Many thanks to Nick for filling in last week while I spent a little time with the family. I suppose I should have checked the NFL schedule prior to booking the trip as being on limited internet access the week before the final fantasy game of the season was not ideal…but the weather was perfect and a great time was had by all!
Though most leagues are now in playoff mode, we do keep this article going for those of you that do have the opportunity (and need!) to pick up some scraps off the waiver wire. This past week saw more injuries to major players (see also, Greg Jennings and DeMarco Murray), so depth charts for the Packers and Cowboys will be adjusted. We’ve got a handful of wide outs that are sparsely owned and performing well, and we sprinkle in some talk about players at other positions as well.
Thanks, as always, for reading. Let’s get right into this week’s story…
Green Bay Packers
We’ll start this week with a discussion of the Packers’ offense. The injury to Greg Jennings ends his regular season, making him a useless commodity in fantasy leagues. Though likely already owned (70% ownership in on-line leagues), James Jones will become the immediate beneficiary of Jennings’ stats and he is worth starting in all formats. Jermichael Finely is most certainly owned, but he will also see a spike in his stats so Finley owners that have had him on the bench can now consider him for a starting lineup spot. A shade down the depth chart, Donald Driver and the rookie Randall Cobb will also get a slight bump. Both are currently owned in around 25% of on-line leagues, so those in desperation mode can look here. Both are difficult to predict, and though Driver will have the more consistent numbers of the two, I’d rank Cobb slightly ahead due to his big play potential. We’ll talk later about some other wide outs that might be available that I’d prefer over both of these guys.
At running back, Ryan Grant (67% owned) performed very well in place of the injured James Starks. He is certainly well rested, having taken a back seat most of the season. He ran for 85 yards and scored his first two touchdowns of the season this week. Starks’ status for the future is unknown, but look for an increased emphasis on the running game in Green Bay. The weather is turning cold and the Packers will want to make sure that Aaron Rodgers does not take any unnecessary injury risks.
Speaking of the quarterback, the other piece here is quarterback Matt Flynn. Losing Jennings may force coach McCarthy to step off the gas pedal a bit to make sure that Rodgers is healthy for the playoffs. Flynn will not put up the astronomical numbers that Rodgers has been cranking out, but Rodgers owners would be wise to grab Flynn in case the Packers sit Rodgers in any of the final regular season games.
QB Rex Grossman, Washington
With the Giants and Vikings on the upcoming schedule, Grossman has a very good chance of repeating his recent successes when it counts most – the fantasy playoffs. After sitting out the middle three games of the season, he is averaging 250 yards and a TD pass in the last five games. The running game is in shambles, so look for these numbers to continue. He’s only owned in 38% of on-line leagues so don’t be afraid to grab him and drop him in as your starter if you are struggling at the position.
WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver
Nick had Thomas listed in this space last week, and he did not disappoint, following up a 144-yard, two TD effort two weeks ago with a 78-yard one TD effort this past week. Much has been made of the Broncos passing game, so we won’t rehash that here, but the numbers the past two weeks do not lie. On this week’s schedule is a Patriots secondary that can cover no one, Thomas’ recent success will continue. Only owned in 32% of on-line leagues, he’s worth owning in all formats, as well as consideration as a flex/WR3 starter this week.
WR Doug Baldwin, Seattle
Baldwin may break the record for amount of times mentioned in this space over the course of the season as he gets into this week’s story once again. Being the top wide out for the Seahawks isn’t that great, but he did put up 93 yards and a touchdown in this week’s Monday night win over the Rams. The Bears’ soft passing defense is on tap this week, so look for Baldwin to have another good week of fantasy production. Owned in under half the on-line leagues, those in need at the position can consider adding him to their roster.