It’s the best time of year. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. It feels just like yesterday that I was celebrating the end of summer. Now I’m firing up the snow blower.
That can only mean fantasy playoffs are around the corner. In this edition of The Fire Sale I’m going to look at some players you should start considering if you’re making plans for the playoffs. Don’t worry, I’ve also included some Sneaky Starts for those of you still fighting for a spot.
As I’ve been reciting for close to 20 years now, remember Thanksgiving is about God, family and the Dallas Cowboys…just not necessarily in that order.
Now on with The Fire Sale…
Ameer Abdullah, RB Lions – Abdullah is meeting with doctors this week to get an update on his injured foot. He’s hoping to get cleared to practice. There’s a chance Abdullah could return at some point during the fantasy playoffs. It’s a long shot, but Abdullah is worth grabbing if your league has an IR spot and you can stash him. Abdullah is currently available in over 90 percent of leagues. He’s worth a roll of the dice if it’s little or no risk to you.
Derrick Henry, RB Titans – I’ve been sitting on Henry like a hen on her eggs. I own Henry in pretty much all of my leagues in case something happens to DeMarco Murray. It may never happen. If it does happen though, you have an RB1 for fantasy playoffs. And make no mistake about it; Henry is an RB1 in the Titans offense if Murray goes down. Henry is still available in about half of fantasy leagues. He’s the most valuable handcuff to own right now in my book.
Mike Gillislee, RB Bills – LeSean McCoy has already dealt with a hamstring injury and now he’s had surgery on his thumb. Gillislee has performed well whenever he’s been given an opportunity this year. He’s averaging 6.0 yards per carry and Gillislee has scored five touchdowns on the season. Gillislee would be a big fantasy asset if he becomes the lead back in Buffalo’s offense. The Bills play the Browns and Dolphins in Weeks 15 and 16. If Gillislee is the lead back in those games he could help lead many happy owners to a fantasy title.
Sammy Watkins, WR Bills – Another Bill to look at right now is Watkins. Watkins was dropped in a majority of leagues when he was placed on IR but he’s expected to return soon. He’s eligible to come off IR this week. Watkins still hasn’t been cleared to practice but the Bills are hopeful he’ll be able to play Sunday. Will Watkins’ foot hold up long enough to help owners come fantasy playoff time? That’s the question but he’s worth the risk. The Bills have absolutely no receivers right now. Robert Woods hurt his knee on Sunday, which means Buffalo is down to Percy Harvin. Watkins will be a target monster if he’s healthy down the stretch. He’s still available in 60 percent of leagues. You can either pick up Watkins or Marqise Lee. Your choice.
Tyler Boyd, WR Bengals – So all it took for Boyd to have a good game was me slamming him last week? Well, that and A.J. Green getting hurt. Oh, the power of The Fire Sale. My top sleeper of the 2016 season may not be dead yet. I whiffed on Boyd like I said last week, but Green’s injury gives us a bit of a reprieve. Brandon LaFell isn’t a No. 2 receiver, so he’s not going to perform well as a No. 1 receiver. Boyd will have an opportunity to make a weekly fantasy impact with both Green and Giovani Bernard sidelined. Give it one last push for old TC before I hang it up.
Cameron Brate, TE Buccaneers – One guy I was right on this year and still like a lot over the final month is Brate. Why in the heck is Brate still available in 60 percent of fantasy leagues? I understand he had a down game against the Chiefs but that was expected. The Chiefs extinguish tight ends. Brate had caught 15 passes in his previous three games and scored in each one. He has another tough matchup this week versus the Seahawks but come fantasy playoffs, Brate gets the Cowboys and Saints twice. Both of those teams have ranked near the Top 10 all year in giving up the most fantasy points to tight ends. Brate will be one of the better tight end plays during fantasy playoffs. Think ahead if you’re playing the matchups at the tight end position.
Sneaky Starts: Week 12
QB: Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Does anyone know why Chip Kelly was calling timeouts down 30-17 with under 2:00 to go and the Patriots on the 5-yard line? They showed Bill Belichick and he was trying not to laugh. The good news is Chip got Eric Reid hurt calling those timeouts. Reid tore his biceps tendon and is out for the rest of the year. I’ll be honest, I don’t know how the 49ers won a game. Oh…Jeff Fisher.
RB: Mike Gillislee, Bills – LeSean McCoy had surgery on his dislocated thumb Monday but he’s expected to play football on Sunday. I’m no doctor but I do watch football. My guess is Gillislee will get 10-12 carries even if McCoy does play. That’s enough to make a fantasy impact against the Jaguars.
WR: DeVante Parker, Dolphins – Chip is doing such a poor job in the NFL I’m not sure any big-time college programs even want him anymore. He might have to settle for Notre Dame.
TE: Austin Hooper, Falcons – Hooper and Jacob Tamme have been targeted a combined 15 times in the red zone with four touchdowns. Tamme is out for the year. By my crazy gorilla math that means Hooper will score this week against Arizona.
DEF: Tennessee Titans – I don’t want to say the Bears offense is a dumpster fire but they brought in Rueben Randle for a tryout. The Bears actually passed dumpster fire when they dialed Randle’s number.