The playoffs for Fantasy Football for everybody is about to be underway, and with various unexpected injuries suffered by some top significant skill players now forces fantasy owners scrambling for a replacement.
When accessing who are the best available options, some of them you don’t have to look any further than the injured player’s backup. The best option is to always add the player whom offers the most potential opportunities to succeed in terms of the amount of targets or carries they can receive, and the likelihood of producing on the opportunity.
Many of the top waiver wire options at this point of the season typically are “undervalued” rookies whom the majority of fantasy owners may not yet be familiar with…
So I’m here to give you a short-list of some “low key” rookies that may offer the best opportunity to succeed as a flex option for your playoff run. Each one by no means are or have been considered a “household name”, but rather have demonstrated their talent in college, as well in the small-sample size we’ve seen of them so far of them in the NFL.
Pittsburgh’s starting running back James Conner suffered a leg contusion on Sunday night against the Chargers, giving little to no time for owners of Conner to find a replacement. Although Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley are expected to split carries, Samuels is my opinion is the “crown jewel” among any waiver wire options for this week.
Samuels is a unique “hybrid” type of back whom offers a rare skill set as a receiver for a running back. Samuels was listed as an “H-Back” at North Carolina State, mostly used as an all-around versatile tight end that also happen to receive carries out of the backfield. Samuels offers a ton of potential to rack up points in PPR leagues, even if he doesn’t score. If you were or are still fortunate enough to pick him up, then he is a must-start for this week’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
The 49ers introduced the world to the undrafted free agent Jeff Wilson last game, where he received the most carries (15). With Matt Breida out for this week’s game against the Denver Broncos, Wilson is now expected to be the starter.
Besides the fact of Breida being out, Wilson’s increased value is even more due to his usage in the passing game. Last week Wilson had eight receptions (team-high nine targets) for 73 yards, which is a very strong indication that he could receive somewhere along that range in reception total this week.
If Melvin Gordon were to miss another game, Jackson can seek another opportunity to earn a large workload for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Justin Jackson is a very-talented running back despite being a late-round pick (6th round), and outproduced Austin Ekeler the previous game against Pittsburgh.
Jackson rushed for 63 yards along with a touchdown, despite only receiving eight carries. Jackson’s value will be very dependent on either scoring a touchdown, or catching a few passes because of Ekeler’s high usage in the passing game. If Jackson gets the start or receives the majority of the carries, he then definitely makes a solid option for this week if Gordon remains out.
With San Francisco’s starting wide outs Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin inactive the past two games, Dante Pettis has showed off the ability to why they selected him early in the second round. Pettis responded from a touchdown in the previous game by scoring two touchdowns last game, along with five receptions for 129 yards. If Goodwin or Garcon (and especially if both) are to miss this game, then Pettis will be a tremendous value start in the flex or WR3.
The Broncos lost their top wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders due to suffering a torn Achilles during practice. Now with Sanders out for the remainder of the season, plus the fact that they’ve already traded Demaryius Thomas mid-season, opens up plenty of opportunities for other receivers.
Rookie Courtland Sutton had his breakout performance last week, but now DaeSean Hamilton will be expected to serve as the other starter. Hamilton is a fourth round pick out of Penn State University, where he had a tremendous productive four-year college career (breaking the university’s career reception record). The Broncos have also lost their two top tight ends Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt to season-ending injuries, which allows the wide-outs even more of an opportunity to receive targets.
Buffalo has decided to move on past their only wide receivers still on the roster from last season by cutting Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes. Now they will be plenty more opportunities for the young inexperienced receivers on the Bills roster to prove themselves. Robert Foster is an undrafted free agent from the University of Alabama, and is a deep flex option to keep an eye on.
Foster has big-play speed (ran a 4.41 at Alabama Pro-Day), and although he only has eight receptions this season, it’s for a total of 256 yards with a touchdown. The fact that Foster is averaging 32 yards per reception demonstrates Foster’s big play ability. Foster is expected to now be their number one option, and even though it may be a bit of a risk, the reward can be great. All it takes is for Josh Allen to throw one deep ball to Foster for him to make him a solid value play.