During the NFL regular season the TSN 4-Downs ‘Hail Mary Starts of the Week’ will be based around off the radar players with upside in their weekend matchup. The player must be owned in less than 50% of ESPN fantasy leagues, making them more likely to be available on your league’s waiver wire.
After this weekend the headaches of planning a roster around bye weeks is finally over. Hallelujah! We’re not out of the woods yet though friends as there are still some heavyweight producers taking a seat.
Trade deadlines have passed and the push to the playoffs for fantasy leagues is in full swing. Snagging that sneaky waiver gem is becoming ever more important and these ‘Hail Mary Starts’ are here to help.
Wide Receiver: Malcolm Mitchell - New England Patriots
I typically shy away from Patriots receiving options not named Gronk because of Tom Brady’s often sporadic distribution. That’s why I stayed clear of wideout Malcolm Mitchell last Sunday.
However, after a combined three touchdowns, nine catches and 140 yards over the past two games, the rookie can be ignored no longer. Brady heaped praise on him a week ago, and Rob Gronkowski’s back injury should help keep the targets up.
As usual, Bill Belichick finds contributors in the middle rounds of the NFL draft and it was in the fourth where he selected the University of Georgia product.
At first sight nothing really stands out about Mitchell. He’s an average height and weight (6’1’’, 200lbs) with a 4.45-second scouting combine 40-yard dash time that doesn’t convert to the gridiron.
Mitchell was being eased into the New England system and the patience has certainly paid off.
The Pats square off against a L.A. Rams squad who’s previously intimidating defense is faltering. They allowed five passing TDs to the Saints in their last outing and are giving up the eighth most fantasy points to wide receivers in 2016.
The arrow is definitely pointing up on Mitchell. He’s a steal in daily tournaments and at only 4% ownership is waiting on a waiver wire near you.
Tight End: Jermaine Gresham - Arizona Cardinals
Gronkowski is suffering from back troubles once again and Delanie Walker is on the bye, which makes the already thin tight end position even more troubling.
Arizona’s Jermaine Gresham is an intriguing prospect and possibly my biggest Hail Mary gamble yet.
Gresham is 100% available in TSN/ESPN leagues...yes, as of Wednesday not one person owns the man.
The 2010 Bengals first round pick possesses ideal TE traits at 6’5’’ and has four 50-plus reception seasons on his resume. Cincinnati let him walk in free agency and he hasn’t been an impact player since joining the Cardinals in 2015...until these past couple of road games.
Cards QB Carson Palmer tossed four touchdowns over that timeframe and Gresham hauled in half of them.
The seven-year pro’s targets shot up to 10 in the Week 12 loss to Atlanta. The Falcons were terrible at containing tight ends and that equaled a second straight double digit fantasy output for Gresham.
Next up is a Washington crew that also struggles holding off TEs and has allowed the ninth most fantasy points to that group. If you’re stuck he’s worth a shot.
Listen to "TSN 4-Downs" on TSN 1050 and TSN 1150 every Saturday at 11am with host Andy McNamara. Tweet Andy your fantasy football questions @TSN4Downs and @AndyMc81. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org