Must Add Running Backs
With Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, JD McKissic, and Mike Davis all active in the SNF game, Davis was the only back to play more than 9 snaps. Davis had 16 carries for 64 yards (respectable against this Eagles D) and caught all 4 of his targets for 37 yards. In the 2nd half, Davis started playing on every down, including in passing situations on 3rd down over McKissic. His usage in the passing game in addition to his early down usage is very encouraging going forward. Davis looked good all game, and it seems like the Seahawks found their Chris Carson replacement for now. McKissic had 2 touches on 9 snaps, one of them being a TD, but they particularly took advantage of a mismatch on a LB; that efficiency won’t be something we can depend on. Davis becomes a must-add this week if you’re in need of a RB. Next week’s matchup is tough, but if he’s used in the passing game, he should be able to salvage some fantasy production. Weeks 15 and 16 are the two juicy matchups we should be looking forward to against the Rams and Cowboys. As far as Chris Carson goes, Pete Carroll mentioned his comeback, but there are multiple sources, including Pro Football Doc (Dr. David Chao), who have a hard time believing Carson can make it back during the regular season after his particular injury.
Whenever you have a young running back getting an opportunity in place of a struggling veteran, there is a chance for a changing of the guard if the opportunity is taken advantage of, and it was in Peyton Barber’s case. Barber got a similar workload that Doug Martin has been getting, but he actually did something with it; he ran for 102 yards on 23 carries and caught all 4 of his targets for 41 yards. Martin has had some good matchups too, and couldn’t get it done. With Jameis Winston back, there is a real threat to stretch the field, so the Bucs might not need to worry about too many stacked boxes. With all that said, there is a real chance that Doug Martin comes back and assumes his role, or that this becomes a timeshare. In other words, Barber is a pure upside pickup with the possibility of him taking Martin’s job. If you need a sure thing at RB for the next couple of weeks, Mike Davis is the guy to pick up. Barber probably has the higher upside of the two, though.
After Joe Mixon went down with a concussion on MNF, Gio Bernard came in and played on every subsequent snap. Brian Hill, the only other active RB, didn’t see the field once. On a short week, Mixon might have a tough time to make his way out of the concussion protocol, so Bernard becomes a must-pickup and must-start in Week 14 if Mixon misses. Bernard played very well in place of Mixon, ripping off chunks on early downs. That combined with his expertise of catching the football makes him a very safe play next week. Bernard is only $3100 on DraftKings this week, so expect him to be the chalk, but he’ll be a must-play there as well. If you own Mixon and didn’t own Bernard, take this as a lesson to handcuff your RBs when it gets closer to playoff time. This is also a lesson to use that burner bench spot to pick up a handcuff that’s available on Sunday and Monday nights in case something like this happens, so you don’t have to burn FAAB or your priority in order to pick these guys up.
More RB Adds
Theo Riddick (PPR only)
If you’re in a PPR league, Riddick might be a good add with Ameer Abdullah banged up with a neck injury. Tion Green (21 snaps) got some play and did well with his opportunity on early downs, but it was Riddick who saw the biggest boost in opportunity, seeing 14 touches on 40 snaps. His real production comes in the receiving game, where he caught all 5 of his targets for 41 yards. Keep in mind that Abdullah can come back this week, so Riddick is a prospective add in case Abdullah can’t go. I’m not interested in Riddick in standard leagues, unless you’re really hurting and just need some points at the RB position.
When Forte is active, he gets a good amount of work in the passing game. Powell did out-snap him 37-35, and out-touch him 20-18, but Forte continues to outproduce Powell in all-purpose yards. His use in the passing game (3 for 3 for 33 yards, TD) makes his floor safer than Powell, and I’m okay using Forte as a back-end RB2, and a mid-range RB2 in PPR.
