Jonnu Smith a Waiver Wire Fantasy Sleeper After Delanie Walker’s Injury

Though Delanie Walker's injury is devastating, it opens the door for Jonnu Smith to be a key 2018 Waiver Wire addition.

This Sunday in the never-ending battle versus Miami, Delanie Walker suffered a brutal, season-ending broken ankle that came with ligament damage. Though this is a tough blow for both the Titans and Walker’s fantasy owners, there is one silver lining: athletic back-up TE Jonnu Smith will now have a chance to shine in Walker’s absence. He becomes a must-target on the Waiver Wire for any fantasy football owners who lost Walker, Greg Olsen, or just want to take a depth stab at fantasy’s thinnest position.

When not being doused in boiling water, Jonnu Smith flashed some real upside at FIU. He led the nation in TE receiving in 2014 (61-710-8), before injuries and these “other mishaps” derailed his promising junior and senior seasons. Still, Smith put out plenty of quality tape, especially as a pass-catcher, with the scouting report reading:

“Flashes an electric burst up the field and into his routes. Seam buster with ability to race over top of the linebacker and into a throwing window quickly. Plays fast. Talented, competitive runner after the catch. Mashes the gas and can run away from linebackers. Loose hips with slick lateral side step after the catch. Has ability to work on all three levels.”

The negatives include poor blocking and inconsistent hands, but only one of those is a concern for fantasy owners. New OC Matt LaFleur‘s offense is predicated on quick-strikes to generate YAC opportunities, which is exactly where Smith thrives. His “NFL Comparison” was, coincidentally, Delanie Walker, and Smith now has a massive chance to fill those shoes.

Marcus Mariota did suffer an elbow injury, so QB Play could be a concern for Smith moving forward. Moreover, Smith is wholly unproven and much more of a “stash” type of Waiver Wire pick up. If you’re scrambling for a starter, we’d definitely recommend pairing him with a higher-floor option like Ben Watson (NO – TE, 39%). Still, Smith’s upside is monumental. If you have luggage and want a late pluck on the Week 1 Wire, give the new starting TE a long look.


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