By Rob Shaw, Bloomberg Sports
Nearly a third of the way through the NFL season there are many notable changes from a couple of months ago. The Browns, Bills, and Jaguars fan base likely realized that their sense of optimism was short-lived as their respective teams have found their home in last place of their divisions. Saints fans are starting to realize that Head Coach Sean Payton means a lot more to the team than anyone ever thought. Finally, fantasy football managers can no longer turn solely to the waiver wire to find their cures.
Last week we had a wide receiver, Dolphins Brian Hartline, available in more than 75% of fantasy leagues rack up more than 200 yards. A little-known running back, Brandon Bolden of the Patriots, had run for 137 yards with a touchdown and was available in 99% of fantasy leagues.
Now that we are nearing the mid-way mark of the fantasy football season, the players have started to settle into their roles and top performers and busts have become more apparent. These top performers have largely been picked up in fantasy leagues, bringing us to the point where high-value fantasy players are hard to find on the waiver wire.
On the other hand, injuries are starting to plague several NFL teams and opening opportunities for newer and lesser known players. This is an opportunity for fantasy managers to go bargain hunting. Alas, the top fantasy strategy at this point in the season is to keep an eye on some backups who can see more action in a favorable situation due to injuries to players higher on the depth chart.
Here are seven such players who are solid speculative bets off the waiver wire.