Fortunately, there are a few guys out there who hold significant value.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Tennessee Titans:
On Sunday, the Titans suffered a huge loss to their division rival Houston Texans. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t the only thing they lost. In the first quarter, starting quarterback Jake Locker took a vicious shot from a defender and injured his shoulder. He did not return and may be out for quite some time. Hasselbeck stepped in his place and threw for 193 yards and two scores. The veteran should be available in almost any league and could make a solid bye week fill in.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills:
Again, another guy who can fill in for a bye week, unless your quarterback situation is in shambles. But listen to this: Fitzpatrick is quietly having a very productive fantasy year. He already has thrown 12 touchdowns to go with seven interceptions. Plus, he has more fantasy points than Tom Brady, Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers.
Jackie Battle, RB, San Diego Chargers:
So, with starting running back Ryan Mathews finally healthy, the Chargers have their featured back, right? Not so fast. On Sunday, it was Battle, not Mathews, who received the most touches. In fact, Battle was actually the starting running back for the game. He finished with two touchdowns on the day. While Mathews should be the featured back going forward, if Battle continues to play, well he may find himself cutting into some of Mathews work, especially on the goal line.
Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots:
Go ahead and look this guy up, because odds are you have never even heard of him. In the Patriots blow-out victory at Buffalo on Sunday, both Bolden and starter Stevan Ridley torched the Bills run defense. We expected this out of Ridley, but Bolden? The 22 year old Bolden racked up 137 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, only six less than Ridley. The Patriots’ offense was firing on all cylinders. Listen, do I think Bolden is a must-add in every league? Not at all. However, if you own Ridley, it would be wise to grab Bolden, who is owned in just 0.3 percent of leagues.
Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins:
I know what you’re thinking. How can I trust anyone from the Dolphins not named Reggie Bush? In case you missed it, Hartline absolutely went bonkers on Sunday against a very good Arizona Cardinals defense. He shined in a 12-catch, 253 yard, one touchdown performance, which puts him atop the league leaders in receiving yards. Hartline was targeted 19 times on Sunday, so rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehil is clearly looking his way often. The more chemistry these two develop, the bigger numbers Hartline can put up. I’d try to grab Hartline and stash him, especially in a PPR league. By the way, please send your condolences to my buddy, who had Hartline on his bench this week.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers:
If you are like me, and own Greg Jennings, then you are aware of the multiple fantasy headaches he is causing. He did score a nine yard touchdown on Sunday, but that’s all. He left the game in the second quarter after aggravating his groin and did not return. However, if you are in fact an owner of Jennings, Jones is a must-add. Jones played sensationally on Sunday, grabbing two touchdowns. He now leads all Packers receivers in touchdowns this year and is quickly becoming one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets.
This situation is very similar to that of Jones. With Pro Bowl wide receiver Hakeem Nicks missing Sunday night’s divisional clash against the Philadelphia Eagles with a foot injury, it was Hixon who stepped up in his place. Hixon finished with a team-high 114 yards and was targeted 11 times. He showed that he can make the big plays down the field. With Nicks’ foot injury becoming an ongoing issue, Hixon will be the number two receiver as long as Nicks is out. Again, I cannot stress enough how important it is to handcuff. If you own Nicks, you better own Hixon as well.
Scott Chandler, TE, Buffalo Bills:
Chandler is quietly becoming a very reliable starting fantasy tight end for your team. He hauled in another two touchdowns on Sunday, which tied him for the league lead. In the red zone, he is by far Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s favorite target, which equals more touchdowns for fantasy owners. Unless you have a solidified starting tight end, think about adding Chandler to your starting role. I mean, all the guy does is find the end zone.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers:
After getting off to a relatively slow start, Olsen is beginning to catch fire. During Sunday’s loss to the 4-0 Atlanta Falcons, Olsen caught six balls for 89 yards and a touchdown. The former Miami Hurricane was targeted 11 times by Cam Newton, and the two are clearly starting to click. Again, unless you have a big name tight end, I’d consider grabbing and possibly starting Olsen.
Don’t look now, but the Vikings are in control of first place in the NFC North. The terrific play from their defense is one of the reasons why. In the next few weeks, they face some relatively week offenses (TEN, ARI, TB, SEA). Owners should also like the fact that Percy Harvin is returning kicks and has a chance to run one back at any time. In fact, that’s exactly what he did to open the game on Sunday.
Greg Zuerlein, K, St. Louis Rams:
They don’t call him “Greg The Leg” for nothing. On Sunday, the Rams rookie kicker nailed a 60 and 58 -yarder to help the team defeat the Seattle Sehawks. He is in the top five among fantasy points for kickers and plays for a team that settles for a ton of field goals. Grab Zuerlein and start him with confidence.
Phil Dawson, K, Cleveland Browns:
Dawson looked very sharp on Thursday night in a losing effort against the Baltimore Ravens. After making three field goals of at least 50 yards, Dawson has now made 11 kicks of 50 yards or more in his last 17 games. He is continuing to prove he is as reliable as they come, and will get plenty of opportunity on a dismal Browns offense.
Adam Pfeifer is a fantasy football columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.