Happy Post-Turkey Day everyone! For those that are wondering, even though some leagues close up the waiver wire, we do keep this going for the entire season. We thank you for your patronage.
Order is being restored around the NFL. The favorites were white hot this past week, covering a dozen of the 15 games on the slate, including a couple big double digit lines. Top dogs Julio Jones and Antonio Brown are the top fantasy producers, closely followed by a group of players that includes Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers. Keenan Allen and Robby Anderson (“vote me into the Pro Bowl!”) are in the top ten, along with Alvin Kamara and Le’Veon Bell. Passing is king right now, but winter is just around the corner, is your team prepared to take to the ground when the cold weather hits?
Before we get to this week’s list, a note about the “fighting” that once again reared its ugly head this week. A few weeks back, there were a string of incidents around the league, and the Commish for the most part left things as they were. Players that were kicked out of the game did not receive more punishment, players that were not ejected (but should have been) got a one game vacation. After a week hiatus, Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib went at it in a multi-round bout over a necklace that went on until they were both ejected. Crabtree had yet to touch the ball, so he disappointed his fantasy owners with a goose egg for the day, a tough pill to swallow for a player that had been averaging around 15 fantasy points per game. Reports are that this time, two game suspensions have been handed down. Let’s hope this sends the message that this type of behavior is not to be tolerated as it’s not good for anyone.
A short menu of turkey day leftovers this week, single list format. Most of the mentions are at running back, which is good for the fantasy owner that needs to “winterize” their roster. On to the wonders!
RB Kenyan Drake, Miami
After the trade of Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins had been splitting things up between Drake and Damien Williams. The Dolphins in general have a difficult time running the ball, but against the Patriots this week Williams left the game and did not return. Reports are the he will miss some time, leaving Drake as the sole runner in the Miami backfield. Big numbers are not expected, but given the playing time opportunity, Drake is worth a look for those in need of someone to run the ball.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona
We mentioned Seals-Jones in last week’s story as the last player on our list, and this week he makes the leap to one notch away from our top recommendation. He and Blaine Gabbert have something going on that can no longer be considered a fluke. Two weeks ago against the Texans he burst onto the scene by scoring twice on a day he caught three passes good for 54 yards. He backed that up this week by scoring again while posting four more catches and 72 yards against the Jaguars. He needs to be owned in all leagues, and should these numbers continue then he is worthy of being a fantasy starter.
RB Rod Smith, Dallas
With Ezekiel Elliott on the sideline, the Cowboys are splitting things up with Smith and Alfred Morris. Though the rushes are being split evenly between the two, Smith is getting thrown to out of the backfield and is also being called upon as the goal line back. Available in most leagues, Smith is worth a look as he is the back with the biggest upside in Dallas.
TE Julius Thomas, Miami
The steaming heap that the Dolphins have been rotating through at quarterback has produced an opportunity for them to work their tight end into the game plan. Thomas was busy this week in New England, catching five passes for 52 yards. This game comes on the heels of a four catch effort against the Bucs the previous week, so we like the trend that is taking place here. Thomas is worth an add and hold as a backup fantasy tight end.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Oakland
Our lone wide out in this week’s story, Patterson is a speculative add based on the Raiders needing someone to catch the ball. They will not only be dealing with the suspension of Michael Crabtree, but the multiple injuries to Amari Cooper that may keep him out of next week’s contest against the Giants. This past week he was good for three catches and 72 yards, so he is clearly capable. Now he will have the playing time to produce like that again.
RB Eddie Lacy, Seattle
For the duration of this season, the Seahawks running back position has been something fantasy owners have been unable to solve. Just when things are pointing in one direction, Seattle takes a completely different tact. Back from injury, the Seahawks gave the ball to Lacy early and often this week in San Francisco. He carried the ball 17 times, and though those touches only translated into 46 yards, he looks to have earned himself more touches in the future. He added a trio of catches out of the backfield, making him a candidate to grab and hold to see if he can repeat this amount of work on a consistent basis going forward.
RB Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay
Things have gotten complicated in the Bucs backfield, with Doug Martin leaving last week’s game with a concussion. Even with Jacquizz Rodgers in the mix, Barber is the player getting the goal line touches. This past week, Barber scored twice putting him at least on the level with Rodgers should Martin miss time. A bit of a reach, but worth a shot for those in deep leagues in need at the position.