Fantasy football: Time to buy low on underachieving running backs

With a month of fantasy football now in the books, unless you're in a keeper league like I am where a player was drafted affects his value, it's time to start ignoring where players were selected when making trade offers and looking for value.
It also means it's a good time to start buying low on guys like running backs Doug Martin, C.J. Spiller and David Wilson.
Let's start with Doug Martin. In some circles, he was being drafted ahead of Adrian Peterson as the No. 1 overall pick in August drafts for some insane reason I still can't wrap my head around.
But whatever.
He's been struggling mightily and, for the right offer, he could be yours. Because the Bucs are on a bye this week, you've got a week to try to negotiate something with the Martin owner in your league without another game to change his mind. The Bucs have the Eagles up next when they return from bye, setting up nicely for a big game by the second-year runner (suddenly making him a sell-high candidate). I'd still consider wrangling him away, even after that game, because he has a soft schedule in the week 14-16 fantasy playoff set-up (vs. Bills, vs. 49ers, at Rams).
C.J. Spiller is another player who might be had for shells and beads right now, although his explosive run on Thursday night football might've had some owners change their mind. It did in our CCTimes league, where the Spiller owner had just posted that he was available for a "decent" WR - our definition of "decent" was off, so I didn't make a deal - wrote Spiller was off the table after that performance, suddenly proclaiming him a stud. Some owners may view it as an opportunity to "sell high" on Spiller instead, especially if they left him on the bench Thursday night. Bottom line, there's a good chance Spiller's owner is willing to talk turkey. And since he's been in the league, Spiller has usually been a second-half of the season star. And check out his fantasy playoff schedule: at Tampa, at Jacksonville, vs. Miami. I don't like that week 16 tilt, but at least it's a home game.
Finally, there is David Wilson, a player I traded for earlier this week (coincidentally, with the Spiller owner in the CCTimes league, straight up for Chris Johnson). The Giants second-year back had fumbling issues against Dallas in Week 1, and found himself firmly planted in Coach Tom Coughlin's dog house. He hasn't been putting up great numbers the past three weeks as the Giants continue to struggle. It's worth noting three of New York's first four games were on the road and against tough defenses. However, Wilson hasn't put the ball on the ground and he's been getting more than 70 percent of the team's carries. The team also just cut third-down back Da'Rel Scott, meaning Wilson may seen some passing down opportunities as well. And wouldn't you know it, the Philadelphia Eagles and their porous D come to town this week. Following an unfavorable trip to Chicago in Week 6, Wilson and the G-men get tissue-paper defenses Minnesota, Philadelphia again, Oakland, Green Bay and Washington in five of the following six weeks. The playoff schedule isn't particularly nice, especially a Week 15 match-up with Seattle, but you'd like to hope Wilson and the Giants can be clicking on all cylinders by then.

Start 'em if you got 'em
QB Eli Manning. He's been hard to trust this year, but the Philadelphia defense gives plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the younger Manning this week.
QB Philip Rivers. The Bolts quarterback has been so good this year that he has to be considered a top 12, every week starter going forward, regardless of match-up. And this week, he's got a terrific match-up against Oakland. Keep rollin' with Rivers.
RB Ray Rice. You weren't really thinking about leaving him on your bench, were you? Miami's run defense hasn't been especially stout lately, giving up 4 TDs to running backs in the past three games, and Coach John Harbaugh said there would be a renewed effort to get Rice the ball in every way possible. Get him in your lineup (minor aside -- Rice is another underachieving RB worth trying to trade for).
RB Giovani Bernard. He may not technically be the starter, but he got a whopping 50 snaps to BenJarvus Green-Ellis' 18 last week. And with the Patriots sans Vince Wilfork, the match-up sets up nicely for a big game.
RB Bilal Powell. At some point, we've all got to admit that Powell might be the real deal. Getting the ball in his hands gives the Jets their best chance to win and Atlanta's defense is scaring no one.
RB Eddie Lacy. Fresh after having not played since early in Week 2, Lacy should get the bulk of the carries against a pretty average Detroit defense. He may cede some work to Jonathan Franklin, but he'll get goal line carries.
RB David Wilson. He's hard to trust, but I'm confident in this being the week he plays like the guy everyone thought he would be in August.
WR Kenbrell Thompkins. Fantasy owners that have stuck with the undrafted rookie have been rewarded the last two weeks. Cincy's secondary is still banged up and who knows if Gronk and Amendola will play? Keep rolling Tom Brady's new favorite toy, who is getting a ton of red zone looks.
TE Greg Olsen. After the usual suspects at TE, Olsen could be a candidate for a big game against Cardinals defense that is giving up more TE points than anyone.
DST St. Louis Rams. They tied for the NFL in sacks last year, but have been cover-your-eyes bad this year. Like everyone else, expect them to get right against Jacksonville.


Take a seat son
QB Andrew Luck. With the Colts attempting the run the ball more and facing Seattle's lock-down defense, this just doesn't set-up well for Luck.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers. He's been really good in S-Jax's absence, but the Jets defense is downright brutal against running backs. Look elsewhere.
RB Stevan Ridley. The New England running back platoon is maddening and Cincy's D is still tough against the run. Don't expect him to emerge from the doghouse today.
WR Dwayne Bowe. Facing the top corner duo in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, and is due for one of his 1 catch for 8 yards performances after nice showing last week.
WR Nate Washington. He's topped 100 yards in each of his past two games, but he'll have a tough task against Chiefs defense and Ryan Fitzpatrick is a question mark at QB.
WR Reggie Wayne. He's still probably a top 30 WR this week, so in 3-WR formats and PPR, you have to roll with him; just scale back expectations against Seattle's Def.
TE Jared Cook. Hasn't he burned you enough already? Even with the friendly match-up against Jacksonville, I just can't trust him.

Taking a flier
RB Andre Ellington. Lots of good things are being said about him and Mendenhall isn't getting it done. I'm just not sure he'll get enough volume for you to be comfortable playing him as anything more than a bye-week flex right now.
RB Zac Stacy. Call this a hunch, but with the Rams trying to get an inefficient running game going, they'll set-up the rookie to shine against Jacksonville.
WR Justin Blackmon. Call it the Josh Gordon effect. If you're searching for a WR3, he offers high upside with a good match-up.
WR James Jones. He's been inconsistent, but the Lions secondary is banged up and you can certainly expect this one to be a shoot-out.
DST Atlanta Falcons. If you're starting the Falcons defense, you're simply playing the match-up and hoping Geno Smith keeps turning it over.

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