Fantasy Football Advice For Owners Looking to Fill Lineup Gaps

Ethan Marchetti, Assistant National Sports Editor

As fantasy football leagues begin to head into their final stretch of regular season games, team owners will look to bolster their rosters through trades and free agency acquisitions. Whether your team has been flying high or has been derailed by injuries, here are four players to target as you head into your run for the championship.

Kerryon Johnson, RB (Detroit Lions)

Kerryon Johnson has been quietly consistent throughout the entire season thus far, averaging a respectable 12.4 fantasy points per league (according to PPR scoring). Though the rookie second-rounder has split carries with LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick, Johnson has enjoyed a recent uptick in touches, including starts in each of the last four contests. The Auburn product has averaged an impressive 6.1 yards per rush attempt, which is second highest in the entire NFL.

The Lions’ high-powered offense should surely provide Johnson with more opportunities for success throughout the second half of the season, especially as they try to make a push for a playoff spot for themselves. Johnson is still unowned in nearly 20% of ESPN fantasy leagues, making him a hot commodity for fantasy owners looking to fill running back holes.

Mitchell Trubisky, QB (Chicago Bears)

Another impressive young player, Mitchell Trubisky has made a name for himself in recent weeks. The second-year quarterback out of North Carolina has played extremely well lately. With 13 touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown over the past four games, Trubisky is currently one of the top fantasy quarterbacks to target. He is top-10 in average fantasy points per game with 22.7 and, with a solid Bears defense to back him up and give him room to work, there is no reason why he should not be able to keep up this pace.

Owned in just 72.6% of leagues, Trubisky could be a viable alternative for any fantasy owners in need of quarterback help, especially with bye weeks and other quarterbacks underperforming. He may not draw the same attention as Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers, but his solid play has proven that he can consistently get the job done for fantasy owners.

Tyler Boyd, WR (Cincinnati Bengals)

Tyler Boyd has been a pleasant surprise for the Bengals so far this season. Obviously A.J. Green is the top target on the team, but Boyd has nonetheless made the most of the opportunities he has been given. Boyd leads the Bengals in receptions so far this season, which is quite impressive considering he has seen ten fewer targets than Green has. Boyd is also top-15 in the league in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns with 620 and five, respectively.

Boyd is already on the radar of most fantasy owners, so it is highly unlikely that he is unowned in most leagues. That being said, I believe that he is a top trade target for owners looking to make a run. Barring an injury of his own, Boyd really does have an ideal situation for production down the stretch. He will either continue to benefit from other teams’ double coverage on Green, or Green will get injured and Boyd will be thrust into a leading receiver role. Either way, fantasy owners should make acquiring him a priority.

Eric Ebron, TE (Indianapolis Colts)

Eric Ebron’s move to Indianapolis this past offseason was a relatively underwhelming one. After a rocky start to his career with the Lions, Ebron never seemed to click with Matthew Stafford. However, for some reason, Ebron seems to have left his production woes in Detroit, as he has quickly cemented himself as one of Andrew Luck’s favorite red zone targets.

Ebron currently leads all tight ends in touchdown catches, finding the end zone seven times through the first eight games of this sea- son. Combine that with the fact that he leads the Colts in targets and receptions and his true value becomes abundantly clear. Though Ebron is currently owned in 94.7% of ESPN fantasy football leagues, his surprising consistency leads me to believe that he should have no issue continuing to be productive for the rest of the season. With tight end being such a shallow position in fantasy football, his value for owners is enormous and he should be highly sought after as trade deadlines approach.

Contact Ethan Marchetti at [email protected]