We’ve reached the swing-for-the-fences time in the fantasy season — unless, of course, you’re sitting high atop your league with a comfy lead.
For those of us in need of wins now, starting some players with boom-or-bust potential may be necessary this week to overcome big deficits or balance out damage taken via injuries.
Here are this week’s wild card starts, a handful of players with the potential to score big — or possibly not at all.
Nico Collins (Texans) @ Titans
The rookie WR is still looking for his first NFL touchdown; this could be his week. Collins was only behind Brandin Cooks in receiving yards in their last outing before a Week 10 bye and has seven targets in his last two contests.
This week the Texans face a Tennessee defense that is dead-last at defending WRs this season, allowing the most targets, receptions, yards, and fantasy points to the position every week. If playing from behind — which is most likely the case — Tyrod Taylor could look for Collins in the second half for some garbage-time fun. While we’re at it, Danny Amendola is also in this conversation as a PPR dart throw.
Godwin Igwebuike (Lions) @ Browns
The 27-year-old special teamer had his number called along with Jermar Jefferson when Jamaal Willams was unable to play in Week 8 before the Lions’ bye. Before Jefferson left the game with an ankle issue last week, Detroit rotated both backs behind D'Andre Swift and they combined for 21.7 half-PPR points, with Igwebuike rushing for 56 yards and a score on two carries.
Cleveland just let rookie Rhamondre Stevenson smoke them for 100 yards and two touchdowns last week, so in an offense with limited playmakers, we could see more of Igwebuike this week if these backfield injuries linger.
Geoff Swaim (Titans) vs. Texans
Swaim has outproduced both Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt over the past three weeks and has seen nearly triple Firkser’s targets and five times the number of balls as Pruitt. The seven-year TE has crossed the pylon in two of his last three contests and seems to be emerging as the TE1 in Tennessee.
A home game against Houston is on tap in Week 11, which could mean a big day for Swaim. The Texans are yielding the fifth-most half-PPR points to opposing TEs this season and have allowed six total touchdowns to the position, the third-highest in the NFL. Rolling with Swaim is certainly risky, but with how vapid TE is right now, it could pay off if he hits.
Salvon Ahmed (Dolphins) @ Jets
I can feel the heat from those eye rolls from here and I definitely understand the hesitation to play anyone in the Miami backfield. However, Myles Gaskin has struggled with consistency of any kind and Ahmed is the next man up.
Week 11 brings a road matchup with a Jets defense that is yielding the most fantasy points to RBs in the NFL this season, along with the most rushing touchdowns scored by backfields with a whopping 17. The Dolphins could get ahead early and just pound the rock, or we could possibly see a vultured score from Ahmed as well. It’s not a sexy or exciting play, but the 22-year-old could be worth a stab at this week.