Alright, it’s playoff time. We’re not looking for stashes, we’re looking for players to grab and play now, or players to grab to block your opponents. Make sure you take a look at your opponent to try and figure out if they are trying to fill a glaring hole for this week, and if so, you might want to prioritize those positions if your roster is all set.
Alexander Mattison – It looks like Dalvin Cook has an AC sprain, which he can play with. It’s possible the Vikings let him rest it, but the chance of re-aggravation is high. Pain tolerance will be what determines whether Cook is available, whether he’s active or not. If you have Cook, you should’ve had Alexander Mattison; he was one of the top handcuffs all year, and if you don’t have him, it’s a good lesson of why you need to handcuff your top RB when the handcuff himself is as talented and will get a workhorse role. Mattison is available in a majority of leagues, and needs to be picked up regardless of whether you had Dalvin Cook or not; he’ll be a potential RB1 play if Cook is hurt, and will be in flex consideration even if Cook plays. He has three good matchups for your fantasy playoffs.
Raheem Mostert – Tevin Coleman might have lost his job. Raheem Mostert was out playing Coleman in this past game, and Coleman ended with only 6 touches. Mostert out-snapped Coleman 40-10, and he took 19 carries for 146 yards and a TD against the Ravens on Sunday. He’s the guy right now, and one would assume Matt Breida would step ahead of Coleman as well when he’s back. Coleman should not be in lineups in Week 14. As far as who will get goal line looks, we need a larger sample size. For now, Mostert is a must-pickup. He has a tough matchup this week, but should suffice as a RB2 in what is usually a successful running offense.
Rashaad Penny – The Seahawks ran the ball 23 times with Chris Carson… so he got his workload. Rashaad Penny was the beneficiary of a ton of overall volume in the run game with his 15 carries. However, it’s worth noting that Carson’s fumbling issues and Penny taking advantage of his opportunities has opened the door for a committee the rest of the way. Carson played on only 52% of snaps with Penny on the field for 47%, so Penny is definitely in RB2/flex consideration moving forward in this run heavy offense. He’s playable this week against the Rams, and then has a couple of pretty good matchups against Carolina and Arizona over the last two weeks of the fantasy playoffs.
Darwin Thompson – With LeSean McCoy active, Thompson led the backfield in carries and even got a goal line look and score this past Sunday. Darrell Williams got hurt, which is what led to Thompson getting more looks. Thompson ended up playing the same amount of snaps as McCoy. Damien Williams didn’t practice at all last week, so Thompson can potentially be picked up and started next week as a flex play with RB1 upside if Darrell Williams is out too. He looked good with his touches, and has the upside of being a league winner if he’s the guy getting most of the looks in this backfield. The reason why he isn’t a must pick-up is because it’s possible Darrell/Damien Williams gets healthy enough to play, but if the other must pick-up RBs are already rostered, I would make sure to prioritize Thompson. He doesn’t have the best matchups the rest of the way including this week against New England, but the Chiefs offense can put him in opportune positions to succeed.
Benny Snell – With James Conner out again, Benny Snell led the backfield with 16 carries this past week. He’ll continue to be a TD dependent RB2 while Conner is out. We don’t know Conner’s status, but he did get a couple of limited practices in last week. Good matchup against Arizona this week.
Bo Scarbrough – He’s the guy in the Lions backfield. He saw 21 carries against the Bears after an 18-carry game the week prior. He’s a TD dependent RB2 moving forward, and has a tough matchup against Minnesota next week.
Derrius Guice – Derrius Guice (10/129/2) and Adrian Peterson (13/99/1) ran wild in Carolina. I wouldn’t overreact to these performances; we’re talking only 10 carries for Guice. He looked good, but he’s still sharing early down work with Peterson. Despite the success, this is still a 3-man backfield. It was nice seeing Guice getting his goal line TD, but he’s still TD dependent on not enough volume – he’s a flex play this week against the Packers, has a very tough matchup against Philly, and then has a decent matchup against the Giants in Week 16.
Cole Beasley – He’s not the most exciting play, but he’ll give you a solid floor in PPR with upside… he’s scored a TD in 5 of his last 7 games. Baltimore’s been leaky in the slot, giving up the 12th most fantasy points to slot WRs over the four weeks prior to last week (SF doesn’t have a playmaking slot WR).
Anthony Miller – He’s back to fantasy relevance. He’s gotten off to a slow start this year due to injuries and him getting up to speed, but he’s here now. After this 13-target game, he now has 9+ targets in each of the last three games, and is playing almost exclusively from the slot. He sees Dallas next week, and Cole Beasley was able to take advantage in his revenge game, racking up 6 of 7 for 110 yards and a TD from the slot. Miller is a high-upside WR3 next week, although he’s a preferred start in PPR leagues.
Russell Gage – Gage has seen 10 targets and 9 targets over the last two games, so he’s in play as a WR3 this week against Carolina. Carolina’s been leaky throughout their secondary, but they’ve specifically given up the 5th most fantasy points to slot WRs coming into last week.
Robby Anderson – It’s very risky to play Robby this week despite the success he’s had over the last two weeks. He has a great matchup against Miami, and if you need to shoot for upside, he’s the play… just don’t be surprised if he catches one ball for 8 yards. His 11 catches for 187 yards over the last two weeks should boost your confidence a bit.
James Washington – Similar situation to Robby Anderson… if you need to shoot for upside, he’s in play against a porous Arizona secondary. Devlin Hodges loves him some Washington, as the two have accounted for 203 yards and 2 TDs this year in limited playing time. If Juju comes back, it’s either taking defenders away for Washington to make big plays, or giving Juju the majority of target share, so he’s a boom/bust start this week.
Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard – When Golden Tate is out of the lineup, Shepard moves in the slot as he did this past week. If Tate is out again, Shepard will actually have one of the tougher matchups he’s had all season against Philly. Believe it or not, the Eagles are the best at defending slot WRs in the entire league, giving up the least amount of fantasy points. That leads to Darius Slayton being the preferred option out of these two, additionally because he had more targets than Shepard did last week as well. If Tate is in, Slayton and Shepard are viable but risky plays.. since the matchup is good on the outside for both, throw in either for some upside.
Jack Doyle – With Eric Ebron on IR, Doyle is the guy at tight end, and he proved it with 11 targets last week. He has a great matchup against Tampa Bay, and is the top streamer this week.
Kyle Rudolph – Rudolph has caught 6 TDs over his last 6 games now, so keep riding that production. He has a neutral matchup this week.
Jacob Hollister – Ed Dickson hasn’t seen the field yet, and Jacob Hollister continues to be the guy. He saw 8 targets on Monday night, which actually led the team. He doesn’t have a great matchup this week or next, but has a great matchup against the Cardinals in Week 16. As far as playing him, I’m not worried about the matchups since he’s seeing targets.
Ryan Griffin – Griffin has a neutral matchup this week, and he caught 5 of 7 targets this past week. He has upside of reaching the end zone in addition to yardage, so he’s a boom/bust streamer if you need some upside.
Mike Gesicki – He is seeing consistent volume, and the word consistent is hardly used next to any tight end’s name. He’s seen at least 6 targets in each of the last 5 games, and 7 in each of the last two. His 2 TDs in each of the last two games is a great sign, and he sees the Jets this week, who aren’t particularly giving when it comes to the tight end position… neither were the Eagles though. Still, he should provide a decent floor in PPR leagues. It’s worth noting that Jamal Adams was in a walking boot after the game on Sunday, and there’s no word whether he’ll be able to play this week.
Tyler Higbee – Tyler Higbee got it done against the league’s worst defense against tight ends with Gerald Everett out of the lineup this past week. If Everett is out again, you might want to start Higbee next week against Seattle; the Seahawks are giving up the 3rd most fantasy points to tight ends.
Jason Witten – Witten’s random as hell, but if you’re in a deep league, he’s worth starting in a good TE matchup against Chicago.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – He’s been getting it done, and he has another shot to do it against the Jets. 5 TDs over the last 2 games, and his best WR in DeVante Parker is balling. Fitzpatrick has the Giants in Week 15 and the Bengals in Week 16. He could be your fantasy playoff QB.
Ryan Tannehill – Tannehill didn’t do much with his legs last week, but that was probably more of an anomaly. The Raiders pass defense is porous, and Tannehill should be able to take advantage. He’s a high floor option as a streamer this week. He has a great matchup against Houston in Week 15, and a decent one in Week 16.
Sam Darnold – The matchup wasn’t great for Darnold last week, but it is this week against Miami. Carson Wentz struggled all year and made it happen last week, and so can Darnold. Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, and Ryan Griffin all have good matchups, so Darnold is a streamer worth picking up if you don’t have too many options.
Jacoby Brissett – Tampa Bay’s secondary has been lit up all year, and Brissett will get his shot this week. He’s a low-end streamer, but has a good chance at having a decent game if there aren’t too many options.
Other Week 15 Potentials: Matt Stafford vs Tampa Bay if he’s back, Gardner Minshew @ Oakland, Daniel Jones vs Miami
Other Week 16 Potentials: Phillip Rivers/Tyrod Taylor vs Oakland, Gardner Minshew @ Atlanta, Daniel Jones @ Washington, Andy Dalton @ Miami
Assuming you already have your streamers for the playoffs, but if you don’t, here are some options that might still be available in your league.
Packers vs Redskins – The Packers are favored by 13 points at home, which means Dwayne Haskins can potentially be put in a one-dimensional game script. The Redskins will try and pound the rock regardless, but there’s a chance Haskins needs to make more plays to catch up which can result in mistakes. Not only that, but the Packers have a great pass rush while the Redskins don’t have good protection, giving the Packers more chances to turn the ball over and rack up sacks. Packers have Chicago at home in Week 15, so you can continue to stream them.
Browns vs Cincinnati – The Bengals will travel to the Browns, who are favored by 8.5 points. The Browns pass defense and pass rush (even without Miles Garrett) has been solid, so starting them against an inept Cincinnati offense at home is a good idea. Droppable after this week.
Jets vs Dolphins – If Jamaal Adams practices and suits up, I’d be willing to play the overachieving Jets defense, but if their leader isn’t out there, I’ll pass. Droppable after this wee
Vikings vs Lions – David Blough didn’t look too shabby in his NFL debut on Thanksgiving, but he’s still an undrafted rookie. It’s worth noting that the Bears kind of figured him out later in the game, so with one game on film from Blough, the result might not be great for him. The Vikings secondary is very bad, but there’s a chance the rookie struggles if he sees looks he doesn’t like outside of his home stadium. The Vikings are favored by 14 points.
Texans vs Broncos – Drew Lock was solid in his debut, but with one game of film on him, the Texans will have an advantage. They are favored by almost 10 points, so the hope is that the Broncos offense needs to become one dimensional against the Texans.
Week 15 Streamers to keep an eye on and potentially roster now: Green Bay vs Chicago, Seattle @ Carolina, Kansas City vs Denver
Week 16 Streamers to keep an eye on and potentially roster now: Indianapolis vs Carolina, Denver vs Detroit, Washington vs NY Giants, Miami vs Cincinnati, Cincinnati @ Miami