There are six games left in the Fantasy Football regular season meaning we are past the half-way point. In each league, there might be one or two very obviously great teams, one or two clearly inferior squads thanks to injuries or terrible drafting, and then, in most other cases, a whole lot of bunching in the middle. Over the next several weeks, the contenders will become more apparent, and the pretenders will fall away. Some of the names below will surely be on the rosters of either the contenders or the pretenders, and may directly contribute to the trajectory of their teams from this point.
Ty Montgomery – A month ago, Montgomery was an invisible man, essentially the fifth receiver on the Green Bay depth chart. In the last two weeks, Montgomery has amassed an astounding 32 touches, including his Thursday night against the Bears, which was rock solid: nine carries for 60 yards and 10 catches for 66 yards. The Packers did go out and trade for Kansas City’s odd-man out in Knile Davis, who, as he continues to get acclimated to the playbook, will most likely eat in to Montgomery’s running back workload. But the Packers are past their bye week, and it will take Davis at least a couple of weeks to earn the trust of the coaches. Montgomery is a valuable RB2 who can slot in at WR, making him even more valuable. Hats off to those who grabbed him after his big Week 6. It will pay off.
Spencer Ware – As far as dependable players go, Ware has been relatively easy to trust as the lead back in the Chiefs’ backfield with 13 or more carries in four of six games, the tenth most rushing yards in the NFL, and a solid 5.2 YPC, good for fifth best. As a dual-threat back with receiving chops to boot, he’s continued to fend off the full-time return of Jamaal Charles, which seems slightly more remote each week that Ware continues to produce. He has scored double-digit points in four of six games, and with Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Carolina and Tampa Bay over the next four weeks, he seems like a strong play as no worse than an RB2 in all formats. Plus, the Chiefs take on the Falcons, Raiders and Titans in Weeks 13-15, which are all favorable match-ups for running backs, meaning Ware should feast if given a full work load.
LeGarrette Blount – What a luxury it must be for the Patriots to be a passing team helmed by Tom Brady, one of the three best QBs of all-time, and immediately turn into a ground-and-pound team on a dime when the going gets tough through the air. With 566 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns (the only game in which he didn’t score was the lone loss to the Bills), Blount is having a tremendous season. He is tied for the league lead in scores among running backs, and would be a borderline RB1 if not for the Patriots’ unpredictability in game planning and usage of running backs each week. Nevertheless, Blount and the Pats take on the Bills in a redemption game on the road, and the Bills are giving up 125 yards per game on the ground this season. If given the chance and the touches, Blount could flirt with another 100-yard game this weekend, and another touchdown heading into the bye is completely reasonable.
Duke Johnson – Like many others, I thought that Duke Johnson was the running back to own in Cleveland and a very good pick for a breakout campaign in ’16, given his unique skill set and second-to-few quicks. Thus far, he’s totaled just 182 yards on the ground and 210 yards receiving with just one touchdown. Part of the reason is the fact that he plays for the Cleveland Browns, part is the fact that they’ve used six different starting quarterbacks in seven games, and another part of it has been the emergence of Isaiah Crowell. The Jets come to town this Sunday and they’ve yet to allow anyone other than David Johnson rush for more than 80 yards in a contest. This could mean more passing game looks for Johnson and less running into a wall for Crowell, but it’s hard to trust Duke, even during bye weeks. Look elsewhere for assistance during lean weeks.
Christine Michael – Michael has five touchdowns on the season, and four of those came in two games, making it a feast or famine type of year thus far for him. Thomas Rawls is expected back in Week 9 or 10, which could cut into Michael’s field time by about 50 percent if he’s healthy when he does finally return. Michael has only topped 75 yards once, and with Russell Wilson struggling since his injury, the Seahawks have lost a part of what made their offense so dynamic. He’s a good play this weekend against the Saints and their 23rd-ranked run defense, but with Rawls coming back and some tough games against the Patriots and Eagles coming up in the next three weeks, times could be somewhat lean for Michael owners expecting RB2 stats out of him.
Doug Martin – It looks like Martin is still two or three weeks away from returning, after rehabbing from a hamstring issue that has kept him out since Week 2. Without their top back, the Bucs have turned to rookie Peyton Barber and Jacquizz Rodgers, a player signed off the street in the weeks since. Each has taken turns looking pretty good. Most recently, Rodgers wowed all of us with two consecutive 100-plus yard games (255 yards on 56 carries), and is averaging 4.7 YPC thus far on the season. This could be a crowded house when Martin does eventually return, with head coach Dirk Koetter most likely trying to keep Rodgers and Barber involved. Steer clear of Martin in any sort of role outside of bench depth, and I’d avoid trading for him if you’d have to give up anything of value to do so.