With Adrian Peterson out, Kerwynn Williams saw most of the snaps with 26 compared to DJ Foster’s 15. He saw a rush on most of those snaps, totaling 97 yards on 16 carries. If Peterson were to miss again, Williams should be in consideration as the early down workhorse. Tennessee has a tough run defense this week, but the Cards should be able to stay in this game against the Titans at home, so I don’t think Williams gets written out of the game script. He’s only a speculative add this week in case Peterson misses another game with his neck injury.
Andre Ellington (PPR only)
Ellington had to step in as a receiver for the Texans with all of the injuries they suffered at the position. He played on 47 of the Texans’ snaps, and played as a slot WR on 77% of those opportunities. Bruce Ellington left the game with a hamstring injury, Braxton Miller left the game with a concussion, and Will Fuller already had his rib injury. If all of these guys are out again next week, Ellington can be viable in deeper PPR leagues.
It might be time to pick Allen up again in case Alex Collins misses time with migraines he’s been dealing with. He would probably be treated as the early down back with Danny Woodhead playing more snaps (22 in this past game). No word on whether the migraines are serious for Collins and whether he’ll miss a game because of it, but if you’re in a deep league you might not have many choices.
He’s a prospective add, but it’s tough for any early-down RB to be viable on this Lions offense. Ameer Abdullah might come back into his role, but Green looked better in this game than Abdullah has all season. It’s possible that Green gets some play down the stretch with the Lions trying to find a run game.
Must Add Wide Receivers
Jimmy Garoppolo did pretty well in his first start as a 49er, and Goodwin was a huge beneficiary. Goodwin was doing his thing with CJ Beathard, but Garoppolo actually brings an element of control to this offense. Goodwin caught all 8 of his targets for 99 yards in Week 13, and can be someone you rely on down the stretch as a WR3. He showed his skills as a possession receiver, but we all know that his true skillset is flying down the field to make plays, so that should come as well. Goodwin should have a safe floor going forward with the 49ers likely being in negative game scripts, and gives you a nice ceiling if he pops a long one for a TD.
More WR Adds
Westbrook is close to a must-add WR, but we’ve seen some inconsistency in the passing game outside of Marqise Lee. We can hope that he continues what he’s doing – catching 6 balls on 9+ targets the last 2 games, but there are a few factors that come into play. Westbrook is a very talented WR, so the hope is that he keeps his role, but if Allen Hurns comes back, we don’t know if Westbrook’s field time will reduce. Another factor is the last 2 matchups, one where Marqise Lee was being shadowed by Patrick Peterson, and the second against a terrible Colts defense. With all that being said, his upcoming matchups are pretty good, and if teams continue to stack the box against the Jags, more will be put on Blake Bortles’ shoulders. Westbrook should be viable in Week 14 against the Seahawks if Hurns misses another game. I would pick him up if you’re in need of WR help in the hopes that he keeps his job.
Taylor has a new QB in Jimmy G, and saw the most targets he’s seen since Week 4. He caught all 6 of his targets for 92 yards, and could be a viable option, especially in PPR, going forward. We always have to pay attention to how new QBs choose to use their weapons, and Taylor can be a solid, usable option outside of Goodwin. We did see Carlos Hyde get fewer targets this week, so some of that work can go Taylor’s way.
Juju Smith-Schuster might get suspended for his dirty, knockout hit on Vontaze Burfict. Yes, Burfict was the one at the other end of the dirty hit this time. Burfict gave the thumbs up as he got carted to the locker room, which was a good sign. If Juju gets suspended next week, Bryant should be looked at as an option in Week 14 if you’re in need of a WR. Bryant caught 4 of 6 targets on MNF, and could have extra opportunity if Juju misses. It’s a tough matchup against the Ravens, but we’ve seen WRs have some success against them lately. Bryant will definitely be a desperation play in that matchup, but sometimes you don’t have too many options to consider.
