Jameis Winston, QB, TB (Dynasty) - Don’t spend any valuable capital to get Winston because quarterback is a position to go cheap, but know that the idea that he is launching off course is off base. Winston is making rookie mistakes, but he is also showing pocket pressure, movement, arm talent, and the ability to keep the whole field in play. His development with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson should start to include more fantasy peaks by the end of the season.
Doug Martin, RB, TB (Dynasty/Redraft) - Martin looks as good as the most optimistic preseason projection would have hoped. He’s sharing with Charles Sims, but Martin still has the everydown back ability he demonstrated in his first two season. As Winston develops, he’ll have more strong games this year, and he’ll only be 27 next year. Martin’s value bottomed out this offseason, but it will continue to creep back up this year.
Jamison Crowder, WR, WAS (Deep PPR Dynasty/Redraft) - Crowder looked to basically be the equal of Tyler Lockett in the passing game at Duke, and that is carrying over to the NFL. He made a huge catch in the middle of three converging defenders last week and seemed to gain a lot of trust from Kirk Cousins after that play. Smaller slot types like Crowder will edge onto the PPR radar more and more as the NFL goes down the passing league path.
Kamar Aiken, WR, BAL (Redraft/Dynasty) - Breshad Perriman was supposed to be the young receiver that emerged in this passing game this year, not Aiken, but that isn’t stopping him from playing really well. He’ll be the de facto number one while Steve Smith is out, and the 26-year-old RFA to be can retain a starting spot in this offense next year with good play. Aiken has gotten open downfield and not looked like a journeyman in early action this year, and he’s a terrific plug and play against Cleveland this week.
Crockett Gillmore, TE, BAL (Redraft/Dynasty) - Gillmore might not return this week, but his calf is improving. This is just another reminder that he’s looked as good as his number suggested before getting hurt.
Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF (Redraft/Dynasty) - Watkins tendency to get banged up so far in his career isn’t comforting, but the fantasy world might not have factored in yet that he has a much better quarterback and surrounding offense than expected. Watkins’ foundational tools and skills are still top notch and he has a very bright future, maybe even a very bright near future. That might have been lost in his somewhat turbulent takeoff.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, BUF (Redraft/Dynasty) - I see no sign that Taylor’s success is smoke and mirrors. He is incredibly elusive in the pocket and as a runner, and he’s a calm, precise, patient pocket passer. Add in a very good supporting cast and an offensive coordinator is who is maximizing his scoring potential by letting him play loose, and you have a QB1 in Taylor. He isn’t going away.
Andy Dalton, QB, CIN (Redraft/Dynasty) - It might seem odd for a top five quarterback to be a buy low, but I don’t think most of the fantasy world is buying Dalton’s return to the fantasy elite. This week against Seattle *should* be a back to earth game for him, but I suspect that the Seattle defense on the road against an arsenal of weapons and excellent offensive line will not be as much resistance as expected. Hue Jackson is not taking his foot off of the gas in this passing game, and I don’t expect Dalton’s numbers to slow down much, even in the headwind of a tough schedule.
Lamar Miller, RB, MIA (Redraft/Dynasty) - I still believe in the talent I’ve seen from the 24-year-old. Now we just need the new coaching staff to use him like a traditional lead back. In redraft, he is likely cheap enough (maybe even on the waiver wire) make a bet on a return to rational coaching worth taking. In dynasty, he’ll be a free agent next year, which necessarily means he’ll end up on a team that wants him. At least the Dolphins’ spotty usage has left Miller with low mileage for a back who has been in the league for four years.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT (Redraft/Dynasty) - Only a month into what was supposed to be a breakthrough season for the Steelers offense, all of the optimism has given way to despair with Michael Vick at the helm. Roethlisberger should be back in a month or so, and Bryant will join him. Roethlisberger is as cheap as he’s going to be in redraft or dynasty while his timetable is fuzzy, and Bryant could rekindle the spark he and Vick had in the preseason and slam shut any buy low window that opened during the size/speed freak’s suspension.
