Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Late-Season Fantasy Football Surgers and Breakouts

Winning a fantasy football championship is about finding the right mix of players at the right time. It’s not easy to do, because it takes a full season process to build a roster that can win it all. You must start by drafting well, then making the right deals, pinpointing the best waiver pickups, and having some luck in avoiding major injuries.

Some of your championship contributors, though, do not become apparent key cogs in your run to glory until later in the NFL regular season. Here are some candidates to improve more just as the fantasy football playoffs beckon.

We may not have seen the best of these guys yet in 2019.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!


Running Back Candidates

Miles Sanders, PHI: He has already demonstrated some playmaking ability, but we have yet to see this dynamic all-around performer put it all together for a single game. Sanders is a pretty cutback runner who makes defenders miss and he also has the speed to score from anywhere on the field. He catches passes, too. Look for Sanders to bust out down the stretch as the Eagles will need him to add some spark to their offense.

Sony Michel, NE: He was a postseason hero last year, and the Patriots must establish more of dependable running game as they try to make another Super Bowl push. That means feeding Michel more frequently so he can get into a better rhythm and be more than just a mediocre yardage producer and the team’s goal-line specialist.

Damien Williams, KC: He has apparently recaptured the lead RB duties for now, but must show over the next game or two that he will remain the No. 1 guy. Williams has been running hard recently and may be about to re-emerge for another late-season surge.

Melvin Gordon, LAC: He is starting to recapture his better form, and came through with his first 100-yard outing in his last game. Gordon is playing for money, and he is absolutely a guy you want on your roster now. He could be a RB2 on many fantasy championship teams this year.

Adrian Peterson, WAS: He may never win a Super Bowl, so Peterson still wants to add to his Hall of Fame legacy with another impressive campaign late in his career. AP has always defied expectations and wants to do it again. He doesn’t want to hear about Derrius Guice and may play well enough to be a quality flex player on winning fantasy teams.


Wide Receiver Candidates

D.K. Metcalf, SEA: He has made some big plays, but also looks raw at times. Metcalf is only going to get better, and as soon as he starts making more contested catches, his numbers are going to improve. The speed and yardage after the catch ability are already there, and he has been quick to learn how to challenge defensive backs. He’s just a few receptions away from being a fantasy star when it counts the most.

Calvin Ridley, ATL: Consistency has been an issue for Ridley so far in his first two pro seasons. But his opportunities could increase starting this week. Mohamed Sanu is gone and Austin Hooper is out. Julio Jones will be heavily covered, too. The Falcons will continue to throw a lot and they will also like to get Ridley the ball more often so they can groom him to be a more reliable pass-catcher in the future.

Michael Gallup, DAL: He played his best late in the regular season and in the playoffs in his rookie year. Gallup showed increased promise early this season but was cut down by an injury and has been starting to come on again recently. Dak Prescott is playing very well, and Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott occupy a lot of defensive focus. There could be some big games for Gallup ahead.

Mohamed Sanu, NE: He caught 10 balls for 81 yards in Week 9 and is set to become the dependable No. 2 WR and second target in the New England passing game. The Patriots have been trying to fill that hole ever since their last season ended.

Deebo Samuel. SF: The 49ers need the rookie to produce in the passing game if they are going to hope to operate a steady passing game. Samuel is a great yardage after the catch type who will be a fine second option after a healthy George Kittle.  He signaled the start of a late-season run with eight catches for 112 yards against the Seahawks on Monday.

Andy Isabella, ARI: He had catches of 88 and 55 yards in his past two games. The first reception was for a TD against the San Francisco defense. Yet the rookie is only owned in 19 percent of FleaFlicker leagues. Isabella is starting to emerge now as a big-play man for the improving Arizona offense, and few seem to be noticing. Add him! Open another tab and go to your league now!


Tight End Candidates

Noah Fant, MIN: A top talent from this year’s rookie class, Fant had a 75-yard catch-and-run TD before Denver’s bye. He is about to solidify himself as the No. 2 target in the Denver passing game.

Jacob Hollister, SEA: He has scored three times in his past two games and showed up for the best overall production of his career (8-62-1) in a marquee matchup on national television. Hollister has effectively replaced Will Dissly. He has already earned the trust of Russell Wilson, who will continue to look his way in key situations.

