One of the craziest and most unpredictable fantasy football seasons since the inception of the sport continues. So many players and strategies we thought could be dependent on have failed us in spectacular ways this season. Such is the way of fantasy football and even if you have survived the gauntlet and still find yourself in playoff contention you are probably dealing with injuries and your own draft disappointments. The middle of the season is the richest time to trade for/pick up players that can truly turn your season around. I’m trying to identify situations I feel a lot of owners would typically want to “wait and see” before making a move. With this article, I’m trying to give actionable advice on some of the most ambiguous situations in the NFL. Picking right in these situations can oftentimes not cost a lot (either waiver or buying low in a trade) and provide immense value. So where other owners are weary, I encourage you to overreact and get these players before they prove their true worth and win you a championship. It wouldn’t be smart to have a bench full of the players we will be talking about but picking one or two of these players based on your roster construction can hopefully provide league-winning value. These players will feel ugly to talk about and most of them have downward trending values but let’s see if we can find some diamond in the rough before Week 8. Let’s get into it.
You’ll see a trend in these QBs in the fact that they all can provide rushing upside. In a season where QB has almost been as tumultuous as TE, I think someone like Sam Ehlinger who offers potential rushing upside as well (2,400 college rushing yards) is worth the shot. He’s got elite young weapons and the ceiling could be very high for him. He’s a perfect bench stash in 1 QB leagues and a borderline high-priority add in 2 QB leagues.
Has quietly put together a nice three-week stretch without topping 208 yards passing. In the past two weeks, he has also had over 80 yards rushing and is slowly turning into a poor man’s Lamar Jackson. As long as the rushing continues he gives you a nice floor accompanied by the potential for huge games if he ever tosses 2 or 3 TDs. The offense seems to be way more catered to Fields’ strength than it was earlier in the season. He’s rolling out on more passes, running more options, and designed runs (Even in the red zone). Fields could be a season-long fix at QB if you find yourself needing to recover from a Matthew Stafford/Matt Ryan/Aaron Rodgers/Tom Brady etc draft pick. With the way things are shaking out at QB, Fields could finish top ten and is on a lot of waivers right now.
As good as the Giants have been this season Danny Dimes’ fantasy output hasn’t exactly matched their record. He finally exploded for a 30-point game last week as we saw him rush for over 100 yards. He only threw for a modest 202 yards and 1 TD but the floor from the rushing is so valuable. The 300-yard 3 TD games from traditional pocket passers haven’t been as frequent as in years past so these mobile QBs are actually looking like the more consistent option despite not being in high-powered aerial attacks. Only 5 Qbs last week got you 20-plus points and Daniel Jones and Justin Fields were two of them. When it comes to hoping a pocket passer gets me 20+ strictly through the air compared to the numerous (and more probable) ways a mobile QB can get me 20+ I find myself leaning towards the mobile runners. I’m almost inclined to tell you that unless you have Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, or Jalen Hurts then your QB may be better off netting you an elite WR or RB (I’m looking at you Justin Herbert / Joe Burrow owners). We will definitely be thinking about QBs differently next year so why not start now?
I’m also doubling down on Najee Harris this week. He made some really nice runs and will continue to benefit from the newfound energy Kenny Pickett has brought to this team. A big part of the reason I’m looking at the Sam Ehlinger situation in Indianapolis is because of how the shift in Pittsburgh has gone. They aren’t necessarily benefitting in the record department but they have been playing some really good teams and I think when they finally have a chance to play a not top-10 defense they will shine. They have Philly next week and then a bye so if you want to wait and see if Najee’s stock can drop even lower be my guest but if a young Steelers team hopes to surprise Philly, Najee will most certainly be involved. An owner going into the bye off a hot Najee performance is a lot harder to trade with than an owner looking at a Philly matchup right now. The stock is already low. The time is now if you want to make that move. He’s getting you 10+ pretty much guaranteed every week and has a huge ceiling, how does that compare to your RB 2 spot? Owners drafted him in the first round so they are stressing about him every week but if you can find a way to slide him into your RB 2 spot rest of the year you may have just made a league-winning move.
The Colts are the unintended stars of today’s show and not necessarily because I think their offense is going to improve, even though that’s certainly possible, but rather because I think it will become more predictable. Big offensive shifts like changing quarterbacks always open opportunities for newfound fantasy excellence. I think Matt Ryan, who has been used to throwing down the field to big-name receivers his whole career, supported fantasy production from Pittman and Pierce that we might not see as consistently with Ehlinger at the helm. I think the Nyheim Hines we all were hoping to see in the offseason might start to reveal himself in the second half of the season. Not only does he provide the obvious pass-catching role in the backfield but he’s also someone they like to use a lot in their gadget plays. Campbell and Hines are on this list because I expect a lot more of their offense to be closer to the line of scrimmage with fewer shots down the field. An area where they both excel.
