Week 10 is now nearing its conclusion, and the NFL season certainly continued to take some more weird twists. We saw the Broncos get blown out this week, leaving only the Patriots, Panthers and the Bengals, barring a Monday night loss, as the sole undefeated teams in the league. On the fantasy side of football, there were very little surprises this week. We are still waiting for some players to get healthy, such as Eddie Lacy and Matt Forte. We are also preparing for that final regular season stretch and push for the playoffs. Below, I will outline five key players to add this coming week.
QB Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
The Bears made big news around the NFL this week, going into St. Louis to face a very underrated Rams team that is very well-known throughout the league for its strong defense. So what do the Bears do? This struggling offensive team, without Matt Forte, comes into town and blows the Rams out by a final score of 37-13. Quarterback Jay Cutler, who many tend to blame for the Bears lack of success over the past few seasons, was a big part of the Bears’ success this week. On the day, he completed 19 of his 24 pass attempts, throwing for 258 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 24 yards. As Jay Cutler’s confidence continues to grow throughout the season, I expect him to put up big numbers. This may not translate into wins on the field, but it could lead to wins on your fantasy squad.
RB Dexter McCluster, Tennessee Titans
McCluster seems to be next in line on the Titans’ running back depth chart. The former Chiefs’ second round pick back in 2010, McCluster is a small, explosive back, and poses as a threat both in the running and passing game for the Titans. Bishop Sankey fell off the planet for the Titans this season, and Antonio Andrews has failed to put up consistent production over the last few weeks, which leads me to believe that McCluster may start getting more touches in the offense. He will be an extremely valuable fantasy weapon as a pass catcher out of the backfield. In the Titans’ Week 10 loss to the Panthers, McCluster rushed for 25 yards and a touchdown, and also caught four passes for 27 yards.
RB James White, New England Patriots
In years past, the Patriots have not been afraid to mix things up in regards to their balanced running attack. We have seen many versatile running backs, such as Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, Stevan Ridley, and Shane Vereen, just to name a few. This season, we saw Dion Lewis burst onto the scene, as he proved to be a valuable weapon both as a rushing back and as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Now, with Lewis out for the season with a torn ACL, it may be James White’s time to shine as a new weapon out of the Patriots backfield. A former standout for the Badgers, White will be getting his first real, consistent playing time in the NFL in his second pro season. While he did not see much of the field in the Patriots’ come-from-behind victory in Week 10 against the Giants, the Patriots will need to get him involved in the offense moving forward if they wish to defend their Super Bowl title.
WR Wes Welker, St. Louis Rams
Welker, the longtime Patriots and Broncos receiver, was just signed by the Rams about a week ago. The Rams, who got blown out at home by the Bears this week, are badly in need of depth at the wide receiver position. They are still right in the middle of playoff contention, so the signing of Welker will certainly be taken seriously as the Rams will plan to get him involved in the offense as much as possible. Welker can be a valuable addition to any team with a PPR points system. Welker is the king of slant pass catches, as his catches will certainly add up week after week. Welker caught only three passes for 32 yards in Sunday’s loss, but I anticipate that the Rams will get him more involved in the coming weeks as he begins to familiarize himself with the Rams’ offense.
WR Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
With the news of Julian Edelman’s broken foot, Amendola will be the immediate replacement in the slot, as we saw the majority of the Giants game on Sunday. Amendola saw 11 targets in the game, catching 10 passes for 79 yards. If you’re in a PPR league especially, Amendola should be a top 20 contributor right away, even if he is a little bit of a step down from Edelman. The Patriots face off against the Bills on Monday night, and expect to see a lot of Amendola.