RB Ronnie Hillman (Denver)
Percent owned (ESPN): 0.9%
Willis McGahee is going to be out an extended period of time and possibly the season with a broken leg and torn MCL. Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball will split carries in his absence, but Hillman has by far the most upside of the bunch. He led the duo in carries 12 to 6 against San Diego after McGahee went down and the 3rd round pick rookie is easily the more talented of the two and the more likely to emerge as a feature back out of the timeshare.
RB James Starks (Green Bay)
Percent owned (ESPN): 6.7%
James Starks is officially the feature back in Green Bay, getting 25 carries against Detroit. This has been known for about 2 weeks so I don’t know why he’s still only owned in so few leagues. He hasn’t been particularly effective, but he has 42 carries in the last 2 weeks and at the very least will get you volume yardage.
RB Jalen Parmele (Jacksonville)
Percent owned (ESPN): 0.1%
I don’t know who this is, but apparently he’s Jacksonville’s new feature back as he replaced Rashad Jennings. Jennings has been incredibly ineffective in Maurice Jones-Drew’s absence and MJD isn’t due back anytime soon so Parmele will continue to start for the near future. He rushed for just 80 yards on 24 carries against Houston, but he’ll have easier matchups going forward.
WR Danario Alexander (San Diego)
Percent owned (ESPN): 4.4%
In 3 starts, Danario Alexander has 15 catches for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns. The incredibly ineffective Robert Meachem is no threat to Alexander. In fact, Meachem hasn’t produced those kind of numbers all season. Alexander should be owned universally.
QB Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco)
Percent owned (ESPN): 1.2%
He’d be #1 on this list if I knew he’d be the starter going forward. He should be; the 49ers are so much scarier with him under center. Defenses actually have to respect the deep ball, which gives their running game even more room. Kaepernick threw for 243 yards and 2 scores against arguably the toughest defense in football coming in this week. He’s got rushing ability as well and is a high upside low end QB1 if he starts going forward. The 49ers play the Saints’ horrible defense next week.
RB Bryce Brown (Philadelphia)
Percent owned (ESPN): 0.3%
LeSean McCoy suffered a concussion last week against Washington. He’s highly unlikely to be rushed into action next week against Carolina with the Eagles at 3-7, so Bryce Brown should get at least one start in his absence. Whether or not Andy Reid remembers to use him is a different story, but he might be worth a start for at least a week.
WR TY Hilton (Indianapolis)
Percent owned (ESPN): 3.6%
TY Hilton is incredibly explosive, but he’s also incredibly inconsistent. He has three 100 yard receiving games already this season, including a 9 catch, 100 yard, 2 touchdown performance last week against New England. Besides him, only Justin Blackmon has a single 100 yard game among rookies this year. Meanwhile, in his other 6 games, he hasn’t gone over 37 yards. However, Donnie Avery is out with a concussion so Hilton should move into the starting lineup and get more snaps so his consistency should improve. The explosive rookie is a high upside, high risk play going forward.
TE Brandon Myers (Oakland)
Percent owned (ESPN): 14.2%
I don’t know why no one likes this guy. He’s on pace for 80 catches for 886 yards and 5 touchdowns. Only 5 tight ends have more fantasy points than him. He’s startable in all leagues, but barely owned. If you’re a Rob Gronkowski owner or you’re having tight end troubles in general, definitely pick this guy up.
WR Julian Edelman (New England)
Percent owned (ESPN): 0.7%
Julian Edelman has moved ahead of Brandon Lloyd on the depth chart, playing 52 snaps to Lloyd’s 34 against Indianapolis. Only Wes Welker played more snaps than him among wide receivers. Edelman caught 5 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown in his first game as the #2 wide receiver against Indianapolis and also rushed for 47 yards (albeit on only one fluky carry). His role will only grow with Rob Gronkowski out.
WR Brandon LaFell (Carolina)
Percent owned (ESPN): 15.5%
This might be a reach, but he’s now healthy and when he plays, he averages 3.2 catches for 54.3 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game, which extrapolates to 51 catches for 869 yards and 5 touchdowns over 16 games. You can do worse in deep leagues and he’s got upside going forward if he can stay healthy.
RB Bilal Powell (NY Jets)
Percent owned (ESPN): 1.2%
Finally healthy, Powell is back to eating into Shonn Greene’s touches, getting 13 to Greene’s 18 against St. Louis. He had 60 yards to Greene’s 64 and also stole the goal line carries, scoring twice. He’s worth a flier.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers (Atlanta)
Percent owned (ESPN): 13.4%
The Falcons said they’d be scaling back Michael Turner’s workload and they kept their word, giving Rodgers 10 touches to Turner’s 15. Those 10 touches were his 3rd highest total of the season. He had 51 yards to Turner’s 46. Turner is incredibly incompetent, averaging 3.1 YPC over his last 5 games with just one carry longer than 13. On the season, he’s failed to convert on goal-to-go carries over 75% of the time. He’s also only caught 10 passes on the year. He literally has no NFL-level skills anymore. Rodgers could and should see more work going forward.
WR Ryan Broyles (Detroit)
Percent owned (ESPN): 1.1%
Titus Young has been suspended for week 12 for violation of an undisclosed team rule. In his absence, Ryan Broyles will be the #2 receiver and the 3rd option in an explosive passing offense. He might be worth a pickup if you really need receiver help, but remember, Young hasn’t exactly set the world on fire statistically as the #2 receiver, so Broyles is no lock to have fantasy value.