By Sean Weymouth
With the playoffs either a week away or this week, depending on your league, I thought it would be a better idea to use this space to highlight players who really could be a league winner for you based on their performance in Week 13 and what their future holds.
Some of these players are surprisingly on most waiver wires while others if you don’t have you likely can’t trade for either – so take from this what you need for your team.
Format here will be simple. I will go through each position and include potential league winners (Week 13 Studs) and potential candidates that will hurt your chances, or at least are play at your own risk (Week 13 duds).
Lastly – there are certain players that I don’t think you need me to tell you to start every week. Mahomes, McAffery, Dalvin Cook, Davante Adams, Russell Wilson etc etc – you get my point. The studs who have delivered for you each week are not ones you are going to fade come playoff time. But maybe you can get some thoughts going on who else you will need or want as you enter the promised land. Get it? Ok – let’s go:
Lamar Jackson: if you have not been lucky enough to have Jackson as your QB this season – I’m sorry. If you had questions on Lamar going into week 13 and sat him and lost – Shame, SHAME! It is time we see Lamar Jackson as set it and forget it and WIN with it. Against easily his toughest test – Nick Bosa and the Niners shut down defense. Jackson still comes out with 22 Fantasy Points. Not even a minimal throwing effort of just over 100 yards could stop Lamar as he also ran for 100 yards. Two touchdowns too – one on the ground and one through the air – and the Ravens pull out the win. After that performance does Buffalo in Week 14 scare you? Shouldn’t. Then after that he gets – the Jets. Bomb. And for playoff finals how about Lamar Jackson vs the Browns. Studly. LEAGUE WINNER.
Josh Allen: here is another guy that I think a lot of doubt was clouding over. Here’s the thing though – he may not be matchup proof, but he is finding a way to win and stay in games. By land (his feet) or by air (enter Smokey Brown and Cole Beasley) – Allen is finding a way to get it done and that only can help you and your team. Week 13 against Dallas how about a touchdown on the ground and a touchdown through the air. 231 passing yards on 19 completions plus 10 rushes for 50 yards. That is like Lamar Jackson style of play. Yes his task with Baltimore is tough in Week 14 and sure the Steelers and Pats in 15 & 16 aren’t ideal but look at his fantasy points per week since their bye: 21, 18, 17, 25, 33, 20, 23 … you are telling me with a floor/ceiling like that you couldn’t take an opponent downtown to China Town – I bet you could. 50% of you can find this player on your waiver wire by the way. Studly. LEAGUE WINNER.
Ryan Tannehill: is there a better story in the NFL right now than Ryan Tannehill and his complete turnaround of the Titan’s season? You want to hear something crazy? Graham a Barfield tweeted earlier – Since becoming the starter for the Titans, only 4 QBs have a better average fantasy points scored per game that Tannehill. Those QBs? Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Aaron Rogers and Dak Prescott. Hmm Jackson and Allen are above – how can we not talk Tannehill right here. Week 13 Ryan went 17 of 22 for 182 yards and two touchdowns. 17+ fantasy points and in week 14 he gets the Oakland Raiders. Week 15, Houston and Championship Week 16 he plays the Saints. Tannehill is available on the waiver wire in 65% of leagues. If you are worried about your QB spot – here’s a potential ticket to the finals. Studly. Titan Up! LEAGUE WINNER. ￼
Honarable Mention: Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last two weeks 23, 26 fantasy points. Week 14: The Jets, Week 15: The Giants, Week 16: The Bengals. Likely available on your waiver wire now, you could do worse than having some Fitzmagic in your playoff lineup.
Sam Darnold: trust is a big thing in fantasy. Can you trust your players amount of usage, targets, touches, red zone looks – well somewhere around Week 12 the talk in the fantasy community was trust in Sam Darnold – his upcoming matchups are just too good. Welp the Cincinnati Bengals proved spoilers in Week 13 and this is my warning – it’s time to get out of the Darnold business while you still can. Week 13 – 28 of 48 for 239 yards and no touchdowns. He was hit 9 times and 4 sacks, Darnold is to say the least banged up. Week 14 he gets the Dolphins which should be fine playoff match up for you but Week 15 and 16? Baltimore and Pittsburgh. I see Duds in his future and your playoff chances if you are starting him after this week. Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER.
