Jay Ajayi, RB, MIA (Redraft/Dynasty) - Forget about the lack of buzz and running behind Damien Williams this summer. Ajayi looked every bit the running back we thought he could be when he was running like a wild stallion at Boise State. Whatever is going on with his knee that caused him to drop to the fifth round is not an issue right now and the Dolphins are inclined to increase his workload. It might not reap rewards this year because the Dolphins team might not give him favorable game scripts, but in dynasty it’s time to move if you can because Ajayi is about to remind everyone why we were excited about before his stock steadily dropped in the offseason and preseason.
C.J. Anderson, RB, DEN (Redraft/Dynasty) - Anderson was clearly held back by his toe injury and he has been running like 2014 Anderson since the bye. The team is aware of this and they’ve made it known that they are open to re-installing him as the starter. Peyton Manning is dealing with a foot issue, the defense can carry the day, and they need to get the running game going for January, so it is in the Broncos’ interest to lean on the run the way they did in the second half of last season when Manning was hurt. Anderson could end up helping us win leagues despite dragging us down earlier this season.
Justin Forsett, RB, BAL (Redraft/Dynasty) - Forsett has been a bit of a forgotten man in a season when running backs are dropping like flies, but he is set up for a nice stretch run with matchups against Cleveland and Miami in Weeks 12 and 13, and in Week 16 a Pittsburgh team he got on track against during the first matchup. Forsett is going to be an engine of an offense that is likely to get in lots of high-scoring games, and with Steve Smith out for the season, he could see an increase in targets.
Kamar Aiken, Chris Givens, WR, BAL (Redraft/Dynasty) - Aiken and Givens aren’t highly regarded in fantasy circles, but they are starting wide receivers in an offense that is throwing the ball more than 40 times a game with nothing on the horizon to slow down that pace. The Ravens pass defense is too generous to the opposition, so Joe Flacco will have to shoulder the responsibility of keeping up with them. Aiken has been productive in the #2 role and Givens has the deep speed to harness Flacco’s arm strength. Either one could get hot and help as a WR3 or flex down the stretch.
Frank Gore, RB, IND (Redraft/Dynasty) - Gore is off this week, so perhaps if his owners are out of it in dynasty leagues or sorely in need of a win in redraft, they might be willing to deal Gore. The Colts offense will be functional at least against a weak schedule going forward, and Gore already had at least 80 total yards in each Matt Hasselbeck start, including a score in the second one. Gore has looked great and the soft underbelly of the schedule is coming just as the Colts are likely to get more balanced and lean on a rested lead back.
Blake Bortles, QB, JAX (Redraft) - Bortles was probably drafted as a #2 quarterback, if he was drafted at all, so he is probably an expendable asset on most redraft teams. His schedule after a juicy Baltimore matchup this week is a dream, with Tennessee, San Diego, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Atlanta and the piece de resistance New Orleans in Week 16. The Jaguars defense will keep him in high-scoring games, and even though Allen Hurns is dinged, Julius Thomas should get more effective as the season goes on, and outlet Rashad Greene Sr will be back next week. He has to be the cheapest QB1 to acquire for teams in need.
Andre Ellington, RB, ARI (Dynasty) - Ellington is still very talented, so much so that the Cardinals had him installed as the starter entering the season. He’s not having much tread worn off this year, which should give him legs for his second contract in 2017. Eventually that talent is going to rise to the surface again, including his ability to make big plays as a receiver, including when he is split out wide and isolated against a safety. This is about as low as his dynasty value has been since early in his rookie year. See if you can get him for a song.
Julio Jones, WR, ATL (Redraft) - There have been a lot of people asking whether Julio Jones should be traded away because of matchups against Josh Norman in Weeks 14 and 16. Norman could shut down Jones and make folks who did that look smart, but the Falcons whole pass offense run through Jones and they move him around the formation a ton to get free releases and otherwise thwart plans to take him out of the game. The Panthers haven’t had Norman shadow receivers when they line up in the slot and it seems unlikely at this point that they will have Norman do that. Norman could get hurt. In the meantime, you also get Jones for Weeks 11, 12, 13 and 15 in manageable games like Indy and Minnesota and outstanding matchups like Tampa and Jacksonville. Don’t overthink this, if you can get Jones for anything less than another top 5-7 player, don’t hesitate.
Darren McFadden, RB, DAL (Redraft) - Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop with McFadden’s injury history and his current workload, but they have forgotten that he played in all 16 games last year after changing his regimen to become more durable. The Cowboys offense is about to turn it up a notch with the return of Tony Romo, which could make McFadden into an RB1 for the stretch run. If you need running back help, McFadden should come a discount, even though he’s likely to come with full-sized feature back stats and a better chance of holding up than his reputation suggests.
James White, Brandon Bolden, RB, NE (Redraft/Dynasty) - I’m not sure if you can get anything for either of these backs, if you can, cash them in. Neither is going to get the full Dion Lewis role, and neither can come close to adding the value to the touches they do get that Lewis did to his. At best one will be a poor man’s Shane Vereen, who wasn’t rich to begin with.
Lamar Miller, RB, MIA (Redraft) - Don’t sell Miller for a discount, but if you can make a lateral move to another low RB1/high RB2, or if you have the luxury of Miller as your RB3, you might want to redeem his current value coming off of a massive game. The Dolphins continue to jerk us around with his usage, and now the news that Jay Ajayi is catching the coaches eyes is just another reason to make Miller’s workload inconsistent from week to week on a team that never seems willing to commit to the run for a long stretch of time anyway.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, NE (Redraft/Dynasty) - Blount should still have nice games against creampuff AFC South teams Houston and Tennessee in Weeks 14 and 15, but the rest of the schedule after the Giants brings Buffalo, Denver, Philadelphia, and the Jets in Week 16. Those aren’t games where Bill Belichick will be inclined to ride Blount against tough run defenses, and he won’t do that just because Dion Lewis went down. Blount is going to disappoint owners that plug him in every week from here on out, but if you deal him coming off of his best rushing game of the year, you might avoid the heartache.
Philip Rivers, QB, SD (Redraft) - Rivers is still capable of putting up QB1 numbers, but not with oft-injured Stevie Johnson as a #1, Malcom Floyd with a bum shoulder as his #2, and Antonio Gates with a bum knee as his #3. Try to swap him for a QB with a positive trend or anything that can help if you have another viable option.
Marcus Mariota, QB, TEN (Dynasty) - Mariota had a whale a day against the woeful Saints pass defense even though he looked flummoxed early, and a fluky interception turned long touchdown fueled the turnaround. Carolina will not be in a giving mood and they will overplay the quick “catch it throw it” first read passes that Mariota has excelled on this year. The next three weeks bring Jacksonville twice and Oakland, but the Jets and Patriots after that should slow him down again. You might not have a better sell high moment for a quarterback who is doing well with a simplistic passing attack that good defenses should have no trouble disrupting.