Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: 5 players to consider stashing post-draft

2K4HC9X Charlotte, NC, USA. 2nd Oct, 2022. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) drops to throw against the Carolina Panthers during the first quarter of the NFL matchup at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. (Scott Kinser/Cal Sport Media). Credit: csm/Alamy Live News

• The WR1 nobody talks about: Rashod Bateman has received repeated endorsements from the Baltimore Ravens staff and Lamar Jackson and is reportedly back to full health.

• Rookie impacts: Roschon Johnson and Marvin Mims both have the talent and potential opportunity to make an impression sooner rather than later.

• Dominate your fantasy league in 2023: For up-to-date fantasy draft rankings and projections, check out PFF’s fantasy rankings tool!

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Draft day has come and gone and I’m sure you’re ecstatic about the team you’ve assembled…or maybe not. If your squad feels a little light on talent, the waiver wire is always in play, and it is never too late – or too early – to get an eye for who may be potential league winners at a discount. Depending on your leagues bench settings, there may be an opportunity to try to build up your teams' depth for the weeks to come by targeting high-upside players that slipped through the cracks during the draft. These players likely won’t make an instant impact to your fantasy team, but should the opportunity arise they could become a savior of sorts. Let's take a look at some of the best bench stashes for the 2023 season.

Note: Ownership numbers last retrieved 10:30 AM EST 9/7/2023

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QB Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

ESPN ownership: 17.8%

The Cardinals are not a great football team, and Murray’s presence likely doesn’t move that needle much in terms of wins and losses, but the track record of others with similar injuries and the fact that keeping him off the field likely drops his trade stock makes little sense for Arizona to shelf him for the entire season. Regardless of the talent around him, he should be considered a borderline QB1/QB2 when on the field, making him an easy stash for teams that either fade QB in their draft or choose to stream entirely. Bonus points if your league has IR slots. 

RB Roschon Johnson, Chicago Bears

ESPN ownership: 24.1%

The Bears led the NFL in rushing yards (3016) and yards per attempt (5.4) a season ago (largely in part to Justin Fields) but ranked second in run play percentage (48.5%), rushing attempts (558) and explosive run percentage (16.8%), offering a great floor to whatever running backs find themselves lining up next to Fields. For the moment, that appears to primarily be Khalil Herbert with Johnson and D’Onta Foreman mixing in, and all three backs represent solid options for the Bears on a snap-by-snap basis due to their ability to create after contact. However, Johnson offers a fair bit more juice than Foreman – his 198.0 elusive rating last season ranked third in the FBS – and showed a three-down skill set even in limited opportunity at Texas. Even if he doesn’t surpass Herbert by season’s end, there should be more than enough high-value rushing attempts (in the red zone in particular) to bolster Johnson’s value and make him a weekly FLEX option.

RB Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles 

ESPN ownership: 23.7%

D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny have received the bulk of the headlines in the Philadelphia backfield, but Gainwell (and Boston Scott to a degree) appear to be in line for a solid workload as well. Gainwell became the Eagles' primary back during their Super Bowl run last season and was efficient with 5.5 yards per carry and 1.3 yards per route run. While the committee approach the Eagles appear to be set on after listing all four running backs as starters on their latest depth chart is a bit of a turnoff, Penny and Swift are not exactly models of perfect health, and Gainwell has the existing trust with the Eagles staff and players. It may not happen immediately, or every week, but Gainwell is a good bet for someone looking for a bench stash with upside.

WR Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens

ESPN ownership: 18.2%

Bateman has been a polarizing player since his first day in the NFL but when healthy, he has proven to be a capable NFL receiver, including his 2.38 yards per route run last season on 120 receiving snaps. The Ravens have overhauled the receiving corp with rookie Zay Flowers and veteran Odell Beckham Jr. to go along with target hog Mark Andrews, but a higher emphasis on the passing game with offensive coordinator Todd Monken as well as the rapport Bateman has developed the past two seasons with Lamar Jackson bode well for his weekly floor as long as he can stay healthy. Jackson has stated repeatedly that he believes in Bateman as the Ravens' WR1, so shouldn’t we?

WR Marvin Mims Jr., Denver Bronos

ESPN ownership: 15%

Mims has recently seen a massive uptick in hype following Jerry Jeudy’s preseason hamstring injury, giving Mims the inside track to see the field in two-receiver sets. While it doesn’t sound like Jeudy will miss a ton of time, he has spent a lot of time banged up in his short career, and even when he’s on the field, it shouldn’t hamper Mims’ ceiling too much. Mims thrived at Oklahoma on deep balls, as evidenced by his average depth of target surpassing 18 yards in each of his last two college seasons, something that Russell Wilson has had a lot of success with throughout his career. Mims’ breakout could come earlier than later given Jeudy’s up-in-the-air status but is certainly someone to monitor if that doesn’t come to fruition.


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