There aren’t many more frustrating things in fantasy land than a young, explosive player being hindered by playing time.
Or lack there of.
We’ve seen guys like C.J. Spiller dominate in limited action, making fans want more. Then, when the playing time increased, he went off. There are a handful of players like this that come to mind in fantasy today, and one of them may highlight my waiver wire options for Week 14. That’s right. Week 14 already. You need to make that final playoff push, I’ve got guys that can help get you there.
Note: Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo! leagues.
Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers (47%): He’s baaaack. After tearing his Achilles, Crabtree finally made his season debut here in Week 13. No, he didn’t catch a ton of balls and he didn’t score, but there were some promising aspects of his first action of the 2013 campaign. For starters, he wasn’t limited at all, unlike Percy Harvin during his debut. And secondly, despite catching just two balls, one of those passes went for 60 yards on a catch and run, proving that Crabtree still has that explosiveness from last season. Crabtree is still owned in less than half of leagues, and with a friendly playoff schedule, he will be one of those guys that can come out of nowhere and win you a fantasy championship. Remember, Colin Kaepernick loves Crabtree, and the two were so efficient together last season. Go get him if you are hurting at receiver.
Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers (8%): If you are in a dynasty league, do whatever you can to get this guy. Wash your opponent’s car, mow his lawn, watch his kids, anything. Green is going to be one of the better tight ends in football in a few years. However, he may have some strong value down the stretch of this season. Antonio Gates has been banged up lately, and on Sunday he fumbled and also allowed a defender rip the ball through his arms, resulting in an interception. Green, meanwhile, has seen an increase in snaps in three straight weeks, and also caught his second touchdown over his last two games, a 30-yard strike. At a massive 6’6″, 240 lbs with the speed to run 4.4 40-time, Green has the tools to be a dominant tight end in this league. Quarterback Philip Rivers historically loves to check it down to his tight ends, and with Gates not exactly sipping out of the fountain of youth, Green should see plenty of opportunity the rest of the way.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (62%): Smith continues to be dropped and added in fantasy leagues, but after two consecutive strong fantasy outings (27 and 22 points, respectively), it’s time to add Smith again in your deeper or two-quarterback leagues. The Chiefs still have plenty to play for, so there won’t be any fear of Kansas City resting their starters. Their schedule down the stretch is very favorable for fantasy quarterbacks. Smith will get Redskins (3rd-most FFP to QB), Raiders (7th-most), Colts (15th-most) and Chargers (5th-most) the rest of the way. Smith has played better lately, and he will contribute a bit in the rushing category, averaging about five rushing attempts per contest. If you own Aaron Rodgers, a struggling signal caller or are in a two-QB league, Smith is one of, if not the best option out there.
Montee Ball, Denver Broncos (57%): Ball won’t give you consistent volume, but with starter Knowshon Moreno seeing 79 carries over his last three games, his body is taking a beating. During that span, Ball, the rookie, has carried the ball a healthy 28 times, scoring twice. If Denver pulls away in their division and rests their players, Ball will see plenty of work, though I believe he’ll still see significant usage the rest of the way. We’ve seen running backs alongside Peyton Manning post very strong touchdown numbers (looking at you, Joseph Addai), and Ball is a more talented back. If you own Knowshon and somehow don’t have Ball, change that, and do it fast.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.