I like Kearse, and I think he’s a talented WR, but we’ve seen this before. Everyone’s all over Kearse after his two big games, but I don’t know that he continues with this type of production. The Jets were in a real shootout with the Chiefs, so there was extra need for production at the WR position. Not only that, but the Jets went again two very beatable secondaries in Carolina and the Chiefs at home. Jeremy Kerley’s (3-4 targets/game) suspension allowed the targets to be less distributed, so Kearse was able to take advantage of that after moving to the slot. Kerley isn’t eligible to return until Week 15, so Kearse should be viable for volume for another week against Denver. Chris Harris has done a good job against slot WRs, so I’m iffy on Kearse this week, if you haven’t got that by now : ) After Denver, the Jets are in New Orleans, then at home against the Chargers. Not feeling that schedule, and I’m not going to trust Kearse in my fantasy playoffs as someone who’s been up and down all season. However, if you’re in desperate need of a WR, follow the volume; it usually leads you to production more often than not. It’s definitely warranted to pick up a WR who’s been getting this type of volume over the last 2 weeks.
Doctson is an uber-talented WR, but the lack of volume is mind-boggling. The Redskins need to give this man the ball. If you played Doctson the last two weeks, he’s bailed you out big time with two late touchdowns; otherwise, you would have considered dropping Doctson with yardage totals of 28 and 26 (!). He’s touchdown dependent at this point, and his matchups aren’t friendly going forward. He has Casey Hayward this week, Patrick Peterson the week after, and Aqib Talib and Co. in Championship Week. As I’m writing this, I’m not sure why I’m including him in this article. Maybe I’m saying don’t pick him up?
Wallace is the #1 WR in Baltimore. Jeremy Maclin has been a huge disappointment, as he’s the more talented guy. Joe Flacco has been asking the coaching staff to open the offense up, and that would favor Wallace as he’s the field stretcher. Flacco has one of the best deep ball arms even though he really, really sucks as an NFL QB, so Wallace has that going for him on top of averaging 9.5 targets over the last 2 games. He sees Pittsburgh, who hasn’t been playing well in the secondary lately, Cleveland, and Indianapolis over the next few weeks. Those are some good matchups, so Wallace is viable going forward.
Tight End Streamers and Pickups
Need a Gronk replacement? Cameron Brate might be your guy. He’s been invisible while Jameis has been out, but made an immediate impact as soon as Jameis is back on the field, catching 2 TDs. Jameis’ passer rating skyrockets when he targets the tight end, and we can’t deny their rapport. Once the Bucs get into the red zone, Brate is the preferred option for Jameis.
Zach Ertz suffered a concussion in Week 13, so Trey Burton becomes someone you can start in his place if he doesn’t go. In the 9 matchup against Denver that Ertz missed, Burton caught 2 of 4 targets for 41 yards and a TD. Not the best game, but he’s someone you can plug in this week and hope for some production from a position that Carson Wentz relies on.
With CJ Fiedorowicz, Braxton Miller, Bruce Ellington, and Will Fuller all banged up, Anderson (TE) played a ton of WR in place of those guys. He caught 5 of 12 targets for 79 yards and a TD while playing 84% of snaps. Expect most of those guys to be out this week, allowing Anderson to continue playing that role.
Njoku is a beast, and it’s just a matter of time that he becomes one of the best tight ends in the league. Njoku benefitted from Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman keeping extra defenders out of the middle of the field, catching 4 of 6 targets for 74 yards and a TD. With defenses needing to spend extra resources on Josh Gordon, expect Njoku to continue getting mismatches; let’s just hope the Browns choose to exploit them.
RSJ still only played on 23% of snaps, but still saw 5 targets and caught 2 of them for 44 yards. Considering, he caught 3 TDs in the 2 weeks prior, he’s an upside play if you’re swinging for the fences.
ASJ took a backseat against the Chiefs, but could come back to life against Denver, who’s given up a TD to a tight end in 3 of the last 4 weeks. It’s a good matchup, and the Jets WRs, who have been killing it lately, might not be as viable against Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. ASJ had a few TDs called back this year, and our feelings about him would be very different if he had those TDs. He’s a good play this week with Josh McCown playing well.
