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.
Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings
He put up decent fantasy numbers against the Rams and should fill in nicely again this week. If you are heading into your playoffs, start eyeballing some other quarterbacks. Assuming Keenum does hang on to the job, he has the Panthers in Week 14. Take a look at Arizona or San Francisco to pair him up with to make it through playoffs. Grinder.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
I have no idea why the Bills thought…”hey we are in playoff contention, let’s bench our quarterback and start a rookie!” but the rest of the AFC East and the Chargers are grateful. The Bills are evaluating the two quarterbacks to determine who is starting this week. They have some nice matchups. If they decide to go back to Taylor he should make a great gamble. If they go with the rookie again, Marcus Peters should be good fodder for IDP leagues this week.
Drew Stanton/Blaine Gabbert, Arizona Cardinals
They play Jacksonville this week. Don’t play them this week. Whichever one lives through the next couple of games has some nice playoff matchups. Stash/Gamble.
For 2QB and crazy deep leagues one of these guys might come through for you. This week’s game should be brutal and may speed up the move from Beathard to Garoppolo. They have Houston and Tennessee in their future if you can hang on until then. Gamble.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
He has been putting up grinder numbers and the next two weeks will require him to pass. He can be paired up with another QB in a platoon.
Matt Moore/Jay Cutler, Miami Dolphins
This one is just for this week if you are trying to wait out some of the other quarterbacks on this list. If Cutler is healthy, he will get the start. If not, it will be Moore. Expect a couple of picks (if you have watched them play you know this) but we are playing the Pats this week and there should be some garbage time production coming. If you are desperate, gamble away.
Samaje Perine, Washington
He is the last man standing. He will be snatched up this week in any league he is still around in. Be the one doing the snatching.
Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles
Wheeeeeeeeeee! The Eagles running game is now like little league, everyone gets a chance to play. Clement is a gamble as Philly has decided “sharing is caring” when it comes to their backfield.
Devontae Booker , Denver Broncos
Booker is grinding for PPR but what happens from here is a big question mark. Denver fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and replaced him with Bill Musgrave. Booker has put up decent numbers and is worth a grab but until we see how the new offense works out, Booker is still a gamble. Grab and stash him if you can.
Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
He is a gamble in PPR. If your league is crazy thin he could help in a pinch. I wouldn’t want to lean on him trying to make it to the playoffs but if you limp in, he might help you get through Week 14. If you need a couple of points and there are tumbleweeds blowing through your waiver wire pick him up. (Ignore him in a non-PPR league).
A Chicago Bear not named Jordan Howard
Benny Cunningham was taking snaps away from Tarik Cohen, and then Sunday happened. Both running backs are gambles and the fact that neither one can hold on to the RB2 spot makes them super gambles. If you have no other choices you can start one and pray. With the Eagles coming up, pass catching might be clutch. Cohen is my favorite of the two but coaches hate your fantasy teams.
Andre Ellington, Houston Texans
Ellington was just picked up off of waivers and may be a non-factor but a banged up Alfred Blue is the first back behind Miller now. Desperation grab.