Whether it be in the draft, picking a player off waivers, or in trades, fantasy football is always a gamble. Should you draft Antonio Brown or DeAndre Hopkins? Who is a better running back two for my team Joe Mixon or Kareem Hunt? Sometimes you hit and a lot of times you crap out. For our purposes, we are going to look at some players who have either had disappointing seasons and should pick it up in the second half or possibly not even shown up to their team yet but would be great if and when he does.
So, let’s take a look at some players who come with a lot of risks but also enough playoff winning ability to maybe, just maybe, make the risk worth the possible reward.
Le’Veon Bell: If he ever shows up to the team he could be a game changer, but he had better do it soon. With James Conner having another great showing against the Cleveland Browns this week with 146 rushing yards and 66 receiving yards, Bell is becoming less and less necessary as the day’s tick by. When he does come back he will for sure be in a committee back role thus limiting his involvement and value even more. Say this, he is talented and will have a spot on the field with Conner. Whether it be as a two running back committee or splitting out to the slot as he is a great pass catcher, he could be valuable coming down the stretch. His value will be completely based on how much of a value you get him for. If you have an owner who still swears they will not take a dime less than top dollar because he was the first-round pick than let him go down in flames with Bell. But if you have an owner who is either willing to trade for a fair price or at a further discount due to anger, hit them up and make an offer before your trade deadline. If you can get Bell for a player like Kenyon drake or as much as I love him, Kerryon Johnson, he is worth the risk. If they are holding out for David Johnson or Joe Mixon? Well again, let them go down in flames.
Rob Gronkowski: We know what Gronk is. He is a beast and a perennial number one tight end. Only, well this year he kind of isn’t. And unlike other years, it is not due to injury. Teams have been game planning more and more for him and although still great he is being taken out of games more often than past years. Whether he was drafted in the first or second round of drafts, he was drafted as a difference maker at a mediocre position and he just hasn’t been this season. Owners may be getting antsy and if you can get him for a decent price he is worth it for his dominant potential each week.
Can you get him for a package of Kyle Rudolph and a wide receiver two or three? Probably. David Njoku and a running back? Yes. And he is worth it so don’t be afraid of him or his injury history. He loves Tom Brady. Maybe more than Tom Brady does. They will continue to have a connection and the games will come where he is the difference maker you are looking for at the middling position of tight end.
Doug Baldwin: He came into the season with bad knees and a bad offensive coordinator. While the knees are getting healthy the coordinator is still the same. Russell Wilson though is a second-half quarterback and with the Seahawks surprisingly over .500 right now they will need him and Baldwin to sniff the playoffs. The running game is averaging 123 yards per game, but the offensive line can not hold up forever and when they start to break down is when the connection Wilson and Baldwin have will be put on display. Tyler locket and David Moore are having solid seasons but be sure that Baldwin is the wide receiver one and come stretch time he will eat first. A two catch 26-yard line against Detroit is not a good sign but with games left against the 49ers and Cardinals, the future looks bright. Even under the rainy skies of the emerald city.
What is that smell? No, it is not the fish at the Pike Place Market, it is the goodness of Doug Baldwin coming down the stretch run. If you can trade for him, you should. He could be had for a player like Geronimo Allison or Allen Robinson and if you are offered this trade take it.
Dalvin Cook: We are talking gambles, and this would be a big one. We still don’t know when and if he will come back but when he does he will be a three-down back on the level of Joe Mixon or Kareem Hunt. With the high-powered offense of Minnesota which just gathered 423 yards against the Saints, the Vikings have more than enough to spread around and when Cook comes back, he will be one healthy and two, a big part of the offense. Much like all the other players on the list, he should be able to be had below early season cost. Especially from a struggling owner looking to, themselves, sneak into the playoffs.
If you have an owner in this situation in your league, throw out an offer of a wide receiver or running back two and a flex player. You might be pleasantly rewarded with a late-season running back one in return.
Stefon Diggs: Not the number one in Minnesota, Diggs still has a ton of value on an elite offense. With 10 receptions for over 100 yards and a touchdown against the Saints on Sunday, we saw what he is capable of even with Adam Thielen leading the way in the group.
Despite not being the top dog, Stefon Diggs still has the fifth most targets in the league at the wide receiver position. This has a lot to do with Dalvin Cook not playing as well as Kyle Rudolph seemingly going back to being a jag at the tight end position.
Dalvin Cook doesn’t look to be back again in Week 9 and who knows what to expect from him going forward. This means the targets should still come and even when Cook does return they will ease him in to make sure he is healthy. Yes, I do like Cook as a trade gamble also, but more for the playoff weeks. If you are looking to get to the playoffs as a fringe team than Diggs is the Viking, you want to trade for.
Kenyan Drake: Does Adam Gase want to keep his head coaching job? If he does, he needs to start using his best player. I mean besides Brock Osweiler. As much as I am a fan of Frank Gore, Drake is the better player and also the future at the position for the Dolphins. Unless the Dolphins make a play for someone like Tevin Coleman in free agency or Jordan Howard in a trade, Kenyon Drake needs to get playing time, so Miami can see what they have in him. With Ryan Tannehill out and Albert Wilson on injured reserve, the offense is in the dumps right now making it likely they start leaning more heavily on the rush going into the second half of the season.
With Drake having a relatively pedestrian season to this point he should be easily obtainable for you. But make sure you get him soon as he could have a great game this week against the Jets which will lead to his price going up before the trade deadline in your league. If you can get him for a player like the above-mentioned Jordan Howard or a talented but oft-injured rookie like Sony Michell, this would make a lot of sense. So, go out and make some offers and see if you can get a fish fry going with Kenyon Drake.
If you are trying to get a deal done, whether it be for one of the above players or others, it is always good to ask for a small piece more to try to get a little extra. So, let us look quickly at a few names who you might be able to add into a trade and steal some value. Of course, these names are only sneaky possible values in redraft as in dynasty they will likely be too valuable to their owners.
Chris Warren: If you listened to the Fantasy Hot Read podcast last Thursday, and I know you did, then you heard the reasons to try to take a flier on Chris Warren. He has been on injured reserve for the season with the Raiders with a minor injury to get other rostered players playing time. Now the Raiders and John Gruden are trading away anyone with some value in hopes of building for the future. Well, this is where Mr. Warren comes into play as the 245-pound rookie could be a part of the post-Marshawn Lynch Raiders and they will want to get a look at him before deciding. He will be eligible to come back after the eight-game which is this week so if you can get him in a trade before the trade deadline as a throw-in he could be a major late-season contributor for you.
D.J. Moore: My favorite rookie receiver, at least for his rookie season, D.J. Moore has had a few good games but not the season I have expected. This said, he did have five receptions for 90 yards in Week 8 against the Ravens and should become a major contributor going into the late weeks in which the Panthers still have games against division rivals Saints, Falcons, and Buccaneers. Not the cream of the crop when it comes to pass defenses. With Devin Funchess as the slot guy and Greg Olsen fully entrenched in his role, Moor will take over the outside downfield role which will allow him more fantasy points on fewer receptions than the shorter yardage targets of Funchess and Olsen.
If you can get D.J. Moore in a trade, he could turn out to finally take over the number one receiver role in Carolina. If he does you have a wide receiver two. If he doesn’t? You have a solid flex play.