Fantasy Playoffs are the beginning of a new season for most of us. We are all 0-0 at the beginning of Week 14; it doesn’t matter what your record was as long as you got in.
Now that you are in, we need to make sure out lineup is playoff ready. Even if you are not in, you will want to do the same. None of us want to suffer whatever punishment your league has in store for you if you finish last.
Hopefully you are in at least one league that does something evil to the loser of the league. Having repercussions for losing the whole thing keeps everyone in the league engaged. If you don’t currently do anything like that you should really consider it. Any internet search will pull up ideas for punishments you can dole out to the losers, try it out. It makes it more fun, you’ll like it.
I digress however. It’s Week 14, the Playoffs, Week one, and you made it. Let’s take a look at what help is out there on the waivers, and as always, let’s start with Quarterbacks.
Andy Dalton and the Bengals lost in perfect Bengals fashion this last week. That does not mean that Dalton didn’t play well though. In fact, Dalton has played very well as of late. He has averaged 200+ yards and 2+ touchdowns a week for the last four weeks.
Dalton has a good group of offensive players to get the ball to. He also finds himself behind in games often, needing to air it out to A.J. Green. The Bengals play Chicago next week and he is available in 62% of leagues. You should be lining up to grab him off of waivers if you need the help, right?
Not really. On second thought Dalton is still Dalton, or as we like to call him, “Bad Andy”. He has earned that nickname among Bengal faithful because you just never know which Andy is going to show up, “Good Andy” or “Bad Andy”. Without knowing which Andy will be in your lineup he could single-handedly cost you your playoff game. Especially if you are going against a team with a Tom Brady or Russell Wilson. Those two will not put up less than 15 to 20 points.
Dalton just might give you a good game. I don’t think it’s worth the risk when there are more consistent higher ceiling guys available like Josh McCown.
McCown who is still on 60% of the waiver wires has been amazing lately. Over the past two weeks he has thrown for 638 yards, rushed for 47 yards, and has six touchdowns. It’s fair to say that could have helped most of you in your leagues these past two weeks. The receivers on the Jets, Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse have really emerged as viable fantasy receivers lately. Because of this, McCown doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. If you pick him up you will most certainly be pleasantly surprised.
Case Keenum is up for grabs in 45% of leagues and would be another quarterback worth starting if you need the help. Keenum has been averaging 276 yards per game and 2.2 touchdowns per game over the last five weeks. That’s FIVE weeks. It’s ridiculous that 55% of owners out there think they have a better quarterback than him right now. In reality, over the last month, only about 25% of you do.
Typically, running backs are a very hard position to pick because they are usually so decimated on the waiver wires. This week however finds us with a few interested picks that are still fairly available.
Derrick Henry is still available in 40% and was a real hot dark horse pick in the draft this year. He seemed to live up to the hype on Sunday when he took 11 carries 109 yards. He turned one of those carries into a touchdown as well in their 24-13 win over Houston on Sunday. Henry looks great when he gets a chance but unfortunately is in a literal 50/50 split with DeMarco Murray. Both backs do well when given the ball. Unfortunately, neither is pulling away from the other and it seems that the coaching staff prefers it that way.
They are just too inconsistent in their timeshare to trust with your most important running back slot. It needs to be mentioned that if Murray gets banged up or in trouble then look out for Henry. He could be devastating as the lead back in that offense.
At 98% available, a running back with a much better 2017 prognosis is Peyton Barber. What a breakout game this kid had on Sunday in Tampa Bay’s OT loss to the Packers. Instead of going with the tried and true Jacquizz Rodgers head coach Dirk Koetter went with the sophomore from Auburn and it turned out to be a great decision. Now, it seems, the rumors around TB are that he has earned himself an equal part in the backfield. The better news is, that if he stays hot he might even get a bigger share than that.
I say grab him now, and if you need him use him in Week 14 then do it. If you don’t have to have him to help in your line up, proceed with caution. Maybe wait and see if he materializes over the next few weeks to use in the championships? You may end up very happy that you did.
Kerwynn Williams is another impressive back who happens to be available in 94% of leagues. Adrian Peterson hurt his hand so Williams got the start this week. In a 32-16 loss to the Rams, Williams carried the ball 16 times and recorded 97 yards. Williams looked great and comfortable in the lineup this Sunday. There is also a chance that Peterson does not go this next week again. If that is the case, Williams will most likely provide you with all the production you could hope for out of the running back position. Pick him up with confidence.