The fantasy championships are finally here for most of us. Congratulations if you’ve made it this far. At this time of year, some guys you may not have started all season could help lead you to fantasy gold. This week I will look at five players who were an afterthought on draft day but could be the deciding factor in you winning or losing your league.
Next Monday will be my final column of the season. Good luck this week everyone.
Kahlil Bell, RB, Chicago – Bell is the kind of late season pickup that could lead people to a fantasy title. I hope that doesn’t happen considering I’m playing against him this week but there’s a lot to like about Bell.
After his disastrous performance against the Denver Broncos, Marion Barber found himself riding the pine this past Sunday in favor of Bell. Bell played 43 snaps against the Seahawks compared to Barber’s 17 and he was able to rack up 108 total yards and a score.
The reason I like Bell this week is because the Green Bay Packers are likely to be in a foul mood after just an awful effort against the Kansas City Chiefs. My guess is Chicago will be playing from behind early, so Bell will get a lot of opportunities as a receiver out of the backfield.
If you play in a points per reception league, Bell is a better start this week than someone like Adrian Peterson, who still isn’t 100 percent healthy. Like I said, I go against Bell and I’m afraid if I lose he could be the deciding factor. If you have Bell, you would wise to find a spot in your lineup for him this week.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis – I loved Brown coming out of college, but until lately he’s been a huge bust. Just when we were about to close the book on Brown’s career he comes out of nowhere and turns into a solid fantasy player.
Brown is coming off a 161-yard performance against Tennessee that included a dynamic 80-yard touchdown run. Brown has now scored in three of his last four games, so he’s getting carries and he’s finding the end zone.
On paper, Brown doesn’t have a great matchup this week against Houston. However, it looks to me like the Texans defense is getting worn down. Houston is down to its third string quarterback and the defense has been on the field a lot over the last few games. Against Carolina, they were pushed around and the unit just looked tired to me.
Brown isn’t a great play this week, but if you’re struggling to find a flex option he’s worth a look. I don’t think 60 yards and a score is an unrealistic goal for Brown Thursday night against the Texans.
Lance Ball, RB, Denver – We know two things for sure: The Broncos will run the ball and the Buffalo Bills can’t stop the run. Throw in a hamstring injury to Willis McGahee and you have the makings of a huge performance from Ball this week.
As I write this, the Broncos are saying McGahee could play against Buffalo, but even if he gives it a go, McGahee’s hamstring won’t be 100 percent by Saturday. I think Ball is the Broncos back you want to have in your lineup.
Filling in for McGahee on Sunday, Ball totaled 105 yards and scored a touchdown. If he gets a majority of the carries against Buffalo, he is almost a lock to run for more than 100 yards. The Bills can’t stop anyone on the ground right now, and with the way the Broncos run the ball they might rack up 300 rushing yards.
Keep a close eye on McGahee’s health. If he can’t go against Buffalo, Ball makes for a great start.