The fantasy football playoffs are just around the corner and the NFL season is past the halfway point. Its time to start fine tuning your team to get them in top form for that late season run. Waivers may not be as robust as they once were, but there are always players out there that are an opportunity away from carrying your team.
Derek Carr OAK Rostered - 18%
It has been a surprisingly successful season for the Raiders after a tumultuous offseason. Carr is looking more like a franchise quarterback despite weapons that don't look impressive on paper. Now, he is heading into a stretch of games that should mostly be conducive to fantasy goodness. It may be time to pick up the silver and black quarterback if you are struggling at the position.
Gardner Minshew JAC Rostered - 49%
Most likely, the mustache is already on a team if your league is competitive. If your league mates have been hesitant to take the plunge with a rookie lacking in draft capital, however, go grab him. Minshew has been remarkably consistent outside of one stinker against the Saints. The Jaguars have decent supporting talent and there is no reason to look for a drop-off in production at this point.
Jaylen Samuels PIT Rostered - 34%
It looks like James Conner is going to miss some time for the Steelers. This is a team that likes to run the ball and Samuels is also a skilled pass catcher out of the backfield. There could be some major value to be had if the Conner owner in your league did not handcuff their star running back.
Mark Walton MIA Rostered - 12%
For better or worse, Walton has a large piece of the Dolphins backfield with the departure of Kenyan Drake. The former Bengals backup does not look like a player that is going to take the job and run with it, but for this season he'll get his touches. Even for a mediocre player on a bad team, volume makes a running back worth a roster spot.
Darrell Henderson Jr. LAR Rostered - 23%
There has been more playing time and more trust given to Henderson of late. This is good news, but the bad news for the rookie is the impending return of Malcolm Brown. It is difficult to say how the backfield will shake out at this point. It could be argued that Henderson is the most explosive member of the committee at this point and that fact is probably not lost on Coach McVay. At the very least, it seems unlikely that Henderson vanishes back to an inactive.
Alexander Mattison MIN Rostered - 17%
Another skilled rookie worth a roster spot, Mattison has made the most of limited touches. Playing behind one of the best backs in the leagues tends to limit impact, but the Vikes run the ball a ton. Mattison has had 7 or more carries in six out of eight games so far. His role may not grow by leaps and bounds, but he will continue to spell Cook and if the starter ever had to miss time, Mattison becomes a RB1 overnight.
If You're Desperate
49ers Running Backs
If you can grab a piece of Kyle Shanahan's running game, then go ahead and do it. Most recently it was Raheem Mostert getting involved with 60 yards and a score at the end of a blowout. It is tough to say who will be the big winner in a given week, but the Niners run the ball like no other.
Other Handcuffs Worth Watching
Tony Pollard DAL
Damien Harris NE
Reggie Bonnafon CAR
Derrius Guice WAS
(Slated for a week 11 return to action)
N'Keal Harry NE Rostered - 10%
It may be just about last call for grabbing Harry for nothing from the waiver wire. The rookie first round pick is set to debut for the Patriots over the next week or two and if things go well, your window is closed. The Pats have a glut of shifty slot receivers, but need a big body other than 38 year old Ben Watson. Harry could be just what the doctor ordered and should be a true weapon, especially in the red zone.
Diontae Johnson PIT Rostered - 12%
The passing game for the Steelers is still developing. It sounds funny to say that after so many years of a hall of fame quarterback throwing to hall of fame wide receivers. At this point, a rookie quarterback is trying to find his way with a young group of receiving talent. One thing that has been a constant most weeks is a bunch of targets for Johnson. Aside from a lull versus the Chargers, Johnson has seen between 4 and 8 targets every game. That kind of trust from a quarterback can only lead to good things.
Mecole Hardman KC Rostered - 29%
Darius Slayton NYG Rostered - 11%
These two are sort of the same type of player at this point in their careers. They both get limited touches, but any time they get the ball they are a threat to score. You can't rely on more than 2-3 catches per game, but some weeks that will be all that you need. These two rookies are excellent options for a flex spot, but be aware that the floor is a goose egg.
Chris Herndon NYJ Rostered - 25%
The Jets are reeling and their young franchise quarterback is struggling. It looks like a perfect time for a matchup with the hapless Dolphins. It appears that Herndon is ready to make his season debut and he could make an impact right away against a historically bad opponent. Despite missing time with suspension and injury troubles, Herndon is a better tight end than you should be able to find on the waiver wire. Grab this young pass catcher and hopefully you can stop the carousel of streamers that haunt the tight end position on so many rosters.
Darren Fells HOU Rostered - 12%
It is tough to predict when Darren Fells is going to catch the eye of his quarterback. Some weeks he stays relatively quiet within the Texans passing game. When Fells and Watson get on the same page though, opponents had better watch out. There have been three games so far where Fells managed double digit fantasy points. As with most tight ends, those games were all touchdown dependent. Still, as a desperation play you could do much worse than a player with the trust of Deshaun Watson.
Make sure to come back and check out our weekly positional rankings before getting your lineup set for the week. Follow me on Twitter for extras and questions answered:@brendancole16.