RB Knowshon Moreno (Denver)
Percent owned (ESPN): 4.2%
John Fox hates rookies. After everyone thought all week that 3rd round rookie Ronnie Hillman would become the lead back for the Broncos, Knowshon Moreno, who was inactive the week before, randomly got the start ahead of both Hillman and veteran Lance Bell. He did a decent job, rushing for 85 yards on 20 attempts and catching 4 passes for 26 yards, and it looks like he’ll continue to start going forward.
RB Bryce Brown (Philadelphia)
Percent owned (ESPN): 4.8%
He did lose two fumbles, but Bryce Brown was very impressive in his first NFL start, rushing for 178 yards and 2 scores on just 19 carries. The Eagles are 3-8 and going nowhere fast so they won’t rush back the concussed LeSean McCoy. Bryce Brown could get at least another start and if he does, he’ll be worth a start in fantasy as well.
WR Ryan Broyles (Detroit)
Percent owned (ESPN): 1.3%
With Titus Young suspended, rookie Ryan Broyles caught 6 passes for 126 yards. Young has been in and out of the coaching staff’s doghouse all year and hasn’t been as productive all year as Broyles was last week so Broyles should continue to have a bigger role going forward in Detroit’s fantasy friendly passing offense. He’s already reportedly going to start going forward.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers (Atlanta)
Percent owned (ESPN): 12.4%
It looks like the Atlanta coaching staff finally figured out that Michael Turner sucks. Backup Jacquizz Rodgers played more snaps than Turner for the 2nd straight week and although he got fewer touches than Turner, he had by far his most productive game of the season with 79 total yards and a touchdown. Turner, meanwhile, rushed for 17 yards on 13 attempts and is now averaging less than 3 YPC over the past 6 weeks. Rodgers’ role should continue to grow.
QB Chad Henne (Jacksonville)
Percent owned (ESPN): 6.1%
I’m still not 100% sold on him, but you can’t deny he’s playing well right now. After passing for 354 yards and 4 touchdowns against Houston, Henne passed for 261 yards and 2 scores in his first start of the season against Tennessee. Blaine Gabbert is on IR, so Henne will start the rest of the way. He’s worth a bench stash if you’re having quarterback issues. He has 3 matchups against bottom-10 pass defenses (fantasy wise) in his last 5 games.
WR Brandon LaFell (Carolina)
Percent owned (ESPN): 15.5%
Excluding the Denver game, in which he was just coming back from a concussion, LaFell now has 15 catches for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns in his last 4 games. He’s fully healthy and a playing as every down role as a wide receiver opposite Steve Smith on a pass offense that has some potential down the stretch. Cam Newton seems to be getting his mojo back and the Panthers face bottom-10 pass defenses (fantasy wise) in his last 5 games, including 2nd worst ranked Oakland and worst ranked New Orleans during week 16 and week 17 respectively. He’s a sneaky pick up in deep leagues.
TE Marcedes Lewis (Jacksonville)
Percent owned (ESPN): 7.0%
The last time Lewis had a competent quarterback throwing to him, he caught 58 passes for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns, that being in 2010. Blaine Gabbert is injured and Chad Henne looks, at the very least, like a clear upgrade over Gabbert. In 2 games with Henne, he’s caught 7 passes for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. He might be worth a bench stash if you need tight end help.
WR Mohamed Sanu (Cincinnati)
Percent owned (ESPN): 1.1%
Sanu had just 29 yards against Oakland, but he did that on 5 catches and more important on 9 targets. He also caught 2 touchdowns and has now scored 4 times in his last 3 games. He’s still inconsistent, but he’s become a much bigger part of the offense so he might be worth a look.
WR Cole Beasley (Dallas)
Percent owned (ESPN): 0.0%
Rookie slot receiver Colt Beasley was a big part of the Cowboys’ passing attack against Washington, with Kevin Ogletree out, catching 7 passes for 68 yards on 13 attempts. Now Miles Austin is also hurt again and Dallas has a pretty fantasy friendly offense. He might be worth a look.