirk Cousins.
Let’s take a look at who’s still available on the deep league waiver wire.
Kirk Cousins (Owned in 8 Percent of Yahoo Leagues): After Griffin went down with a brutal ankle injury, Cousins carried the team, completing 22 of 33 pass attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Let’s not get too excited, it was against the Jags, but still a strong season debut. While his matchup against the Giants in Week 4 and Seattle in Week 5 are not too promising, Cousins has a nice matchup against the Eagles in Week 3 and is worth a pickup for that game.
Geno Smith (9 percent): It’s the third straight week we’ve highlighted Geno and the third straight week he has single-digit ownership. We all remember the punchlines from last season but Smith has grown into a very competent quarterback.
Over his last six games, Smith owns a 61 percent completion rate for 1187 yards with six passing touchdowns and four picks to go along with 48 rushing attempts for 250 yards and four touchdowns. He has scored a rushing touchdown in three of his last four games and should see plenty of opportunity to put up points as the Jets get set to face the Bears and Lions.
Running Back Targets:
Knile Davis (19 percent): With Charles out, Davis is a no-brainer. Though his 3.5 yards per carry don’t scream superstar, his involvement in the passing game will be key to his success. Although he only managed 79 yards on his 22 carries (3.6 YPA) he scored two rushing touchdowns and caught six of his nine targets. He won’t put up Charles numbers each week but he’ll be involved plenty as long as Charles is out with a sprained ankle.
Of course, if Charles’ injury isn’t that bad, he may not get his shot so make sure to monitor Charles’ status.
Bobby Rainey (22 percent): Doug Martin did not play against the Rams this week and if his knee becomes a persistent issue Rainey is a must-own. Even with Martin healthy, however, we’re still talking about a guy who ran nine times for nine yards in his first game of the season and ran 127 times for just 456 yards and only one touchdown in six games last season.
Rainey, on the other hand, has 688 yards and five touchdowns on 163 carries with Tampa along with 16 catches for two touchdowns. Not only is he a lot more efficient, he appears more adept at finding the endzone. Even if Martin is healthy, Rainey may still end up the most productive back on this team.
Donald Brown (9 percent): After coming out of nowhere in Indy last season, Brown will get a chance to do the same in San Diego with Ryan Mathews hurt. Brown rushed for 5.9 yards per carry and scored six times in limited action in 2013, to go along with 27 catches for 214 yards and two receiving TDs.
Look for Brown to have a bigger role than Danny Woodhead and even get plenty of passing downs.
Khiry Robinson (18 percent): With Mark Ingram succumbing to injury for a few weeks, it looks like Robinson will get a nice bump in New Orleans’ potent-though-still-improving offense. Robinson has 283 yards and two touchdowns on 68 attempts in his career but don’t look for him to be involved in the passing game.
Wide Receiver Targets:
Mohamed Sanu (9 percent): With A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, and Tyler Eifert out, Sanu has risen up the depth chart weekly. Sanu was strong as he caught three of four targets for 84 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against Atlanta and figures to get looks this week against Tennessee. He’s a one-week pickup, most likely, but he could be well worth it as the only legitimate wideout on the team.
James Jones (21 percent): Thought Oakland’s offense appears to be thoroughly awful, Jones has now scored in back-to-back weeks and the touchdown machine has caught 12 of his 17 targets this season for 146 yards. While I would leave Jones where he is in standard leagues, given that the team has mustered all of 28 points this season, he’s worth a shot in deeper leagues.
Tight End Targets:
Niles Paul (4 percent): The former fifth-rounder nearly matched his career totals with his play in Washington’s first two weeks. With Jordan Reed out, Paul has now caught 12 of his 15 targets for 185 yards and a touchdown. Look for Cousins to lean on the speedy tight end often, especially if DeSean Jackson is also out.
Larry Donnell (21 percent): When we highlighted Donnell last week, it was mostly as a huge-bodied red zone threat. This week he proved his role on the team is considerably bigger than that, leading the Giants in receptions and yards.
After catching five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, Donnell caught seven of his nine targets for 81 yards against Arizona. He was the second most targeted player on the team, behind only Victor Cruz’s 10 targets. Look for Donnell to have a big time role in the Giants offense as the season moves forward.
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