Karlos Williams, RB, BUF (Redraft/Dynasty) - Remember when Williams was one of the sensations of September? The season moves so far so quickly that it seems like an eternity ago. Williams is “improving” coming into the bye and LeSean McCoy is still playing hurt and taking a ton of punishment. Williams could easily move back into an 8-12 touch role (which was enough to get him scores in each of the first three games), with RB1 upside if McCoy goes down. McCoy isn’t as big an obstacle to value maturity for Williams with his huge workload over the years and early start piling up mileage.
Crockett Gillmore, TE, BAL (Redraft/Dynasty) - Gillmore put up a respectable stat line in Week 7 against the Cardinals, and he was the target in the end zone of the game-ending interception. Gillmore had the best game any tight end had put up this season against the Cardinals, and he appears to be mostly if not all the way over his calf injury. The Ravens have the look of a team that will be passing a lot this season, and in dynasty, Gillmore will only get better, turning 24 next month.
Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN (Redraft) - Whether the Bengals offense drags him to touchdown opportunities or the pilot light goes back on, Hill is likely in for a value increase as the weather gets colder. A team that hit on another running back pick or two and has Hill as their #3 might be willing to part with him for a player at another position that isn’t essential to your lineup. Arian Foster owners who are afraid of their lack of depth could target Hill.
Eddie Lacy, RB, GB (Redraft) - It’s a calculated risk, but Lacy is still on the upslope of his career, he plays with one of the very best quarterbacks in the game, the offense and Lacy are getting healthier out of the bye, and Lacy came on last year. If you’re on the fence about a deal where you get Lacy, take it. If you’re on the fence about dealing him away, hold him.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN (Redraft) - Thomas was in some lofty company in drafts, but he hasn’t quite held up his part of the bargain so far this year. His end zone dominance has dissipated with Peyton Manning’s fantasy value, although Thomas still looks like the same dominant player he has been in the past elsewhere. Emmanuel Sanders is banged up and Thomas sure seems like the best mode of transportation for an offense that has to depend on a quarterback who needs a wide berth to succeed and a running game that is going in fits and starts. An avalanche of points is coming.
Derek Carr, QB, OAK (Redraft/Dynasty) - It’s ok to wait until next week after the matchup with the Jets to load this one up. Carr has thrown for multiple touchdowns in every game he has finished except when he faced the Broncos, which is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither is failing to put up a good line against the Jets. Carr’s weapons are diverse and the offense appears to be schemed to his strengths. With an offensive line that improved by leaps and bounds, Carr is set up for a solid second half.
Andre Ellington, David Johnson, RB, ARI (Redraft) - I have a nagging feeling Chris Johnson won’t be the Arizona running back you want to start during the fantasy playoffs. Both Elllington and David Johnson have the talent to maximize the value present by this choice situation. All they need is the opportunity.
Carson Palmer, QB, ARI (Redraft/Dynasty) - I don’t love spending to add value at quarterback, but Palmer might not cost much if he’s a team’s second quarterback or 1A because the market for sellers of quarterbacks in redraft leagues is small. Palmer’s numbers belie the massive weekly potential in an aggressive vertical passing offense with three receivers better than some team’s #1s, not to mention two top-end receiving running backs. Palmer should be a top five option going forward. He might be cheaper than you think in dynasty because of his age.
Jay Cutler, QB, CHI (Redraft) - Cutler is on the waiver wire in some leagues, which is absurd because he’s playing well and his situation is as good as it has been all year. Even without Kevin White, the Bears have five viable passing game targets for Cutler to find at different levels and areas of the field. He should continue the momentum he had built going into the bye.
Dez Bryant, WR, DAL (Redraft) - I hope this one is hard to pull off, but you never know. It has been so long since we have seen Dez being Dez (ie making the play of the Divisional Round and being jobbed by a Kafkaesque rule book), that some owners might not understand exactly what they possess on the eve of his return. There’s still some return to play setback risk priced in, so if you can land him for less than WR1 prices, add Dez.
Matt Jones, RB, WAS (Redraft) - It might not turn out great, but I believe Jones has a chance to take over the Washington backfield in the second half of the season. The passing game is about to have all hands on deck and Kirk Cousins is confident and functional heading into a mixed second half schedule. If Jones gets goal line work, some passing game work, and 15-18 carries a game, that’s the stuff that RB2s are made of. His fresh rookie legs won’t hurt in the second half either.
Chris Ivory, RB, NYJ (Redraft) - Don’t sell Ivory at a discount, but if you can make a lateral move to a safer strong RB2 or Ivory is one of three strong running backs on your team, it might keep you from hitting the pepto on game day. Ivory has a history of struggling with soft tissue injuries, and it’s showing up in missed time and uneven performances. Ivory could shrug this off and rampage through the second half of the year, but he feels like a ticking time bomb.
Philip Rivers, QB, SD (Redraft/Dynasty) - To be honest, you should always be looking to make “withdrawals” from your quarterback account in start one leagues because it is the easiest position to get by at while improvising. Rivers is a special case right now because his attempt numbers have been ridiculous over the last two games. He’ll still be a fine quarterback, but he faded last year after a similarly strong first half and any semblance of a running game should restore more balance to this offense.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB (Redraft) - On the note of cashing in quarterback value, Rodgers still carries more “name” value than any other quarterback. He hasn’t given us the elite QB1 value he promised in draft. Davante Adams is back, but the lack of Jordy Nelson won’t be solved by Adams, who doesn’t have Nelson’s vertical game. Rodgers will be good, but not great. He shouldn’t be seen as an impediment to getting a deal done for a difference maker at another position.
Darren McFadden, RB, DAL (Redraft/Dynasty) - Duh. I mean if you have been praying for a running back and McFadden landed in your lap, ride him into the sunset and see what happens. If he isn’t one of your two best running backs, test the market now. Ask Arian Foster dynasty owners what happens if you put off selling an injury-prone asset.
Denver D/ST (Redraft) - Denver hasn’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of quarterback to date. The pick six parade has been fun to watch, but the permit might have an expiration date. Now that you’ve absorbed the bye week, it should be easier to sell them for something that upgrades your lineup.