Bye weeks go through Week 12 this season, so securing depth on your roster this year is especially critical. The importance of maximizing every roster spot and transaction is magnified in Apex leagues, where deep rosters lead to a player pool that’s much more diluted than a standard league. Because of this, it’s time to get aggressive with your blind bid budget, if you haven’t already done so. With a quarter of the season over, opportunities to pluck game changers off of waivers are waning, and the later it gets, the less inherent value free agents will have.
Here’s a look at some players that may still be available, or might have been dropped in Apex leagues, that could help salvage the season for struggling owners, or make teams at the top even richer. Suggested bids customized for Apex leagues are noted in parentheses.
Jerick McKinnon ($175)
When Adrian Peterson was lost to suspension, Matt Asiata was the hot waiver wire pickup, but McKinnon is a better running back and probably has more rest of season value. The rookie back took advantage of a great matchup against the Falcons on Sunday, piling up 152 total yards on 19 touches, with an eye popping 7.5 yards per carry. Asiata scored 3 times against Atlanta, but he’s averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on the season.
Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer, said McKinnon is still a change of pace back, but NFL coaches have a clear incentive to not unveil future plans to the media, and I foresee the most talented back in Minnesota leading the team in touches going forward. The RotoViz Buy Low Machine highlights this week’s meeting with the Packers as the 4th best matchup of the week and ranks the Vikings schedule as the 9th most favorable for running backs for the rest of the fantasy football regular season. If you’re a fantasy owner that drafted AP, or one of many who are at Panic Level Yellow with their early round running back, spending over 30% of your blind bid budget on McKinnon is well within reason.
Ka’Deem Carey ($75)
I’m rarely an advocate of investing in handcuffs in drafts or on the waiver wire, because they are generally less talented and there is rarely evidence that a backup will make a seamless transition into the starters role. After a brutal 3 game stretch for running back matchups to start the season, the Bears finally got to showcase Matt Forte against the Packers, but they also hinted that Carey is very much in the rotation and is one of the few backups that may be able to make an easy switch to starter duties if needed.
In addition to Forte’s 28 touches, Chicago gave their rookie back 14 carries that he turned into an impressive 72 yards. If the matchup is right, Marc Trestman is going to get both of his backs involved, and the Buy Low Machine says that the Bears have the best schedule for running backs through the fantasy regular season. Carey isn’t just a target for Forte owners looking to handcuff their star, but a player that may have actual spot start value during the bye weeks.
Darrin Reaves ($45)
Injuries have decimated the Panthers’ backfield and at this point Darrin Reaves is the last man standing. Reaves efficiency numbers were awful on Sunday, gaining just 37 total yards on 15 touches, but any running back that is set to see the majority of the touches holds value, especially during bye weeks. Chicago is an average matchup this week, but if DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are out for an extended period, it should be noted that Carolina has the 5th most favorable schedule for running backs through Week 13.
Allen Hurns ($50)
Hurns was one of the stars of Week 1 and likely one of the most added players in the league going into Week 2, but the return of Cecil Shorts and emergence of Allen Robinson may have seen Hurns dropped in some Apex leagues. Shorts is back on the injury report and Hurns looked to have a nice rapport with Blake Bortles in Bortles first start of his career against San Diego. Allen Robinson saw one more target than Hurns on Sunday, but they both had 5 catches and Hurns tallied 68 yards compared to just 38 for A-Rob.
Through four games, few wide receivers in the league have been more efficient than Allen Hurns, whose 28.97 fantasy points over expectation is the 4th best receiving efficiency score in the league according to the Rotoviz Fantasy Efficiency App. Jacksonville is going to have to throw a lot from behind this season, and any of Bortles’ starting receivers are worth rostering.
Louis Murphy ($40)
Murphy is nothing more than a band aid for anyone in bye week trouble over the next couple of weeks, but he’s worth an add and possibly a spot start or two over the next couple of weeks. Mike Evans is out for up to a month with a groin injury and Vincent Jackson is playing with a fractured wrist. It’s tough to ignore Murphy’s 11 targets on Sunday, which was the 6th most for any wide receiver. The Buccaneers face the Saints and the Ravens in their next two games, both top 10 matchups for wide receivers.