Last week was a pretty solid one for my fantasy surprises. Jason Myers at kicker had a monster day, Cameron Brate ended up with a touchdown, Andy Dalton had a serviceable day and Phillip Lindsay was productive. My biggest miss was Antonio Callaway, but that was an example of right idea, poor execution as he did see plenty of targets. It’s hard to believe, but depending on format we’re now past or just hitting the halfway point in the fantasy season.
Despite that there’s still plenty of time for a player to change your perception of his fantasy performance. With just 16 games to go from, it could take just a very hot two or three game stretch for a player to drastically exceed their draft value. Just look at the waiver wire adds who end up winning leagues. One example of this was Doug Baldwin in 2015. He was a fantasy asset through the Seahawks’ first ten games, but then things changed. Baldwin went on to score a ridiculous 11 touchdowns over his next five to give him numbers reflecting a true fantasy WR1. A player will do this every year. It could be from the waiver wire, or a player you drafted. Just remember there’s a chance it’s a player you’ll need to thank for your league championship this season.
QB: Baker Mayfield vs Buccaneers: Mayfield’s stats in recent weeks may not look great, but the volume is undeniable. He has 40 plus pass attempts in each of his past three starts, and now faces a Buccaneers defense that has been burned through the air. The Buccaneers fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith, but until proven otherwise, Mayfield makes for a solid streaming option, or cheaper DFS play. Expect around 275 total yards and two touchdowns.
RB: Ito Smith vs Giants: With Devonta Freeman out indefinitely, the Falcons running game will run through Tevin Coleman and Smith. Surprisingly, Smith is the one that’s benefited from the goalline work. The snap count is pretty even among the two, and this game script is favorable enough that Smith could make for a nice flex play. Expect around 60 total yards and a touchdown.
WR: Jermaine Kearse vs Vikings: With Quincy Enunwa and Terrelle Pryor both out, there will be targets for the taking in the Jets passing attack. Robby Anderson can be inconsistent, and Kearse appears to be taking Enunwa’s place in the slot. The Vikings have had trouble against slot wideouts at times this season, and in a game where the Jets could be playing from behind, Kearse could see double digit targets. Expect around 70 yards and a touchdown.
TE: David Njoku vs Buccaneers: Every few years, it seems there’s a young tight end the fantasy football community is just waiting to see breakout. For years it was Jared Cook, then it became Zach Ertz, and now their faith in Eric Ebron is starting to be rewarded. The next guy on that list could be Njoku. His percentage of snaps played is up from last year, and there’s no denying the flashes he’s shown to this point. Now he gets a favorable matchup against a Buccaneer defense that has been burned by opposing tight ends. This could be a chalky DFS play, but it makes a whole lot of sense. Expect around 60 yards and a touchdown.
K: Jason Sanders vs Lions: In a game that has some shootout potential, Sanders could be a sneaky streaming option this week. Remember, Mason Crosby two weeks ago was the right play, the kicks just didn’t go as planned. He’s worth a look if you’re streaming the position through the waiver wire. Expect around three field goals and two extra points.
DEF: Falcons vs Giants: The Falcons have had some major injuries to the defense, but the offenses they’ve faced certainly haven’t helped the cause. This home game against the Giants is sort of an “if not now, when?” game for the defense. Yes, they’ll let up the short passes to Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham but the pass rush should be able to capitalize on Eli Manning’s struggles here. Expect around four sacks, an interception and fumble recovery.