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October 09, 2013

Fill The Gaps


We're all in the same boat after five grueling weeks. Some of our players are hurt, some are getting benched, and some are getting the week off (Bye Week). That leaves us with thin fantasy lineups and frayed nerves.

First of all, don't be discouraged – we all cut players early in the season who are emerging now, and we wish we had them back. It doesn't mean you are a failure as a fantasy player or as a human being (though if you're reading this, you don't have much of a life!). Look at it this way – you were smart enough to draft them to begin with.

Focus on the here and now – identify the holes in your starting lineup, and fill them. Remember you are not going to get every free agent or waiver wire guy you bid on, so prepare not only a Plan B but a C, D, and E as well.

For example, if you need a running back, Willie McGahee is most likely available. Look, he's not OJ Simpson – he's never even killed anyone (yet) -- but he did get 26 carries for the Browns last week. Probably quite a few teams in your league will bid on him, so make sure you place alternate picks. Andre Ellington looked good for Arizona, and he's probably available. Ditto LaGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden of New England. Are these guys going to get you much? Probably not, but something is better than nothing.

Look ahead – I actually picked up Ellington last week after the Cardinals' brass criticized the team's lethargic running game. Here's another one to grab now: Shane Vereen of the Pats is on injured reserve until Week 10 – that's only a month away.

Several wide receivers who may be available in your league have considerable upside. Keenan Allen of San Diego is my top choice because his quarterback, Philip Rivers, is on fire and Malcolm Floyd is out for the season. Justin Blackmon of Jacksonville is also a comer.

As we said in out first column of the season, Reuben Randle of the Giants is a good sleeper – the youngster is talented, and the team is now 0-5, so it's time to look to the future. Austin Pettis of the Rams just keeps scoring TDs, and he's surprisingly still available in a lot of leagues. The same holds true for Terrance Williams (Cowboys) and Robert Woods (Buffalo).

If you need a TE try Tyler Eifert of Cincinnati. They move him around, putting him in the slot and out wide on occasion, so he might get a lot of playing time going forward. Charles Clay of Miami has been getting a lot of looks this season.

If you don't have a good defense, or if your team is playing an offensive juggernaut, try this little trick: look at all the available team defenses and take the home team that is playing the worst opponent.

Even if you have two or three losses you are right in the thick of things: for the next five weeks a lot of teams will be short-handed, and by filling open spots in your lineup with the best available players, you'll be able to put some wins together.

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