Get ready, folks! With only five weeks remaining in the fantasy football regular season, most of our league races are coming into focus. Most of us know what our chances are. Are you fighting for a bye or are you in the wildcard scrum? Either way, we have some ideas for you.
As always, I’ll be updating this article throughout the day with a final update coming around 7pm or so. I’ll also be on Twitter this evening, so feel free to hit me with some questions if you have some close calls with your claims.
The Falcons, Bengals, Rams & Saints are on their byes this week.
Unless specified, all players in this article are owned at a less than 50 percent rate on Yahoo.
Sam Darnold, Jets
I know, I know. You didn’t believe in ghosts until Week 7 or some such thing. Darnold’s had a rough year. First of all, it isn’t easy bein’ green. This we know, but Darnold’s battled Mononucleosis in addition to ghosts and the ghosts of Jets’ seasons’ past. It’s easy to just brush Darnold off because there’s nothing positive about him right now. The thing is, we’ve known all along that Darnold’s value was joined to his late-season schedule and it’s time to cash in. Just look at the next six weeks.
- at Dolphins
- vs. Giants
- at Washington
- vs. Raiders
- at Bengals
- vs. Dolphins
You could not write a better script for a Darnold resurgence. I’m adding him in all leagues where I need quarterback help. He might even be on the cheap side for all the reasons listed above. The buzz is negative, and that’s good for our purposes.
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars
Minshew is a great pickup for this week because he hosts the Texans, who are a notorious run funnel for fantasy purposes. Just be wary of Minshew’s upcoming Week 10 bye. From Week 11 on, Minshew’s schedule is pretty solid, but we can’t discount the possibility of a Nick Foles return, so factor that into your decision.
Daniel Jones, Giants
He has some very good matchups remaining on his schedule and he should have a healthy receiving group very soon, with Sterling Shepard returning this week or next. Jones’ playoff matchups alone are worth rostering, if you are team that looks like a playoff squad. His Week 9 matchup versus Dallas on Monday Night Football is just decent.
Derek Carr, Raiders
His schedule over the next five weejs is very good with Week 10 vs. the Chargers being the lone non-plus spot. Carr is unsexy and lacking in upside, but he gets it done most of the time. He can help you if you are in need. His matchup versus the Lions this week is very good. Jones is my playoff matchups guy, but Carr is better over the next five. Choose who fits your needs better.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans
He has plus matchups in weeks 10, 14 and 15. He’s playable on a few other weeks, so Tannehill makes a resonable QB2, especially if your QB has a Week 10 bye, like Watson, Brady or Wentz.
Cam Newton, Panthers
Here’s the thing. If he really is potentially changing teams, he’s going to let it fly when he’s in there. That makes him a good stash. Cam Newton playing for a contract is a guy I would not mind rostering. Not because he needs the motivation, but because he’ll do what he does best, and that’s good for fantasy. I like him as a stash in deeper formats. Kyle Allen will start this week and he’s streamable versus the Titans if you’re desperate.
Ryan Finley, Bengals
He’s a future play because the Bengals are on their bye this week, but when Finley ges under center in Week 10, he’ll be commanding a stronger offense. AJ Green should be back and John Ross is not far behind. With plus matchups in weeks 11, 13 and 16, Finley can help you in all formats–including 2QB and Superflex, where he may actually be available. I like this kid. His arm is just ok, but he can play the game and he’s a good fit for the scheme.
Jaylen Samuels, Steelers
The Steelers are past the bye so there’s no rest for the weary. Both James Conner and Benny Snell got banged up in the Steelers’ Week 8 victory over the Dolphins, and that puts Samuels on the waiver radar for Week 9. Samuels is very likely to return from his own knee injury this week, so pay attention here. More information is likely to break on this before Week 9 bids and claims are due. If Conner is going to be out for more than one game, Samuels will move up these ranks.
And here it is….
Ramon Foster is in concussion protocol, Tomlin said. But with injuries to Conner (shoulder) and Benny Snell (knee), Tomlin said good news is Jaylen Samuels is “ready to go” against the Colts on Sunday
— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) October 29, 2019
Rashaad Penny, Seahawks
Was Penny’s increased Week 8 workload an organic football thing, or was it a precursor to a deal? Either way, it represents an uptick in value. Penny could land a gig somewhere else this week or he could continue to be one of the more valuable handcuffs available. While Seattle’s schedule is average, the potential trade offers some theoretical optimism. If he was to land with a team like the Lions, he could become a hugely valuable pickup.
