It’s here folks! Congratulations to all of you that managed to make the elusive playoffs within your fantasy leagues. But now it really is crunch time. Most of you will now find yourselves in straight shootout scenarios so now it’s all about picking up the players on a match-up basis for the upcoming week, the remainder of you will be playing your ties over a two week period. So let’s dive straight in, i’ll give you a few candidates who are likely on your waiver wires that could be the difference between advancing to the next stage or bowing out early doors.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 46.2% Owned
Josh McCown (39.4% owned) was certainly in consideration to be a hot waiver pick-up this week, especially after last week’s 30 point performance against a dwindling Kansas City franchise. But with back to back road trips to Denver and New Orleans in the next two weeks, I don’t fancy McCown to be an improvement to whom you might already have on your roster. However, I do think Jameis offers significant upside over the playoff stretch, with a good game in week 14 coming up against Detroit who are one of only a handful of teams that has given up over 3,000 passing yards this season. So far the Bucs passing offense has been widely overlooked having recorded at least 250 passing yards in 8 out of 12 games and have only not scored a passing touchdown in two of those games. Say what you will about Winston, he has got that big play ability and as long as he can cap the mistakes, has the potential to be a game changer for fantasy owners.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers. 14.5% Owned
Now fully installed as the starting Quarterback of the 49ers, Jimmy G is going to want to prove his worth with these last few games of the season. With a talented pool of rookies entering the draft this year and also playing for a future contract, the former Patriot is going to want to give John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan no reasons whatsoever to go out and bring more competition into Santa Clara. The schedule over the next two weeks is great for him to do this too, starting at the NRG Stadium against the Texans in week 14. Houston rank 2nd worst against quarterbacks in fantasy this season.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars. 21% Owned
Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings. 56.7% Owned
LaGarrette Blount, Philadelphia Eagles. 64.1% Owned
Despite being a victim of negative game flow in the late game on Sunday, Blount still found himself used in the offense. If you discount this game against the notorious Seattle defense, Blount has had double digit carries in every game he’s played this season except one in week 9. The late addition of Jay Ajayi hasn’t affected his usage and he’s still considered the goal line back for the Eagles despite Corey Clement stealing the thunder a couple of times within the last few weeks. I expect business as usual will be resumed for the high flying Eagles with winnable games throughout the fantasy playoffs. Week 14 sees a favourable match-up for the running backs as they face the Rams who are leaking 27.1 PPR points per game to the position, 3rd worst in the league.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks. 4.4% Owned
Carson will likely be back on the practice field this week. If Pete Carroll decides to activate him from the IR he will likely be thrust straight back in to a usable roll within the Seahawks backfield as it’s seemingly a revolving door of backs being given chances but unable to capitalise on the opportunity. The aforementioned Los Angeles Rams are the opponents for the potential Carson return in Week 15.
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers. 28% Owned
Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts. 20.2% Owned
Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots. 62.5% Owned
Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets. 39.3% Owned
Kearse has been Mr Consistent for the Jets since his off season move from Seattle. Up until their week 11 bye, he had a regular floor of at least a couple of touches per game. But since the bye he’s improved his stat line considerably scoring 23 and 24 PPR points in weeks 12 and 13 respectively. This week sees a tough match-up against a strong Broncos DB corps, however Denver have surprisingly given up 12 touchdowns to wide receivers on the season which is the 8th most throughout the league. With his volume rising over the last few games, Kearse might well be able to capitalize if the Jets manage to get themselves in and around the redzone and could offer a safe floor for fantasy owners.
Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars. 10.5% Owned
I’m starting to sound like a broken record with recommending Westbrook. But he proved what he can do with a good match-up this week against Indianapolis where he accumulated 78 yards off six receptions scoring fantasy owners 13 PPR points. The Jags have a stern test this week when Seattle come to town, but week’s 14 and 15 sees games against Houston and San Francisco who are both exploitable in the passing game.
Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles. 62.1% Owned
Ryan Grant, Washington Redskins. 1.2% Owned
Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers. 15.2% Owned
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 57.3% Owned
I’ve already written about the upside for the Bucs going forward with Jameis. Cameron Brate is one of those reasons why the Bucs pass game can be explosive and he has a great rapport with Winston. It’s hard to believe that Cameron Brate is currently ranked in the top 10 tight ends in both standard (8) and PPR (10). Yet his ownership took a big hit whilst not favoured by backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick over the last three weeks. It didn’t take Winston long to make Brate fantasy relevant again this week though to the tune of 39 yards and two touchdowns in week 13. Tampa Bay take on Detroit in week 14 who have been beatable from the tight end position giving up 695 yards and 6 TD’s throughout the season, ranking 10th worst against tight ends in PPR scoring.
Julius Thomas, Miami Dolphins. 29.2% Owned
Thomas made the sleeper pick last week because of his safe floor and he proved that right once again with 30 yards off 3 receptions and a single touchdown. New England and Buffalo are next on the slate, neither particularly great match-ups, but i guarantee he’ll hit a safe floor in all formats.
David N’Joku, Cleveland Browns. 7.4% Owned
Stephen Anderson, Houston Texans. 0.1% owned
Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals. 21.9% owned
Dallas Cowboys 12.2% Owned
Last week was a redemption game for the Cowboys as the two previous weeks ended in negative fantasy points for Jason Garrett’s side. Week 14 sees the return in division fixture against the New York Giants. With all the drama surrounding the G-Men at the moment, it’s likely no serious fight is likely to be put up even if it is against their bitter rivals. Dallas are the sharks circling and could emulate week 13’s 21 fantasy points.
Denver Broncos 63.1% Owned
It might be worth picking up and stashing the Broncos defense for the last two weeks of the fantasy season (weeks 15 and 16) as they face Indianapolis and Washington. Both of these teams have given up generous points to opposing defenses in the past couple of weeks. Aqib Talib returns this week too after last week’s ban for fighting.
by Rob Grimwood @FFBritBaller
All ownership % taken from ESPN Fantasy