Grinders and Gambles is duct tape for teams in need of help. This list is for deeper leagues or for those in shallower leagues who are picking up players in free agency after waivers have run.
Grinders are the guys that will get you some points. They may not have an upside but they will grind out 5-15 depending on your scoring.
Gambles can get you a goose egg but also have tremendous upside
Joe Flacco, Baltimore – Flacco is boring and sometimes a couple hundred yards and a touchdown are what you need. Flacco is playing at his floor right now but he has matchups coming up that aren’t going to require him to do more. If your other option is one of the many quarterbacks that are so erratic they are giving you a single digit stat line, you may just need to plug Flacco in.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets – Darnold had one really rough week for fantasy purposes and has been pretty steady otherwise. Keep in mind Jason Myers was one of the highest fantasy scorers for the Jets depending on your league set up. Darnold’s floor has been grinder material and should stay that way this season.
Alex Smith, Washington – This is the Captain Checkdown we all know and love. He is steadily putting points on the board but has been dropped in quite a few leagues and may make a nice band-aid or bye-week fill in for your team.
Jalen Richard, Oakland – Richard has put up a few points for fantasy owners over the last few weeks. Oakland is on a bye week and are also a flaming dumpster fire. Richard either may already be on waiver wires or may end up there and he may continue to eke out points and get you enough to cover the byes.
Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay – It looks like the Bucs finally remembered they have running backs. Barber was dropped in plenty of leagues but he should go back to “grinder with upside” for the rest of the season.
Ito Smith, Atlanta – Injuries have helped Smith’s case for snaps. He has been grinding out 5-15 points per game and is playing on an injury riddled team.
Albert Wilson, Miami – You should temper your expectations with Wilson since it is Miami. He should have grinder-floor with serious upside depending on the week.
Christian Kirk, Arizona – Kirk continues to grind out points for PPR owners and is still on a majority of waiver wires.
Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets – One game does not make a grinder. The reason Kearse is here is the injuries to the Jets receivers. Kearse may end up producing grinder numbers due to attrition.