With bye weeks upon us, the fantasy football free agent pool is getting thinner, which means it’s more important than ever to look ahead. Here are some players you might want to add to your roster now instead of waiting until after the conclusion of this week’s games. These are players who are owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN or Yahoo leagues.
Jameis Winston, Bucs (Week 5 opponent: at Saints): You know the deal with Winston; he’s a high-risk play. Trying to figure out when to start him is no safer than throwing darts while blindfolded. He’s just as capable of delivering a four-point fantasy performance as an 18-point performance. In Week 5, the Bucs travel to New Orleans to play the Saints, who have given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks — 30 in Week 1, 19 in Week 2 and 41 in Week 3.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. Giants): So what if he likes Creed? He might be the One to take you Higher in your league standings. Yes, his numbers are down this season as Minnesota has committed to running the ball, but he draws a favorable matchup in Week 5 in the Giants (fourth-most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks). Welcome Cousins With Arms Wide Open.
Previously mentioned: Matthew Stafford, Jacoby Brissett and Andy Dalton
Darrel Williams, Chiefs (vs. Colts): It doesn’t seem to matter which running back the Chiefs start. Darrel Williams, who in Week 3 filled in for LeSean McCoy who was filling in for Damien Williams, gained 109 yards from scrimmage on 14 touches against the Ravens. McCoy will play today against the Lions, so Williams might not repeat the performance. If he does, he’ll be a popular waiver wire add.
Rex Burkhead, Patriots (at Washington): I know. Patriots running backs. But Burkhead’s potential as a receiver makes him a worthwhile speculative add in point-per-reception leagues. He caught five passes in Week 1, two in Week 2 and six in Week 3. James White returns this week, however, and likely will cut into Burkhead’s snaps.
Ronald Jones, Bucs (at Saints): Peyton Barber outsnapped Jones 42-8 in Week, but Jones closed the gap in Week 3, playing 23 snaps to Barber’s 28. Though Jones has been the more efficient runner, he still needs to come off the field in obvious pass situations.
Previously mentioned: Raheem Mostert, Frank Gore and Ito Smith
Phillip Dorsett, Patriots (at Washington): The Patriots are averaging more than 35 points per game (second to only the Ravens), so it’s smart to give any of their skill position players a look. Dorsett might be New England’s No. 3 receiver, but he’s playing about as many snaps as Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon. He has had a strong rapport with Tom Brady so far, catching 13 of 14 targets. His three touchdown catches are the most on the team.
Golden Tate, Giants (vs. Vikings): Tate, who has been serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy, is eligible to return in Week 5. Given the Giants’ lack of receiving depth, he should be productive immediately. For the Lions and Eagles last season, he caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns, good enough to rank among the top 30 receivers in fantasy football.
Previously mentioned: Mecole Hardman, Nelson Agholor and DJ Chark
Vernon Davis, Washington (vs. Patriots): It’s not clear when, or if, Jordan Reed (concussion) will return. In Reed’s absence, Davis, who is 35, has seen most of the snaps at tight end. Keep an eye on Jeremy Sprinkle, though. His snap count has increased each week.
Previously mentioned: Rob Gronkowski and Will Dissly