Doug Martin, RB, TB - Martin is on bye this week and should still come with an injury discount. Charles Sims isn’t around to vulture goal line touches and limit Martin’s involvement in the passing game, and while Jacquizz Rodgers was valiant in the start and win over the Panthers, he’s not a threat to Martin getting as much work as he can handle in the Bucs offense going forward. The team also appears to be recommitted to the run behind a young line that has been healthy and will get better as the season goes on. There’s a risk that Martin’s hamstring issue pops up again, but the reward is a strong RB1 if he puts the injury behind him.
Mike Gillislee, RB, BUF - Gillislee is a good end of the bench stash as one of the top handcuffs at running back. The Bills have re-established their running game and defense recipe for staying in and winning games, and Karlos Williams signed with the Steelers practice squad after the Bills flirted with bringing him back. Gillislee has displayed surprising burst since getting a shot with the Bills last year, and if LeSean McCoy goes down, he’ll inherit this good fantasy situation.
Karlos Williams, RB, PIT (practice squad) - Williams re-joined his brother and Florida State teammate Vince Williams on the practice squad of a team that has possibly the best running back situation in the league. Le’Veon Bell will be a free agent next year and the Steelers might not want to invest in a player with multiple suspensions and serious injuries under his belt. DeAngelo Williams is 33. It’s not difficult to connect the dots to create a picture of Williams having a decent-sized role in the Pittsburgh backfield next year, assuming he gets serious about his conditioning. The possible reward if he does is more than worth the dynasty roster spot through next spring.
Carson Palmer, QB, ARI - Palmer’s performance and overall 2016 to date feels ominous, but seven out of his ten remaining matchups are good, including an Atlanta, Washington, Miami, New Orleans run from Weeks 12-15. There’s some risk of decline and injury, but Palmer is set to remind everyone of his weekly upside in this offense with a matchup against the disintegrating Jets pass defense.
Christine Michael, RB, SEA - Just a reminder coming out of the Seattle bye that not everyone realizes what they have in Michael. I’m still getting start/sit questions that treat Michael as an RB2 with a low floor and ceiling, when he is carrying the Seahawks RB1 fantasy profile of a high floor and a high ceiling. That offense was showing signs of settling going into the bye and should be even better this week against Atlanta.
Jamison Crowder, WR, WAS - Crowder has a tough draw against Philadelphia this week, but his rest of season outlook took on a new dimension when reports opened the strong possibility that Jordan Reed suffered the sixth concussion of his football career. Crowder occupies the middle of the field in the quick-breaking routes that are high percentage and a staple for Kirk Cousins. He could have some PPR spikes when Cousins is forced to “take what the defense gives him” more often.
Golden Tate, WR, DET - Tate looked sharper against the Eagles and appeared to be back in the good graces of his team and quarterback. He had one carry down to the one-yard line and the Lions could use him more as a runner or on short passes to replace a decaying running game. The Rams corners are beat up and Eric Ebron is likely out freeing up more targets, so Tate could get right this week and slam shut the buy low window after a very slow start. Stafford only had 25 attempts last week, a number that is sure to go up this week.
Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJ - Marshall got 15 targets against the Steelers in Week 5, and that well could become the norm for him with Eric Decker on injured reserve. The Jets are losing steam and likely will find themselves in a lot of come from behind pass-heavy game scripts. Marshall’s spot in the five is still warm from last year, it’s time for him for re-take it.
Russell Wilson, QB, SEA, Jimmy Graham, TE, SEA - Wilson was a pedestrian fantasy quarterback for the first three weeks as he battled through two different leg injuries, but he blossomed against the Jets in Week 4. He’ll be healed and rested for a Week 6 game against the vulnerable Falcons pass defense with a rejuvenated Tyler Lockett and peaking Jimmy Graham. Wilson’s ability to produce with his legs should add a higher top floor to his weekly outlook. He’s the best quarterback to trade for at market value right now. Let this also serve as another reminder to hit up the Jimmy Graham owner to see if they are valuing him correctly after regaining New Orleans form (including on the stat sheet) before the bye.
Melvin Gordon III, RB, SD - Gordon has still failed to impress since he took over as the Chargers lead back, but touchdowns have kept his RB1 stock afloat. He faces Denver two of the next three weeks, which could torpedo his status as an RB1. While that creates a potential buy low window coming off of the second matchup, if you want to try to pivot from Gordon to another RB1, say Jamaal Charles, this might be the last chance for a while. Gordon’s failure to get in a groove as a runner against some weak run defenses is still ominous.
Tevin Coleman, RB, ATL - Coleman has improved his receiving ability by leaps and bounds and his speed is supercharging the fantasy value of that asset, but he is still an average runner despite his four rushing touchdowns. While he has scoring of a PPR RB1, his weekly usage creates room for peaks and valley that is more characteristic of an RB2. Coleman is liable to be in the neighborhood of his 11 touch, 33 total yard game in Week 4 in the upcoming stretch of tough run defenses, and kill any chance you have to use him as a centerpiece in a package to get an elite player.
C.J. Anderson, RB, DEN - Anderson’s hold on the #1 job is getting precarious. The right side of the line getting healthy should help him, but Devontae Booker is encouraging the team to install something more like the maddening RBBC of 2015 than the Anderson show of 2014. He was perceived as an RB1 after a highly visible big Week 1, but there’s a range of outcomes where his value dries up after he and Booker continue to split the work with Booker looking better and getting more every week. This could be the last stop before Anderson’s trade value dries up.
Lamar Miller, RB, HOU - The Texans schedule will get easier after Minnesota next week, but it’s fair to say that Miller has not provided the return on investment that the Texans were looking for through five weeks. Miller has held up under a huge workload and “gotten what was blocked”, but he’s not adding value to runs and the system is not magnifying his value. Be willing to add another decent piece to Miller to get a legit RB1 back. The Colts matchup is encouraging, but if he doesn’t have a big run or score against them, his trade value will decline out of RB1 range.