By Craig Forrestal
By now everyone knows the routine: injuries, byes and sudden increase in workload we got it all covered. So buckle up because the regular season is coming to an end and it’s desperation time for those of you checking in at 4-6.
1. Russell Gage-WR-Atlanta Falcons: When Mo Sanu was traded Gage was the next man up. Now sprinkle in that TE Austin Hooper will miss multiple weeks with injury and you have the recipe for an increase in targets. Also, the Falcons are one of the most pass-happy teams in the NFL. Falcons rest of season schedule is very friendly for pass catchers.
2. Brian Hill-RB-Atlanta Falcons: 3 Down Back Alert! Ito Smith is on IR and Devonta Freeman is going to be out a few weeks with the injury he sustained against New Orleans on Sunday. Hill is 6ft and 220 pounds so the size is there for him to handle a heavy workload; additionally Hill outplayed Smith in the preseason and was effective in place of Freeman last weekend. He will be heavily involved by default because he’s the last man standing but don’t be fooled, he has talent.
3. Jalen Richard-RB-Oakland Raiders: Richard is up to 99 yards receiving in his last 2 games. While he is not an every week play he is trending that way as he keeps taking passing work from Josh Jacobs. Also, Jacobs has been nursing some type of shoulder injury and we are in handcuff season. The Raiders also have one of the most RB friendly schedules remaining; starting with Cincinnati this week.
4. Nyheim Hines-RB-Indianapolis Colts: Speaking of handcuff season and taking passing game work enter the Indianapolis Colts backfield. Marlon Mack is the undoubted workhorse, but his massive volume and lack of results lately is scary now. T.Y. Hilton is going to miss time so Hines has added value as a pass catcher for the coming weeks. If Mack were to miss time Hines would give up ground work to Jordan Wilkins, but I see a true 50/50 split between those two. Also, remember he hit Houston for 2 TDs in one game last season and that’s this week’s opponent.
5. Randall Cobb-WR-Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott played the game of his life on Sunday and Cobb saw 8 catches turning into 6 catches for 106 yards. In the last 2 weeks Cobb has seen 16 targets so the volume is there and given the nagging injuries that seem to be bothering the Dallas WR group Cobb could be sneaky down the stretch. However, take this matchup with the Lions and run with it.
6. Demaryius Thomas-WR-NY Jets: Thomas had a nice game against the NY Giants tallying 84 yards and since Sam Darnold’s return Thomas has 270 yards on 30 catches. Robby Anderson is way too inconsistent to trust after ghostlike performances against Miami and the NY Giants, so with a plus matchup Thomas could provide a nice return.
7. Darius Slayton-WR-NY Giants: Yes, you’re eating the bye week but Slayton was viscous again the NY Jets logging 10 catches on 14 plus 2 scores. Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard have been in and out of the lineup all year, so why would it change now. Slayton isn’t a one hit wonder either as he has hit 10+ points in 3 of his last 6 games according to Yahoo! Half point PPR scoring. So Slayton is someone with season long appeal.