It seems that we cannot get away from major injuries as we saw Julian Edelman go down with a broken foot that is very similar to Dez Bryant’s. Edelman is expected to miss the rest of the regular season and leaves most fantasy football teams without their potential WR1. Included in this list are two back-up running backs who are gaining steam, a $30 million dollar man (no, not me), and a tight end with an awesome first name. Let’s get to it.
Quarterback, Chicago Bears (40% owned in Yahoo! leagues): Cutler had a strong game on Sunday facing an extremely tough Rams defense, going 19 of 24 for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Over the past three games, Cutler has thrown for six touchdowns and only one interception. Now granted, most of his yardage and even the majority of his touchdowns were formulated by his playmakers in Zach Miller (yeah, he is still in the league apparently) and Jeremy Langford. But, Cutler continues to make the most of what he has while Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Matt Forte are hobbled. He has a tough matchup against Denver, but they got embarrassed by Kansas City and somehow let Alex Smith throw for 200+ yards and a touchdown. Denver is slipping while Chicago is rising. This could not be a better time for the Bears to face Denver and could see the return of Forte as well potentially. A high-end QB2, Cutler could be a decent option for those missing Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and / or Drew Brees to bye weeks.
Running Back, Washington Redskins (47% owned in Yahoo! leagues): Matt Jones has a terrific game on Sunday, albeit it be against a horrific Saints defense. Jones accumulated 186 yards from scrimmage on Sunday on only 14 touches (three receptions for 131 yards!) and a touchdown. He did split carries in the run game with Alfred Morris (don’t worry, still not worth owning) and will continue to going forward but Jones is the clear receiving back for Washington. While Morris and Jones had the same amount of targets and receptions, Jones was the better back of the two and will continue to be the most dynamic of the running backs in Washington. Between Morris, Chris Thompson, and Jones and has the most upside of the three. His next three matchups (CAR, NYG, DAL) gives him a chance to keep putting up points and should be viewed as a high-end RB3 in PPR leagues going forward.
Running Back, Miami Dolphins (18% owned in Yahoo! leagues): Ajayi is coming off of two straight games of at least five carries and 40 yards as well. He is the clear backup running back to Lamar Miller. Ajayi has shown in the past two games that he deserves more work on offense and the coaching staff appears to be impressed with Ajayi since coming off the PUP list with a rib injury. If anything were to happen to Miller, Ajayi would immediately be a high-end RB2 based on his performance so far, and needs to be owned, especially by Lamar Miller owners. Ajayi is nothing more than a RB4 right now, but he will continue to see his role increase and could have FLEX consideration coming his way in weeks to come with his performance so far.
Running Back, Buffalo Bills (68% owned in Yahoo! leagues): Somehow still available in a near 1/3 of Yahoo! leagues, this brings shame upon your dojo. Williams has scored in all six games he has played in this season and even though he is the back-up to LeSean McCoy, Williams has mid-tier RB3 / FLEX appeal with an extremely high ceiling. He had 50 yards from scrimmage & a touchdown on eight touches, showing that even against a tough run defense like the Jets, he just simply makes production appear from anywhere. While McCoy is doing extremely well at the moment, an injury could happen at any time and Williams would become an instant RB1 in that case. He needs to be owned regardless, and not just as a handcuff. Williams deserves weekly RB3 treatment and is a threat every week to score regardless of where he is on the depth chart.
Wide Receiver, New England Patriots (28% owned in Yahoo! leagues): Julian Edelman went down on Sunday with a broken bone in his foot and had surgery on Monday, which could keep him out the rest of the regular season potentially. In his place, Amendola performed admirably, snagging 10 receptions for 79 yards as well. He also was the hero of the game for the Patriots, making two critical plays on the game-winning drive for New England and that can only help his trust from Brady and the coaching staff. With Dion Lewis already out for the season, Amendola will be the chain-mover and #2 wide receiver and at worst, the #3 target in the passing game for the high powered New England offense. He is a weekly WR2 in PPR leagues and a high-end WR3 in standard leagues.
Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens (47% owned in Yahoo! leagues): After the season-ending injury to Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken stepped in as the #1 wide receiver for Joe Flacco and the Ravens. He snagged in seven receptions on 14 targets for 73 yards. Aiken is going to have a lot of fantasy football value going forward as the number one target for Flacco. He has a relatively high floor because of his volume, but also has a decently high ceiling. He will be a weekly high-end WR3 and even some WR2 weeks depending on the matchup. He has now seen no less than eight targets in the games where Smith was out, giving him a steady amount of looks in the passing game. The Ravens will be down a lot, forcing them to throw the ball more, which benefits Aiken more than anyone.
Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals (60% owned in Yahoo! leagues): Michael Floyd had an outstanding game against the Seahawks (Super Bowl contenders? Ha!) on Sunday night with seven receptions, 113 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He also had the chance for a potential 60+ yard reception but it slipped through his fingers. Floyd did leave with a hamstring injury but reports indicate it not being serious and he should be considered questionable for week 11. Regardless, he has gained the trust back from Carson Palmer and is producing extremely solid numbers in his past two games with over 100 yards in both and three touchdowns over that span. Floyd is getting hot at the right time and should be treated as a low-end WR2 in that high-powered aerial attack in Arizona.
Tight End, Baltimore Ravens (12% owned in Yahoo! leagues): Gilmore is coming off two straight performances with a touchdown and has grown to be the number one red-zone target for Joe Flacco. With the season-ending injury to Steve Smith and lack of wide receiving depth behind Kamar Aiken, Crockett Gilmore will be used more, as we saw on Sunday. He caught all four of his targets for 42 yards and a touchdown. Gilmore does have a low ceiling, but has weekly touchdown appeal and is on the cusp on low-end TE1 value. Given the carousel of players at tight end producing randomly (Gary Barnidge [love you buddy], Ben Watson [him?] and Jacob Tamme [see below]), Gilmore could have a few solid weeks in his as the playoffs for fantasy football creeps closer.
Tight End, Atlanta Falcons (17% owned in Yahoo! leagues): Tamme is coming off a bye week, but before that, he had two straight games of at least 10 targets and at least 60 yards receiving. Tamme has turned in some solid weeks and will continue to be a valued target for Matt Ryan as Atlanta looks to get on the right track following the bye week. Leonard Hankerson is expected back, causing Tamme to regress a little bit, but considering how reliable Tamme has been in moving the chains and gaining good amounts of yardage in the short game, he won’t go away easily. He is still a near-lock for six or so targets a week and considering how tight the scores have been in the past few games, it could make all the difference having a safety plug for a tight end. Tamme is a high-end TE2 with Hankerson returning, but there are much worse back-up tight end options out there right now.