Well….damn. You’re about halfway through the fantasy season and things aren’t quite looking the way you thought they would. You reached up and snagged Adrian Peterson (who hasn’t played a game since Minnesota’s Week 1 win over St. Louis), then you grabbed yourself the versatile Zac Stacy (who has now been replaced by rookie Tre Mason), and you followed that up with Percy Harvin (who now plays with Geno Smith and the Jets).
You’re screwed. Or, at least, you think you are; but in comes a batch of fantastic waiver targets to save the day and potentially keep your postseason dreams alive! Here are the top running backs and receivers. Buckle up, we’re in for a bumpy ride.
Bryce Brown – Bills
In some freak accident, the hardest running team in the league lost their all-star tandem within minutes of each-other. First, Fred Jackson looked crotchety (puns!) as he was carted off field with a groin injury. A couple of plays later Spiller finally exploded for a huge run, only to be tackled and suffer a broken collarbone. Hype has been built after Anthony Dixon stepped out to finish the game; however, Dixon is a more reserved runner and doesn’t boast the boom-or-bust potential of Brown. In his short time behind LeSean McCoy in Philly, Brown’s play was spontaneous and explosive. He’ll slide in perfectly to the Bills’ already-established play scheme and should blow up a few defenses along the way. Expect him to get the nod going forward and boast a large share of this run-first team’s carries.
Tre Mason––Rams (R)
This past Sunday, the super-hyped rookie dominated the field as he recorded 85 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries. That’s a very formidable 4.7 yards per carry. On the flip-side, starting running back Zac Stacy was awarded zero carries. Being sidelined for an entire game does not just happen by chance. Expect the incredibly beastly Mason to continue this workload moving forward. He instantly jumps from waiver fodder, to an automatic RB2 moving forward. Snatch him while you can!
Has Jacksonville finally found its starting running back? The injured and underwhelming Toby Gerhart remains sidelined and has given way to some less-than-stellar performances. Out comes a diamond in the rough as backup Denard Robinson tore apart the Browns for 127 yards. Of course, the Browns’ run defense has been nothing short of terrible this season. However, Robinson averaged 5.8 YPC between tackles (which is stellar) and managed 56 yards after contact. He should be benched next week as he faces a very strong Miami defense, but he may be good enough moving forward to steal the starting job from Gerhart (even if the latter comes back healthy). Scoop him up, sit on him for a week, then play him with confidence!
Odell Beckham Jr.––Giants
This is a stretch––the rookie receiver is likely owned in most leagues since Victor Cruz’s injury. However, on the off-chance you find this gem still floating around the waivers, he is a must-start. In the three weeks that Beckham has played, he’s recorded three touchdowns––this is without having ever practiced at length with quarterback Eli Manning. As the two continue to develop a rapport (which shouldn’t be hard, given Beckham’s polished route-running abilities), expect him to overtake Rueben Randle as the team’s No. 1 passing option. His value is currently sitting at that of an automatic flex start and could be on the rise. He should be owned in all formats.
Since Percy Harvin’s surprise trade to the Jets for dirt (a conditional draft pick), the defending Super Bowl champions were in need of a new lead receiver. Though the Seahawks have been failing hard for two weeks straight, their passing game has not suffered in the least. In his first Harvin-less appearance, Baldwin saw 11 Russell Wilson targets and turned them into 7 catches and 123 yards with a touchdown. As he will continue indefinitely without Harvin, it isn’t unimaginable to see those numbers fairly consistently. Grab Baldwin, and grab him quick––he may just be this year’s superstar.
Hawkins has sat on hundreds of “waiver wire pickup” lists for weeks without getting much attention. Without too many huge outings, Hawkins has flown largely under the radar despite averaging 6 receptions and 75 yards per game (not including the Browns’ 17-pass performance in Pittsburgh). He has now managed his first 100-yard performance and should definitely be on his way to making some fantasy rosters. Especially in PPR formats, Hawkins could do some damage.
featured image source: fansided.com