Bigfoot Hunting is our way of scavenging the waiver wire for meaningful sleepers that can help you win your matchup. These aren’t guys that are being started in most leagues or even owned. These are deep dives, that like hunting for Bigfoot, you may never find him but if you do you’ll be rich. The intention of ‘Bigfoot Hunting’ isn’t to keep reminding you to add Tyrod Taylor or Karlos Williams for the thousandth time, you know that. The purpose is to help you look a little deeper at your waiver wire for other opportunities to help your team.
Last week’s feature player in ‘Bigfoot Hunting’ was another Kansas City Chief’s receiver, Chris Conley. Conley followed up his seven target week four performance with one catch on three targets for six yards. Not exactly a useful fantasy option in deep leagues, but I should reiterate that I still like Conley.
Without Jamaal Charles around, the Chiefs are going to be throwing the ball a lot more, I don’t think anyone can see Charcandrick West setting the world on fire. So, just once more, if you’re in a deep league, Conley could still see more targets coming his way as the Chiefs number two receiver.
De’Anthony Thomas|Kansas City Chiefs
Now, let’s get back on track. As you read in the title, I’m suspecting that De’Anthony Thomas could see an uptick in workload without Charles.
On the season, Thomas has been used more as a receiver than a runner with eight catches on 12 targets compared to five rushing attempts. Also, Thomas did catch his first touchdown pass on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
So, why do I like De’Anthony Thomas?
Like I said, without Jamaal Charles around, the Chiefs are going to be passing the ball a lot more. I expect their offense to basically turn into a slightly better version of the Detroit Lions. The Lions are bad all around, Matthew Stafford has really struggled, they can’t run the ball, but Theo Riddick has caught 30 passes in just five games.
I went over Charcandrick West in our waiver wire article, but the Chiefs would be wise to get the dynamic Thomas involved. They aren’t going to be successful running the ball so they should try to combat that with intermediate passing routes and screens.
I can’t imagine that De’Anthony Thomas is any good at pass protection, so he might not line up in the backfield much, but they probably have some designed screens they can use for him.
Also, when Thomas caught his first career receiving touchdown against the Bears, it was on a bubble screen. Those are the type of plays that the Chiefs can use for Thomas hoping that he’ll break off a long run.
Obviously, to this point in his career there isn’t any reason to think Thomas is going to be successful, but the point of ‘Bigfoot Hunting’ is to investigate deep sleepers that could help out your fantasy team. Without Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs are going to have to figure out ways to get their other dynamic players involved.
Bruce Ellington|San Francisco 49ers
Though Kaepernick has been bad, he is probably dealing with the worst group of receivers in the NFL. Anquan Boldin gives it his all, but he is clearly knocking on retirement’s door and the same goes for Vernon Davis. After that, they do have Torrey Smith, but this offense just can’t get any big plays going to make him enough of a fantasy contributor.
With all of that said, if there is one receiver the 49ers should work into the offense more, it’s Bruce Ellington. Considering that the 49ers got Ellington involved early against the Giants, it’s certainly looking like more snaps could be coming his way. Though he did only catch two passes for 39 yards.
Ellington hasn’t done much in his first two years, but he is the type of receiver that could benefit Kaepernick greatly. The 49ers offensive line is horrible and most of the time we are forced to watch Kaepernick scramble around the pocket and run out of bounds or get sacked.
If the 49ers got Ellington involved, it would create a reliable short target that Kaepernick could get the ball out quickly to. Ellington is only 5’9, but he’s quick and could do damage in the slot.
For your fantasy team, like I said, ‘Bigfoot Hunting’ targets players that could help in 16 to 20 league teams, or leagues with deep rosters. Ellington could be a speculative add that could turn into a solid PPR threat if the offense gets him more involved.
Zach Zenner|Detroit Lions
Aside from Theo Riddick, the Lions have serious issues running the ball. Considering they have yet to win a game, that isn’t their only issues, but it is a big problem.
Joique Bell’s ankle has been flaring up, but it’s hard to think he’ll ever be a starting caliber running back again.
Ameer Abdullah is averaging less than three yards per carry over the past four weeks and has done absolutely nothing in the absence of Bell.
So, what should fantasy owners do about this horrific situation? First, is to not start any Lions running back aside from Theo Riddick. Second, if you’re in a deep league or have a roster spot open, you could nab up Zach Zenner.
After Abdullah fumbled twice against the Cardinals, Zach Zenner basically finished the game out and he looked pretty good against a great defense. On the day, Zenner went for 30 yards on 10 carries and caught a pass for seven yards.
We all remember Zenner for leading the NFL this preseason in rushing yards, and it’s about time the Lions got him involved.
According to NFL.com’s scouting report by Lance Zierlein, Zenner is a balanced, one-cut downhill runner. Zenner also had great size at 5’11,” 223 pounds.
If there is one running back on the Lions that I think can actually put their head down and run between the tackles, it’s Zenner.
If Sunday was any indication, the Lions should get Zenner involved more and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him eventually getting the lion’s share of carries.