As the NFL season goes along, while a few top tier guys are pretty consistent, a lot of players see their fantasy relevancy come and go. The guys on the list below fall into the latter category. Some of them are relevant for the first time this season, others for the first time in their career, and one that disappeared for awhile but is back on the fantasy radar.
Because of the journey they’ve taken up to this point, most of them will probably be sitting on someone’s bench, or even the waiver wire. During the playoffs, any type of edge you can give yourself will be crucial. So, make sure to check and see if you can add any of them before kickoff Sunday.
CAMERON BRATE, TE
With Jameis Winston under center, Brate was enjoying a great first half of the season. Then, when his quarterback went down with a shoulder injury, his production plummeted. Over the four weeks Winston was injured, Brate had a total of four receptions, 37 yards and zero touchdowns. He had eclipsed that mark in almost every single individual game before that.
Last week, Winston returned and Brate tied Mike Evans for the lead in targets (six), and scored two touchdowns. This week he will be facing a Detroit defense that is really struggling against opposing tight ends. Brate is a top five tight end this week.
GIOVANI BERNARD, RB
With rookie Joe Mixon taking over lead back duties this season in Cincinnati, Bernard completely fell off the fantasy radar. Fast-forward to now, and his situation couldn’t be anymore different. Joe Mixon will be out this week with a concussion, and Jeremy Hill is on injured reserve.
That means that Bernard will getting plenty of work Sunday against the Bears. He showed a glimpse of what he can do when given opportunities Monday night against the Steelers, as he had 96 total yards on just 15 touches. Bernard is a top 15 running back with huge potential this week.
JOSH GORDON, WR
In his first game back from his suspension, Gordon appeared to pick up right where he left off. He was targeted 11 times and turned that into four receptions for 85 yards. He looked explosive and clearly became the Brown’s top focus on offense.
When on the field, Gordon is in the discussion for the best wide receiver in the league. This week, he gets to go up against a Packers defense giving up the 3rd most points to opposing wide receivers. There recipe is there for a big day.
JIMMY GAROPPOLO, QB
Last week, in his first start for the 49ers, Garoppolo completed 26 of 37 pass attempts for 293 yards and an interception while leading San Francisco to a late victory over the Bears. The only thing missing were the touchdowns, which should come this week against a poor Houston defense.
Garoppolo looked like he was worth all the hype that has followed him during his career as a backup to Tom Brady, and he should only get better with more playing time. He falls into the back end of the top 10 quarterback plays this week.
MARQUISE GOODWIN, WR
The speedy wide receiver led the 49ers in targets, receptions and yards in Garoppolo’s first start, showing the potential of what the two players can do together. Goodwin has actually been trending upward over the last seven weeks, averaging a little over 13 fantasy points per game over that span.
Keep in mind, the first six of those games were with poor quarterback play. With Garoppolo now throwing him the ball, Goodwin may be ready to break out. The two of them together form a very attractive duo against the aforementioned bad Texans defense.
Looking for more lineup tips for playoff action in your fantasy football league? Hit up Blake on Twitter @blakegibbs.