With only one month left in the season and the playoffs right around the corner, owners are looking for players to help them in the stretch run. I’m putting together a team right here of “Stretch Run Saviors” that can help take owners to the promised land. Some of these players are still available on the waiver wire or can be had in a trade for a fair price. My team is composed of a standard lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end and a defense. I didn’t include a kicker because, let’s face it, kickers are worthless.
QB: Matt Moore
I’m taking a big leap of faith here, my friends. Originally I wanted to put Tim Tebow in this slot but I feel like after three straight solid fantasy performances, I think the price might be too high at this point. In no way, shape or form am I saying that you should immediately insert Moore into your lineup and bench whoever your starting quarterback is. Still, after his heroic three-touchdown, 244-passing yard performance last weekend, Moore’s upside is looking a lot better than it has all season. He’s available on the waiver wire in almost all leagues and he has a number of solid matchups the rest of the way.
In the next seven games, he has tasty fantasy matchups against the Buffalo Bills (twice), Oakland and a dream fantasy Super Bowl (Week 16) matchup against the gosh-awful New England defense. With the Dolphins’ running game starting to show signs of life and Brandon Marshall beginning to come alive, pick up Moore off the waiver wire and stash him on your bench. If your starting quarterback starts to falter and his matchup isn’t looking that appetizing, at least you’ll have a potentially solid fallback option on your bench.
RB: Reggie Bush
Bush is probably the player on this list you’re going to have to pay the most for after his 92 rushing yards, 53 receiving yards, one-touchdown eye-opening performance last weekend. There’s a lot to like about Bush going forward starting with the fact that his running back by committee partner Daniel Thomas didn’t look good against the Kansas City Chiefs last weekend, rushing for 12 yards on seven carries, clearly still affected by his season-long hamstring injury.
What’s most impressive about Bush is his upcoming schedule, which might be the most fantasy running back friendly schedule out there. He has Washington this Sunday, the Buffalo Bills twice, Oakland and Philadelphia – all teams that have weak rushing defenses. I’ve been one of Bush’s biggest haters but his schedule going forward is too enticing to ignore. The Dolphins want no part in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes and are playing with a lot of heart and grit. Most owners of Bush have probably had to find other options during the season so you’re basically trading for another team’s bench player, which means you should get him at a reasonable price.
RB: Roy Helu
Anyone who watched the Washington-San Francisco game last Sunday, and I don’t blame you if you missed it because it’s hard to watch the John Beck Checkdown Redskins, saw that Helu has become the entire offense. Helu’s final stat line was a points per reception dream come true: 14 receptions for 104 receiving yards and 41 rushing yards against the league’s best rushing defense. Beck refuses to throw the ball deep and constantly checks down to Helu on almost every single play, which is awful if your a Redskins fan and great if you’re a Helu owner. Ryan Torain has become nothing but an afterthought with two rushing yards and coach Mike Shanahan confirming after the game that Torain would only be coming in when Helu was “tired.”
It’s doubtful that Helu is still available on your waiver wire so you’re probably going to have to make a deal for him, but like Bush he’s a bench player for Helu owners so you shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on him. Unlike Bush, Helu’s upcoming schedule is nothing to write home about, playing the tough run defenses of Miami, Dallas and Seattle. If Beck is checking down to Helu on nearly every play, though, he almost becomes matchup proof, especially if you’re in a points per reception league.
Helu is an absolute must-own in points per reception leagues and worth targeting by owners in the final days leading up to the trade deadline. He might play for an awful team, but you’re not drafting the Redskins, you’re drafting their all-around, do-everything running back who could help lead owners in to the playoffs.