Sean McVay is an offensive mastermind. He’s proven so his whole career. This year his whole offensive scheme has been disrupted by the inability of the Rams to run the ball due to porous offensive line play full of third and fourth stringers. As a Rams fan, I’ve been wondering how he’s going to try and deal with this simple fact, and against the Panthers, it was evident hes at least found a band-aid for the solution. There has been a steady increase in Wide Receiver runs as well as screenplays the past few weeks until last week it pretty much supplanted our run game. The jet sweeps and short screens worked as our way to pull the defenses in and allowed us to take some shots. I think McVay will need to continue to find creative ways to supplant the run game and when Kyren Williams returns he may be in a designed pass-catching role and get a split of whatever groundwork there is to go around.
Another player I’m bringing over from last week simply because he outperformed Kenyan Drake not only last week but has looked amazing with limited carries so although Gus the Bus is back Hill still provides upside in such a run-heavy offense
A player I have similar feelings for is Hill. Both are not seen as the top option but are way too good to not give touches to. Herbert more so than Hill might have a better chance at eventually supplanting Montgomery as the coach has even said they will continue to go with the “hot hand” at RB in a recent press conference. Montgomery is still running hard but Herbert is one injury or a couple of big plays away from being a lineup lock.
Last week we talked about how the Giants are executing very well right now. Wan’Dale Robinson is still playing his placeholder role perfectly. Doing enough to show the potential of what Daboll has planned but not too well to threaten to steal the job from Toney altogether. When Toney is activated (probably week 9 or 10 in my opinion) he could go on a tear that wins people championships. The Giants are playing so well that they feel no need to rush him back until he is fully ready so I think a lot of people have forgotten about him or put too much weight into those meaningless trade rumors earlier in the season. If he’s on your waivers pick him up and if someone else has him maybe he’s a reluctant holder to see if they will take your bag of peanuts before they are asking for a bag of gold.
Breece Hall is out for the season and Elijah Moore wants a trade. Maybe Elijah Moore is brought back with the promise of more targets now that Hall is out but as it stands now Garrett Wilson is primed to be a target hog. Wilson’s fantasy playoff and championship schedule is also tantalizing, including the Lions, Jaguars, and Seahawks. The Jets have been grinding out wins on the back of their young defense and Breece Hall. Breece Hall is now gone and they will still feature the ground game with the newly acquired Robinson and Michael Carter but there is a Young talented WR that is just waiting to soak up targets. His value has been trending down for a few weeks now since Zach Wilson returned and might be available for acquisition, especially with all the new to all commotion going on in the offense. Robert Saleh is committed to competing with every team they play no matter the opponent and has no problem featuring a Rookie in his offense so I think there are better days ahead for Wilson and he’s a nice buy low right now.
The Rams have sorely been missing a vertical threat. In the past couple weeks Brandon Powell and Tutu Atwell have been trying to fill that role but it reminds me too much of when Jeff Fisher used to send Tavon Austin on deep routes. Unless they legitimately burn their defender it’s never going to work. They are just too small. Van Jefferson is no Megatron but he’s done really well at being a consistent vertical threat in the offense since he joined the team. He also might have that Cooper Kupp – Tyler Higbee-esque connection with Stafford that we all wished existed with Allen Robinson.
We also talked about Rondale Moore last week and I said that he would outscore Hopkins the rest of the season. Hopkins of course took that personally and responded with 10 receptions and 103 yards compared to Moore only getting three looks (although one was an endzone target) one reception and 31 yards. I’m going to double down on this take though. Moore was playing outside in Week 7 and they clearly preferred him in the slot as they immediately went out and got Robbie Anderson so they could move Moore back inside. Hopkins is an amazing player and has good chemistry with Murray but Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is predicated around these short-route timing throws. Hopkins is a great route runner and can also succeed here but I think Moore will be more efficient in the offense Kliff wants to run plus he has the rushing upside. Moore is coming off a week that might have some owners scared of his output being tied to Hopkins return. Pounce on those owners and reap the rewards.
Back to back weeks of production now for a WR that was a high draft pick and has been held back by injuries his whole career. Y’all know how I feel about Toney so of course im going to keep that same energy here as well. I talked about him last week giving Matt Ryan a nice security blanket that he was sorely missing in this offense and now they are moving on to a young QB. No one needs security blankets more than those young QBs. If you didn’t pick him up last week this is probably your last chance to do so.