Written by: George Haraktsis
*Each of these players are owned in less than 35% of leagues. Their ownership percentage is noted.*
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8.4% own)
Bucs fans finally got to see their franchise quarterback take the field Sunday- though most wish it was under better circumstances. Winston took the field after an abysmal performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick, but did not do much better himself. Winston went 16/20 for 145 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 INTs. He also has a bye week this week, so why is he on this list? For three reasons. One, Winston returns to an offense with some of the league’s best playmakers at his disposal. Two, he now has a bye week to get acclimated to the offense and get into his groove. Three, he plays the Falcons when he comes back in week 6, one of the league’s most decimated secondaries. He will surely go off against such a poor defense in week 6, and you’ll be ahead of that curve if you pick him up now.
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (20.3% own)
On the flipside of Winston we have Marcus Mariota. The Titans QB had a great game against the Eagles and seems to have put his elbow injury behind him. His skill players have finally developed around him in the form of Davis, Taylor, and Lewis, so he should continue having an easier time than before. He has a great matchup against the Bills, whose defense has had trouble stopping most quarterbacks not named Kirk Cousins. Mariota showed that he can use his feet as well and should continue to keep putting up fantasy points through the air and on the ground.
Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks (0.1% own)
No one could have predicted this outburst by backup running back Mike Davis. 21 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns is nothing to laugh at. With Chris Carson out due to injury and Rashaad Penny ineffective, Davis feasted! Although it looks like Carson might be back for week 5, it is still worth taking a shot on Mike Davis. If Carson were to get hurt again he would slide right back into RB1 duties and continue to get the volume. Don’t spend a significant amount of FAAB on him, but he’s worth the add.
Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (15.5% own)
While he’ll never get enough volume in the running game to be effective in a standard league, Hines has averaged 5.5 catches per game and just saw caught 9 balls for 63 yards in the Colts bout against the Texans. In the same game, Hines saw 11 targets and managed two touchdowns through the air. With the Colts clearly lacking a great defense, they will be forced to play from behind in a majority of games. This makes for a great game script for the young receiving back. In PPR leagues, Hines should continue to be a great flex option and should be rostered in all leagues.
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (12.4 % own)
Dede Westbrook was Blake Bortles’ go-to target this past Sunday, connecting on 10 catches for 130 yards in the decisive win over the Jets. Over the last 4 games, Westbrook has averaged 7 targets per game and now leads the Jags in targets. With Fournette out for the foreseeable future, the Jags should continue to lean on the run game, and Westbrook’s usage should continue to climb.
Keke Coutee, Houston Texans (0.4%)
What do you make of a rookie wide receiver balling out in the absence of Will Fuller and leading his team in catches and targets? It is certainly hard to tell. Watson clearly has a rapport with the Coutee who showed out in his professional debut. If Fuller characteristically continues to miss time, then Coutee could easily become one of Watson’s favorite options and will be a solid flex play until Fuller returns. He is worth rostering in almost every league.
Chester Rogers, Indianapolis Colts (0.3%)
Once Luck lost T.Y. Hilton twice to two separate injuries in last Sunday’s game, he needed someone to turn to in his receiving corps — Rogers answered the call. Luck targeted the young wide receiver 11 times for an 8/85 line on the day. With Hilton expected to miss Thursday’s game due to a hamstring issue and Doyle still out with an injury, someone will need to make up for this lost production. If you need a spot start to fill in for Hilton or any other WR this week, Rogers will certainly do.
Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers (31.3 % own)
Vance might eventually become famous for something other than that stiff-arm on Chris Conte, and it could happen sooner rather than later. In his last two games, he has 9 catches for 174 yards and 1 TD on 9 targets. Big Ben trusts him, and the offense should keep slinging the ball without Bell in the lineup. With the tight end position as poor as it has ever been in fantasy this year, McDonald should be a welcomed player on any team looking to find a reliable consistent starter.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10.6% own)
Brate figures to receive more looks in a passing game that just lost O.J. Howard to an MCL sprain. He does have a bye next week, but he will he will come back to face a Falcons team whose defense has been terrible. He also now gets to catch passes from Jameis Winston, who loves to target Brate. Brate could hold some serious value until Howard comes back. If you can afford to stash him for a week it's well worth it.
Carolina Panthers (28.8%)
Plenty of owners dropped the Panthers after their bye, so you should be there to scoop them up. They play the Giants, who have allowed 15 sacks this year and a hell of a lot of pressures. The Panthers should be fresh coming off this bye week and well prepared for this weak offensive line. Averaging just a hair under three sacks and two turnovers a game, Carolina is set up well to take on Eli Manning at home.