Saturday, October 17, 2015

Josh Huff: The Sneaky Monday Night Hammer

It's not too often we get clarity on injury situations impacting Monday Night Football on a Saturday, but today's injury report gifted us with some actionable DFS news regarding the upcoming Eagles-Giants game. No, it wasn't the update on Odell Beckham Jr.'s hamstring we're all patiently waiting for, But this little nugget could go a long way in deciding the outcomes of this weekend's tournaments:

According to Mike Clay from Pro Football Focus, Miles Austin played 45 out of 47 snaps in relief of Nelson Agholor, who left last week's game early with an ankle injury. The problem with Austin as a stealth DFS play is that his career ended three seasons ago and no one has bothered to tell him. Despite the additional playing time, Austin wasn't even targeted in last week's game against the Saints.

Week 5 was a breakout of sorts for Josh Huff, who saw 49% of the Eagles wide receiver snaps, rotating with Riley Cooper. Huff scored his first NFL touchdown on a 41-yard reception, though the Saints defense deserves most of the credit for that play. What has me most excited about Huff on Monday night is that he flashed an all around game that got the coaching staff's attention -- something that can't be said for Austin or Cooper, who are known commodities at this point in their careers.

Here's Chip Kelly (Huff's college coach at Oregon and the man who made him a third round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft) on Huff's Week 5 performance:
"Josh . . . is an extremely dynamic player," Kelly said. "I think he's got the ability to change directions, stop and start. He's really good with the football in his hands, that's why he's doing a great job of returning for us. . . . But the other thing with Josh is he's extremely tough. He's one of the better blockers in this league."
In other words, don't be surprised if you see a lot more of Huff on the field this week at the expense of Austin, Cooper, or both. It was only about a month ago redraft owners were talking themselves into Agholor as a WR2 based on the numbers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin put up as the primary outside receiver in Kelly's offense. If Huff -- a talented receiver who generated some of his own preseason buzz -- has a chance at capturing that role, I want to be a week early plugging him into my lineups rather than a week late.

Huff's match-up with the Giants -- who will be missing stud cornerback Prince Amukamara -- and near minimum $3,100 price tag are icing on the cake. As Kelly pointed out, Huff is "really good with the football in his hands". A receiver with Huff's YAC ability has a huge edge on the Giants, who have allowed the fifth-most yards after the catch in the NFL season.

In a week where it's a struggle to squeeze multiple studs in great match-ups into your line-ups, Huff brings salary relief and tons of upside to the table. He should remain less than 5% owned in  large field tournaments, providing you with a low-owned hammer to help you climb the standings on Monday night.

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