Aaron Rogers: it’s tough for me to say this but if you are lucky enough to make the playoffs this season in your league, can you trust Aaron Rogers? Week 13 Aaron Rogers – YES. 243 yards and 4 touchdown passes. Week 7 Aaron Rogers – For Sure. 429 yards and 5 touchdown passes. But what about Week 9 Aaron Rogers? 12.94 Fantasy Points. Or Week 10 Aaron Rogers? 10 Fantasy Points. Or Week 12 Aaron Rogers? 9.46 Fantasy Points. To quote Lisa Loeb: No, No, No, No … now in Week 14, turn the radio up Rogers plays the Redskins. But weeks 15 and 16? The Bears and Vikings. It may be bold to say, but I can’t trust Aaron Rogers in the playoffs. And it may be even bolder to say but if you do? Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER
Tom Brady: it pains me so much to say this but, I can’t trust Tom Terrific this year. I just can’t. Maybe it’s because he can’t trust his receivers not named Edleman and White. Maybe it’s because he can’t trust a tight end not named Gronk. Maybe it’s because he can’t trust Sony Michel to run more than 3.4 yards per carry. But here’s a reality – since week 4, Brady has 5 games with fewer than 15 Fantasy Points and 4 with over 15. In total he has topped 20 Fantasy Points 6 times, which means he has been below 20 6 times as well. 5 of those 6 have been below 15 fantasy points. Yuck. Week 14 he will be a part of what should be a shoot out against Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs. Week 15 he should dominate against the Bengals. The operative word used in those two sentences is “should”. Week 13 saw most of his points come during garbage time. Do you want to rely on garbage time in the playoffs? Oh and by the way – Championship Week, he gets The Bills. The team that held him to only 3.9 fantasy points in Week 4. Uh Uh. Tom Brady – Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER
Dishonorable Mention Think what I just wrote about Brady was bad? How about this – Jarod Goff has 5 games this season with FEWER than 5 Fantasy Points AND only THREE games this season with 20 or more. Week 14-16? Seahawks, Dallas & San Francisco. Michael Fabiano tweeted it best – If you have Tannehill on your waiver wire, drop Goff and Pick Up Tannehill. Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER
Derek Henry: Here’s another Titan who has really Titan’d Up. Let’s talk about Derek Henry over the last 4 weeks shall we? 559 Rushing Yards and 4 Touchdowns. Yes that’s right, 51% of a 1,000 yard season in 4 games. In that span too he is averaging 2 targets per game and he has caught every target he has gotten including a touchdown pass. Start him confidently in Week 14, 15 and even 16 against the Saints (aka Championship Week). He’s just that dominant and mark my words he’ll be a LEAGUE WINNER
Rashaad Penny: We got a lot of clarity on how Pete Carroll will be using his backs moving forward in Week 13 with both Penny and Carson basically splitting the carries and with Carson going over 100 yards on the ground and a score and Penny going 104 total yards and 2 touchdowns. The difference – Carson is rostered in nearly 100% of leagues and Penny is rostered in just over 56%. If Penny is out there pick him up. Take a look at Weeks 14 – 16 of this run first offense: The Rams, The Panthers, The Cardinals. Rashaad Penny as a RB2 or Flex could make you a LEAGUE WINNER
Leonard Fournette: this has been an interesting season for Fournette. First, it had been a healthy one as Leonard has started every game thus far for the first time in his career. Second, Leonard has been targeted and catching passes as evidenced in week 12 and 13 taking 9 receptions per week for 75 and 82 yards respectively. Lastly, he has been every bit of a bell cow playing on roughly 90% of offensive snaps. Now entering the playoff weeks not only is Mishew Mania back but big Leonard gets the Chargers, Raiders and Falcons. Fournette should feed and starting him could make you a LEAGUE WINNER
Honarable Mention: James White has been a consistent target and trusted player of Tom Brady for years now. However after coming off easily his best game of the season in Week 13, White will be a big part of the game plan in Week 14 against The Chiefs; in Week 15 against The Bengals and in Week 16 against Buffalo. Whether as an RB2 or a Flex. White could be a ticket to be a LEAGUE WINNER
Alvin Kamara just like with Aaron ROGERS, I hate putting Kamara on this list, but the reality is – can you trust Kamara with the Playoffs on the line? If this season is to judge, I don’t think I can. Believe it or not (and if you have been rostering him you can believe me) but Kamara only has 1 game this season where he has scored over 20 fantasy points and only 2 over 15. Every other game he has played in has been 10 points or fewer. You aren’t going to take down a league with those kind of numbers. Plus in week 14, 15 and and I just can’t trust him against San Fran, Indy and Tennessee. He could be a Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER
Le’Veon Bell: I couldn’t believe it in one of my League’s draft a guy had the 3rd pick and Christian McAffery was available – and the guy took Le’Veon Bell. Yikes. Here is the deal – he was buying into the legend of Bell but reality has certainly set in. Now this is no disrespect to Bell who has really been a work horse, bell cow for the Jets and have not complained either. However for all of that effort, what has been the return? No 20 Fantasy Point games. In fact only 4 games with more than 12 fantasy points. Week 13 – 6.7 Fantasy Points against The Bengals… really? Week 14 he gets Miami but what guarantee is there Bell can get more than 12 points? Then Week 15 & 16, Bell takes on Baltimore and Pittsburgh. I just can’t do it and neither should you. Lev, you are a Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER.
