Last week’s Trade Value column was entirely devoted to how you can change the foundation of your fantasy team through transactions.
This week’s column looks at a quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end who could propel their fantasy team to the playoffs.
Please continue to take advantage of the Field Yates Waiver Wire column and my Streamers column for alignment options you can consider each week as the bye weeks roll in.
Derek Carr, quarterback, Los Vegas Raiders
With an average of 38.5 attempts, 324.3 passing yards, 364.2 passing yards and 22 points per game, Carr has had a solid year even when largely overlooked. In fact, only Tom Brady has averaged more passing yards (344) and passing yards (389.7) than Carr.
Looking ahead, Las Vegas has a favorable schedule going forward. From weeks 13-17, Carr will play the Washington football team (26.9 fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks), Kansas City Chiefs (25), Cleveland Browns (23), Denver Broncos (14.6) and Indianapolis Colts (21.4).
My two biggest takeaways from watching him this season are his poise in the pocket and his ability to create plays outside the script. It’s not often that people talk about Carr as a potential league-winning quarterback, but this could be the season that happens.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Fantasy managers idealize what they believe brokers must be to be successful. It can be speed, force, or elusiveness. In my opinion, a potential league winner plays more plays, runs more and catches more from the backfield, ideally under 29 years old and on a productive offense. Right now, Ekekler is an intriguing player who checks all of those boxes.
We often glamorize by winning our league by turning a waiver cable find into a fantasy superstar. In the break room or with family and friends, it’s a good story to tell, but it’s often the top draft picks that aren’t appreciated.
Ekeler could be one of those guys. Last week, he had 55 total yards, his lowest total of the year, and the Chargers’ offense looked disorganized. He is now free this week with the Chargers on rest. Look at this as an opportunity to submit a business offer.
With a remaining schedule that includes the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, Chiefs and Houston Texans, now is the perfect time to go get him.
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
True, the arrival of Rashod Bateman may worry some managers. and the Ravens’ 27th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft had an impressive college career in Minnesota. Bateman had one reception in every game he played, fifth in school history, and he finished his college career with 147 receptions, 2,395 receiving yards (sixth in school history) and 19 touchdowns (fifth). During his Golden Gopher career, he had 10 100-yard receiving games.
Now I will tell you a secret. Bateman’s arrival is great for Brown. It will take the attention away from the many they call “Hollywood” who are already having a great season. He has averaged 7 goals, 5.3 receptions, 81 receiving yards and 18.8 points per game. Brown also has three receiving touchdowns of 30 yards or more. Lamar Jackson has a 130.6 passer rating when targeting Brown.
Baltimore plays the Bengals this week before their break, and they still have games against the Browns (40.88 fantasy points allowed to receivers), Steelers (41.7), Packers (32.93), Bengals (37.07) and Rams (39.5).
Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
I guess now you think I’m a Raiders fan. That is not true. It’s just that due to the terrible tight end outlook, you’d be good to prioritize a tight end who will see the most goals on their respective team.
Waller hasn’t been actively involved in the Raiders offense since Week 1, when he had 19 goals and gained 105 yards. In fact, he has averaged 7 goals, 4.6 receptions and 54.6 yards per game since then. So why switch for him now?
Some fantasy managers with Waller are frustrated and willing, if not eager, to fire him for the right offer. And a good end to the season is very possible. Waller’s 317 goals, 2,716 receiving yards and 2,532 receiving yards since 2019 lead the Raiders in each of these statistical categories.
I am optimistic that he will continue to be an integral part of the Raiders offense, and the team’s schedule for the remainder of the season positions him for success.