Who is the next Hakeem Nicks, Kyle Orton, or Peyton Hillis? Read on to find out
I’m writing this article to highlight some players whose value is on the rise, and I’ll explain why.
I got tired of reading fantasy articles and thinking afterward, “that didn’t help me at all.”
Start-em and Sit-em columns are silly to me, because explaining that a running back is playing the Steelers doesn’t help me at all with setting my lineup, unless he is ranked with the other options.
Waiver-Wire pickup articles can help, but if you play in a competitive league most of those guys are gone.
Too many fantasy “experts” tell you what has already happened instead of focusing on what should happen in the future. I don’t care what a guy has done, I care what I think he is going to do going forward.
So, I am going to discuss some players here whose futures look bright and I recommend trading for before their values go up further. If you have any of these guys, I’d advise holding on to them unless you get a great offer, because they are likely to improve for the reasons I’ll explain.
Who will be the next Hakeem Nicks?
Almost all of the players I am about to talk about were drafted during your fantasy draft, and all are probably owned by someone right now. But these players are on the rise for various reasons, so trade for them if you can, or hold on to them and enjoy the ride.
Don't underestimate how much Randy Moss helps
No one was more skeptical of the old fart coming into the season than me, and he proved me right the first three games.
But I have to admit, watching him against the Jets in the second half on Monday night, he could very easily have a strong season from this point forward. The main concern with him is health, as he was seen holding his elbow several times on Monday night and has missed some practice time.
He comes with substantial risk, but with Randy Moss getting more used to the West Coast offense the Vikings run, Percy Harvin’s track record of success in the slot and even the slim possibility of Sidney Rice returning later in the season the sky is the limit.
If you own him, have a safe backup handy, but plan on using Favre when he is healthy. How much has his value increased? Someone in my league just traded Tom Brady for Favre straight up.
If Shaun Hill can do it, surely a healthy Stafford can
I was a big fan of Stafford coming into the year. He has all of those weapons (Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Tight Ends), a horrible defense that should keep him throwing and improvement is expected in his second season.
I’d still like to believe I was right because Shaun Hill is lighting it up. Hill has topped 20 points in three of his four starts this season.
I believe if Stafford is healthy he could be a solid matchup play later in the season. Keep an eye on his shoulder and the health of Calvin Johnson.
But with Stafford’s value so low right now, he could be a bargain to stash for a few weeks if you need a quarterback. If Shaun Hill can do it, a healthy Stafford should be able to.
He might be small, but he is going to post big numbers
During the first four weeks of the season, Ray Rice may have been one of the most disappointing players in fantasy. A top five pick in every draft, he was banged up and averaging about eight points per week.
Then he exploded in week five with 159 total yards and two touchdowns. But most important, both of his touchdowns were at the goal line, one-yard runs. McGahee got stuffed on his goal line carry and Rice came in and took over after that and had great success.
Ray Rice has a chance to be the top back in fantasy the rest of the season if he keeps getting goal line work. If you can still get him for anything less than top five value, make a move.
Watch him play. He looks like Chris Johnson
Sure, Thomas Jones might stay first on the depth chart and start every game, but it is clearer than ever who the better back in Kansas City is: Jamaal Charles.
We saw what he could do last year in the second half of the season when he gets enough touches. His increase in carries is likely to continue and his productivity when used is a guarantee. Get him if you can while some owners may still be skeptical, but chances are anyone who drafted him is a believer.
Jones may get the goal line work, but I don’t really care. Ray Rice did what last year? And he had a legitimate touchdown vulture in McGahee. Short touchdowns aren’t the only source of value for a running back. When in doubt, get the guy with the most talent. Charles is an elite talent.
When the owner and coaching staff all agree to get you the ball...
Felix was getting built up as the feature back during the offseason by the Dallas media and fantasy analysts.
He was highly regarded because of his impressive yards-per-carry average, a result of his explosiveness on the gridiron. However, the hype on him cooled down very quickly once Marion Barber was named the starter and goal line back.
Those who took Barber over Felix: remember to take the better player when it’s a timeshare, not necessarily the starter.
Felix has been very injury prone when given any kind of serious workload, so be cautious. But while he is healthy, he is a solid top-25 RB for your fantasy team, with top 15 potential. If he goes down, don’t be surprised if Tashard Choice picks up the slack instead of Barber
Pretend he is wearing a Seahawks jersey
He has the talent. He is entering his prime and is a very capable running back when he isn’t stuck in a three-headed committee in Buffalo.
He has the opportunity. Seattle traded for him, they plan to use him. Coach Carroll has confirmed it. They have always been hesitant to let Forsett carry the load, and he will likely be used as a third-down/change-of-pace back now. Lynch will get early down work and goal line carries.
And best of all, have you looked at who the Seahawks are playing this year? A lot of opponents that are very friendly against the run. Talent, opportunity, schedule… what else do you need?
Haven't you seen his IHOP commercials? He can catch anything! Even throws from Max Hall
Max Hall, the undrafted rookie free agent, HELPS him. Who’d have thought we’d be saying that 6 months ago?
Larry was heavily targeted and Hall was able to get him the ball on time often, and should help with after the catch opportunities. If you can get Fitzgerald cheaply, go for it. I did.
He did all that against the Jets defense...
If the draft were today, Percy would be gone by the fourth round. He doesn’t have the skill set to be a number one wide receiver on his team, but he could border number one receiver numbers on your fantasy team.
As long as Favre stays healthy, and stops sending dirty texts, Harvin should continue to excel with Moss in town.
He does come with some risk. He is tied to Favre’s health as well as his own, although the migraines have been OK lately. When both are healthy, he is a top-15 fantasy WR. The Jets game was not a fluke (just don’t expect those ridiculous numbers every week obviously).
All smiles with Big Ben coming back, a lot more celebrating in the future
I pair them together because I think both will benefit greatly with Big Ben’s return.
He loves throwing to Ward, who is reliable and a good red-zone target. But Big Ben also loves to chuck it deep, and Wallace is on the verge of exploding (think Hakeem Nicks).
With teams focused on stopping Mendenhall, there will be plenty of room for both of these guys to work.
I expect Wallace to be a top 20 guy from here on out, with potential for even more. They had the fourth string quarterback throwing to them, now they get a two-time Super Bowl champ.
Decent with Collie healthy, could be a monster when Collie misses any time
I don’t love him, but if you can get him cheap, go for it.
He is in one of the best passing attacks in the league, with the best quarterback. Collie is banged up, all he needs is a chance and he can post great numbers.
Just look at what Collie did as the “No. 2” behind Wayne. Garcon needs to stop dropping passes, but Peyton clearly still trusts him (14 targets last week) and isn’t afraid to give him lots of chances.
A TD machine
We all knew he had the talent, he just had to behave and get on the field more. Well Justin Gage got hurt, and that put Britt in the starting lineup.
He validated that all his preseason hype was warranted with touchdowns in three straight games, quickly becoming Vince Young’s favorite deep threat. With opponents focused on Chris Johnson, expect a lot of room for Britt to make plays.
Could be great with Mark Clayton now gone
Mark Clayton was great, but he is out for the season and Bradford isn’t going to stop chucking it. The concern with Amendola is touchdowns.
Don’t let that scare you off, he is getting targeted in the red zone, touchdowns should come.
He is now Bradford’s most trusted go-to guy. He had 19 targets last week against Detroit. Numbers worthy of starter status on your fantasy team are very likely, just look at what Clayton did.