Steve Miller | December 3rd, 2019
It’s officially playoff time – unless you’re still in one of those really antiquated leagues that play through week 17. No matter the case, this column has two focuses – weeks 14 and 15. If you get to week 16, it’s a whole new game.
Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (5%)
Is the darling of the preseason going to provide a playoff performance worthy of a start this week? It certainly is possible, as Thompson is potentially in line for an extended run. Darrel Williams went down with a non-contact injury – never a good sign. Damien Williams was out last week with a rib injury, and he’s not guaranteed to play this week either. And the third back is Shady, whose role has been limited as they try to keep him fresh for the postseason, limiting him to less than 15 touches in the past 6 games, plus holding him out as a healthy scratch two weeks ago. All this adds up to Darwin Thompson possibly seeing 12+ touches in the KC offense. Pending the seriousness of the two Williams’ injuries, Thompson could be the fantasy playoffs out of nowhere guy for championship teams.
Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (14%)
Another name that could evolve into that championship-winning play is Raheem Mostert in San Francisco. Mostert is in a 3-headed RBBC, and he’s been seeing the fewest opportunities of the backs. That said, he’s also been the most efficient runner. Per @GrantCohn who covers the Niners, Mostert is tied for 6th in the league in broken tackle percentage at 21.7%, leads the league in off tackle yards per carry (7.2), and is fourth in the league in yards after contact per carry (3.3 YPC). And according to Rich Hribar, Mostert leads the 49ers in five and ten-plus yard runs, first-down run percentage and positive yardage run percentage. He’s the best back on that team, and he may get to shine in the fantasy playoffs. In week 13, he was finally handed “lead back” duties, and he turned in a top-five fantasy RB performance, 20+ touches, 150+ yards, and a score. That’s as good as it gets from a waiver wire candidate.
Benny Snell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (34%)
A solid flex play this week if James Conner misses more time, Snell has been the “workhorse” in Pittsburgh the past two weeks. He’s toted the rock 37 times for over 160 yards and a score. He’s not adding a ton in the passing game, but if he gets the start in Week 14, he’s a great option. Snell gets a top ten match-up in the Cardinals. Volume is king in fantasy, and Snell looks to be in line for 15-20 touches. Sign me up for that in the flex hole.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans (39%)
Stuck at QB thanks to the onslaught of injuries and misery at the position this year? Maybe you need to give Mr. Tannehill a second chance for fantasy because he’s been doing excellent things with his second chance in the NFL. While his recent performance against Indy wasn’t a dominant fantasy line, it was serviceable. He’s thrown for over 300 yards or at least 2 TDs in every game he’s started this season, and he’s playing Oakland this week (4th most points to QBs on the year). Fire him up.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings (31%)
Dalvin Cook got banged up last night. If he misses any time, Mattison is a plug-and-play flex/RB2 option for Cook owners in a pinch. The rookie is averaging a healthy 4.8 YPC this season, but he demonstrated he could carry the load in college at Boise State, rushing for just under 3,000 yards in his final two years. While initial reports appear to have Cook returning this week, it’s worth your time to pick up this valuable handcuff, especially for Cook owners.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins (19%)
In the past five weeks, Gesicki has been targeted six or seven times per game in each outing, and he’s caught no less than three passes in any of those games. While two of those still ended up as duds, the second-year tight end has also put up three double-digit PPR performances, including two in a row. Then you look at Miami’s schedule: Jets, Giants, Bengals. Those will be games that Miami can win, but may not be TE-friendly games. Week 14 against the Jets is worrying, as they allow the fourth-fewest points to Tight Ends this year. I’m buying into his increased workload, but I’m hoping to leverage that in Week 15 when he gets the woeful New York Football Giants.
Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants (27%)
The young WR has been targeted 7+ times in the past 3 contests. He’s finding a groove with Daniel Jones, and he gets the Philadelphia Eagles (worst in the league) secondary this week. I’m also firing up Sterling Shepard wherever possible this week, but Slayton is worth a look in PPR leagues for owners scrambling to fill that WR3 spot.
Ultimately, if you’re trusting in the waivers, you gotta go with your gut on who to pick up. I can provide some stats on these guys, but it’s the fantasy playoffs. YOU got your team here, now trust YOURSELF, and start who you believe in. Good luck!
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