The weather is starting to turn frightful, and the injury monster continues to wreak havoc across the league. We talked several weeks ago about the quarterback position being vulnerable to injury, and unfortunately, Philadelphia fans now know that fact all too well as they will have to go the rest of the season without their star signal caller.
Last week we talked about players like running back Peyton Barber (Tampa Bay) and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco), both of whom had excellent games last week and would be top pickups this week if available. Tight end Trey Burton (Philadelphia) also did not disappoint, though he was a one-week wonder with Zach Ertz expected to return to the field.
This week’s list is grouped by position, best of luck to those of you still in the hunt for your fantasy trophy! On to the wonders.
QB Nick Foles, Philadelphia
Philadelphia will need to turn to the next man up, and that is Nick Foles. Philadelphia has plenty of offensive weapons, those who can advance the ball on the ground and in the air. The team is likely to tone down the passing, using their plethora of running backs to keep the pressure off the new signal caller, but there will be a time when Foles will need to air it out. Those in need at the position can look for Foles to be an active fantasy factor.
RB Wayne Gallman, New York Giants
Mistakes and general ineffectiveness from Orleans Darkwa is providing Gallman with more of an opportunity to showcase his wares. Against Dallas last week, he carried the ball 12 times while racking up 59 yards of offense on the ground. He was extremely active in the passing game, hauling in seven passes for an additional 40 yards. The Giants are trusting him more and more with the ball; look for him to continue to outproduce Darkwa.
RB Rod Smith, Dallas
This is a “one-hit wonder” recommendation, as Dallas looks to welcome back Ezekiel Elliott in Week 16. Until then, Rod Smith is emerging as the most effective back out of the Dallas backfield. Most of his damage last week against the New York Giants came in the air, as he tallied more than 100 yards on five catches, including a score. He also hit pay-dirt on the ground, on his way to putting up more than 150 yards in total offense.
WR Tyler Lockett, Seattle
A bit of a reach, but with the pickings a little slim, we have to dig to find some gems this week. With Russell Wilson coming alive especially in the fourth quarter, Lockett ended the day with four catches for 90 yards and a score. Seattle does not have a lot in front of Lockett on the depth chart, so look for him to continue to be active next week against the Los Angeles Rams.
WR Tyrell Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
Another less-than-obvious boom or bust choice off waivers is Tyrell Williams. Four catches for 132 yards and a score is usually enough to get a mention in the weekly story, but when 70 of those yards come on one play, then we know this is a player that needs that one big gainer. His four catches was the most he’s had since Week 4, but a matchup against up-and-down Kansas City next week will have Williams on the edge of fantasy relevance again this week.
WR Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville
The rookie has had a consistent stretch of games, culminating in his first touchdown this past week against Seattle. He ended the day with five catches for 81 yards, which is right around his average over the past three games. Jacksonville takes on the soft Houston secondary next week, so look for Westbrook to continue to be an active participant in the Jacksonville offense.
WR Jakeem Grant, Miami
With Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker getting most of the defensive attention, Jay Cutler looked in Grant’s direction several times in Miami’s Monday night tilt against New England. One of those looks ended up being a touchdown grab. Another youngster who hasn’t done much yet this season, Miami is throwing him out there to see what he can do. Look for him to continue to be involved in the Miami offense going forward.
TE Jesse James, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh was involved in a shootout, as Ben Roethlisberger threw for more than 500 yards (yes, FIVE hundred). With so many yards to be had, Jesse James caught 10 of his passes, and he ended the day with 97 yards against Baltimore. Pittsburgh gets New England and their suddenly soft secondary next week, in a game that is likely to be another shootout. Look for James to get his fill of throws from Roethlisberger as Pittsburgh will do their best to outscore New England.