Time to burn that depth! It may seem like an abstract notion given the number of injuries we’ve seen to significant players this year but now is the time to start upgrading your roster! Notice I said “start upgrading” some of these targets are going to take a bit of negotiating to land which could take a week or two. I always start swapping out depth around Week 8 with an eye towards the playoffs and while many will argue that its a dangerous course of action, I’ve seen this move pay off far too many times to not recommend doing so. So who are we targeting? Much like I’ve said all year you need to target the owners first, then the players. As always, if there is no need, there is no deal. I guarantee someone in your league has a team that has been hurt by injury and they are holding onto a moderate to high-end stud. It is your job to help these owners improve their chances of making the playoffs while improving your chances of winning the 2017 title! Now I’m not saying you run out and sell the farm to get Le’Veon Bell (not saying you don’t do that either) but there are absolutely some solid guys out there who might be had for a reasonable price right now. Make no mistake, these aren’t really buy-low guys. These are the type of players will cost you, as they should!
Kareem Hunt RB, Kansas City Chiefs
This will easily be the most expensive option on this list but now might be the time to strike. Hunt hasn’t scored in 4 weeks and faces the Broncos in Week 8. The Broncos are averaging the least amount of points to running backs through 7 weeks so this game could help your cause. Look, I own Hunt in a number of leagues and I know damn well I won’t be trading him but its worth a shot. The person who owns him may have lost Aaron Rodgers or perhaps he owns Jordy Nelson and is panicking? Maybe they have gotten themselves into a must-win situation already and don’t want to absorb what could be a rough outing vs. Denver this week? Who knows? What I do know is that Kareem Hunt has without a doubt the safest floor and he has an easily obtainable handcuff in Charcandrick West (for those who like that sort of thing) I’m not worried about his lack of scoring at all either. When 15 points is a bad week, you are in good shape. This guy is truly matchup proof but there is nothing scary about his playoff schedule either. The Raiders, Chargers and Dolphins run defenses haven’t been overly generous to opposing backs but they are far from scary.
Devonta Freeman RB, Atlanta Falcons
First off, he should have had a touchdown Sunday night. Who calls a Jet Sweep from the 2-yard line when you have a goal-line monster like Freeman on deck? Either way, his 12 point effort in Week 7 certainly didn’t boost his value and was his 4th sub-16 point outing on the year. We all know what he is capable of (see weeks 2 and 3) but there is a chance his owner may be sick of him or worried about Tevin Coleman getting more work down the stretch. Look, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the Atlanta offense as a whole but for a guy as talented as Freeman on a team as talented as Atlanta, I’m buying. I’m not at all worried about usage but if the Freeman owner is worried, encourage it! Freeman out-snapped Coleman Sunday night 41-19 and he also leads Coleman in red-zone opportunities 19-8. He’s without a doubt the back to own in Atlanta and is as good a bet as any to put up elite numbers any given week. He’s just shy of the “elite” running backs and a decent semi-buy low targets at the moment.
Melvin Gordon RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Another running back who can be elite any given week but is just beneath the top tier in many owner’s minds. Gordon had back-to-back monster weeks before putting up a stinker vs Denver in Week 7. He has posted double-digit outings in 5-of-7 outings this season, two of which were North of 30 points! His ceiling his sky-high and his floor is somewhat safe (at least safer than most given his usage in the passing game – 5th most receptions among running backs this season) I’m not terrified about his playoff schedule but it’s not perfect. He faces the Redskins (16th most generous to opposing backs) and Chiefs (27th) before his league winning matchup in Week 16 vs the Jets who are the 5th most generous to running backs. He is South of the Kareem Hunt / Le’Veon Bell / Todd Gurley’s of the world so while his price tag will be high it may not be as high as you might think in the right circumstance.