If you are reading this, it’s playoffs time, baby! As others around you drop out into fantasy oblivion, let’s do what we can to ensure your squad is as strong as possible heading into Week 15. Here are 3 RBs, 1 QB, 1 TE and even a D/ST for all you floaters out there.
One piece of advice: If you don’t have handcuffs for your stud running backs, I would go out and grab them now, if I were you. We’re talking Ben Tate (Arian Foster), Toby Gerhart (Adrian Peterson), Robert Turbin (Marshawn Lynch), Bernard Pierce (Ray Rice), etc. Nothing is worse than not having a starting RB because of injury while someone else has the backup. Using your waiver claims on handcuffs this week and next is a wise move. If you have your handcuffs all set and still have room on your bench, or if you just like to gamble without handcuffs, let’s move onto the wire.
1. David Wilson, RB, Giants
If you get points for kickoff return yards and TDs for individual players, stop whatever you are doing right now and go put in a waiver claim for David Wilson. If you don’t get those fantasy points, you should still consider giving Wilson a roster spot in your fantasy playoff squad. Ahmad Bradshaw has been dinged and bruised all season long. With three regular season games left, I would feel less than confident predicting he would start and play heavily in each of them. Wilson got his chance this weekend, and cashed in mightily with 327 all-purpose yards and three TDs Sunday afternoon against the Saints. His two rushing TDs were different: one a six-yard scamper, the other a 52-yard tare. If Bradshaw doesn’t suit up this Sunday, David Wilson could be a fantasy start (again) this week. But his increased role in the Giants offense shows that he has value even if Bradshaw is healthy enough to start. He is still available in just over 50% of all fantasy leagues.
2. Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers
He’s been mentioned in this column three times this season, but the fact that he is owned in only 26.1% of all leagues warrants this one last inclusion. This is likely the final week to get value from the 49ers new starting QB, Colin Kaepernick. Most pros project Kaepernick to out-score Aaron Rodgers in fantasy this Sunday night. And why wouldn’t they? In this past Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, Kaepernick proved he could still score 18 fantasy points in a relatively dead and low-scoring game. His dual-threat potential and ball control make him a viable fantasy QB option. His matchup with the 29th-ranked passing defense of the Patriots this Sunday gives him elite potential. Kaepernick proved he can make throws in high-scoring games, and this matchup could be his biggest shootout of the year. Start Kaepernick this weekend (likely be a top-five fantasy QB this week) and roll on with confidence in the playoffs winners’ bracket.
3. Detroit Lions, DST
It goes without saying that a defense like the Seahawks that racks up 40 fantasy points is going to jump onto every owner’s radar. That’s not a testament to how good the Seahawks defense is, so much as it is a testament to how bad the Cardinals offense is. Arizona hasn’t won a game since Week 4. That’s right: they have dropped nine straight, and there is nothing to suggest they will break that streak against the Lions this weekend. Their offense is terrible, from the season-long debacle at QB to the ongoing impossibility of their offensive line to make holes for their running backs. This team is in a worse shape than the Eagles, and I would jump on any defense facing them, Lions included. Look for Arizona to be held to a low score, and for the Lions to outdo their current ratio of 1.33 turnovers-per-game over the last seven weeks.
4. Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers
With the constant back-and-forth changes in the Pittsburgh backfield this season, it’s understandable why Jonathan Dwyer is available in over 70% of all fantasy leagues. What’s not understandable is why anyone would wait any longer to get him. Head coach Mike Tomlin has (finally) made it clear who we will be starting and featured for the remainder of the Steelers’ season: Dwyer. Upcoming for the Steelers are the Cowboys (Week 15), Bengals (Week 16) and Browns (Week 17), all bottom-half defenses against the run. With question marks remaining at QB, Pittsburgh could revert to a more run-centered offense moving forward. And even if they don’t, why wouldn’t you want to own a feature back heading into the fantasy playoffs?
5. Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens
R.J. was right last week to tell you to pick up Dennis Pitta. He led the team in receptions and also got into the end zone. Pitta has become an ever-increasingly used weapon in a Ravens offense that is on a tear. The Ravens are in the playoff hunt, and that makes me stand up and take notice. I get wary of some players on lesser teams around this time of year, but I feel more confident in guys playing on teams who have something to fight for. This week the Ravens face the Bronco,s who have had difficulty covering tight ends almost every week this season. Remember when Dennis Pitta was talked about during the first part of the season? That is when the Ravens were running a no-huddle offensive scheme. When the no-huddle went away, so did Pitta’s fantasy value. With the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, both the no-huddle and Pitta’s upside return.
6. Montell Owens, RB, Jaguars
Kudos to you if you listened to R.J. last week and picked up Montell Owens. You were likely thrilled with the 16-plus fantasy points he got you. You should feel even better if your fantasy Super Bowl is Week 17, because the Jaguars go up against a terrible Titans running defense that week. As the No. 1 RB now on the Jags’ roster, Owens proved last week that he can handle the workload, posting a stat line of 102 yards and a touchdown. Week 15 (Dolphins) and Week 16 (Patriots) are less-than-favorable matchups, but that Week 17 draw can potentially give you that double-digit production you need to get you the championship trophy in your league this year.
Honorable Mentions: WR Dwayne Harris, Cowboys (0.2% owned); WR Josh Gordon, Browns (21.1% owned); RB Joique Bell, Lions (6.0% owned); WR Rod Streater, Raiders (0.3% owned); QB Russell Wilson, Seahawks (19.1% owned); WR Danario Alexander, Chargers (27.9% owned).
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