Melvin Gordon III, RB, SD (Redraft) - Gordon looks good and there appears to be a will to get him on track early in games. The Chargers haven’t really controlled a game from start to finish, and they have struggled with offensive line injuries, so we haven’t seen what Gordon can do when he faces a tired defense in the fourth quarter. That could be the case this Monday against Pittsburgh, and as the season progresses, Gordon will get more work as the “cold weather” style back.
Chris Johnson, RB, ARI (Redraft/Dynasty) - Johnson is the Cardinals starter and primary back. I believe Bruce Arians and I believe what I’ve seen from Johnson, who looks as good as he has in the last 3-4 years. The Cardinals offense should be prolific as long as Carson Palmer is healthy, and the offensive line is coming together. Johnson is a very cheap piece that can help dynasty teams looking for quality running back depth, or even an RB2.
John Brown, WR, ARI (Redraft/Dynasty) - Brown hasn’t had that huge stat line to announce his arrival as a fantasy WR2 just yet, but all of the explosive abilities to create it are there. The Cardinals are using him more on short passes, and the shifty, aggressive, speedy runner after the catch is usually an ankle away from a huge gain. Add that to the deep ball that is drawing pass interference penalties and a vertical, wide open approach in Arizona’s pass offense, and a week-winning stat line should be on the way very soon.
Mike Evans, WR, TB (Redraft/Dynasty) - Evans struggled against Carolina, with Josh Norman denying a few downfield balls, two balls intercepted by good defensive plays when he was open, and the look of a player who is not quite 100% yet. Evans will have a Week 6 bye, and he has the mobile, aggressive passer he needs to mine the most fantasy value possible out of his prodigious toolset.
Eli Manning, QB, NYG (Redraft) - Eli Manning and Ben McAdoo are a good fit. The duo conceived and executed a short passing game against the fearsome Bills defense to perfection in the first half. Manning is using his secondary targets well, and Odell Beckham Jr Jr is a massive game waiting to happen. The Giants can’t establish a running game, which should keep the offense running through Manning all year. That’s music to his fantasy owners’ ears.
Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN (Redraft/Dynasty) - Hillman’s big run paints a picture of a breakout week, and Gary Kubiak’s comments draw a line to Hillman taking over the backfield if he’s up to it, but I don’t think he is. Hillman has great burst and speed, but he goes down on first contact too often, and he wouldn’t hold up under the kind of workload C.J. Anderson got last year. He’ll just be a flex-level play going forward.
Latavius Murray, RB, OAK (Redraft/Dynasty) - Murray’s flaws were as apparent as his strengths against Chicago. If he doesn’t get a high volume of carries, he isn’t as likely to break the long run to “make his (and your) day”, and Roy Helu looked more effective against the Bears when Murray was sitting with a shoulder ailment and ball security woes at the end of the game. Marcel Reece is still a force and this coaching staff is showing more signs of rationality than previous regimes, so this could trend towards a three-headed backfield after Murray owned it early in the season. If you can still get true RB1 value for him, take it.
Antonio Andrews, RB, TEN (Redraft/Dynasty) - Andrews has a balance and drive to his low center of gravity game, and he should be the most valuable back in the Titans three-headed committee, but it’s still a three-headed committee. Andrews looks roughly like Zac Stacy, and we’ve seen Stacy’s career path after an auspicious start. Andrew is an effective, but replaceable talent. See if you can get a pick for him.
Joseph Randle, RB, DAL (Redraft/Dynasty) - The real sell high moment was last week coming off of his three-score game, but this week Randle might still have some trailing value as the reaffirmed starter in Dallas. His value is falling fast and could evaporate at any moment.
DeMarco Murray, RB, PHI (Redraft/Dynasty) - Preseason expectations die hard for players that delivered the title in the previous year, so Murray might have some legs in the dynasty and redraft trade value. He’s a terrible fit on the Eagles outside zone runs with their line woes, and Ryan Mathews should get those carries if Chip Kelly is rational. The Eagles have shown no inclination to feed Murray to get him to the part of his game where the defense can’t handle him, and he hasn’t given them a reason to yet. This ship is not going to coming in.