Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints
The Saints beat the Bucs on Sunday despite losing Jameis Winston to a torn ACL. Now 5-2 and a half-game behind Tampa Bay in the NFC South, New Orleans has a legitimate shot at winning the division—something that might have been out-of-reach if they had lost.
The question now is whether Hill or Trevor Siemian will take the reins of this offense, as Winston is out for the year. Hill suffered a concussion in Week 5 and still hasn’t been cleared to play.
The versatile QB showed well last year as a spot starter for Drew Brees and a gadget player. As a starter, he hit between 17.5 and 24.2 fantasy points in each of his four games from Week 11 to Week 14. Managers in need of a QB1 should reach for him on waivers, on the strong possibility that he’ll take over the starting job once he’s active.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
His second appearance on Table for 6. Mack is the third wheel in a high-functioning Colt running game. Tennessee and several other teams need a back, and Mack has the bell cow experience to step in and play a lead role.
Last week, I speculated that the Ravens, Saints, Chiefs, and Chargers “are among several teams that might benefit from acquiring Mack.” The Saints have since acquired Mark Ingram, while the Ravens are getting surprisingly decent production from their aging trio of veterans. Could Indianapolis trade him to the intra-divisional rival Titans? Anything is possible, and Mack is one of the best available RBs out there.
Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers
This past Saturday, I traded Alexander Mattison for Hubbard in my fantasy league. I received a starting RB in my push to win this week, and his 14 points turned out to be much-needed. My opponent received an elite RB handcuff with proven RB1 potential if Dalvin Cook gets hurt again.
At first glance, my opponent got the better end of the deal, and he approved the trade shortly after ESPN’s David Newton reported that McCaffrey was “on target” to return next weekend. So this appeared to be a one-week rental for me.
But yesterday, head coach Matt Rhule stated, “Hopefully we can get Christian back soon. If it’s not this week, hopefully it will be next week.”
If you’re rostering Hubbard, don’t be too quick to sell. He remains the team’s lead back, and there’s no guarantee McCaffrey will return soon.
Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
What do you do if you drafted Thomas? When I was 1-3 and desperate for some wins, I packaged him in a 2-for-2 trade for Antonio Brown. Brown’s production single-handedly led me to two straight victories in Weeks 5 and 6.
Thomas remains no better than bench fodder. His troubled relationship with this franchise has been documented all year. But through it all, there has been hope that he would return to the field once eligible in Week 7. That didn’t happen, and nothing changed in Week 8.
A cryptic tweet Sunday morning suggests Thomas might not return anytime soon. In expressing solidarity with the Falcons’ Calvin Ridley—who has missed two of his last three games due to “personal reasons”—Thomas tweeted to Ridley, “I’m standing in that hole with you.”
If you are relying on Thomas to return sometime soon, you might recalibrate expectations.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gronkowski has returned to Table for 6 because back spasms forced him out of Sunday’s game. We can’t take this lightly. Tampa Bay needs Gronkowski for the playoffs. They have enough talent to reach the postseason without him. I’m expecting them to take things cautiously.
That would be bad news for fantasy managers who thought they’d struck gold early this season. If Gronkowski is put on the shelf, O.J. Howard would bring more upside than Cameron Brate, though both would be touchdown-dependent, TE2 flyers.
Gronkowski’s absence would have a more significant impact on Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown (when he returns from his injury). Tom Brady can comfortably feed two or three of these “big three” any given week.