Todd Gurley: I think the thing is with Gurley is that if you haven’t already given up on him in your lineup you probably won’t be able to. Especially after a very Gurley Week 13 with 19 touches, 95 yards and a score. However you need to be real – much like the Patriots, there is something amiss with the defending NFC champs and Gurley could be one of those amiss things. In week 14 he gets Seattle who back in week 5 he did have two rushing scores on BUT then in Week 15 it’s Dallas who will be fighting tooth and nail for playoff positioning and lastly in Championship Week 16 – it’s San Fran time for Gurley. The first time the Rams met the Niners this season, Gurley was a scratch. This time in Week 16 if you are in the Championship of your league Gurley May have you scratching your head for starting him. Todd Gurley Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER
Dishonarable Mention: Saquon Barkley. From consensus number 1 fantasy draft pick to being a scourge to many fantasy rosters the tough times will continue for Barkley during playoff season with Philadelphia out of the gate in Week 14 and Eli Manning back under center. It is true that Barkley has not been the same since the injury earlier in the season but if you can make it past Philly in round 1 of your playoffs, you do get Saquon vs the Dolphins in Week 5. So have faith. But it is highly possible that Saquon is a Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER.
Davante Parker: 5th year breakout? For sure. Who would have thought that Davante Parker would be WR #15 entering fantasy playoff time but he is. If you were lucky enough to grab him off waivers earlier this season – hopefully he has been a mainstay in your lineup since. Here’s why. in his last three games he has had no less than 90 yards and has had no less than 10 targets per game. Week 13 saw 2 Touchdown Passes too. Take a look at what he has during playoffs by the way – The Jets in Week 14, The Giants in Week 15 and The Bengals in Week 16. Start this man with confidence and become a LEAGUE WINNER
DJ Moore: here’s another can you believe – can you believe that DJ Moore is WR #13? Since week 6 Moore has 9 or more targets per game and has only 1 game under 75 yards, and 3 with 100 or more. He also caught a Touchdown Pass in Week 13 – his 3rd in 2 . His playoff season opponents upcoming Week 14 – Atlanta, Week 15 – Seattle and Week 16 it’s Indy. Moore could be a great WR 3 or Flex on your Championship LEAGUE WINNER
Allen Robinson: Now keep in mind I know who is throwing the ball to him but in my opinion, I wish I had Allen Robinson on my playoff roster. Over the last 4 weeks he has had 86 yards or more in 3 of 4 games and he has scored a touchdown in the last 2, including week 13. His Playoff Season matchups also are favorable – Dallas, Green Bay and Kansas City. Look – it’s not a sexy pick to have Allen Robinson here but for many – there have been many up and down performances from your WR 1 this season right? Robinson could be a very safe WR 2 or Flex for your LEAGUE WINNER team.
Honorable Mention: Keenan Allen has had an up and down season but coming off of a strong game in Week 13 with a perfect 6 catches on 6 targets for 67 and a score, Allen has a very favorable Playoff Season for you with Jacksonville, Minnesota and Oakland on tap. If there is ever a stretch for Allen to come through for you it’s this one. He certainly can be a help for your LEAGUE WINNING team.
