Fight Fire with Fliers – Week 4

Fight Fire with Fliers is a weekly fantasy football series that discusses emergency free agent adds or stash candidates for deep rostered or 14-plus team leagues. The post publishes on Saturdays following typical weekly waiver runs, allowing forward thinking managers a last minute opportunity to roster players ahead of their breakouts.

The Week 3 post was bipolarized by TDs and absentia. Something to consider as the season hits full stride is the merit in highlighting WR options. Where volume and opportunity are paramount at RB, as dictated by the fragility of the position and immediate replacement value, skill and ability are of the highest demand at WR. Thus, the NFL demands of the WR position likely throttle the emergence of shrouded outliers. If a player is unable to usurp the WR3/4 role on their team by mid-season, what relevance do they actually have? Do we still have eyes trained on James Washington or Kendrick Bourne? Outside of truly nuanced situations (Tennessee not having AJ Brown and Julio Jones active), the expectation of realistic WR fliers is relatively moot.

Anthony Firkser, Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports.

Week 3 Recap

Promoted

None.

Still Live

Pat Freiermuth TE Pittsburgh (Seven percent Week 3; currently eight percent on Yahoo!)
Freiermuth scored a TD while securing three of five targets from the gangrenous arm of Ben Roethlisberger. Take the good with the bad here; Freiermuth saw valuable targets close to goal (including a dropped pass during the waning moments of a game long-decided) but still shared the workload with Eric Ebron. The short pass isn’t going away any time soon in Pittsburgh, which may open up the volume needed for a TD-dependent TE to secure five to six targets per game.

Taylor Heinicke QB Washington (Six percent Week 3; currently nine percent on Yahoo!)
Heinicke provided the desired fantasy outcome with three total TDs (two passing, one rushing). Heinicke looks to fulfill the needs of the fantasy community and the Washington brass enough to keep it rolling the rest of the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick on the sidelines.

Jeremy McNichols RB Tennessee (One percent; unchanged on Yahoo!)
McNichols scored a late TD in Week 3, making his mark despite few chances. It will be curious to see Tennessee’s plan as they move forward in Week 4 without AJ Brown and Julio Jones, as although the vacancy will be apparent it will likely spell less targets in general. McNichols appears to be an undervalued handcuff option, viable if needed but otherwise relegated to the bench. It is conceivable that they could run-over the Jets in Week 4, but the limited possessions probably hurts McNichols value from a receiving standpoint.

No Longer Recommended

Rashard Higgins WR Cleveland (One percent; unchanged on Yahoo!)
Higgins revealed a TE3 stat-line with two receptions for 24 yards. The game did not necessitate much passing from Cleveland as the Bears were non-existent for the duration. Regardless, Higgins does not need to be rostered.

Joshua Palmer WR Los Angeles Chargers (One percent; unchanged on Yahoo!)
Palmer made Rashard Higgins look like Jerry Rice.

Week 4

Stash (Less than 11 percent Rostership)

Anthony Firkser TE Tennessee (Eight percent, Yahoo!)
Firkser has been practicing without limitation in preparation to return this weekend. Unlike McNichols, Firkser has the opportunity to see some action in the passing game with the aforementioned injuries. Firkser was a lowkey TE sleeper heading into draft season this year until Jones was officially acquired. A threat around the goal, Tannehill could use a familiar option.

Rhamondre Stevenson RB New England (10 percent, Yahoo!)
James White’s injury has forced Stevenson back into the fold in New England. While it is uncertain how they will shape his role, he appears versatile enough to fill-in where necessary; two-minute drill, resting Damien Harris for a set of downs, or classic Patriot RB games where someone like Jonas Gray scores four TDs. Tampa Bay is not an ideal opponent, but Stevenson will be the right candidate to hold if Harris fumbles or misses time.

Deep Stash (Less than six percent Rostership)

Chris Evans, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.

Chris Evans RB Cincinnati (One percent, Yahoo!)
A Joe Mixon ankle sprain may propel Evans into a timeshare with Samaje Perine. Evans has already shown a modicum of rapport with Joe Burrow, as he has 40 yards on three receptions. Evans is a one percent rostered player, so there is considerable gamble involved. Regardless, he will still be free when others spend FAAB for Perine following Week 4.

Jaret Patterson RB Washington (One percent, Yahoo!)
Patterson is an intriguing choice for the deep stash list. After two touches in Week 1, he disappeared with Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic shouldering the load. The question is whether Washington is prepared to maintain the backfield ratio if either miss time. Patterson appears the direct beneficiary but only provided they do not make Gibson or McKissic a workhorse back, which is significantly possible if the former is the remaining healthy back.

IR-Only Stash (Added directly to empty IR spot)

N'Keal Harry hasn't practiced since injuring himself against the Eagles Aug. 19.
N’Keal Harry, courtesy of Jim Davis, Boston Globe.

N’Keal Harry WR New England (One percent, Yahoo!)
Harry has had an inauspicious start through two seasons in New England. Difficulty acclimating to a rookie-lamenting QB in Tom Brady, the brief Cam Newton era and the multiple injuries along the way. Nobody else is lining up to catch TDs in Boston at the moment and the Patriots have an excellent stretch of games following Tampa Bay with Week 5 at Houston, then at home against Dallas and the Jets. Harry may finally have the chance to deliver on his draft capital.

Jason Astarita (@AstaritaJason) is a professional in the sports gambling industry. He has an MS in Psychology (Industrial and Organizational) from Southern New Hampshire University and completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of San Diego. His passion for fantasy sports is over a decade old, but has recently been theorizing on the novel format of Superflex Best Ball in the Dynasty Fantasy Football arena. #superbestball

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