My wife and I are working to rectify our massive popular culture holes by working our way through a curated list of top-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes. So far it’s been hit-or-miss. Heathers legitimately ruled and was a proto-Mean Girls (which was also on the list). Then there’s overhyped cult garbage like Harold and Maude that might have been counter-cultural or edgy when it came out but in 2017? Garbage. Some are legitimately good movies masked in an off-putting science fiction veneer that is too hard to crack (looking at you, Wrath of Khan). Where am I going with this? Well, fantasy football running backs on the waiver wire is the same as this curated list of movies. There are some gems out there, and you may or may not have heard these names before. There are some that may have been considered good a while ago, but just hang on by name recognition alone.
The problem is that some are going to be legitimately good and some might be abject trash. You’ll never know until they get the opportunity, and at the most meat grinder position in fantasy football, plenty get the opportunity. Below are three sleepers for week seven. To make the list, these players must have ownership percentages below 50%, with one player at 10% ownership or less.
Dion Lewis versus Atlanta (28% owned) – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Lewis is the Wrath of Khan of these movies. Just like you need to give someone a primer on the Star Trek universe before watching, you need a lot of explanation why a running back in Bill Belichick’s backfield should not only be picked up, but starting. Mike Gillislee warns us against this. Rex Burkhead warns us against this. Shane Vereen, etc., etc. Just like Khan needs a lot of setup to explain why it is great, so does Lewis. He doesn’t have impressive surface numbers, but with some massaging, you can see his snaps and carries have increased, as has his red zone usage. Gillislee fumbled last week, so he’s out, and Lewis is in. The Falcons allow the fourteenth-most fantasy points to running backs this season but have allowed five double-digit fantasy days to running backs in as many games.
Chris Ivory at Indianapolis (21% owned) – Harold and Maude
Just like Harold obsessed over death before meeting Maude and coming to terms with his own mortality (I don’t know, we turned it off, I assume this is what happened), the Jags relied heavily on Leonard Fournette so far this year and saw him go down last week with a foot injury. They saw their season start to swirl the drain and realized they can’t keep working Fournette like this. Though Fournette is likely to play, the Jags are also likely to boat race the Colts. Ivory will likely get all the garbage time touchdowns and a couple of within-the-five snaps at running back. He’ll get this on turnover-induced short fields against the second-worst fantasy football running defense in the NFL. The Colts gave up 35 fantasy points combined to DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry last week. Expect more of that impeccable defense this Sunday.
C.J. Prosise at New York Giants (10% owned) – Heathers
Heathers, like Prosise, has a lot of the elements you want in a good movie. It came out in the 1980s in the wake of movies like The Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink, but the Slater-Winona vehicle turned that on its head. Prosise comes in the wake of traditional Seattle running backs being talented enough to overcome the line (Thomas Rawls, Marshawn Lynch… C-Mike, I guess). Instead, his opportunity turns that on its head. He is a satellite back in the Darren Sproles role. Just like you can squint and see Mean Girls becoming Heathers, you can squint at Prosise and see Sproles, Andre Ellington, Duke Johnson, or an of the other satellite backs out there. He’s unlikely to do much this week but should emerge in that messy backfield by season’s end.