20 Trade Targets & 15 StashesSaturday, October 12, 2013
16. Larry Fitzgerald -- Hamstring woes and Arizona's inability to protect Carson Palmer have rendered Fitzgerald a four-week disappointment, but the smart money is on brilliant offensive minds Bruce Arians and Tom Moore getting things figured out. The Cardinals have passing-game personnel to go on a statistical tear at any moment. And there's an awful lot left in Fitzgerald's tank. He just turned 30 years old and beat Darrelle Revis for a game-winning touchdown two games ago.
17. Jay Cutler -- Cutler is playing career-best ball under pass-game guru Marc Trestman, and it still feels like he isn't being taken seriously. He's loaded with weapons and on pace for career highs across the board. Cutler is probably a QB2 on your opponent's roster. He can be your QB1.
18. Lamar Miller -- In a potential changing of the guard, Miller played a season-high 76.3% of the Dolphins' Week 5 backfield snaps, before a Week 6 bye. Daniel Thomas seems to be fading away. Miller was a top-15 running back scorer over the Weeks 2-4 stretch, and will have no trouble refinding that fantasy territory if Thomas goes from committee partner to change-of-pace back.
19. Heath Miller -- The Steelers aren't exactly brimming with passing-game weapons, and Miller was a featured player in OC Todd Haley's 2012 offense, quietly setting career highs in yards and touchdowns. He's now coming off a bye to get his surgically repaired knee back toward full strength. Miller can be penned in as an every-week low-end to mid-range TE1 moving forward.
20. Zac Stacy -- Keep an eye on Stacy's fantasy owner, who likely plucked him off waivers recently and doesn't value the rookie running back as more than a bench stash. Stacy is already a reasonable weekly flex play on a Rams team that needs him, showing an inability to sustain drives without a foundation running game. Stacy gets what's blocked and can add a little more with deceptive lateral steps. He's a candidate to average 18-plus carries per game the rest of the way.
My Top 15 Lottery Ticket "Stash" Running Backs
This assumes current part-time backs like Ben Tate, Andre Ellington, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Chris Ivory are already owned. Joique Bell is likely rostered in your league as well, but this is a reminder to pick him up quickly if he gets dropped during forthcoming bye-week crunches.
These backup running backs are worth rostering at the end of benches on the off chance the starter ahead of them misses game action. They are high-upside stashes.
1. Bryce Brown -- Has Darren McFadden-like running ability without the durability woes. Brown would ascend to RB1 value if LeSean McCoy suffered a multi-game injury.
2. Joique Bell -- Not quite Reggie Bush, but not too terribly far off. Bell combines outstanding versatility with bone-rattling power and tackle-breaking ability.
3. Roy Helu -- We saw what Helu was capable of when he ripped off three consecutive 100-yard games as a rookie and put the Raiders away off the bench in Week 4 with Alfred Morris nursing a rib injury. Because Helu would be an every-down back and not a two-down banger like Morris in the event of an Alf injury, you could argue Helu has more fantasy upside than Morris if Washington's starter got hurt.
4. Bernard Pierce -- A power back with plus vision. Early in the season with Ray Rice nursing a hip injury, Pierce showed the ability to handle 20-plus rushing attempts. He is a starting-caliber back.
5. Kendall Hunter -- Nifty change-of-pace back with outstanding burst. Hunter would likely lose goal-line carries to Anthony Dixon if Frank Gore went down, but would handle the vast majority of touches in San Francisco's backfield behind a lane-clearing offensive line.
6. Christine Michael -- Michael -- not Robert Turbin -- would be the favorite for early-down carries in Seattle if Marshawn Lynch missed time. Michael flashed top-ten NFL running chops in limited doses at Texas A&M and was one of the most talented runners I witnessed this preseason.
7. Jonathan Stewart -- He's expected back in Week 7 after spending the first six weeks on PUP due to double-ankle surgeries. When healthy, Stewart is a more dynamic and versatile back than DeAngelo Williams. DeAngelo owners should bail after Week 6, if they haven't already.
8. Michael Bush -- Not a supremely talented runner, but can play on all three downs. Every-week fantasy starter if Matt Forte went down.
9. Knile Davis -- Running back is playing a huge role in Andy Reid's Chiefs offense, racking up carries and catches. Kansas City is the only team in football whose target leader is a tailback.
10. Montee Ball -- The likely lead back in Denver if Knowshon Moreno suffered an injury. The Broncos view Ronnie Hillman as a change-of-pace player only. Ball would have more value.
11. Mike Goodson -- Goodson is a more talented ball carrier and receiver than Bilal Powell, and far more versatile than Chris Ivory.
12. Shonn Greene -- Don't like his running talent, but you could argue Greene is a better fit for Tennessee's offense right now than Chris Johnson, who actually manages ways to get less than what's blocked.
13. Jordan Todman -- Preseason star. Deep league type would at least be on the flex radar if Maurice Jones-Drew broke down.
14. Michael Cox -- Jumped off the tape this preseason. The Giants don't think Cox is ready to contribute on offense yet, but he may have to. David Wilson (neck) is out indefinitely and Da'Rel Scott has a multi-week hamstring strain. Definitely worth owning in all Dynasty leagues.
15. Mike James -- Would be the more talented half of a committee with Brian Leonard if Doug Martin missed time. Martin, by the way, is being overworked.