7 breakout players to add to your fantasy football team before your opponents do

Now that 10 weeks of the season has passed, it’s a good bet that at least part of the fantasy football team you drafted is either underperforming or injured.

Of course, it’s what you do now that’s going to make or break your season.

So here are seven players you should consider trading for or adding to your team right now.

(*note: every player on this list is being started in fewer than 50 percent of CBS fantasy leagues. All scoring references are using the CBS league rules.)

QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-22-43-amKirk Cousins might become the ninth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 5,000 passing yards in a season, and he’s not being started in the majority of CBS leagues.

True, he doesn’t have that reputation as a winner that many of the top fantasy QBs have, but you have to consider trading for this guy if you don’t have Matt Ryan, Drew Brees or another guy putting up video game numbers every week. He’s only thrown 12 touchdown passes, but that total is trending upward, and there’s no question that a healthy Jordan Reed will help the touchdown number.

The Redskins aren’t blowing anyone out and their running game is pretty average, so Cousins will keep throwing and piling up great numbers. One reason he may be on so many benches is that he’s coming off his bye week to face a very tough Vikings defense. That’s all the more reason to buy low now.

WR Kenny Stills, Miami Dolphins

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-18-46-amKenny Stills has been a controversial figure this season, and many may have given up on him after he failed to catch a single pass in Miami’s loss to the Titans. But his quarterback Ryan Tannehill is not going to play that badly every week.

And when the wide receiver hasn’t been kneeling during the national anthem, has shown the capability to make big plays for the Dolphins, like this 74-yard touchdown catch against the Bengals in Week 4. Stills is not a possession receiver. He may only catch two or three passes in a game, but if one of those is in the end zone for 30 or 40 yards, then he’ll have a productive, 10-plus point day for you.

It’s a good sign that Stills is already on pace to have a much better year than last year, and though Tannehill is no Drew Brees, Stills is still capable of raising his reception rate per targets in Miami from the 46 percent it’s at right now. He’s currently dealing with a calf injury that has kept his status for Sunday’s game questionable, but if he’s healthy, he’s capable of a great fantasy day, even if there’s a chance of a dud.

TE Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-19-50-amBy all means, Pitta should be a candidate for comeback player of the year. After playing in just seven games from 2013-2015, including none last year, the tight end whose career seemed ended by injuries is on pace for a career high 82 catches this season.

There’s just one problem: none of his 46 catches so far has led him beyond the goal line. Pitta is no Rob Gronkowski; he’s not going to rack up huge yardage, but he’s worth picking up if you think he’s due to reach the end zone a few times.

The Ravens addressed their subpar passing offense (five touchdowns in their first five games) by firing offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. Pitta thought this move would improve the team’s red zone offense, only for Joe Flacco to throw zero touchdowns in his next two games as the Ravens’ losing streak reached four. But there was a little shine of hope last Thursday night. Flacco (albeit against the woeful Browns) had his best passing game by far with three touchdown passes.

Take or trade for Pitta now and you could hit a jackpot if the Ravens ‘offense keeps improving. By the way, the Ravens still have to play the Bengals twice, who rank among the league’s worst as far as stopping tight ends.
Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-22-13-am
With star receiver Sammy Watkins sidelined, there were signs that Woods, the second-round pick in 2013, would break out and have a big year as his numbers were trending upward. But who expected him to catch 10 balls for 162 yards in Seattle against one of the premier pass defenses in the league?

Even when Watkins does return, which at earliest will be Week 12 against Jacksonville, you should still should consider Woods on your team. Woods is the Bills’ No. 1 receiver as long as Watkins is injured, and he’s due to find the end zone sooner or later. LeSean McCoy rushed for 150 yards last week against the Rams, but he and the defense aren’t going to be able to carry Buffalo every week.

DuJuan Harris, RB, San Francisco 49ers

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-21-40-amIf you’re in a deep league and need a running back…well, be prepared to give something up because the pool is shallow.

But if you don’t want to do that, take a chance on DuJuan Harris, who had 142 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown last week against the Saints while filling in for an injured Carlos Hyde and averaging nearly six yards per carry.

Even if Hyde, who’s been out for a month with a shoulder injury, does return this week, he’s unlikely to be at full strength. If Harris can keep being a strong receiving back, which every team has a place for, then he has a chance to be productive.

 

Robbie Gould, K, New York Giants

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-20-32-amThe all-time leading scorer for the Bears didn’t have a job this season, being released from his longtime team following a poor preseason. But after the Giants finally released their troubled kicker Josh Brown, Gould found another job. He’s only attempted and made one field goal in two games but hasn’t missed an extra point yet.

There’s a lot of luck involved with kickers in fantasy, and it’s not like the Giants have rarely kicked this year. Josh Brown attempted at least two field goals in all but one of his games, so Gould is due to get more chances. He was 33-of-39 last season and a very impressive seven-of-nine on kicks longer than 50 yards. Gould’s two missed extra points in the preseason finale, just before his release from the Bears, don’t appear to have been a warning sign after all for the veteran kicker.

 

D/ST, Washington Redskins

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-9-21-12-amThe Redskins turned around a season heading toward disaster, and in their four-game winning streak earlier this season, their defense scored more than 10 fantasy points every week.

They’ve had seven or more fantasy points every game since Week 2 so they’ve been a very safe bet to not give you a dud. You’d like to see them hold opponents under 20 points more often, but in CBS leagues, that’s not nearly as important as holding them under 21, which the Redskins have done four of their last five weeks.

Yes, it seems incredibly minor, but it’s a two-point scoring difference and the Redskins’ defense doesn’t break. They’ve also had three or more sacks in their past four games and ended a four-game interception drought last week. With the sputtering Vikings coming into town this weekend, expect the Redskins’ defense to give you double digits again.

by Luke Jeresaty

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