Brutal Bye Week alert: This may be the worst week for a ton of fantasy teams with the Browns, Giants, Saints, and Steelers all taking a breather. I think more studs, grinder, and gambles will be on bye this week than any other week, but that is just my humble opinion.
Welcome to Week 11’s collection of starts and pickups for leagues where your bench and/or waiver wire is thin. Played together, “Grinders and Gambles” can help patch holes in a team or be the extra push you need to get those wins.
Don’t sit obvious plays for these guys; they are for when there are no obvious plays or you have question marks all over your bench. These are the guys for leagues where you need to go deeper.
***I play mostly dynasty and I am going to add notes to my listings as to Grinder/Gamble dynasty value. If this note is here when you are reading this, my editor Jim (Great guy!!) has decided this idea is not terrible and has let me do it. [Editor’s Note: Flattery will get you everywhere.]
GRINDERS – The guys who will get you points in a pinch.
Alex Smith – Grinding. I did mention at the beginning of the season that he would be pretty much affixed to this list. He has a low but decent floor with upside. Redraft – where you need a Steady Eddie and the league is thin or multi-QB leagues. Dynasty – Backup material, QB duct tape, multi-QB leagues.
Blake Bortles – Conductor of the A-Rob love train, Bortles has been erratic in his scoring and a matchup play. He should grind against the Titans but Thursday night football is always a tough one. Dynasty – I love his upside. He has a great cast around him.
Andrew Luck is injured and has been for most of this season. Everyone in Indy is getting a bump up right now. Yes, a bump up, Luck has been terrible this season. For dynasty owners, now is the time to trade for Luck. Now that it has become clear he is mortal his owner may be fading him a little, especially if that owner has someone like Carr, Winston or Mariota whom they may be banking on. Redraft or dynasty start for this year only.
Antonio Andrews – Crushed last week. He is still worth a hold in both redraft and dynasty. He can still grind.
Dexter McCluster – PPR grinding and cheap. Dexter McCluster should continue to grind for immediate starts. His dynasty outlook isn’t fantastic if Cobb ever becomes a thing. McCluster’s whole career is playing Robin to someone else’s Batman.
Shane Vereen – PPR grind with upside.
Karlos Williams – Williams would have had a terrible day if not for his touchdown but he is a nice complement to McCoy. He is an obvious own in dynasty leagues.
Nate Washington – Didn’t grind in what was a sad, sad game. It is a tough matchup but Washington may grind you out some points against the Jets depending how coverage works out. If I can sit Washington this week, I would, and then start him next week if I need the help against the Saints. Houston has a rough schedule ahead.
Brandon LaFell – He has been grinding and has upside and is a good hold if you have room in dynasty.
Golden Tate – Tate has not been exciting. He may have been dropped by stacked teams in short-benched leagues or is a cheap trade away. He can grind for you.
Jamison Crowder – Crowder has been the most consistent person in Washington. He has been grinding away the last few games with around 8-12 points a game. He needs to be owned in dynasty.
Dwayne Harris – Harris has been productive and Cruz is not coming back. He is flirting with being too obvious for this list. If you need help he might just answer your call.
Garrett Celek – A potential Grinder with upside. Should be owned in dynasty.
Crockett Gillmore – Poster boy for grinding at tight end right now.