Mike Gesicki, MIA: He may be one of the most gifted players at his position. Gesicki has been flashing at times with teases of improving more. There is a very good chance he puts it all together late in the season.


Quarterback Candidates

Kyler Murray, ARI: Has anyone noticed he is the fifth-highest scoring QB in fantasy football? Seems like many fantasy players look past the Cardinals when they should not. Murray has scored 23-plus fantasy points in his past two games and one of those was vs. San Francisco.

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF: He disappointed in a major matchup with the Seahawks on Monday. Garoppolo will have to perform better if he wants to keep the 49ers atop the NFC. There is a good chance he responds with improved play in the weeks ahead.

More Fantasy Football Analysis

More Recent Articles


Best Waiver Wire Pickups from 2019

Each and every year we see an incredible number of players step foot on the NFL gridiron. Just in 2019, using Play Index, a total of 2,025 players took part in at least one game while one (Emmanuel Sanders) did the impossible and played 17 (!) games in the regular season as he was... Read More

Tight End VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More

Biggest Surprises of 2019: Running Back

The 2019 NFL season was an interesting year for the running back position. Christian McCaffrey was the overall RB1, but some of the other top players fell below expectations. That led to some interesting final results when the final season standings came around. And while some of those -- Dalvin Cook as the RB3, Leonard... Read More

Quarterback VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More

2019 RotoBaller NFL Challenge - And The @Fleaflicker Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy football is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With 343 teams - across two divisions - competing to be crowned champ... Read More

Introducing the 2020 Rookie Tight End Class

Out of all the skill positions, tight end is the one where rookies have the most issue making an immediate impact. But there's still always some value at every position in every NFL Draft, and the 2020 one is no exception, even if people are very down on this year's crop of tight ends. Let's... Read More

Can a New Coach Fix Baker Mayfield in 2020?

Another season has passed and another disappointment by Browns fans has been realized. Baker Mayfield got the head coach he wanted in Freddie Kitchens in 2019. In 2020, hopefully he's got the one he needs in Kevin Stefanski. Last season, under Kitchens, Mayfield had a coach he could control and manipulate. He did just that... Read More

Wide Receiver VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The one (and only) good thing about fantasy football season ending is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few months and put performances into context to prepare for next season. As football is an ever-evolving game, though, it makes sense to assess how good players were in fantasy... Read More

The King's Keeper Corner: NFL Postseason Impacts on Player Outlooks

With a break in the postseason NFL action, it is time to reflect on what we have seen in the playoffs so far and how certain performances will affect fantasy football outlooks in keeper and dynasty formats. How players respond and what they deliver at the most intense and critical times of the season can... Read More

Introducing Value Over Starter Football Metrics

When it comes to fantasy sports, we're always looking for the highest possible Return On Investment or ROI. This concept is easy to understand: in both Daily Fantasy and re-draft/fantasy leagues, ROI would come down to how many points a player returns relative to his salary, or the price you paid (given his ADP on... Read More

Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Quarterback

2019 was a very interesting season of fantasy football, to say the least. It's safe to say no one was banking on the season that we saw from Lamar Jackson but he wasn't the only one to stand out. At the quarterback position, we saw some really exciting players start to shine and some older... Read More

Goodbye Runners, Hello Pass-Catching RBs: 2019 Season Trends

As the 2019 summer kept going we all had two things in our minds with regard to September's fantasy drafts and both of them were related to running backs: Where in the world are Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon and when will they be back? It made sense back then (and it still does now,... Read More

Where Does 2019 Rank Historically Among ADP Movers?

I have worked on a season-review series of articles in which I have analyzed the biggest winners and losers in terms of ADP entering draft season compared to the end of the year final results. It was plenty of fun looking back at the gambles most of us took which ultimately paid off, but also... Read More

Biggest Busts of 2019: Tight End

2019 was not the record-breaking season for tight ends 2018 was. San Francisco’s George Kittle (most receiving yards for a TE in a season) and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (most receptions for a TE in a season) did not break the records they set last season, although both were fine for fantasy players. Kansas City’s Travis... Read More

Rushing Quarterbacks Are Becoming Necessary

The 2019 fantasy season is over. We are all thinking about what to do come 2020 draft day. So let me ask you something. What if I offer you the chance of drafting a quarterback who is a lock to finish the season with 270 fantasy points? Would you take him and make him your... Read More