Many fantasy gamers are advancing to their league Super Bowl after utilizing advanced stats, metrics, and analytics to dominate their opponents throughout the season. Though the stakes are high, playing who got you there is not necessarily the optimal roster management tactic, and nothing beats the euphoric feeling of capitalizing on a newly ascending player. With this in mind, it is time to dive into another trio of breakout players who are poised to lead fantasy teams to championships.
Drew Stanton, QB, Cardinals
Get past the idea that the thought of ever starting Drew Stanton, especially in a championship week, sounds crazy. Accept the fact that on paper he has one of the best matchups of any fantasy quarterback this week. As a matter of fact, if it were any other quarterback facing the Giants, you’d be eagerly awaiting your chance to start him.
Stanton has already seen two starts on the year, totaling 474 pass yards, three touchdowns and one interception over that span. Stanton posted 201 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers, in a game that was dominated by Adrian Peterson (37/159/0) and the running game. He then faced a stout Seahawks defense the following week, going for 271 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
Now Drew Stanton has a chance to start in his most favorable matchup of the season, facing a porous Giants defense that struggles to stop opposing quarterbacks, and is allowing the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (+7.40 above league average). Starting running back Kerwynn Williams is also dealing with a quad injury, and hasn’t practiced all week, paving the way for a high volume of passing for the Cardinals in an offense that is already second in the league with 41 pass attempts per game. The Giants allow the most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, surrendering +7.21 fantasy points per game above league average to them. Last week, they allowed Nick Foles to hang 25.5 fantasy points them. If you’re a believer in no guts, no glory, and the Giants’ inability to stop any offense they face in a given week, Stanton is the right start for you.
Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens have found their stride over the last three weeks. With their newly found offense, Mike Wallace has flourished. Despite not finding the end zone over that three-game stretch, Wallace is averaging 92.3 receiving yards per game, hauling in 14 receptions on 23 targets, while averaging 13.9 points per game. Wallace and the Ravens get the Indianapolis Colts at home this week, with the Colts allowing +1.98 fantasy points above league average to opposing wide receivers (No. 9).
Despite playing in his age 31 season, Wallace hasn’t lost much of his top end speed that has made him a perennial deep threat throughout his career. Wallace leveraged a 111.7 Speed Score (93rd-percentile) and a 132.5 Burst Score (92nd-percentile) to post 507 Air Yards (No. 10). Even with the inefficient play we’ve witnessed from Joe Flacco, Wallace has still managed to turn in efficient performances when given the chance, posting a +20.9-percent Target Premium (No. 12) and a +9.0 Production Premium (No. 28).
Mike Wallace has built his career around being a boom or bust player, finishing as the WR25 or better in five of his last 10 games. He now has a chance to be a player who erupts this week against one of the worst teams in the league. If you’re looking for that final flex spot to round on your roster, Wallace is well worth the gamble this week.
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Washington
Samaje Perine injured his groin in practice on Thursday and was forced to leave practice, making those who acquired Kapri Bibbs following his 15.5 point outburst last week against the Cardinals excited for his potential workload in Week 16 against the Denver Broncos.
Having never been an impressive athlete, Bibbs is a plodding running back who boasts compact size (5-foot-9, 212-pounds) with a 31.3 BMI (76th-percentile) and an 81st-percentile Bench Press (24 reps). In his first game with Washington last week, he secured all four of his targets for 47 yards with a touchdown, and added six yards on the ground on two carries. Despite his underwhelming athleticism, Bibbs is no stranger to the bell cow role he may be inheriting this week, posting a 39.0-percent College Dominator Rating while at Colorado State (83rd-percentile). During that time, he averaged 6.2 yards per carry in college (75th-percentile).
Since losing Chris Thompson in Week 11 to a fractured fibula, no running back has emerged for Washington in the satellite role like Bibbs did in Week 15. Even if Perine is able to go this week, an increase in Snap Share, particularly on third downs, could be on the horizon for Bibbs following his effective performance in his first game with the team. Unexpected role increases this late in the season are exactly what Zero RB truthers look forward to as the look to be crowned champion of their fantasy league(s). Bibbs has a chance to bring more validation to the Zero RB philosophy should Samaje Perine be unable to go Sunday. If Perine sits, hinging your hopes on a possible Bibbs emergence in a high volume situation isn’t the worst decision you could make.