How Jaylen Samuels is Changing Fantasy History, Plus More Waiver Tips
RotoExperts Special for the Associated Press
Recently in this space we warned you to roster the immediate NFL backups of your prime Fantasy Football running backs. Hopefully you listened, because there was an immediate need to go to the waiver wire late last week when the Kareem Hunt news broke and Spencer Ware quickly became the hottest name in Fantasy Football. If you did not already have Ware on your roster, then you had to race to the free agent list and prayed that someone else did not pluck him as a waiver prize before you did.
Then on Monday Night Football this week, James Conner suffered what appeared to be a serious injury, and Jaylen Samuels entered the game against the Chargers and caught a late TD pass. Conner’s owners either immediately felt relieved they had already rostered Samuels or were overcome with Fantasy anxiety as they started to wonder if they had either enough dollars or the right positioning on the waiver list this week to grab him off free agency.
Samuels is owned in only 3.4 percent of leagues, so not enough owners have been adequately prepared. The stampede to the waiver wire for his services will be as intense as any free agent on a top offense would, but on some sites, there is an extra nugget of information that could make him the most distinctive add ever. Samuels actually qualifies at tight end on some platforms. He was a tight end/fullback at North Carolina State,
So not only will Samuels have the usual appeal of any top RB coming off the waiver wire, now he becomes even more sought after in situations where you can roster him at the incredibly thin TE position. This is unofficially unprecedented eligibility in Fantasy Football history. Never in recent memory have we been treated to such an unusual positional wrinkle. He can be a Fantasy tight end who can carry the ball 15 times on top of adding some receptions, making Samuels the most compelling player to ever be slotted at TE. It also harkens back to the unforgettable days when Saints WR Marques Colston had TE eligibility on some sites early in his career and gave owners another unique advantage.
Mike Tomlin has said that he will employ a committee at RB in Week 14, but Samuels will surely lead the crew and should at least be viewed as a RB2 for Fantasy purposes. Meanwhile, all of you Ezekiel Elliott owners need to grab Rod Smith and the Saquon Barkley owners must add Wayne Gallman. Injuries and other unforeseen events could push guys like Smith and Gallman into more prominent roles, as we have already seen with Ware and Samuels. The backups to Elliott and Barkley are much less talented, but could have an opportunity to produce at least decent totals if needed in plugger roles.
In the Fantasy playoffs, you also want to utilize Fantasy “defense” on the waiver wire and block your opponents from gaining the players they need. If you see that the team you are facing this week has Conner and not Samuels, you need to either outbid him for Samuels or make him your top waiver priority to prevent the other team from gaining his services.
More Adds for Week 14
Jeff Wilson Jr. (0.4 percent owned) will likely start at RB for the 49ers this week as Matt Breida has already been ruled out with an ankle injury. Wilson caught eight passes for 73 yards at Seattle last week and rushed for 61 yards. He could be in line for more quality volume against Denver. He’ll be worth flex consideration.
There is a good chance that Melvin Gordon returns from a knee injury this week, but just n case, Justin Jackson (12.2) looked better than Austin Ekeler in Week 13, rushing for 63 yards on only eight carries. Jackson may usurp Ekeler as the best Fantasy handcuff to Gordon.
Bills QB Josh Allen (3.7) has rushed for 234 yards and a TD in his past two games. Savvy Fantasy players well know that any QB with that sort of rushing upside deserves immediate starting consideration. As crazy as it would have sounded in the preseason, Allen now needs to be in starting conversations possibly over disappointments such as Tom Brady.
Dante Pettis (2.2) has 206 yards and three TDs in his past two games, and has emerged as the top playmaker in the 49ers depleted passing game. He has big-play ability and also demonstrated he can score in the goal line area.
In Points Per Reception leagues, Curtis Samuel has three consecutive double figure outings, yet he remains only 12.5 percent owned. He has two TDs in his last three games. He’ll challenge defenses with his speed and has shown red zone promise.