Fantasy Football Film Study: Week 8 Waiver Wire

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Editor’s Note: Check out previous Film Studies including Is Julio Jones a Poor Red-Zone WR?, Tyrell Williams’ long-ball breakout and Keke Coutee’s debut.

We’re turning the page towards Week 8 and there were a number of eye-popping fantasy performances that we need to take notice of especially heading into placing waiver wire bids. Instead of just looking at the box scores, we had some of our Footballers Writing Staff do the watching for you. We took a look at a couple of Week’s 7 standouts: Raheem MostertKenjon Barner, Tyrell Williams, and Chris Herndon.

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Raheem Mostert– RB, San Francisco 49ers

With Matt Breida going down with another injury, Raheem Mostert rushed seven times for 59 yards and caught in all four of his targets for 19 yards in the 49ers’ Week 7 loss to the Rams. He was the next man up last week on Monday night against the Packers ahead of Alfred Morris. But who is Raheem Mostert and is he actually any good?

The 4th year man out of Purdue has bounced around practice squads and is now on his 5th team while totaling only 42 rushing yards in his career before 2018. He was rarely used in college, mostly as a special teams return man until his senior season when he ran for 529 yards. He has 4.42 speed and it shows on film that he’s no lumbering fool. However, let’s not get carried away about an UDFA.

On his first couple of touches, Mostert showed some burst including this 16-yard run.

I saw nothing incredibly special to his game besides the fact he’s getting work in the passing game with 4 catches on 4 targets. Much of his looks were in garbage time mode where the Rams were more than willing to give up a few rushing yards. He’s currently running at an unsustainable clip (6.3 ypc) so the efficiency numbers will drop across the board. With the 49ers constantly facing negative game scripts, he’s worth a waiver add in PPR leagues. Owners will have to monitor Matt Breida’s injury news but must realize that Colonel Mostert’s talent is nothing to write home about.

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Kenjon Barner– RB, New England Patriots

After Sony Michel‘s freak injury, Barner became the next man up in the New England backfield to see significant play behind James White. Barner has mostly been known as a special teams contributor after a highly-productive college career, albeit in Oregon’s spread offense. We don’t know the full extent of Michel’s injury so what can we make of Barner’s 17 snaps, which barely outpaced FB James Develin.

We saw 4 of Barner’s 10 carries go for over 5 yards while many of the runs look done before they started. He has some elusiveness to his game with what I counted as 4 missed tackles on the day. But it was the formations that Barner lined up in that stood out most to me. He was being used in the exact same way Michel was while not having near the balance and strength of the rookie. Barner also wasn’t targeted at all in the passing game.

I wouldn’t be running to the waiver wire to sign Barner although he is a fun player to watch if nothing more than to reminisce from his video game number Oregon days. If Michel does require some time to heal, don’t be surprised if the Patriots sign someone like Mike Gillislee off the street who is familiar with the playbook and can be a sledgehammer in the running game.

Tyrell Williams– WR, Los Angeles Chargers

Williams was detailed in full after last week’s 2-TD game against Cleveland in the Week 7 Waiver Wire Film Study. After only being owned in 15% of leagues, that number will definitely jump after a solid Week 7 game in which he had 114 yards and a TD. His TD was another of the long bomb variety this time against Titans CB Logan Ryan for 75 yards.

Chalk this one up to Ryan as he flails at Williams making a feeble attempt to slow him down by grabbing his arm. If you look closely, you can see Ryan guesses on the out route while Rivers seemed to be willing to let the ball fly to his new favorite receiver who loves the fly route. Williams had a nice sideline grab in the 2nd quarter for a chunk gain showcasing his elite catch radius.

The Chargers run 3-wide as frequent as any team in the league but Williams is the clear WR2, outsnapping fellow his Williams brother (Mike) every week this year. “Tyrell the Gazelle” has had at least 40 yards or a touchdown in 6-of-7 games but his weekly floor still is pretty low. His 15.9 yards per target ranks #1 in the league, although that statistic is not very sticky over time. With the Chargers on bye for Week 8, he’s not a must-add off the wire. If you’re in a league that rewards long TDs or you need a boom option, he can work towards the end of your bench as a FLEX play.

Chris Herndon- TE, New York Jets

The Jets have long been a complete wasteland for fantasy TEs. They ranked dead last in 2014 & 2015 and bottom 10 in 2016. Chris Herndon, a 4th round rookie TE out of Miami, has made an impact the last 2 weeks registering back-to-back top-10 weeks. His Week 7 line looks nice with 4 catches for 42 yards and 1 TD. What showed up on film?

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First off, Herndon ran only 8 passing routes on the day so there’s not a ton of film to assess. Anything under 15 routes run for a TE is pretty atrocious and not dependable for fantasy.

On his TD, Herndon sets up All-Pro safety Harrison Smith well using his shoulders to shield himself and run an easy post route for a 14-yard score. Herndon had another red-zone look where it seemed like he scored hitting the pile-on but the play was overturned. Apart from those two exciting plays, there’s little to write home about. Teammates Eric Tomlinson and Jordan Leggett are seeing similar snap numbers as the 3 TEs are stuck in a rotation. Herndon is getting deep targets, in fact through Week 7, Herndon’s aDOT (average depth of target) was 2nd best among TEs at 11.1 yards. But there’s no way he can be trusted with a rookie QB while seeing only 1/3 of the snaps.

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