Darrell Henderson, Rams
Henderson got more action than Todd Gurley in Week 8, and that’s obviously significant news in light of Gurley’s injury history. With Malcolm Brown also banged up, Henderson has a line on increased value. The obvious issue is that the Rams are on the bye for Week 9, and things can change between now and Week 10. I’d submit that all of the Rams RBs need to be owned in 12-team leagues, and Henderson should now be owned in all leagues. If your Week 9 bye needs are light, this could be an opportunity to nab Henderson as a future investment.
Alexander Mattison, Vikings
As I’ve been saying all year, he’s arguably the most valuable handcuff option you can find and you also get some stand-along flex appeal. He should be rostered in all leagues.
Ronald Jones, Bucs
The remaining schedule is less than inspiring, but Jones will have some potential as a flex or RB2 when the matchups are good. He’s a good RB to roster in 12-team leagues during the bye week crunch. The Bucs visit Seattle this week.
Kareem Hunt, Browns
Obviously, Chubb is running like a monster–the one thing Cleveland has that’s working, so I don’t know what Hunt will be right out of the box. Still, Hunt’s a phenomnenal handcuff and he could develop some stand-alone appeal in time. This is especially true if the Browns get the offense ironed out some and start getting more offensibve plays per game. A rising tide lifts all boats.
Mark Walton, Dolphins
With Kenyan Drake traded to Arizona, Walton’s the last man standing to some degree. Sure, there’s Kalen Ballage, but he’s hardly standing at this point.
Mark Walton was in on 52-of-60 offensive snaps and handled 77.7% of Miami’s backfield touches in his first game without Kenyan Drake.
— John Daigle (@notJDaigle) October 29, 2019
Miami did all it could to try and get Ballage to happen, but him being bad at football made it hard. Enter Walton, who is no refined gem himself. What Walton brings is solid pass-catching abilities and elusiveness in the open field. Those skills play well for fantasy in that Miami will be in throwing situations a good portion of the time. He’s a weekly RB3 with some upside.
Kenyan Drake, Cardinals
It’s hard to tell just how much the new digs will help Drake’s value. It’s obvious that any playing time he gets will be at the expense of injured players. Both lead back, David Johnson, and backup Chase Edmonds are proven commodities. Assuming both get back in a week so so, my take on Drake’s value is that he’s a guy to trade if he has a strong outing versus the 49ers on Thursday Night Football. I do expect him to start that game. So, Drake could be a very good pickup if you just need a Week 9 RB start–perhaps even the best available depending on your league.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots
He’s back and his role is likely to increase as his health stabilizes. He only played 13 offensive snaps in his first game action since Week 4, but he did manage four touches in that time. With some tough run matchups on the horizon, the Patriots could increase the usage of both Burkhead and James White. Rex should be rostered in most 12-team PPR formats.
Raheem Mostert, 49ers
On a short week, with both Matt Breida (ankle) and Jeff Wilson (concussion) looking iffy to play, Mostert could have some flex appeal playing behind Tevin Coleman.
Derrius Guice & AP, Washington
For the next week or so, AP will be the guy but the rookie is a player they’ll want to get a good look at. Either one could be a good fit for your team depending on your situation. Guice has some added appeal in PPR formats because he can catch the ball some. AP will get your very little in that area.
Derrius Guice still on track for Week 11 return https://t.co/q4qcP2TgzY
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 28, 2019
It’s also worth pointing out that the OL in Washington will be better going forward.
A big move on deadline day: Trent Williams holdout is over, per source. He has reported back to the Redskins.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 29, 2019
Diontae Johnson, Steelers
He’s criminally under-owned but that is going to start changing soon. Johnson has found the end zone in three out of the last five games and by the looks of things, has turned into the clear second option in the pass game behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Steelers have very good playoff matchups in Weeks 14 & 16, though they do have the Bills in Week 15, and that could be tough.
Phillip Dorsett, Patriots
Dorsett has been a near every down player when healthy this season and that looks unlikely to change at this point. Moreover, the matchups through Week 15 are very good. Dorsett looks like a weekly WR3 the rest of the way if things hold.
Cole Beasley, Bills
Gives you something every week and found the end zone in Week 8. The Bills host Washington this week so keep Beasley fired up.
