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Fantasy Football Lottery Tickets To Target

Oct 31, 2019

Rashaad Penny has league-winning potential if Chris Carson were to go down with an injury

The first half of the season is complete. Looking forward, we want to identify players who are currently outside the top-12 quarterbacks, top-24 running backs, top-36 wide receivers, and top-12 tight ends for ROS rankings that have a small chance to be league winners. In other words, player lottery tickets. These players listed below have a strong potential for the second half of the season and for fantasy playoffs should circumstances fall in their favor by either injury to players ahead of them on the depth chart or a continued increase in use. Bear in mind, these players don’t take precedence over the higher tier ROS ranked players, but if you have an open roster spot and a specific team weakness at a position, these are the ones you should strongly consider.  

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Running Backs

It isn’t a surprise that many of these backs are also listed as top handcuffs, that’s because they simply have the strongest capacity to win you your league should an injury or snap share suddenly increase and change the tides of a backfield, providing them with a big role. Remember C.J. Anderson last year?

Jamaal Williams (GB)
Williams might be the best target on this list, but you’ll have to hurry as his ownership is already at 62% in Yahoo! leagues. Boasting an impressive 48% snap share average in one of the highest-scoring offenses as of late, he has already made an impact sharing the load with touchdown phenomenon Aaron Jones by scoring 12.3 PPG when healthy. If he is currently available in your league, go and get him.

Jaylen Samuels (PIT)
First reports are that James Conner’s injury isn’t too serious, but that doesn’t dismiss how valuable Samuels can be. The workhorse role is definitely in play for Samuels considering Conner’s usage and 15-20+ touches a game is realistic should the latter miss time. Being behind an offensive line that has been among the league’s best year after year doesn’t hurt either. 

Rashaad Penny (SEA)
Seattle has run the ball at the fourth-highest rate this season (48.3%), and the vast majority of those touches are being handled by Chris Carson. In fact, Carson is second in the league in current rush attempts at 159 through eight games, which translates to a pace of 318 carries on the year. For reference, the top three total rushing attempt leaders in 2018 were 304, 261, and 258. Running backs are specifically prone to missing about 2.7 games per season so considering his very heavy use, it may only be a matter of time before Carson lands on the injury report. In his limited opportunities, Penny has continually shown quite well by displaying an impressive 5.1 YPA on 30 carries, although he missed three games already this year to a hamstring injury. If he sees an increase in volume as it seems he has earned or should an injury slow down Carson, he’s another running back with league-winning potential in a run-heavy offense.

Darrell Henderson (LAR)
Since Malcolm Brown’s injury, he has seen his snap share going from 32%-34%-48% in the last three weeks. He is earning more snaps as Todd Gurley’s immediate backup then Brown did under similar circumstances. I strongly believe that he will retain the number two depth position and may earn a usable role even without Gurley going down to injury. Going largely unnoticed after being a hot candidate this summer, it seems he is starting to rebound.

Alexander Mattison (MIN)
With the second-highest rush rate in the league at 53.4%, the Vikings’ gameplan this year has been to establish the run. A good reason for this is that star Dalvin Cook deserves touches, but Mattison would see one of the biggest jumps in use considering the style of run-first offense. He has proven capable of doing well so far with his opportunities, so a bell-cow role would almost certainly be waiting for him should Cook ever have to sit a game. 

Wide Receivers

Mike Williams (LAC)
Through eight weeks, Williams sits at eighth overall in the NFL in total air yards at 768, right behind Stefon Diggs. He also has zero touchdowns on a 26-419-0 line. Something is bound to give with air yards transforming into more actual yards and more scoring relative to his use. Now that the Chargers have fired their offensive coordinator just this week, perhaps this is the turning point he needed. 

Sterling Shepard (NYG)
Shepard has flown under the radar for most of the year. After suffering a concussion and going missing in recent weeks, it appears he is very close to a return. Averaging a very attractive 12.9 half-PPR points in four games, he deserves to be rostered anywhere he was dropped and is a high-floor, buy-low trade target.

Jamison Crowder (NYJ)
The Jets are imploding and Sam Darnold has been floundering, but a semi-bright spot is that Crowder is quietly leading the team in targets, receptions, and yards. Not only that, but his remaining schedule was deemed the easiest for remaining defenses allowing fantasy points, according to this source. Owned in only half of leagues, he has some sneaky big upside if Darnold can get right. 

Michael Gallup (DAL)
Although he faces brutal matchups in Weeks 12-14 (Patriots, Bills, and Bears), Gallup has had a few spectacular games already this year going over 100 yards in two matchups and could see more big outings down the stretch. Teams that decide to put a heavy focus on Amari Cooper should allow Gallup some more room to work, and we’ve seen his matchup-winning ceiling. He has had back-to-back weak outings in Dallas’ past two games, which could open up his current owner in your league to a possible trade.

Quarterbacks

Many quarterbacks are streamable based on week-to-week matchups, so not many have a league-winning chance unless your quarterback depth and waiver wire are an absolute dumpster fire. Having said that, the closest candidate I have found is:

Ryan Tannehill (TEN)
The Titans have a dreamy fantasy playoff schedule against pass-friendly Raiders, Texans, and Saints in Weeks 14-16 where fantasy delight can be had. Tannehill has shown very well since taking over for Marcus Mariota and has been a personal favorite streamer of mine in leagues where I was weak at quarterback. He will certainly have his down weeks, but the playoff matchups and his current performance are too juicy to ignore. 

Tight Ends

In one of the most shallow positions of the year, you might have already had these guys on your radar. With ownership around 30% in Yahoo! leagues, they might be the guys to save your season if you have been strung out thin at tight end.

Dallas Goedert (PHI)
Goedert has steadily seen his targets, yards, and red zone looks increase throughout the season. If you are worried about the talent of Zach Ertz, which is still there despite the numbers, know that the Eagles have consistently increased their use of two-tight end personnel sets throughout the season as well. This is a testament to them realizing their need to get Goedert on the field. Where snap counts increase, the opportunity for targets and scoring increase with it.

Jonnu Smith (TEN)
While far from reliable, Smith needs to be on your radar as long as Delanie Walker is sitting out. He was already seeing around 60% snap share with both tight ends healthy, but that number jumped into the 70-80% when Walker got hurt. There already seems to be chemistry between him and the aforementioned Tannehill, which was highlighted by his Week 8 performance. Both are low-key adds that carry some nice potential with promising matchups late in the year. 

While most of these lottery tickets will end up in the trash, the lucky one that hits might be yours and end up carrying you to fantasy football glory. Thanks for reading and stay golden!

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David Zach is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from David, check out his archive and follow him @DavidZach16.

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