This week we also have a quarterly review and a look at some future grabs.
Welcome to Week 5’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.
GRINDERS – The guys who will get you points in a pinch.
Carson Palmer – If you grabbed him, you are starting him.
Andy Dalton – A list regular who has been getting you points if you lost your guy,
Alex Smith – Grinding away for you.
Blake Bortles – Bortles hasn’t been impressive but he has given steady numbers for most fantasy leagues. He should make a good bye week fill-in against Tampa Bay.
Josh McCown – For the record, I am not a Cleveland Browns fan. I know it would appear that way due to the frequency of Cleveland players appearing on this list but that is more a result of their availability.
Look to the future: Tony Romo was a preseason Grinder. He may have been cut in short benched leagues without Injured Reserve. Grab him for the playoffs if you have room.
Chris Ivory has officially become too good for this list. As long as he is healthy, he is starting for you.
Karlos Williams also is must-own. They are presumptive starts for some great grinder points.
Khiry Robinson – Robinson has been a true Grinder, particularly for points per reception leagues. He is giving you 8-12 points a week.
I know, he isn’t exactly thin waiver material. For the price that was probably paid for him, it is too painful to see him here but this is where he is at. If he is dropped, grab him for a bye-week grind. He might be available in short bench leagues.
Theo Riddick – We have all (OK, I have no idea what anyone else is doing) been awaiting for Ameer Abdullah to finally take this job and run with it. Tragically, Detroit is a team chock-filled with studs not paying dividends. Feel free to debate/lament coaching, quarterback play, line play, etc. In the end, Detroit has been underwhelming. Riddick has been silently grinding in points per reception leagues. Eight-12 points with upside.
Look to the future: Bilal Powell will grind if Ivory is hurt. I know I used if and not when, I am trying to be more optimistic in life. If you have roster room, just go ahead and grab Cameron Artis-Payne now. I expect him to be on this list either with Stewart or in his stead by Week 7.
Willie Snead – Snead should be rostered by now but if he isn’t grab him as a Grinder. He isn’t exciting but he is getting the ball.
Tavon Austin – He was insane last week, I don’t expect it will be like that but he was a low to mid-end Grinder leading up to last week. I think he Grinds against Green Bay for you.
Travis Benjamin – He shouldn’t even be on this list any more but I just had someone in a league refer to him as garbage when I offered him as a piece in a trade. That means perception might not have caught up with reality. The reality is it doesn’t matter who is throwing the ball, Benjamin gets some. If he is out there grab him.
Ted Ginn Jr. – This last week was fluky but he has been getting the ball. Carolina is on bye this week so if he is on your wire now is the time to pounce. Owners may not pursue him thinking they can ride the bye.
Look to the future: DeVante Parker may have been dropped in redraft leagues. With the shakeup in Miami, incorporating him into the offense should be a priority. Kamar Aiken is also someone to look at grabbing. With Michael Campanaro done for the season and Breshad Perriman still not healthy, Aiken and Marlon Brown should be seeing the ball more.
Gary Barnidge is officially the mascot of this article. I am sure he is thrilled and I do not remind him at all of Annie Wilkes. Fact is, he was a bargain and dude is grinding!
Ben Watson – If you are desperate in a points per reception league, Watson is a very low end grinder. He’ll get you a handful of points and very little upside.
Garrett Celek – Fun fact, Garrett has caught more balls than big brother Brent Celek this year. Brent Celek has a touchdown at least. San Francisco has been bad, really bad, like might actually miss Alex Smith bad. As the season goes on, finding Grinder tight ends who aren’t on rosters becomes harder. Vernon Davis is ailing and Celek is a 5-8 point guy with upside in points per reception leagues.
Larry Donnell – Might have been cut by an impatient owner. He is grinding away at 5-15 points in points per reception leagues.
Look to the future: Jacob Tamme is still in concussion protocol and might be on the waiver wire. He was a low-end grinder when he went down and as long as Leonard Hankerson doesn’t eat his helping, he could be a bye week replacement when he comes back. And now for something really obvious – Antonio Gates should be owned. If he isn’t, own him. Finally, going super deep – Blake Bell could get some looks in San Francisco. Who knows? If that team gets frustrated enough maybe it will even let the former quarterback throw a few.