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.
At this point in the season you will notice a trend, starting multiple positions from the same team. Which is because generally, any player with a pulse on a good offense is sitting on a bench. Adding to the problem is now that it is playoffs, unless you are in a dynasty league, most of the teams in the league are dormant and the players on their benches won’t touch the wire, there are no trades, and it is slim pickings. The struggling offenses that are either starting to click or getting a light schedule is where the best finds are.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
Flacco has underwhelmed this season which has left him on many a waiver wire. He is coming off a decent stat line and is playing the Browns. He is still a gamble. This is the type of game where you wouldn’t be shocked if the Ravens’ defense is the top scorer.
Blaine Gabbert, Arizona Cardinals
A desperation gamble if you are in a crazy deep league or a 2QB league. He hasn’t exactly shined over the last three games but Washington’s defense hasn’t either. Something will need to give this week.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
His match up is average and his play has been inconsistent but he is still learning the ropes. He is a nice gamble against the Titans.
DeShone Kizer, Cleveland Browns
The Ravens aren’t exactly the match up you want for a rookie quarterback, especially the Browns rookie quarterback de jour. He has Njoku, Gordon, Coleman, and a solid running game. He could zonk you but he is a gamble for this week.
Blake Bortles, Sacksonville Jaguars
Can you regress from regression? Is it double regression? Re-regression? Regression progression? Infinite regression? Sorry, I had a digression. Blake Bortles isn’t going to re-re-regress into Joe Montana but he hasn’t looked bad the last few weeks and he has some nice match ups for the next two weeks. He could really come through if you are in a pinch. Apparently, he just has problems getting the ball to guys named Allen.
Let’s back up for a moment.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
This has been a brutal year for quarterbacks and there are we have seen more and more backups taking the reins. If you need a quarterback in a deep league or 2QB Foles is my pick out of this week’s newly minted starters. Bryce Petty (Jets) has the Saints and the Chargers coming up and T.J. Yates (Texans) is playing against the Jags this week. This should be a really good week to play the Jag Defense.
Rod Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Can you expect this every week? No, but Smith may get more carries now. He is a nice gamble if you are desperate for a running back.
Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
JStew has been a grinder all season but rostered in most leagues. With teams making a final push to playoffs and his low ceiling, he is now sitting on some wires. Just like Rod Smith, don’t use an outstanding performance to set your expectations but Green Bay is coming up and if the Panther defense can keep the score down, they may ride Stewart again this week. He should eke you out 8-12 touches even if the game plan reverts back. He would be my top target this week if I needed running back help
Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears
Strangely he is still sitting on wires. He is playing behind Jordan Howard, who is killing it for fantasy right now. Cohen is a PPR grinder.
Shane Vereen and Wayne Gallman, New York Giants
Vereen is a PPR gamble against a tough Philly run defense. If you need to fill a running back spot and are desperate, he has a pulse and is a running back. Gallman may see an increase in carries this week. Philly is scary and I would rather wait until Week 16 to start one if you can.
Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals
He has been getting carries in Peterson’s stead and is a gamble for Week 15.