Here we are, three-quarters of the way through the fantasy football regular season. The patterns have formed, but now the injury bug is sniping players, and your ability to act fast and target the beneficiaries is paramount.
Here we’re going to target productive second and third options for teams who have injuries, unpredictable touch counts moving forward and a couple of buy-low, now-or-never opportunities.
In many cases, stashing back-ups RBs or the number two wide receiver in the event of an injury never actually pays off. So let’s target some players who are being clearly undervalued or are coming off unusual activity with their team’s target and touch shares and have legit standalone value.
Miles Sanders is the first @NFL RB to record 500+ scrimmage yards (568) and 250+ return yards (283) in their first 8 career games since Adrian Peterson in 2007. #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/YpKlAs3aDL
— Eagles Communications (@EaglesComms) October 30, 2019
Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
It’s time to revisit Miles Sanders, running back for the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s perfectly positioned to look a bit like a depreciated asset, while Jordan Howard looks like the bell cow.
And in Week 9 versus the Chicago Bears, Sanders’ 10 carries for 42 yards and three receptions for 31 yards on three targets highlighted that perfectly. Howard handled the feature-back duties to the tune of 19 carries for 82 yards and one grab for one yard.
Sanders is playing the complementary role while showing he’s capable of making plays when called on. Sanders will likely not get cheaper, and if Howard goes down, he could be a league winner.
Despite taking a backseat to Howard, Sanders saw 10 of the 31 running back carries in Week 9, and his three catches and 31 yards both ranked fourth on the team. With the passing game in a state of flux, the rushing attack should continue to serve as fruitful for both Philly backs.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins
Adrian Peterson is a man on a mission and a man on the wrong team. He’s running like a player looking for another deal, and despite his status as running back for Washington, he has been a stellar fantasy RB2. The lack of offensive help hasn’t crushed his bottom line.
He’s getting nearly all the work, which included 18 carries for 108 yards and one reception for 22 yards in Week 9. Peterson handled 18 of 20 running back carries for Washington last week.
As injuries pile up down the stretch, getting a back with the majority of touches isn’t a bad thing, and Peterson has the job firmly in hand, though the potential return of Derrius Guice could change things.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
Sony Michel, one of many running backs for the New England Patriots, has presented us with another opportunity to buy-low into elite red zone production. After a loss in Week 9 to the Baltimore Ravens and a subpar (putting it politely) performance by Michel, the cost shouldn’t be too pricey for most important red zone back in New England.
Michel is tied for third among running backs — with Dalvin Cook and Josh Jacobs — with 29 red zone rushing attempts. He has six touchdowns and a 51.8 per cent share of the Pats’ red zone carries. His 11 carries from inside the five are tied for first among all backs.
He just gave us a four-rush stinker in Week 9, resulting in 18 rushing yards and one reception for 12 yards, while taking a backseat to James White and Rex Burkhead.
But Michel has clearly been the preferred red zone back for this squad, and there should be brighter days ahead.
John Brown, WR, Bills
John Brown, wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, dominated receiving targets in Week 9 for his team and has quietly become a solid WR3 play with upside.
On Sunday, Brown saw seven targets, netting four receptions for 76 yards, including a 25-yarder. On a day when Josh Allen threw just 20 passes, completing only 14 for 160 yards, Brown was clearly Allen’s top target. Allen is looking to Brown often and should continue to do so as the Bills continue their run to the playoffs.
According to AirYards.com, Brown’s 130 air yards last week were the 10th most in Week 9, and he’s seventh overall this season in air yards with 865. Now is the time to buy before he has his inevitable blow-up game.
Chester Rogers & Zach Pascal, WRs, Colts
The Indianapolis Colts’ passing game sans T.Y. Hilton has turned out to be fertile ground, with Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers deserving of our attention.
Pascal had a team-best 19 per cent target share last week while Rogers finished with a 16 per cent clip. Pascal notched 76 yards and a score, catching five of six looks. Rogers grabbed three receptions for 22 yards and one touchdown on five targets. Pascal was the deep threat, seeing a 44 percent air yards share in Week 9, compared to an 11 percent mark for Rogers.
With Hilton likely out a few more games and Parris Campbell also banged up, Paschal and Rogers should be heavily involved for Indy, starting in Week 10 in a dream date with the Miami Dolphins.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns
Known primarily as a PPR machine and possession receiver, Jarvis Landry — not Odell Beckham — is the red zone wideout to own for the Cleveland Browns.
I know, blasphemy.
Landry is receiving 27.8 per cent of the red zone target share for Cleveland and has 10 red zone targets overall, compared to four for Beckham. Landry’s red zone target share ranks 12th among all pass-catchers.
Beckham might get some squeaky-wheel treatment moving forward, but there’s still room for Landry, who burned the Denver Broncos in Week 9 for a touchdown, to be a solid fantasy asset — especially with Cleveland holding a favourable schedule the rest of the way.