Julio Jones: I hate putting Jones here but I have to. I have him in 2 of my 3 leagues and trust me – I know the pain of Julio Jones 2019 all too well. Week 2 and 3 aside, Julio has scored 10 or more fantasy points only twice. He also hasn’t found the end zone since week 3. Double Coverage and man coverage against some of the leagues toughest corner backs are to blame – but when your quarterback is averaging 36 pass attempts per game, and your name is Julio Jones, you need to find a way to catch some balls and get a Red Zone Target here and there right? Someone needs to call Julio and tell him that. I have zero faith things will get any better, if Julio plays, in Week 14 against Carolina. Then in week 15 he goes against San Fran. If my teams even make the finals, he will play Jacksonville which should be a good matchup but then again Julio has had good matchups all season long and so far, it hasn’t been good. Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER.
Mike Evans: another guy I hate to have here but how can you trust Mike Evans with your playoff hopes and dreams. His last 4 games have all been exploitable matchups and some how or another he has delivered and average of 6 fantasy points per game. Evans is a monster and in most man to man matchups, he’s simply going to put muscle everyone – well except for everyone in the last 4 weeks. Indy’s zone heavy secondary is not going to help in Week 14. Darrius Slay isn’t going to help in Week 15 and with Houston likely playing for playoff positioning in Week 16 I don’t like that matchup either. The other issue is how dynamic his team mate Chris Godwin has been with every catch he makes. Who are you going to throw to if you are Jameis Winston? Double covered Evans or the dynamic Godwin out of the slot. Yeah, me too. Mike Evans you are a Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER
Amari Cooper: this May be more of a testament to the suddenly exposed and lack luster Cowboys offense but doesn’t it seem a million years ago when Amari Cooper was last fantasy relevant? It was actually in Week 10 against the Vikings. But since then it has been a tough road for Cooper and I don’t like what I see coming – Week 14 The Bears, Week 15 The Rams and Jaylen Ramsey. Now Week 16, if you get there, could be interesting for Cooper going against Philadelphia – but you need to get there and I don’t know if Cooper is the guy to help get you there. Fantasy PLAYOFF LOSER.
TE – (quick note, since quality TEs are so hard to find and play with consistency, and since names like Kittle, Kelce and Andrews, Hunter, Waller, Engram or Hooper are just givens as your starters. Instead I’m only going to highlight a few TEs that I like for the playoffs who may be going over looked. With so many TEs being duds all season long, these picks may help you find a way out of the black hole called Tight End on your roster)
Mike Gesicki: Fitz Magic has been magic for Gesicki who for the last 2 weeks has seen 7 targets and scored a touchdown. Now Gesicki and the suddenly hot Dolphins have The Jets, The Giants and The Bengals in tap for you’re fantasy playoff dreams. He is involved, he is being targeted and he’s scoring. That’s a LEAGUE WINNER to me – and he’s available in well over 50% of waiver wires.
Jacob Hollister: here’s another Tight End who has really come on strong in the latter half of the season. Week 13 aside, in 3 of his last 4 he has seen 6 or more targets and scored twice. He is clearly a target for Russell Wilson and with whatever is going on with Tyler Lockett, Russ needs his targets. His playoff season opponents – The Rams, Carolina and in Week 16 could it be – the Arizona Cardinals?! Yes it is. Yes it could be a LEAGUE WINNER for you too! Hollister is also available on 50% of waiver wires too …
Jarod Cook: Being Drew Brees’ tight end can have its advantages – and over the last 4 weeks Cook has certainly taken advantage with 3 of his last 4 seeing 6 or more targets from Brees. He’s also scored twice during that time and in weeks 12 and 13 respectively 99 and 85 yards. Now looking at Playoff Season, his week 14 matchup isn’t great in San Francisco – but if you can survive it, Week 15 he gets The Colts and in Week 16 the Titans. You could do worse for you LEAGUE WINNER than Jarod Cook and though he likely is owned, it never looks to hurt to take a look.
Jack Doyle: here’s the cold hard truth. With Eric Ebron on IR and TY Hilton banged up, Jacoby to Doyle has simply become a thing especially in Week 13 going 6 for 73 and a score. Now Hilton may be back so keep an eyes on that, but if he does sit again fire up Doyle confidently in Week 14 against Tampa and he makes a fine play in Week 15 against the Saints and week 16 against the Panthers. Oh, Doyle Rules. LEAGUE WINNER
Good Luck in your Playoffs!