Fantasy: 5 Players Ready to Become Weekly Starters

By: Zach Miller (Twitter: @zach_ic)

It’s getting down to the time of the season where fantasy teams are getting set, some of you may be trying to bolster your bench for a playoff run while others are looking to fill some injury holes to secure that last playoff spot. Regardless of where your team is at, it’s always helpful to find some extra players via trade or waivers that may become weekly starters for your team. In this article, I’ll help you find a couple of those players to go after before the playoff push.

  1. Christian Kirk-WR-Arizona Cardinals

Right now I see a lot of people in the fantasy community pushing to trade high on Christian Kirk and I truly don’t understand why. Yes, Kirk’s fantasy value has been buoyed by 5 touchdowns in the last three weeks which means he is clearly due for some regression in that category but he has become a key cog in this Cardinals offense. Right now the Cardinals offense is the #1 scoring offense in the NFL, and outside of Deandre Hopkins, no wide receiver has stepped up more than Kirk, especially in the red zone. Kirk has seen eight targets in two consecutive games and eight red-zone targets in the last four weeks. I don’t expect Kirk to continue on his mad touchdown streak but as a weekly flex-play you could do much worse than Kyler Murray’s deep-ball specialist.

  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster-WR-Pittsburgh Steelers

I know it seems weird to include such a high round draft pick in a possible weekly play article but a lot of people lost faith in JuJu and for good reason. While it hasn’t been the season people had hoped for him, he has finally started to see the slot targets that made him such a valuable receiver for Pittsburgh his first two years in the league. Between Weeks 2 and 6, JuJu saw a grand total of 17 targets. However, in the last three games, he has received 29 looks from Big Ben. Part of this recent emergence most likely has something to do with the increase in playing time to both Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson now that he is off the injury reports. JuJu’s best season in the NFL came by playing second fiddle to Antonio Brown and while a lot of people were hoping he could step up and be a true #1 for them, that doesn’t seem to be the case. As long as the three receivers and Big Ben are on the field JuJu should be plugged right into your lineups again. 

  1. Chase Edmonds-RB-Arizona Cardinals

I know this week everyone will be playing Chase Edmonds as long as Kenyan Drake is out but after that many people are going to shy away from Edmonds again expecting Drake to return to his full-time role. Let this article be a vote of confidence to all the Edmonds owners out there that even with Drake back he can be a weekly flex-play and maybe even a borderline RB2. Even when Drake was playing, Edmonds was a weekly flex-play scoring 70.8 points through Week 7 compared to Drake’s 88.6 points most of which came in one game against Dallas. Plus, there’s always a chance Edmonds keeps looking good and takes the job outright from Drake. 

  1. Curtis Samuel-WR/RB-Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have exceeded everyone’s expectations this year with their offense, and while that has mostly come at the expense of D.J. Moore, it has lifted both Robby Anderson and Curtis Samuel into the spotlight. While Anderson was off to a hot start at the beginning of the season, it’s Curtis Samuel who has been the best of the three since Week 7, scoring 56 combined points in Half PPR scoring, compared to Anderson’s 29.5. He’s never been the most trustworthy of fantasy players, but he has always had the talent to shine. If you have ever read Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception (if you haven’t I highly recommend it) you know that Samuel has been an excellent route runner since he came into the NFL. He also has elite speed, running a 4.31 40-yard dash to break off a touchdown on any given play. If he keeps getting the targets he has been seeing the last couple of weeks he will easily reach WR2 levels but even if he doesn’t, he is the perfect flex-receiver to test his ceiling each week.

  1. Nyheim Hines-RB-Indianapolis Colts

This one almost hurts me to write because of how much I loved Jonathan Taylor coming into the season, but we all have to be wrong sometimes. Nyheim Hines isn’t your prototypical RB but he is getting the job done for Indy right now. The Colts upcoming schedule is a cake-walk for fantasy RBs going up against GB, TEN, HOU, LV, and then HOU again. While a lot of managers were hoping that meant great things for Taylor, the same argument should now be made for Hines who seems to have gained the trust of Frank Reich and the rest of the coaching staff. Even if Taylor comes out of nowhere and looks like the back he was in college, Hines’s passing down chops will keep him relevant all year long.

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