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Jake Locker – Jake Locker has come back from his hip injury with a statement game. He threw for over 300 yards and 2 TDs in his first game back. Overall this really has been his year as he seems to have gotten past the INTs that plagued his first year as a starter. While Tennessee has not looked fantastic this year, Locker has proven to be a legitimate fantasy starter. If you put your faith in Jay Cutler or Sam Bradford this year, and are now unsure of what to do going forward, Locker could be your savior. He will wrap up the fantasy season with a great schedule. He faces Saint Louis, Jacksonville twice, Indy twice, Oakland, and Denver. Don’t expect Locker to put up any 40 burgers for you, but you can expect him to get you over 20 points each week.
Chris Ivory – Many fantasy players had high hopes for Chris Ivory this off season, but through the first six weeks he had done little to impress. The Jets simply were not giving Ivory enough carries to get him going. In week 8, things changed as Ivory saw 34 carries and ran for over 100 yards. They definitely gave him the featured role. He saw 57% of the snaps vs. Bilal Powell’s 22%. If this trend continues, it could mean big things for Ivory. Over the rest of the season, the Jets go up against some pretty good match-ups including New Orleans, Buffalo, Oakland, Miami twice, and Cleveland. Additionally, Geno Smith is starting to get a feel for the NFL game which is opening up this offense. As Geno continues to get better, defenses will be forced to play the pass, which will open up more running lanes for Ivory. There are a lot of “ifs” here, but oftentimes fantasy championships are about taking risks and grabbing players before your opposition sees the potential. I see Ivory as a player worth grabbing if you have room on your roster.
Shane Vereen – On last week’s podcast we talked about how it was time to grab and stash some players that will be returning to action as the season winds down. Top on that list, this week, is Shane Vereen. Vereen had a monster week 1 before he went down with injury rushing for over 100 yards, and catching 7 passes for over 50 yards. He proved to be a vital piece of New England’s offense, an offense that has, quite frankly, not looked the same this year. However, the Patriots are starting to get key pieces back. Rob Gronkowski has returned, Danny Amendola is getting healthy, and Vereen is due back after the week 10 bye. Look for the 5-2 Patriots to come out of the bye with the pedal to the floor as they gear up for the playoffs.
Kendall Wright – Most fantasy owners were expecting Kenny Britt to be the breakout star in Tennessee, but he has failed at every level. Don’t get me wrong. I believe that he has all the talent in the world, but he just can’t get it together this year. On the other hand, Wright has done everything to secure a key role on the offense. Since week 3 he has seen no less than 5 catches a game and is averaging over 11 yards per catch. While those are not superstar numbers, they cannot be ignored. And, with Locker returning to helm, I expect Wright’s role to expand. He will make a good WR3/Flex play going forward.
Michael Floyd – I wrote about Floyd in a 2012 pre-season post. I loved his prospect as a rookie breakout. Unfortunately, he got stuck behind Andre Roberts on the depth chart and did not live up to my high hopes. This year we are seeing Floyd come into his own. He is averaging over 7 targets a game and 13 yards per catch. In PPR leagues especially, Floyd has become a legitimate WR3/Flex play. He is not necessarily a guy who will turn your fantasy season around, but he will be an excellent bye week filler and can get you consistent points from your WR3/flex spot week in and week out, if needed.
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