Fantasy points have been hard to come by as of late, with many of the early-season stud players not living up to expectations. In their place, players like Marqise Lee, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adam Thielen have emerged as reliable fantasy performers. One more week of bye week teams, so scoring will continue to be at a premium.
One place for the fantasy owner to try and squeeze out some extra points is on the defensive side of the ball. The landscape is changing every week, what was once a reliable defense can quickly turn into a unit that is not even worth owning. Case in point is Buffalo. Buffalo emerged as a solid option, churning out turnovers and sacks on a regular basis. A juicy Thursday night matchup against the New York Jets went horribly wrong, and after getting scorched by New Orleans, Buffalo is no longer on the fantasy radar. On the other side of things, a New England team that could stop no one, is now all of a sudden a viable option after two turnovers and a special teams score this week in Denver. Those owners who are lucky enough to have a stable group of players at the skill positions may want to consider grabbing and stashing a second and even a third defensive team. Playing the matchups is the way to go. Find the team that is up against Houston, the New York Jets (on most weeks), Cleveland and even Ezekiel Elliot-less Dallas. Every point is precious as we get into the stretch run toward the fantasy playoffs.
This week’s story is heavy on running backs, as we will talk about several who are out there on waiver wires that are ready to step in and score significant fantasy points. Only our middle two categories are in play this week. On to the wonders!
RB Jamaal Williams, Green Bay
The woes of Green Bay continues this season, as waiver wire wonder Aaron Jones will be out for the rest of the fantasy season. Ty Montgomery is also hurting, leaving Williams as the “next in line” to carry the load for Green Bay. This week against Chicago he rushed 20 times for 67 yards, not a great touch-to-yard ratio, but enough to build upon for next week and beyond. Baltimore is not the defense it used to be, so with a week of practice as the top back, look for Williams to have a solid week next week as Green Bay’s main ball carrier.
RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
He has emerged as a solid contributor in the Chargers passing game, hauling in five passes for 77 yards this past week against Jacksonville. What is more interesting, is that he is starting to cut into Melvin Gordon’s carries. Gordon rushed 16 times for 27 yards, while Ekeler carried the ball 10 times for 42 yards. This is a situation worth monitoring, and owned in less than half the online leagues, Ekeler should be picked up as he is a back who can surpass Gordon and take over the job as his own.
RB Elijah McGuire, New York Jets
With Matt Forte on the sideline for a few weeks, the Jets will be relying on McGuire and Bilal Powell to carry the load. Against Tampa Bay this past week, McGuire was active in the passing game, hauling in four passes for 36 yards. Look for the split to continue, but with McGuire getting more looks in the air.
RB Samaje Perine, Washington
We would feel better about the prospects of Perine having a bright fantasy future if Washington could run the ball, but we are just not sure that is the case. The injury to Rob Kelley opens the door for some more playing time for Perine, but we have seen Perine have a heavy workload before and he was not able to do much with it. He is worth adding, as running backs who get playing time are rare to find at this point in the season, but expecting a high output of fantasy at least right away is not a likely scenario.