There are only two teams on byes this week, but both the Lions and Saints have significant starters to replace at a few key positions.
In addition, some notable injuries make the race to the waiver wire as frenetic as usual. The free agent pool doesn’t have many appealing options this week, though, so if you need to fill a major need, try first to make a trade.
MIKE DAVIS, Seattle (14.5 percent owned): We have alerted you to him before, yet he remains vastly underowned. Davis does split carries with Chris Carson but his running mate is oft-injured and Davis seems to be the preferred goal line option for the Seahawks. He has three rushing TDs in his past two games. Seattle has a renewed emphasis on the running game so Davis should be rostered even as a part-time RB.
WENDELL SMALLWOOD, Philadelphia (7.7): The Philadelphia RBs have been beset by injuries, most importantly to Jay Ajayi, who is done for the season with a knee injury. Smallwood could play an expanded role for the Eagles as soon as Thursday against the Giants. Smallwood carried 10 times for 56 yards and a TD and caught three passes for 35 yards when he was last asked to step forward for Ajayi in Week 3.
RONALD JONES, Tampa Bay (18.2): Get ahead of the pack on this one. The Buccaneers have the worst rushing offense in the league and while the rookie has dealt with blitz pickup and receiving issues, he can still be dynamic with the ball in his hands. The Buccaneers desperately need to establish some sort of a running game to take pressure off Jameis Winston and keep their highly vulnerable defense off the field a little more.
CHRISTIAN KIRK, Arizona (11.4): The Cardinals rookie has registered double-digit fantasy performances in point per reception leagues in two of his past three games. Last week, he caught a 75-yard TD from Josh Rosen. The rookie QB has been erratic so far but despite some issues at that position, Kirk is starting to emerge as the team’s top receiving playmaker, which has been needed with Larry Fitzgerald underperforming and battling some injuries.
TRE’QUAN SMITH, New Orleans (1.0): Another rookie, Smith officially announced his pro arrival with three receptions for 111 yards and two scores on Monday night. Drew Brees does spread the ball around to many of his targets when everyone is healthy, but the Saints have been high on Smith ever since he arrived at training camp. He could force is way into the mix more and may not be just a big-play artist.
MARQUES VALDES-SCANTLING, Green Bay (3.2); Yes, another first-year player worth adding. Valdes-Scantling stepped into a void for an injury-depleted Packers WR crew and caught seven passes for 68 yards and a TD, and came up just short on a second potential score. Availability at WR may continue to be an issue for some top Green Bay pass-catchers, and Valdes-Scantling may contribute at least as the Packers third WR in the near future, which will make him worthy of bye week filler consideration at minimum.
CAMERON BRATE, Tampa Bay (16.7): Winston is back at QB for the Buccaneers, and O.J. Howard is out, so that means opportunities for Brate to cash in at least in the near future. He has scored in each of his last two games and in the previous two seasons, he caught a total of 14 TD passes working heavily with Winston. The Tampa Bay offense will be involved in a lot of shootouts and Brate is a prime red zone target for Winston.
C.J. UZOMAH, Cincinnati (10.2): With Tyler Eifert out, Uzomah has been announced as the preferred TE of choice for Andy Dalton and the Bengals. Last week he caught two passes for 43 yards, but better times are ahead. The Bengals offense looks potent and balanced and Dalton will always strongly consider throwing to his tight end in scoring situations.
C.J. BEATHARD, San Francisco (3.1): He takes sacks and commits turnovers, and you will not start him in a one QB league, but Beathard is proving to be a capable fantasy backup because the 49ers will be playing from behind very frequently. You have to consider him as a streamer, because in his past two games, he has thrown for 647 yards and four touchdowns.
JAMEIS WINSTON, Tampa Bay (12.7): He may not win a lot of games but Winston has weapons in the passing game, a lack of run support and a bad defense that will force him to trade blows with opposing offenses quite often. There is going to be a lot of passing volume for Winston, and the high-scoring fun begins this week against the Falcons.
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