Our Fantasy Friday column will appear each Friday throughout the NFL season. It will focus primarily on Penn State alums in the NFL, Steelers players and other players of interest to fans in central PA.
By Jason Dambach
Penn State fans know all about KJ Hamler’s playmaking ability.
He led the team in receptions and receiving yards in each of his two seasons with the Nittany Lions (2018-19) and was a threat to make a big play anytime he touched the ball.
Now, the Denver Broncos’ rookie wide receiver is making himself known to the NFL fantasy football community.
Hamler, the 46th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, was lightly drafted in fantasy leagues before the season, but thanks to a breakout game last Sunday he is very much on the fantasy radar.
In last week’s loss at Atlanta, he recorded season highs in targets (10), catches (6) and receiving yards (75).
A week earlier, Hamler caught a game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock in the Broncos’ home win against the Los Angeles Chargers.
So what exactly are his fantasy prospects for the rest of this season and into the future?
For now, Hamler is a definite addition to rosters in deeper 14- or 16-team leagues. In more standard-sized leagues (10 or 12 teams), he’s worth consideration for a bench spot and could work his way into flex consideration by season’s end.
That’s because Hamler seems to have seized the role of primary slot receiver in the Denver offense.
With plenty of attention focused on fellow rookie Jerry Jeudy on the outside, you can expect quarterback Drew Lock to keep looking his way often.
Looking ahead to the future, the Broncos’ clearly are building a pass-first attack to match Kansas City and their other AFC West rivals.
Star receiver Cortland Sutton, who is out for the season with a knee injury, will return in 2021 to join with Jeudy and Hamler to form a potentially-dynamic trio.
While Hamler won’t be the primary — or even secondary — option in the Denver passing game next season, the fact that he is likely to get the majority of snaps out of the slot, combined with his dynamic speed and playmaking, gives him significant fantasy upside into the future.
Penn State NFL Alumni Fantasy Notes
**In a season where the tight end position has mostly been a wasteland for fantasy owners, Mike Gesicki (Dolphins) has been right on brand. An eight-catch, 130-yard outburst in Week 2 had the fantasy community on alert for a breakout season, but unfortunately that performance was nothing more than an outlier. In six games since, Gesicki has logged just 11 catches and his last touchdown came in Week 3. He’s probably best left on the waiver wire at this point.
**Chris Godwin and the Buccaneers laid an egg on Sunday Night Football against the Saints, falling 38-7 in one of the least competitive games of the NFL season. Godwin, who has been dealing with various injuries this season, made just three catches for 41 yards. With Antonio Brown also now vying for catches from Tom Brady, it might seem like Godwin’s fantasy arrow should be pointing down. However, I am still bullish on Godwin down the stretch and think he is an excellent buy low trade candidate. His fantasy playoff schedule in Weeks 14-16 couldn’t look any better with games against Minnesota, Atlanta and Detroit.
**Allen Robinson (Bears) received nine more targets last Sunday at Tennessee, making seven catches for 81 yards. He ranks tied for second in the NFL with 86 targets and should have a busy Monday Night against the woeful Minnesota Vikings secondary.
**Miles Sanders (Eagles) is expected to return to the starting lineup this week for the first time since Week 6 when he was injured against Baltimore. He is in line for a big game against an average New York Giants’ run defense and is a weekly RB1 the rest of the season for fantasy teams.
Week 10 Plays and Fades
Note: These picks come from the week’s consensus Top 12 rankings at each position
QB- Kyler Murray (ARI vs. BUF)
RB- Alvin Kamara (NO vs. SF)
WR- Davante Adams (GB vs. JAX)
TE- Darren Waller (LV vs. DEN)
DEF- Green Bay (vs. JAX)
QB- Justin Herbert (LAC at MIA)
RB- James Robinson (JAX at GB)
WR- Terry McLaurin (WAS at DET)
TE- Rob Gronkowski (TB at CAR)
DEF- Washington (at DET)