After the Giants travel to Philadelphia for the Monday Night Football game, Week 6 of the 2015 season will have drawn to a close. In that light, mid-season Fantasy Football owners are searching for the perfect addition to their rosters – whether it be free agency pickups to finish out the year or a weekly roster battle. Here are five players that you should keep a close eye on for the rest of 2015.
Marvin Jones – Bengals Wide Receiver
Much of Fantasy Football owners’ hesitancy to start Marvin Jones in the past has been based on distrust towards the embattled Bengals quarterback, Andy Dalton. Now, with Dalton making his doubters look the other way, Jones is emerging into the spotlight. A.J. Green gets the attention he deserves, and he’s a surefire bet for fantasy points just about every week – except maybe against the Bills last Sunday. But now, as the Bengals passing game is being focused on by opposing defensive coordinators, the Bengals offense has become progressively more three-dimensional in 2015. That means that while Green will remain the go-to guy for the Red Rifle, Jones is quietly starting to get a significant share of looks.
This increased role culminated in a nine reception, 95 yard performance from the Bengals’ No. 3 receiver against Buffalo on Sunday. Of course, he also had a touchdown as well. The Bengals have a bye this week, but look for Jones to put up big value points when Cincinnati returns to action in Week 8.
Ben Watson – Saints Tight End
If you started Watson against the formerly-undefeated Atlanta Falcons last Thursday, you were a very happy Fantasy Football owner. The Saints tight end had ten catches for a head-turning 127 yards, as well as a touchdown catch in the second half. Since Jimmy Graham left for Seattle, Drew Brees has been forced to put up points with a collection of receivers that, other than Brandin Cooks, really don’t stick out as star playmakers. That being said, Brees doesn’t seem to have an issue spreading the ball out, which has put some unlikely players in a position to make a significant difference. Watson benefited from numerous looks last Thursday, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see this continue. He also presents Brees with perhaps the most reliable target in the red zone with his size and sure hands. With the right matchups going forward, expect Watson to put up solid points.
Blake Bortles – Jaguars Quarterback
Typically, NFL quarterbacks don’t go unnoticed in Fantasy. However, Bortles’ inconsistencies have made it tough to trust him on a weekly basis. He has a propensity to turn the ball over at least once a game, and that poor decision-making has cast a shadow over his otherwise solid performances. In losses to both the Buccaneers and Texans, Bortles showed flashes of great upside. With Yeldon injured on Sunday, he threw 53 times and managed three touchdowns – although the three interceptions put a dent on those statistics. Last week, he had a career day, throwing for four touchdowns; he also broke the 300-yard plane as well. More so than he has in the past, Bortles has legitimate playmakers on offense, and he’ll only get better using them. They also play from a close score or from behind often, which only adds more incentive to pick him up. Yes, the Jags are 1-4 – but they could just as easily be 3-2. Bortles is a big reason for that, and fantasy owners would be smart to invest in him for the rest of the 2015 season.
James Starks – Packers Running Back
What has happened to Eddie Lacy? The coaching staff has been quiet, but after we barely saw him against the Chargers, it’s easy to imagine his ankle injury may have either been aggravated or worse than we originally thought. Regardless of the cause, the result on Sunday was a dynamic performance for Starks. He accumulated 112 yards on 10 carries (that’s a 11.2 average!) and a touchdown for Green Bay. In the Packers offense, he doesn’t get a ton of carries – but that’s because the team uses the pass to set up the run instead of the other way around. So when they do run, Starks has been reaping the benefits with Lacy seeing limited time. It also seems like it’s about time that fantasy owners start reaping those benefits for themselves. Put a question mark for Starks’ long-term 2015 season, because it largely depends on Lacy. The veteran speed back won’t be unseating the former-Alabama power back any time soon; in the meantime, however, he’s looking like a very nice addition to most rosters.
Travis Benjamin – Browns Wide Receiver
Cleveland quarterback Josh McCown came off a record-setting performance against the Ravens last week and performed well enough to give him team a chance to win in overtime against arguably the best defense in the league in Denver. A big part of the offense on Sunday was the connection between McCown and Travis Benjamin, who has quietly had a great year up to this point.
After becoming known early as Johnny Manziel’s favorite target, he dropped off the map for two weeks with the quarterback switch. Sunday’s game against Denver (nine catches, 117 yards) allowed him to reinstate his importance to Cleveland’s offense. More consistent quarterback play than we’ve seen in the Browns’ past only means that fantasy owners would be smart to pick up Benjamin for the inevitable targets he’s going to receive moving forwards this season.