Leon’s List is a weekly post about waiver wire players I’m keeping an eye on.
We passed the halfway point of the NFL regular season. There are 10 more weeks left until the playoffs. For fantasy football, we have 6 weeks remaining in the regular season.
Looking back at the first half of the season, I’m surprised by the running back position. It feels especially thin this season. It didn’t seem like there was a top tier of running backs for fantasy purposes. This week might have been one of the first weeks with dominant 35+ point performances from multiple backs.
Some of that has to do with injuries. Javonte Williams, Breece Hall, and Rashaad Penny suffered season ending injuries. Elijah Mitchell and Cordarelle Patterson have been out at least 4 weeks but are slated to return soon.
Outside of injuries, two of the top three running backs drafted seem to be busts. Najee Harris was drafted 3rd in our league. He is currently the 26th RB in terms of total fantasy points. He has 361 rushing yards for the season. Daniel Jones has 363 rushing yards.
Daniel Jones rushing yards per game, Weeks 1 to 7: 49— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 30, 2022
Daniel Jones rushing yards, Week 8: 20
Daniel Jones rushing yards this year: 363
Najee Harris rushing yards this year: 361
Jonathan Taylor was the first pick in our draft. He is currently the 33rd RB in terms of total fantasy points. The Colts offensive line and Matt Ryan looked terrible in the first half of the season. It also didn’t help that JT missed two games with an injury.
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are a number of mid to late round draft picks that are currently in the top 25 in total fantasy points for running backs. Here is the short list:
- Josh Jacobs
- Drafted in the 5th round (57th overall) by John O.
- Currently RB6
- Rhamondre Stevenson
- Drafted in the 7th round (74th overall) by Alan
- Currently RB9
- Khalil Herbet
- Drafted in the 13th round (148th overall) by Shawn
- Currently RB16
- Kenneth Walker III
- Drafted in the 8th round (91st overall) by Dirk
- Dropped by Dirk and picked by Simon for $2 FAAB
- Currently RB22
It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out at the end of the season. JT and Najee could make a run and prove they were worth the draft capital. Or another big trade or injury could happen and pave the way for another running back to take the top spots.
It was another slow week for transactions.
John O. was the high spender. He grabbed Mike Gesicki for $10. Alan and Kyle also added pass catchers for $7 and $6, respectively.
Justin Fields (QB - CHI) and Marcus Mariota (QB - ATL)
If you’re looking for a QB to fill in during the bye week or just an upgrade, my best picks are Justin Fields and Marcus Mariota. I’m not going to go into too much detail as both quarterbacks have been on my list this season.
Fields has 3 straight weeks of 20+ fantasy points. The designed runs are working for Fields and the Bears. I picked him up breiefly before dropping him to gamble on Kadarius Toney after the trade to KC. Fields gets the Dolphins next week and will likely need to score points to keep up.
Mariota showed off his passing and running skills last week. He threw it 28 times as the Falcons needed to keep up with the Panthers. He’ll probably need to do it again against the Chargers in Week 9.
Kenyan Drake (RB - BAL)
The Raven’s backfield appears to be snake bitten since last season. Gus Edwards injured his hamstring just weeks after coming back from a torn ACL. And JK Dobbins underwent surgery on his knee about 2 weeks ago and is out another 2 to 4 weeks. Kenyan Drake is the next man up on this run heavy team.
Joshua Palmer & DeAndre Carter (WR - LAC)
Joshua Palmer and DeAndre Carter will get more targets due to the injury to Mike Williams. I like Palmer more than Carter but he suffered a concussion in the game before the Chargers’ bye week. To make things even juicier for these receivers, the Chargers are going against the Falcons and their paper soft secondary.
Terrace Marshall Jr (WR - CAR)
Terrace Marshall was in 92% of the Panther’s offensive snaps last week, trailing only DJ Moore. Marshall saw 9 targets with those snaps, catching 4 balls for 87 yards. He has established himself as the number 2 receiver in Carolina.
Isaiah Likely (TE - BAL)
There was a lot of preseason buzz for Isaiah Likely, the rookie Tight End from Coastal Carolina. He finally showed he was worth the hype last week when Mark Andrews left the game with an injury. He caught 6 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. If Mark Andrews can’t go next week, Likely could be in for a huge game against the Saints.
Evan Engram (TE - JAX)
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I dropped Evan Engram for Hayden Hurst after the Ja’Marr Chase injury news. Evan Engram was clearly not happy with that decision as he caught his first touchdown of the season. Engram has 4 straight weeks with 6+ targets and 4+ catches. He provides a solid floor at a shaky position.
Best Things I Saw
- Most of the time, Twitter and Reddit are a waste of time. But then there are instances when you don’t know how you would live without it. This tweet with side by side videos of Raven’s fullback, Patrick Richard, and a construction worker running the exact same route is one of those rare times. This had me in tears.
- The ending of the Panther and Falcons game was special. There was a 65+ yard bomb, an excessive celebration penalty, a missed extra point attempt, an interception, a missed field goal attempt, and a game winning field goal. This all happened within about 8 minutes of game time.