Target Raiders WR Zay Jones
By: Malcolm McMillan
Football is finally, officially, back. No more wondering how things will shake out, how much the preseason mattered, etc. We now have real, in-season information to assess. Not that the preseason information was all bad. Some of it was actionable, like the trend of New Orleans Saints tight end Juwan Johnson as a receiving threat. Last week, I told you that stashing Johnson could outsmart your league-mates. Hopefully, you did exactly that, because Johnson finished as a top-5 fantasy football tight end in Week 1.
Did I predict that? Of course not. But, it proves that monitoring these deeper stashes gives you an edge over other fantasy football managers. You never know when these players will get the opportunity to shine. Take Detroit Lions wide receiver Trinity Benson, another player discussed in last week’s edition of this article. Benson surprised a lot of people in Week 1 by tying Quintez Cephus for the most targets amongst the Lions’ wide receivers. Benson now has a real opportunity to build on that target share in Week 2 with fellow Lions wide receiver Tyrell Williams out with a concussion.
Unfortunately, it is Week 2 now. This means savvy fantasy football managers have already added some of these breakouts and preseason sleepers to their rosters during the waivers process this week. Luckily, there are still some players out there in dynasty and deeper redraft leagues that have a reason to make their way onto your bench.
Kylin Hill (Running Back) Green Bay Packers
Dynasty managers are already familiar with Kylin Hill, the rookie out of Mississippi State. Given the positional scarcity, few running backs of any relevance stay under the radar. But, Hill is still available in over 30% of Sleeper leagues, and almost every ESPN and Yahoo league. Therefore, I felt it was good to highlight a running back you can pick up off of waivers or acquire cheaply that has some potential.
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round, Hill beat out multiple running backs to make the Packers’ 53-man roster as the RB3. He has a decent toolbox to pull from; he is explosive, has good athleticism (61st percentile SPARQ-X score), and is particularly useful in the passing game as a blocker and a receiver. This combination allows Hill to stay on the field when other RB3s may stay on the bench. He only saw two fewer offensive snaps than Packers RB2 AJ Dillon. Granted, zero of his five touches came before the Packers gave up and benched starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but it is still a positive sign. Given how potent the Packers rushing attack was last year in fantasy football, rostering a piece of that is valuable.
Trent Sherfield (Wide Receiver) San Francisco 49ers
Trent Sherfield made his presence known to most of America in Week 1 when he caught quarterback Trey Lance’s first regular-season pass for a touchdown. That is if they had not already discovered the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver when he caught an 80-yard bomb from Lance against the Kansas City Chiefs in the preseason. However, Niners fans had been hearing about the former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver all preseason. Just Google, “Trent Sherfield Niners Camp,” and you get weeks of articles and videos highlighting the rise of the speedy wide receiver.
But let us focus back on the two touchdowns. Yes, Sherfield had a great camp. Good enough even to get the nod over last year’s first-round pick Brandon Aiyuk as the WR2 in the 49ers offense in Week 1. But this team has tons of offensive weapons that can catch the ball. Aiyuk, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and tight end George Kittle are all excellent options for any quarterback. However, it seems that Sherfield is specifically building a rapport with Trey Lance, who is theoretically the starting quarterback-in-waiting. In dynasty, that makes Sherfield a must-stash, especially in deeper leagues.
Zay Jones (Wide Receiver) Las Vegas Raiders
Has anyone ever had a quieter 12.6 PPR fantasy football point performance than Zay Jones? WR44 is not exactly special, but given that there has been some buzz around fellow Las Vegas Raiders wide receivers Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards, why has there been no love for Jones?
Okay, okay. It is the target share, right? Or is it the snap share? Neither metric was great for Jones, who was eighth on the Raiders in targets and only say the field for 23% of their offensive snaps. However, he did score the game-winning touchdown, and his athleticism and speed make him a great downfield threat for Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. In an ambiguous wide receiver group like the Raiders, that athleticism and speed could allow him to settle into a valuable role. Jones will likely never be an elite wide receiver, but he could prove to be fantasy-relevant for those in deeper fantasy football leagues.