Fantasy gurus attain that lofty status by making smart decisions throughout the year, not just in the draft.
One of the biggest differences between consistent winners and lowly losers is the ability to play the matchups and the intestinal fortitude to swap in a sleeper over a proven commodity on a week-to-week basis.
When games are often decided by fractions of points, it’s wise to err on the side of upside. Let’s take a look at some players you can start this week if you are staring down the barrel of a bad matchup and need a free-agent fill-in.
Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)
The rookie fifth-rounder out of Vanderbilt deserves a chance to emerge from this comatose Rams backfield. Daryl Richardson clearly can’t shoulder the load, and Isaiah Pead has not lived up to expectations upon his return from suspension.
With head coach Jeff Fisher seemingly rotating backs until one of them shows some true talent, all signs indicate Stacy could be in line for a big game against the Jags on Sunday.
As long as he’s getting snaps and pounding the ball—something the Rams will definitely be doing against this league-worst defense that gives up 165.0 yards per game on the ground—Stacy looks to be a viable RB2/flex option in most formats.
Take a chance on this young man, as he has the best shot of producing consistently out of all the St. Louis backs.
Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Denver Broncos)
Miles Austin is unlikely to play in Week 5 against the Broncos, something Williams can capitalize on by getting more targets. There is little reason to doubt that he will be able turn those looks into point production.
The rookie third-round pick stands at 6’2”, 210 pounds and possesses sprinter speed. He’s not as reliable as Austin but has the ability to separate from the coverage and haul in a few bombs from quarterback Tony Romo.
Williams was able to snag seven catches for 71 yards in Week 4 against the Chargers but didn’t curry any favor with the coaching staff after an untimely fumble cost the team a chance of winning.
It’s still well-worth it to give Williams a play as a WR3 with immense upside, as there is no better option to replace Austin on the roster. This kid should get plenty of looks in a shootout against the Broncos.
Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
Clay is one of the most reliable weapons in the Miami passing attack and continues to produce on a consistent basis.
What do you consider Clay in Week 5?
After four games, Clay is up to 20 receptions for 245 yards and a touchdown along with one rush for another score.
Signal-caller Ryan Tannehill clearly trusts his 24-year-old H-back and should continue to keep him involved in the offense, especially down in the red area. At 6’3”, 255 pounds, Clay has the size and strength to shed defenders in traffic and make the tough catches.
With the amount of work he has been getting, Clay should find the end zone more and put himself in the discussion as a TE1 in most formats. Look for him to get at least one score against a vulnerable Ravens defense on Sunday.