Time waits for no one, and the NFL season continues to creep to its conclusion. For the first time in a while, it was as normal a week as we can have. Which is to say, game Thursday night, full slate of games on Sunday, one Monday night game. There were several games that went down to the wire, and the playoff picture is starting to become very clear in both conferences. Hopefully the playoffs are in your future, or perhaps your league is already there.
We have a few players to highlight this week, including a couple who are worth a grab and start. One player who does not make the story this week since he is owned in the majority of leagues is Brandon Aiyuk in San Francisco. He has been lighting it up as the lone remaining healthy option at the position for San Francisco, getting a whopping 16 targets where he caught 10 of those and went for 119 yards. Check your league as he is available in some. He would certainly be the top selection if he is available in your league. Otherwise, there are several to choose from. Thanks for your continued patronage this season. On to the wonders …
RB DeAndre Washington, Miami
Miami has had to dig deep into its running back depth chart, and last week against Kansas City it was left with Washington to lead the way. The numbers at the end of the day were mediocre at best, 35 yards on 13 carries to go along with a pair of catches and 17 yards out of the backfield. He will likely be the lead back again this week in a game against a New England team that gives up yards on the ground by the bundle. Look for a much better week statistically from Washington, enough to warrant starting consideration for those in need at the position.
WR Chad Hansen, Houston
The seas have parted for Hansen, with so many subtractions all around him (Will Fuller suspension, Randall Cobb injury, etc.), he finds himself as one of the on-field starters. We listed him as on the radar last week, and though we have no categories this week, we highly recommend him as a grab and immediately play candidate. For the second week in a row, he caught seven passes; those were good for 56 yards this week against Chicago and 101 yards the previous week against Indianapolis. Look for these kinds of stats to continue with Deshaun Watson throwing the passes.
WR KJ Hamler, Denver
He seems to have capped off at 3-5 targets per game due to the nature of the Denver passing attack, but he has been making the most of those catches. This week against Carolina, both of his catches ended up as touchdowns, with the final stat sheet having him with 86 yards on those two grabs. He is obviously big play dependent, but worth a grab and hold to see if he continues to score in these final weeks of the season.
TE Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota
Any time a tight end has a bit of a touchdown binge going on, that is enough to get a mention in the weekly story. Smith found the end zone this week against Tampa Bay, as he tallied four catches for 63 yards. He was largely invisible the previous week against Dallas, but prior to that game he hit paydirt twice against Detroit. Minnesota would be wise to use him more, especially in the red zone, making him worth a look to those fantasy owners in need at the position.
WR Lynn Bowden, Miami
Both DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant left last week’s game, leaving Miami very thin at wide receiver. Getting a chance to be on the field, Bowden’s light shone brightly, to the tune of seven catches for 82 yards against Kansas City. Should Parker and Grant end up missing time, Bowden is a viable candidate to pick up and play this week against New England.
WR Tyron Johnson, Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert has been spreading the ball around, so much so that the Chargers offense can support several fantasy ball catchers. Johnson had a strong game against Atlanta, catching six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. With defenses keying on Keenan Allen, Johnson will have opportunity again this week for continued success against Las Vegas.
WR Russell Gage, Atlanta
Like Johnson for the Chargers, Gage has emerged as the second option at wide receiver for Atlanta. This past week against the Chargers he was good for five catches and 82 yards, which was on the heels of a 51-yard effort the previous week that found him in the end zone. He also throws a mean deep ball, connecting on a 38-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley. At least while Julio Jones continues to miss time, Gage is a viable fantasy option.
RB Jeff Wilson, San Francisco
The bad news is that he has been the fill in for Raheem Mostert, but the good news is that San Francisco no longer uses Jerick McKinnon, so Wilson has a solid hold on his role. Mostert has a history of missing time, so Wilson will continue to get spot duty on the field. This week against Washington, he got into the endzone on 11 carries and 31 yards. Not a ton of play, but a good candidate for a grab and hold as Mostert’s insurance policy.