How fantasy football owners can replace Calvin Ridley

Ever been to your favorite restaurant only for them to be out of your favorite dish? What if they are also out of your second-favorite? Where do you turn? What do you order?

Maybe you want sea bass. Nope, all out. Crab legs? Sorry, 86’d. So you have to settle for salmon or, meh, tilapia.

For the Falcons, their wide receiver buffet is down to, blech, flounder and tuna this Sunday. They will have no Calvin Ridley and no Russell Gage when they face the Jets in London.

Gage being out is no surprise, but Ridley was a late-week shocker — he didn’t make the overseas trip for an undisclosed personal matter. Not many fantasy managers have Gage on their rosters, even fewer would consider starting him, so that isn’t a big hit. But Ridley owners will have to scramble.

Though you hate to lose a top-tier talent such as Ridley, even if he hasn’t lived up to enormous expectations this season, this absence does open up other options.

First, it likely gives a boost to tight end Kyle Pitts. If you have Pitts on your roster, you have been underwhelmed. His best game was five catches for 73 yards in Week 2. He had fewer than 40 yards in two of the other three games. He has yet to score a touchdown.

This could be his breakout week, out of sheer necessity. You aren’t going to find him on waivers, and executing a trade this late won’t help, since it is unlikely to process in time in most leagues to use him this week. But if you do have him, play him. Don’t let this be the week you bail — look what happened those disgruntled managers who benched Robert Woods on Thursday night.

But for those seeking immediate waiver help, look no further than Olamide Zaccheaus. He has received the most targets of Falcons wide receivers outside of Ridley, though that is still a paltry 13. Yet we would rather have that than Tajae Sharpe’s five targets.

Calvin Ridley
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Zaccheaus-aurus Rex also is capable of big plays. A track athlete in his youth, he has a pair of 50-plus-yard touchdowns in his three-year NFL career. With what sets up to be his best chance for a big game in his young career, he offers a gamble to plug weak WR or Flex holes, or as a cheap DFS option.

The impact of Ridley’s absence doesn’t end there, though. I know, we’ve warned you against Cordarrelle Patterson on multiple platforms, including this space. But ignore those warnings this week. It is OK to use Patterson considering the circumstances, since he likely could get additional opportunities as both a running back and receiver.

Also, as much as we are eager to find a way to bench Mike Davis on our teams, this isn’t the week for that either. No Ridley could mean fewer open downfield targets for QB Matt Ryan, meaning more checkdowns.

With Ridley 86’d, you’ll need to explore the menu and find another entree that best suits your fantasy appetite.

Big Week

Leonard Fournette RB, Buccaneers, vs. Dolphins (FanDuel $6,400/DraftKings $5,200)

Dolphins have given up the third-most PPR points to opposing running backs, including five TDs in the past three weeks. Miami also has yielded a league-high five runs of 20-plus yards. Fournette dominated the workload for the Bucs last week.

Michael Carter RB, Jets, vs. Falcons (DK single-game only $9,600)

The rookie has separated himself from what started as a committee. Atlanta ranks in the bottom third of the league against opposing fantasy backs. The Falcons’ WR woes could mean they have trouble moving the ball, meaning more time of possession, and more plays, for the Jets.

Kadarius Toney
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Kadarius Toney WR, Giants, at Cowboys (FD $5,300/DK $4,000)

Expecting Big Blue to be without Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton again, meaning Toney will continue to be involved, as he was last week. Dallas has not done well against opposing WRs — giving up six TDs in four games.

Mike Gesicki TE, Dolphins, vs. Buccaneers (FD $5,600/DK $4,200)

In two games with QB Jacoby Brissett, Gesicki has 15 catches for 143 yards and a score. Tampa Bay has surrendered three TDs to tight ends in the past two games.

Small Weaks

Sam Darnold QB, Panthers, vs. Eagles (FD $7,600/DK $6,600)

Yeah, he ranks fifth among fantasy QBs, but that is largely due to five rushing TDs, a trend that will not continue. The Eagles were among the best vs. fantasy QBs until facing Dak Prescott and Patrick Mahomes the past two weeks.

Najee Harris RB, Steelers, vs. Broncos (FD $7,300/DK $6,900)

He has topped 50 yards rushing just once, and has yet to top 70. Fantasy value is tied to receptions. Denver has given up a total of 10 RB catches for 45 yards this season, with no TDs.

J.D. McKissic RB, Washington, vs. Saints (FD $5,300/DK $5,000)

He has had two good games in four this season. Pass-heavy RBs tend to be erratic, and McKissic is no different. Expect this to be a low-scoring game, so less opportunity for McKissic. For the superstitious: His good weeks have been even, his bad weeks odd. This is Week 5.

J.D. McKissic
J.D. McKissic dives for a touchdown.
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C.J. Uzomah TE, Bengals, vs. Packers (FD $5,500/DK $3,000)

Broke onto the fantasy radar with two TDs on Sept. 30. But he also had six targets, more than the first three weeks combined. Not ready to assume this is a trend based on one game. This is his seventh season, he now has exactly one two-TD game.

Fantasy Insanity Daily Duel

Site: FanDuel

Slate: Sun. main (12 games)

Type: $5 tourney

Top prize: $1M

Pot: $2.5M

Drew’s Crew

QB: Daniel Jones (NYG, at Dal) $7,400

RB: Ezekiel Elliott (Dal, vs. NYG) $8,000

RB: Saquon Barkley (NYG, at Dal) $7,800

WR: Kadarius Toney (NYG, at Dal) $5,300

WR: CeeDee Lamb (Dal, vs. NYG) $6,900

WR: Davante Adams (GB, at Cin) $8,200

TE: Mike Gesicki (Mia, at TB) $5,600

Flex: Marvin Jones Jr. (Jac, vs. Ten) $6,600

DEF: Vikings (Min, vs. Det) $3,900

Daniel Jones

Wilk’s Warriors

QB: Daniel Jones (NYG, at Dal) $7,400

RB: Leonard Fournette (TB, vs. Mia) $6,400

RB: Damien Harris (NE, at Hou) $6,500

WR: DeVante Parker (Mia, at TB) $5,700

WR: DJ Moore (Car, vs. Phi) $7,900

WR: Davante Adams (GB, at Cin) $8,200

TE: Mike Gesicki (Mia, at TB) $5,600

FLEX: Mike Williams (LAC, vs. Cle) $7,700

DEF: Broncos (Den, at Pit) $4,400

Season risked: $37

Season winnings: Jarad $10, Drew $5


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