Players to Help Your Fantasy Team Make a Playoff Push

It is Week 7 of the NFL season, and the playoff picture of your fantasy league is starting to come together. If you own a 2–4 team, there is a lot of work to be done to squeeze into the playoffs. If you have a 3–3 or 4–2 team, then you’ll be fighting to keep a playoff spot. And if you’re 5–1 or 6–0, you should be looking to win the championship in December.

Regardless, the few weeks ahead are imperative to making the playoffs and eventually competing for a championship, so owners should actively look to secure a competitive advantage. The key to dominating a fantasy league is to get players with breakout potential while their stock is low. Here are some players with that potential:

Benny Snell Jr. — RB Pittsburgh Steelers

If you have never heard the name Benny Snell Jr., it’s time to change that. The rookie out of Kentucky has been climbing the depth chart in Pittsburgh following a series of injuries to their running back room. Snell took over the No. 2 role when Jaylen Samuels was sidelined with a knee injury that will keep him out another three weeks. Steelers’ starting running back James Conner exited Sunday Night Football last week in the fourth quarter with a quad injury. His status remains uncertain, but he will have time to recover during the Steelers Week 7 bye. 

Since they are on a bye this week, many teams that are on the lookout for players to start may overlook Snell. Do not make this same mistake, as Conner may very well be out next week as well against the struggling Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have allowed 1.8 touchdowns and over 143 yards per game to running backs, making Snell a viable RB2/Flex play if Conner’s quad keeps him off the field. Unless your roster is deeper than Robert Frost, I’d recommend getting Snell before someone else does.

Steelers remaining schedule (opponent’s rank of ease against fantasy wide receivers):

Week 7: Bye

Week 8: Dolphins (1st)

Week 9: Colts (24th)

Week 10: Rams (11th)

Week 11: Browns (6th)

Week 12: Bengals (2nd)

Week 13: Browns (6th)

Week 14: Cardinals (23rd)

Week 15: Bills (22nd)

Week 16: Jets (16th)

Courtland Sutton — WR Denver Broncos

Courtland Sutton is on track to dismantle his 2018 rookie performance and becoming a household name as a wide receiver. Last season, Sutton finished with 42 catches, 704 yards, and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, in just six games this season, Sutton has 30 catches, 477 yards, and three touchdowns. The Broncos’ level of competition is high, having to play four top ten offenses in their remaining nine games, according to DVOA

Playing from behind was the game flow in the Broncos’ first three games where Sutton combined for 16 catches and 247 yards compared to the 14 catches, 230 yards, and three touchdowns Sutton had while the Broncos led throughout the game. Sutton has been a consistent threat in this offense regardless of the game flow and will continue to receive a bulk of targets from Joe Flacco. Teams who own Sutton likely know his production value. But if he is on a team with other viable options at wide receiver, it is well worth your time engaging in trade talks for him.

Broncos remaining schedule (opponent’s rank of ease against fantasy wide receivers):

Week 7: Chiefs (23rd)

Week 8: Colts (15th)

Week 9: Browns (17th)

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: Vikings (18th)

Week 12: Bills (30th)

Week 13: Chargers (28th)

Week 14: Texans (6th)

Week 15: Chiefs (23rd)

Week 16: Lions (19th)

Chris Herndon – TE New York Jets

Chris Herndon has been a fantasy ghost this season due to a five-week suspension for a DUI in June. Three days before Herndon was set to return, he injured his hamstring. He is questionable for the Jets matchup against the Patriots this week but is expected to be ready for their Week 8 game with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Just like Snell Jr., Chris Herndon is a player that owners will not be eager to pick up this week, but he is one of the few players available that has tremendous upside. 

In Herndon’s last eight games with Sam Darnold behind center, he brought in 22 catches for 333 yards and four touchdowns. If last week’s win over the Dallas Cowboys is any indication, the Jets offense is ready to perform with Sam Darnold back from illness. In a league where productivity from tight ends has been scarce, adding a low-risk and high-reward player like Herndon can make a serious impact for a team as the playoffs approach.

Jets remaining schedule (opponent’s rank of ease against fantasy tight ends):

Week 7: Patriots (31st)

Week 8: Jaguars (19th)

Week 9: Dolphins (11th)

Week 10: Giants (27th)

Week 11: Redskins (15th)

Week 12: Raiders (7th)

Week 13: Bengals (21st)

Week 14: Dolphins (11th)

Week 15: Ravens (20th)

Week 16: Steelers (5th)

DST New York Jets Defense

The Gregg Williams-led defense is full of superstars and showed their stuff against the Cowboys last week. This is a defense that can provide your fantasy team with all of the necessary stats. Their defensive front includes first-round pick Quinnen Williams, Leonard Williams, and Steve McLendon, who the Jets extended for another season last week. 

Gregg Williams’ rushing packages are designed to confuse opposing quarterbacks, including blitzes from his star safety, Jamal Adams. Both Adams and free safety Marcus Maye’s presence in the middle of the field allows Gregg Williams to feel more comfortable sending blitzes. C.J. Mosely’s return to the lineup will only help this defense that has been playing without their starting linebackers. Overall, the defense has a lot of potential as a unit to win points, but that is not the ultimate reason you should add them. 

After this week’s matchup with the Patriots, the Jets play the Jaguars then four of the league’s worst offenses per DVOA in a five-week span. If you are streaming a defense week by week, the Jets can give you a nice break from research during their stretch of great matchups spanning Week 9 to Week 14.

Jets remaining schedule (opponent’s rank of ease against fantasy defenses):

Week 7: Patriots (15th)

Week 8: Jaguars (14th)

Week 9: Dolphins (1st)

Week 10: Giants (3rd)

Week 11: Redskins (7th)

Week 12: Raiders (28th)

Week 13: Bengals (8th)

Week 14: Dolphins (1st)

Week 15: Ravens (25th)

Week 16: Steelers (23rd)

Getting ahead of the curve on free agent acquisitions is an easy way to foster a great lineup throughout the season, so grab these players while you still can and watch them lead you to the playoffs!

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