Now that the 2015 season is drawing to a close, it’s time to look at six stashes for 2016.
- Gilly in the Sky With Diamonds
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds and you’re gone. With Bills RB LeSean McCoy out with an MCL injury, and rookie RB Karlos Williams dinged up with a shoulder injury, Dolphins castaway Mike Gillislee has actually been a PPR RB1 over the last three weeks with a TD in each game and averaging 15.07 PPR FPs per game. He’s still playing second fiddle to Williams (who had a good game of his own in Week 15 – 17 carries for 76 yards and 1 TD) and with McCoy having signed a long term extension before this season does not have a clear path to playing time in Buffalo. But he’s no guarantee to even be back in Buffalo next year in this RB starved league. Gillislee was an underrated one-cut back at Florida with deceptive speed (as he showed on his 50 yard TD last week), and was a banged up on an extremely dysfunctional Dolphins team, something that I don’t hold against him. Only 25 years old, Gillislee offers enough upside to be a back of your roster guy in leagues with 24 or more roster spots.
- Drive My Cobb
Can’t you see I wanna be famous, a star on the screen? But you can do something in between. Still working his way back from a calf injury that landed him on IR Designated to Return, Titans rookie RB David Cobb has had a poor first year in the league with just 33 carries for 73 yards (2.21 ypc) in six games. But while Antonio Andrews has been the starter for most of the year, it’s not like he’s setting the world on fire averaging just 3.6 ypc. And Bishop Sankey is still Bishop Sankey. So the opportunity is there for Cobb to develop alongside QB Marcus Mariota and emerging WR Dorial Green-Beckham. Whoever drafted Cobb may have selected him with a second round pick in last year’s rookie draft and after his poor rookie year, may be willing to give him up for even a fourth. I think that’s a gamble that I’d be willing to take especially considering how much time Cobb missed while on injured reserve.
- While My Heath Gently Weeps
I look at the world and notice it’s turning. It is a sad day indeed. Steelers TE Heath Miller is just the PPR TE22 in average FPs per game with an average of only 8.35. He has seen an average of 5.5 targets per game and has only one receiving TD from way back in Week 2. In addition to age catching up with Miller, his role in the offensive has dwindled after the emergency of Martavis Bryant, the involvement of Markus Wheaton and the increased usage of the RBs whether it be stud Le’Veon Bell or Fountain of Youth discoverer DeAngelo Williams. Thus while I offer rookie TE Jesse James up as a sleeper, it does come with the caveat that even if he does emerge as a starter, his role in the offense still might not be great enough for fantasy purposes. James is thus a stash in only the deepest of leagues and deeper TE premium leagues. At 6’7” and 261 pounds, James is a big target and is athletic enough to turn seven or so targets per game into backend TE1 numbers if he emerges as a red zone target, but with Antonio Brown, Bryant and Wheaton in town for the foreseeable future, James’ upside may be limited.
- Being for the Benefit of Mr. Hardy
Their production will be second to none. Well, maybe second to Julio Jones. Falcons WR Roddy White was just the PPR WR 68 this year with just 66 targets. In fact, after Jones’ staggering 193 targets, TE Jacob Tamme was the next WR/TE on the team in targets with just 77. There is a major opportunity for another WR to step up in this offense and my money is on rookie WR Justin Hardy. He didn’t see any game action until Week 8 and his transition from East Carolina to the NFL has been a little slow, but I wouldn’t count this above-average athletic receiver out just yet. While he projects as a slot receiver at 5’10” and 192 lbs, Hardy does have the ability to play bigger than his size and has late-career, wall off a defense Anquan Boldin ability. He will have to improve on his drops (an issue in college — he has dropped two of 30 targets so far this year) and his route running, but the opportunity is there, especially if the Falcons don’t otherwise address the position in free agency or the higher rounds of the draft. That is certainly possible with the team’s dire need to address the offensive line and the defense as a whole.
- Here Comes the Bell
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting. Buccaneers’ WR Kenny Bell suffered a hamstring injury during training camp and ended up on injured reserve. With the aging Vincent Jackson looking like he’s played his last down in Tampa, there will be a large opportunity for someone to emerge in the Buccaneers’ offense across from Mike Evans. With Jameis Winston looking like he was worthy of the number one pick in last year’s draft, that position could be very valuable for fantasy purposes. At 6’1” and 197 pounds, Bell has the ability to win on the outside, get yards after the catch, and be a team’s deep threat. He may even be on waivers in your league. I would consider stashing Bell in even shallower leagues, especially if you have an IR spot that you can use to carry him through to next season. Bell is one of my favorite stashes and has the potential to be a fantasy starter as soon as next year.
- Dontrelle Inman’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
We’re sorry but it’s time to go. Chargers WR Keenan Allen will be back next year. Other than that, the entire receiving corps is a question mark. Malcom Floyd is retiring, Ladarius Green is a UFA that almost certainly will be back. Both Antonio Gates and Stevie Johnson only managed to play ten games each. That left an opportunity for Dontrelle Inman, a second year UDFA from Virginia, to make some plays, and he was able to somewhat capitalize. In the Chargers’ Week 16 game against the Raiders, Inman snagged eight of 13 targets for 82 yards and a TD. At 6’3” and 205 pounds and about 4.5 speed, Inman could carve out a role as a Chargers pass catcher going into his all-important third year. He’s only a stash in deeper leagues, but with the oft-injured Johnson entering his age 30 season next year, there remains the possibility that Inman could be a starting WR for the Chargers in 2016.