Andre Ellington, RB, ARI - I’ll lead with him because even after two straight good weeks, he could be underestimated. Ellington’s PPR appeal is growing and it appears the league has caught up with his RB/WR tweener type being a positive, not a negative when fitting into an offense. He’s going to be a useful player as running back injuries pile up and he’s showing the league his value for a team that covets a player with his intersectional abilities in free agency next year.
Elijah McGuire, RB, NYJ - McGuire looked like Kareem Hunt lite against the Jaguars in Week 4. His burst was noticeably faster than anyone else on the field, he was eluding tackles and getting yards after contact, and generally playing like someone who will be a big part of the Jets backfield in the future, and maybe even the present.
Tyler Kroft, TE, CIN - Kroft is showing foundational skills as a primary receiving tight end in the absence of Tyler Eifert, and Eifert’s body appears to be in steep decline. Kroft has some redraft appeal and he’s free in dynasty leagues right now.
Kevin Hogan, QB, CLE - In deep dynasty leagues, Hogan is likely on the waiver wire, but he might not be for long. Deshone Kizer is plateauing or even going backwards, and if it doesn’t change Hogan will be the quarterback they turn to later. Hogan has the ability to contribute a lot as a runner, so that makes it easier to imagine him as relevant in fantasy leagues if he starts.
Donte Moncrief, WR, IND - Moncrief is getting a lot more downfield targets than he did last year in a good sign for his usage’s potential to create fantasy value. The #2 receiver in a Jacoby Brissett offense isn’t worth rostering, but the #2 in Andrew’s Luck offense can be a fantasy #2. Moncrief is just a young 24 with his best football ahead of him. He has been sought after in dynasty leagues for a while, but his stock is at a temporary low now that Luck is back on the practice field.
Alex Smith, QB, KC - Smith was aggressive runner and he made the kind of improvisational play to put his team over the top that has been missing from his repertoire in the past. The Chiefs drafting Patrick Mahomes has been the best thing that happened to him. Defenses haven’t been able to slow down Kareem Hunt, and one of Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce is getting free against opponents every week. This offense is one of the better functioning units thanks to an underrated line and Andy Reid. Smith is ready to graduate into the fantasy QB1 ranks.
Hunter Henry, TE, LAC - Henry has only had one big week in four and fantasy owners are loathe to take zeroes, which he has served up twice. A brighter time is coming in a stretch of the Giants, Oakland, Denver, and New England over the next four weeks. He might be seen as a solid TE1 by the end of it.
Robby Anderson, WR, NYJ - Anderson has reeled in a deep ball from Josh McCown for two weeks in a row. The youngster clearly has a future full of big plays if he can stay on track and the Jets can get a quarterback. Even if the Jets can’t get a quarterback, he has the look of the #1 downfield receiver for the Jets, but dynasty leagues haven’t woken up to how high his trajectory points if the situation just improves modestly in the next few years.
Amari Cooper, WR, OAK - Cooper hasn’t forgotten how to play. The drops issue might be getting in his head and he’s just not playing with confidence right now. The move to EJ Manuel only depresses his value more, but Manuel actually threw the ball well against Denver last week and might not be the disaster he was in the past. Cooper will not get cheaper than he is right now in redraft and dynasty alike.
Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT - Bryant is getting open deep. He’s looking like the athletic wonder we expected him to be on his targets. It’s Ben Roethlisberger that is the problem right now, missing Bryant deep and keeping him on the “bust” side of the boom/bust box score. Perhaps Roethlisberger is in his decline phase, but if he benefits from some home cookin’ this week, Bryant’s value will turn around quickly.
Marcus Mariota, QB, TEN - Mariota’s hamstring injury might cost him some time, but it’s minor. It could also limit his running ability for a bit, but all of this is worth absorbing to get a quarterback who was an elite QB1 for an eight-game stretch last year and has the best set of weapons he has had in his career - and that’s without #5 overall pick Corey Davis who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. The schedule remaining after Miami is basically the AFC North, NFC West minus Seattle, Indianapolis twice, and Houston (Jacksonville is Week 17). Mariota can handle it with too many hitches.
Deshaun Watson, QB, HOU - If you drafted/added Watson as part of a streaming quarterback approach or a QBBC, congratulations! You have your starter until further notice. If you are set at quarterback, but also have Watson, his value is never going to get higher. The Chiefs are a better defense than New England or Tennessee, and the league is going to get some clues on how to frustrate him as the season goes on. Quarterbacks are notoriously hard to trade for value, so take advantage of the window while you can.
Eli Manning, QB, NYG - Manning experienced a mini-revival, and he might be a useful fantasy quarterback in the second half of the season. Leading up to his Week 8 bye, he has the Chargers, Broncos, and Seahawks, which is no way for a fantasy quarterback to grow his value.
Latavius Murray, RB, MIN - Murray looked pedestrian on his carries last week, and it’s questionable that he’ll get anywhere near the value out of leading the Vikings backfield that Dalvin Cook created in that role. I’m not sure he’s better than this week’s signing, Stevan Ridley. He’s worth a waiver wire add, but if you don’t need him, see if you can use him to upgrade somewhere in a 2-for-1.
Wayne Gallman, RB, NYG - I liked Gallman a lot coming out of Clemson, and he’s a good fit in the Giants shotgun offense. He’s also in an offense that won’t commit to the run and isn’t very good at it when they do decide to run. While Gallman has a lot of “want to” in his game and he is versatile, he’s a middling physical talent. If someone comes asking for him in a dynasty league, I would be willing to deal him as part of a package for a better asset.
Bilal Powell, RB, NYJ - Powell won weeks for us if we took a chance on him in Week 4, and he could do it again this week against the Browns. Eventually, Matt Forte is going to return, and Powell’s durability record isn’t the best. Also, unlike his rookie running mate Elijah McGuire, Powell’s long touchdown came on a glitch in the Jaguars defense when they thought he was down and stopped playing. This is the right moment to trade him if you own him on a dynasty team going nowhere this year.