ONE NIGHT STANDS
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
The Broncos haven’t played a game that finished with less than a two-TD difference since Week 3, so the prospects for garbage time here are promising. Denver has allowed multiple TD passes in the last four of that five-game stretch—not just to Tom Brady and Philip Rivers but also Geno Smith and the Colin Kaepernick/Blaine Gabbert combo platter. So it’s not like you’re asking Carr to go above and beyond here; he’s had multiple TDs or 300-plus yards in three of his last four games, including two in Seattle last week. In a week where Luck, Brady, and Rivers are on bye and maybe you just lost Nick Foles, Carr stands out as a viable option for salvaging the position this week.
Clay Harbor, TE, Jaguars
Harbor will be in your free agent pool after being shut out last week by the Bengals. But if you’re down a Gronk, Gates, Reed or Fleener this week his situation is too good to ignore. The Cowboys have allowed four different teams to amass 10 TE receptions, four to reach triple-digit TE receiving yards, and are giving up an average of 7-70-1 per week to the position. Last week the Cardinals, who rank 29th in TE scoring, found the end zone once and John Carlson dropped two more potential scores as well. The Cowboys can’t cover tight ends, and they certainly aren’t reconfiguring their game plan to stop Harbor. Fill that spot with a $1 pickup who should get you double-digit fantasy points, then plug your stud TE back into your lineup next week to extend your winning streak.
Terrance West, RB, Browns
The Browns are fast approaching Saints/Patriots-level infuriation when it comes to the fantasy prospects of their backfield, but after last week it seems safe to assume the gig is West’s going forward. Ben Tate extended a trend—identified in this very space a month ago—by posting a declining yards-per-carry average as he’s done every week this season. Sure, it’s only a six-game sample set because Tate took zeroes in Weeks 2-3, but nothing about 6.8 > 5.6 > 3.1 > 2.3 > 1.7 > 0.3—on an indefensible 10 carries last week—suggests he’s a fantasy helper. West, on the other hand, has apparently leap-frogged the fumble-prone Isaiah Crowell for the feature gig; more importantly, he’s either scored or topped 100 yards every time he’s been given double-digit touches. The upcoming slate is favorable, especially with a Weeks 15-16 finish against the Bengals and Panthers. He’s still available in roughly half the leagues, and if you’re willing to stomach the risk of a revolving door backfield there’s definite upside to the rookie’s stretch drive.
Kenny Britt, WR, Rams
There certainly isn’t much to like about the Rams’ passing game, but with Brian Quick gone for the season there’s a need for someone—anyone—to step up and make some noise. Over the past month the only Ram wideout to see more than five targets in a game is Britt; the only Rams WR to catch a touchdown pass is Britt; and the only Rams wide receiver to top 50 yards is… wait for it… Kenny Britt. St. Louis gets to test the extremely fantasy-friendly Arizona secondary twice in the next six games before facing the suddenly Prince-less Giants secondary in Fantasy Bowl week. Snag Britt because you’re down TY, AJ, or D-Jax this week; hang on to him because he might just make a difference for you down the stretch.
BEAT THE RUSH
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Rudolph was a hot semi-sleeper tight end this preseason, draftable below the elite at the position but with potential to put up similar numbers. That ended three games in, however, when Rudolph went down with an abdominal injury. Following the Vikings’ Week 10 bye he expects to be back on the field, however, and if you liked what Chase Ford has done the past two weeks filling Rudy’s shoes—11-127-1 on 13 targets—you’ll love what Rudolph will bring to the table down the fantasy stretch. Assuming Rudolph hits the ground running—inside tip: I play in a fantasy league with the radio voice of the Vikings and he made a pre-emptive pickup of Rudolph last week, so it certainly feels like he will—he’ll see the second-most fantasy-friendly schedule for tight ends over the duration of the fantasy season. While others scramble to cover for all their bye week issues, stash Rudolph on your bench and wait for the big upside to come.
Damien Williams, RB, Dolphins
Lamar Miller is nursing a separated shoulder; banging into the stout run defenses of the Lions, Bills, Broncos, Jets, and Ravens over the next five games isn’t likely to make it feel any better. Wouldn’t be a stretch if that five-game run sent Miller to the training room for some extra ice—leaving Williams to handle a larger share of the Dolphins’ backfield workload, right about the time the schedule gets easier (New England and Minnesota in Weeks 15 and 16). Grab Daniel Thomas if you want, but consider he turned nine carries against a beaten-down Chargers defense into just eight yards. Williams wasn’t markedly better at 2.5 yards per carry, but he mustered 51 yards on 13 touches and looks to be the upside guy in Miami. He’s a stash, to be sure, but if you plan to be playing meaningful games in December he’s a valuable stash indeed.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE
Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals
Trying to figure out where it all went south for Floyd, who opened the season with a 119-yard game against the Chargers and scored in back-to-back games in Weeks 6 and 7—all, you may note, games helmed by Carson Palmer. The last two weeks, however, Floyd has been shut out by the Eagles and usurped by Larry Fitzgerald and Jaron Brown in the fantasy scoring column. Arizona’s upcoming schedule does Floyd no favors, either; though this week’s home date (and a subsequent Week 15 rematch) with the Rams is promising, the Cards also face the top-ranked Lions’ secondary and square off with Seattle twice—including the week most fantasy championships are decided. Even when the matchup is favorable, John Brown is seeing as many deep shots as Floyd and Fitz is back as the WR1 with twice as many targets and six times the yardage over the past two games. Maybe a good game against the Rams allows you to sell high on Floyd, or maybe you just bail on the aggravation now.