A.J. Brown, Titans
Corey Davis has been snatched up in most leagues but he’s an even better add if you can get him. Brown is a player who can be flexed when needed but what he really brings is ceiling over the rest of the season. He’s still having trouble getting past the 60 percent area in terms of offensive snaps played, but all he needs is a little more opportunity and he could really break out. I’m stashing him everywhere and love him as a deep keeper option. His matchups the rest of the way are above average–particularly during the playoff weeks.
Danny Amendola, Lions
He’s a nice PPR add while he’s hot, and if the Lions can’t figure out a way to run without Kerryon, maybe they stay the way they’ve been. Stranger things.
Allen Lazard, Packers
The interesting thing about Lazard is that he’s quietly taken over as the lead receiver–playing more snaps than anybody over the last two weeks. Obviously, when Davante Adams returns, this changes, but the thing to think about is, will Lazard still run ahead of the others? If so, he could draft behind Adams and post some solid numbers. Lazard is worth a look in deeper leagues.
Chris Conley, Jaguars
Marqise Lee just got put on IR. Dede Westbrook is banged up. Meanwhile, Conley is playing well consistently and could see his role grow or at least stay the same going forward. He can be an asset in deeper formats. He’s got a winnable matchup with the Texans this week.
Anthony Miller, Bears
His role is starting to become solidified as his health improves. It appears that his ankle injury is now fully in the rear view mirror and that makes him a nice upside addition in full PPR formats. His ceiling is limited only by his quarterback. I’m not about to try and sell you on Mitchell Trubisky.
DeVante Parker & Preston Williams, Dolphins
These guys continue to be like that Spiderman meme. It’s hard to distinguish between the two, but both can be used as weekly flex plays in most formats. While not ideal, they play for a team who will be in throw-mode most of the time. The raw stats should be there though the touchdowns are somewhat infrequent.
Darius Slayton, Giants
His role should shrink when Sterling Shepard returns but there’s no set timetable for that, so keep tabs on Slayton, because he’s obviously shown a lot of big play upside in the short time he’s been around. He scored twice in Week 8.
Josh Reynolds, Rams
I got into the whys on the pod, but I don’t see reynolds as more than a deep flex. He’s a solid pickup in deep formats while Cooks is down.
Update: This might change the way we value Reynolds.
Rams WR Brandin Cooks, who has suffered four concussions since Super Bowl LII and two this month, heads to Pittsburgh to see a specialist https://t.co/R0jJMCHlkC
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 29, 2019
Reynolds is still a flex level play in my view, but his window may be bigger than originally anticipated.
Antonio Brown, Free Agent
Just a reminder that he exists and in some leagues, certainly, he’s still worth rostering. Will he come back? No idea. Would he play well? Almost assuredly.
Chris Herndon, Jets
He’s very likely to return this week and while this has turned into a boy-who-cried-wolf kind of deal, Herndon has major upside at a hard-to-fill position. The Jets, as I mentioned earlier, have a choice schedule the rest of the way. Herndon can be your weekly starter once he is locked in, and that should begin this week.
Jonnu Smith, Titans
Will he be given the starting job? With Delanie Walker sitting out, Smith continued to have a mini breakout, and when you consider his age, it’s easy to see why the Titans may want to turn the page here. Walker has been a receiving specialist most of the year but it’s possible that his role could continue to shrink if Smith continues to make big plays. I’d be rostering Jonnu in all leagues with 12 or more teams.
Dallas Goedert, Eagles
His role has been very consistent and his production is trending up. We’ve been talking up Goedert for a few weeks now, so I’ll spare you another skill set breakdown, but this guy can score touchdowns in bunches. He can help you if you are struggling for options at tight end. The Eagles do have a Week 10 bye, so be mindful of that.
O.J. Howard, Bucs
As I said on the pod, there are some good starts left on the schedule. It’s also worth remembering just how much of a freak this guy is. Arizona Week 10 is worth holding for all by itself.
Darren Fells, Texans
Shout out to my guy Murph for reminding me to add Fells to the final wire. Had him in the pod, but forgot to put him here. He can start for for you–probably while Fuller is out and there are targets up for grabs.
Noah Fant, Broncos
He’s a prized rookie and they have begun shedding the quality vets. That’s a raised flag so expect Fant’s targets to be there down the stretch. He’s a solid stash.
Jason Witten, Cowboys
He’s now past the bye, not to mention his prime, but he’ll have some touchdowns along the way and has a role.