Last week was a solid one for my fantasy surprises as Marcus Mariota, Vernon Davis and the Ravens defense had solid showings, while Tyrell Williams had a huge game. The main miss was Mike Gillislee who at the time of the writing was in line to get the start. With six teams on bye, it creates an interesting predicament for fantasy owners. In deep leagues without much of a waiver wire, is it worth cutting a key player just to pickup an active player to fill a roster spot?
In a lot of cases, it is probably riskier filling the roster spot than anything else. If the remaining player pool is that shallow, you would have to fully evaluate the odds the dropped player would get back to you on waivers for the following week. Also, going undefeated in fantasy football is nearly impossible with everything being out of your control, so if you have to punt one game so be it. Regardless, here is a player at each position that could be in for a nice day who might be flying under the radar in your league.
QB: Alex Smith vs Colts: While he’s mainly only regarded as a “game manager”, Smith can have his moments where he is a nice fantasy option. Against a Colts pass defense that has had trouble stopping much of anything, this is another instance. Smith has the weapons for this matchup to pay off in a big way, so even though he’s not going to put up any record numbers, he’s certainly worth consideration if you need a QB. Expect around 270 total yards and two touchdowns.
RB: Devontae Booker vs Chargers: In recent weeks, Booker had continuously been eating more into C.J. Anderson’s workload. Now with Anderson out indefinitely, Booker will be the Broncos back to count on. Granted someone was probably smart enough to have him in your league as a handcuff already, but he has a very attractive matchup if you can pick him up or place him in your current lineup. Due to a low price, Booker is also a very nice option in daily fantasy leagues but will also be an extremely popular one. Expect around 90 total yards and a touchdown.
WR: Will Fuller vs Lions: Relying on big play capabilities, Fuller’s skillset is very much “boom or bust” when it comes to fantasy. While he started off on a tear, he has predictably cooled off as the league gets accustomed to him and Brock Osweiler plays the way he has. Fortunately for Fuller, his schedule is a little easier this week as the Lions secondary is very vulnerable. With Fuller, all it takes is one play for your decision of starting him to pay off. The chance of one of those happening this week on paper appears to be pretty good. Expect around 70 yards and a touchdown.
TE: Cameron Brate vs Raiders: With Vincent Jackson out for the year, the Buccaneers have no clear cut number two option behind Mike Evans in the passing game. Brate isn’t your super size/speed freak type of tight end that could be that guy, but has proven to be productive when the opportunity is provided. Against a vulnerable pass defense, Brate is worth a look if your usual tight end is on bye. Expect around 60 yards and a touchdown.
K: Blair Walsh vs Bears: Unfortunately for Walsh, his playoff miss this past January is the first thing that comes to mind when his name is mentioned. While he has struggled so far this year, he has shown over the years that the ability to be a top fantasy producer is there. Going against a banged up Bears defense, Walsh should see some opportunities and his ability to hit from distance could provide owners some extra points as well. Expect around three extra points and two field goals.
DEF: Lions vs Texans: While this isn’t a move for the faint of heart, the Lions defense actually could (emphasis on could) have value here. Yes, I mentioned Fuller as an under the radar option but Brock Osweiler to this point has looked lost and Lamar Miller at the time of writing is a gametime decision. Osweiler wouldn’t be the first player to bust out of a slump against the Lions, and certainly wouldn’t be the last. Just remember the option is on the table. Expect around three sacks, an interception and fumble recovery.