The NFL provided several unexpected performances this week, and this is excellent news for fantasy owners looking to bolster their roster through the waiver wire.
While no current free agent is likely to follow Arian Foster and Victor Cruz into the Waiver Wire Hall of Fame, there are several options that will help add depth to rosters before the playoffs start.
With a large discrepancy between the top teams in the NFL and everyone else, a deep bench will be important going forward for fantasy owners, as a few franchises may chose to rest their star players before Week 17.
Here are three players who must be targeted this week.
Marcel Reece, RB, Oakland Raiders
Against the New Orleans Saints, Reece ran for 103 yards on 19 carries while also catching four passes for 90 yards. The only accomplishment missing from this performance was a touchdown.
Fantasy owners should continue to monitor McFadden and Goodson’s injuries, but can also be confident that Reece will have a major role to play in the offense. He is an excellent receiver and also proved how effective he can be as a rusher
Admittedly, New Orleans is the softest defense the Raiders will face all season. But the team’s next two matches are against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, and neither team has been impressive against the run.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Blackmon frustrated many fantasy owners who had high hopes for the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft. Up until today, the Jaguars wide receiver had been a bust.
Few expected this to change against the talented Houston Texans defense, but Blackmon finished with seven catches for 236 yards and one touchdown.
He was targeted 13 times in the game, and 12 of these passes came from Chad Henne, not Blaine Gabbert. Jacksonville’s regular starter was injured early in the game and Henne clearly has chemistry with Blackmon.
If the Jaguars chose to stick with Henne under center, Blackmon will be an excellent fantasy option.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Which of these players has the most fantasy value?
Hilton posted his third 100-yard performance against the New England Patriots this week, and he had his first multi-touchdown game.
The rookie was targeted nine times and caught six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. His second catch for a score went for 43 yards and was his longest reception of the season.
This is Hilton’s second 100-yard game in the last three weeks, and he role in the Colts offense has increased as he has improved. Reggie Wayne will still get the lion’s share of targets, but he also attracts plenty of attention from opposing defense, and this opens up space for Hilton.
The Colts have the Buffalo Bills, the Detroit Lions, the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs remaining on their schedule, and all four of these teams came into Week 11 ranked in the bottom-10 in the NFL in points allowed per game. This will not be Hilton’s last 100-yard performance.