It’s moving time in fantasy football. With just five weeks left in most leagues’ regular seasons, we have to throw caution to the wind.
The bad news is that Week 8 was the worst week we’ve had all year for injuries. The good news is that’s opened up a ton of opportunities for active and aggressive owners. We can attack the waiver wire for strong value and pounce on desperate owners in trade situations. Some fallout from the injuries:
MARKY MARK TO THE HOUSE
Khiry Robinson’s season-ending leg injury is big news for Mark Ingram. The notion that the Saints use a three-headed committee at running back regardless of available talent is misguided. Note that when Pierre Thomas was injured last year (Weeks 4-7), Ingram averaged 29.0 touches per game. And in the six games Khiry missed last year, Ingram was at 25.7 touches per game. Ingram, who is currently at 18.9 touches, is about to get a nice boost.
WONDERING ABOUT STEVIE
Keenan Allen and Philip Rivers had about as good chemistry as any duo in the league, leading to an elite 77.9 catch rate on 11.1 targets per game. That’s a lot of production to fill. Vertical stretch Malcom Floyd gets a little boost, but the bigger boost goes to Stevie Johnson. Formerly limited to a slot role and around 80 percent of the snaps, look for Stevie to push closer to 100 percent as he adds outside receiving in two-wide sets to his role. And anytime Antonio Gates (knee) sits, Johnson will have an even bigger role.
THE BELL TOLLS
The Steelers are a one-back team. So when Le’Veon Bell returned from suspension, DeAngelo Williams was relegated to strict spectator status. But that doesn’t mean the Steelers are south on him. They remember the first two weeks of the season, when Williams played on 87.6 percent of the snaps and got 23.0 touches per game. With a near every-down role in one of the game’s best offenses, Williams will be a top-10 running back the rest of the season.
NBA PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
1. Marvin Williams, PF, Hornets – Locked into massive minutes as the starting stretch four and the backup small forward. Still only 29 years old.
2. Evan Fournier, SF, Magic – Can’t really explain it, but Scott Skiles is horny for Fourny. At least 35 minutes in three straight games.
3. Lou Williams, SG, Lakers – Sweet Lou has some deep value for now. Once Kobe gets hurt, Williams’ minutes and usage will skyrocket.
Fire up these borderline wideouts in Week 9:
1. Marques Colston vs. TEN – Was back up at 68.9 percent of the snaps in Week 8, suggesting he’s finally feeling fresh.
2. Martavis Bryant vs. OAK – Bryant never played more than 59.1 percent of snaps last regular season. He was at 81.6 percent Sunday.
3. Malcom Floyd vs. CHI – Stevie Johnson is the better play, but Floyd should run a few more high-percentage routes with Keenan Allen done.
Vernon Davis has fallen off a cliff the last two seasons. But was that because of a skill-set decline or was it due to a regressing, dysfunctional San Francisco offense? I suspect it was the latter, as Davis still runs like the wind and 31 isn’t overly old for a tight end. Now that he’s been acquired by the Broncos, the ceiling returns. Gary Kubiak is a strong proponent of two-TE as a base formation and Owen Daniels simply couldn’t get it done anymore. Expect Davis to see find plenty of openings in the seam with Demaryius Thomas and Manny Sanders attracting all the attention outside.