It is the mid-point of most Fantasy Football seasons and many owners are looking for quality players to beef up their rosters for the final playoff push. Here is a list of 10 of the best players who, according to ESPN Fantasy, are available in the majority of leagues. (Points quoted are for a half-point PPR league where both QB and receiver get 6 points for touchdowns)
1. QB Carson Palmer, Cardinals—Palmer has had 2 touchdowns in both games since coming back from nerve damage in his arm. In the three games he has played in this year, he is averaging 25 points. That ranks him in a tie with Jay Cutler and Drew Brees. Cutler and Brees are both over 95 per cent owned. Palmer is owned in only 10.2 per cent of leagues. What is wrong with this picture? He has already had his bye and faces the Eagles this week, who are 28th in the NFL in points given up to opposing quarterbacks.
2. QB Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins—Tannehill has thrown for two touchdowns in four of his six games this year, and has totaled at least 25 points in his last three contests. As a bonus, he plays this week against the Jaguars, who are 24th against quarterbacks this year. Unbelievably, he is owned in only 21.6 per cent of leagues.
3. RB Ronnie Hillman, Broncos—He rushed for 100 yards in his first game as the Denver starter when Montee Ball went down with an injury. He gained those yards against a great run defense in the New York Jets. Last week against the 49ers he ran for 74 yards, caught four passes for 29 yards and scored twice. This week he is at home against San Diego, which is 18th in the league against running backs. He is only 21.7 per cent owned. More people own Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who is behind Hillman on the depth chart.
4. WR Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants—Beckham, a top draft choice of the Giants, is finally healthy after a hamstring injury and the timing could not have been better. Now that Victor Cruz is out with a knee injury, Beckham’s targets will skyrocket. The team loves his speed and quickness, and his value will do nothing but rise in the coming weeks. His ownership right now is just over 22 per cent, and he should be owned in all leagues. While it is true the Giants are on a bye this week, if there is a spot available on the roster, he should be picked up now.
5. TE Dwayne Allen, Colts—Allen has scored a touchdown in five of his seven games this year, and has been in double-digits in four of his last five games. He is quickly becoming a favorite target of Andrew Luck. The Colts take on the Steelers this week, who rank 24th in the league against tight ends. His ownership percentage is only 32.0.
6. RB Jerick McKinnon, Vikings—Since taking over duties as the lead running back in Minnesota, he has faced two very good defenses. McKinnon had only 40 yards on 11 carries against the Lions, but last week scampered for 103 yards on 19 carries against the Bills. Now he gets to go up against a Tampa Bay team which is 29th in the league against running backs. Sunday could be his coming out party, and only 33 per cent of the owners have him.
7. WR Doug Baldwin, Seahawks—With the departure of Percy Harvin from the team, there was a lot of speculation as to who would take up the slack in targets for the Seahawks. Against the Rams it was Baldwin, who caught seven passes for 123 yards and a TD. Now Seattle faces a Carolina defense that is almost at the bottom of the league against wide receivers. Baldwin is the most owned of the Seattle receivers, but his ownership percentage is still only at 33.7.
8. D/ST Cowboys—This is an unorthodox pick, as the Dallas defense has been in single-digits in their last three games. Consider the fact, however, that the Redskins will be starting Colt McCoy. Washington ranks 28th in the league in points surrendered to opposing defenses. If the ‘Boys are ahead by a lot in the fourth quarter, they may give up some junk-time points but it truly may be worth the risk. The Cowboys D/ST is only 9.3 per cent owned.
9. RB Tre Mason, Rams—Mason has seemed to have cemented himself into position as the top running back on the Rams, and he even gets the goal-line carries. Considering he is only owned in 7.4 per cent of leagues, he is available for a lot of owners right now. The only thing that is not favorable is the Rams schedule, as they face the Chiefs this weekend, followed by the 49ers, Cardinals and Broncos.
10. QB Alex Smith, Chiefs—There are many players who will have their byes in the next few weeks and, chances are, Smith is available in most leagues. His ownership percentage is only 17.8. Smith has two 3-touchdown games to his credit this year, and will face the Rams this Sunday, who rank 29th in the league against quarterbacks. After that, he will go up against the Jets and the Bills.