Playoff QB Streaming Options (~<50% owned on Yahoo)
Case Keenum (Week 14: @Car, Week 15: vs Cin, Week 16: @GB)
Keenum has been playing very well lately, and I don’t consider him matchup dependent anymore. I would play him in all three of your playoff matchups if neccessary. As far as this week, Carolina’s secondary has been very iffy and one that any of his weapons can take advantage of. Just think about all of the viable options he has: Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, Jerick McKinnon, and Latavius Murray. I would take advantage of that offense rolling how it is, and expect Keenum to continue doing what he’s doing.
Andy Dalton (Week 14: vs Chi, Week 15: @Min, Week 16: vs Det)
Dalton has quietly thrown for multiple TDs and no interceptions in his last 4 games. He’s not going to provide you a huge ceiling, but if you need someone to give you 250 and 2, he can probably do it. That being said, I probably will be okay starting him this week against Chicago at home, but not a fan of him in Minnesota and against Detroit where AJ Green will be blanketed by good corners in Xavier Rhodes and Darius Slay.
Jameis Winston (Week 14: Det, Week 15: Atl, Week 16: @Car)
Jameis has been solid in all the games he finished this year. He has decent matchups during our playoff schedules, so if you want a solid floor without real ceiling potential, Jameis should be a fine streamer throughout the playoffs.
Josh McCown (Week 14: @Den, Week 15: @NO, Week 16: vs LAC)
McCown has been playing great, but the matchups don’t favor great performances. He will probably put together solid floors, but his floor is closer to the 15 point range than the 20 points range, which is more of what we’re looking for. Denver’s defense isn’t the same as what it was, so I’m okay playing him this week, but New Orleans should be healthy and keep the Jets in a negative game script in Week 15, which is usually a good thing for QBs, but that defense is good and can cause havoc in the backfield. Not a fan of McCown during the playoff run.
Blake Bortles (Week 14: vs Sea, Week 15: vs Hou, Week 16: @SF)
I would consider picking up Bortles for your playoff stretch. The Seattle matchup isn’t as scary as it usually is, but I wouldn’t prefer to start Bortles, even though he is startable in that matchup. What really catches my eye is his Week 15 and 16 matchups against the Texans and 49ers. QBs have been finding a ton of success against both teams, so with teams stacking the box against Fournette unlike any other RB, Bortles might be forced to take advantage of what the defense will be giving him going forward.
Jimmy Garoppolo (Week 14: @Hou, Week 15: vs Ten, Week 16: vs Jax)
Garoppolo looked pretty good in his first start against the Bears last week, and he has two juicy matchups coming up. We have to figure that offenses are going to be able to score against the 49ers, so they will probably give Garoppolo a ton of volume in order to stay in games. He’s a fine streamer this week against Houston, whose secondary has been awful. Tennessee also has been very vulnerable against QBs, so feel free to use Jimmy in Week 15 as well. Just grab someone else to play in Week 16.
Deshone Kizer (Week 14: vs GB, Week 15: vs Bal, Week 16: @Chi)
I’m cool starting Kizer this week against Green Bay and in Week 16 against Chicago, although it’ll be hard for me to trust Kizer with the championship on the line. Kizer does provide a solid rushing floor, and he’s not afraid to stick his head out to get that rushing TD either. Now that he has Josh Gordon, Kizer becomes a viable option going forward outside of the Baltimore game.
Note on Tyrod Taylor: Sean McDermott said that Tyrod would be the starter when healthy. Tyrod has avoided serious damage to his knee, is considered day-to-day, but his availability is still up in the air. Tyrod would normally be a streaming candidate because of his rushing floor, but how viable will he be as a rusher if his knee gives him issues. I do worry about that rushing floor with that injury. Before picking him back up, we need to get some more updates about the injury. He has Indy this week and Miami next week, both good matchups. I will not be playing him against New England in Week 16, as their defense has been playing great, and shut down Tyrod in Buffalo this past week.