The new generation of quarterbacks ushers out the old guard
Blue chip medal
Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans- The Patriots unsinkable defense has hit two icebergs this year, in the form of Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. How fitting, then, that these two quarterbacks are representing the new generation of elite NFL quarterbacks. The days of a pocket passer are waning, and Deshaun Watson showed us just why his legs can be such a threat. His banged-up Texans offensive line didn't hold him back from being #1 fantasy QB, as he scrambled for extra yards to buy time for his cannon (or, uhmm, iceberg-canon?) to go off. Watson and Jackson are #1/2 down the stretch.
Derrick Henry, RB, Titans- One of the biggest knocks on Henry coming out of college was his speed. Who would've thought, when he came out of Alabama 3 years ago, that his hallmark NFL attribute would be insanely long runs? He has a gain of 20+ yards in half his games played this year, and he finds paydirt even more often than that. He plays Oakland's abysmal rush defense next week for a juicy matchup.
Davante Adams, WR, Packers- Adams injury woes seem to be a thing of the past. He looked sharp in and out of cuts, showed breakaway speed, and made athletic sideline catches in the Packers 31-13 route of the Giants. His 21.4 fantasy points seem like a beautiful sign of things to come as fantasy playoffs heat up.
Loss of rank
Odell Beckham Jr, WR, Browns- Odell Beckham Jr. has gone six games in a row without 100 receiving yards. Obviously, Baker Mayfield is part of the problem. The root cause, however, is even bleaker for OBJ's future in Cleveland. Freddie Kitchens absolute inability to call plays that put the ball in his best playmakers' hands. There have been no kicking nets harmed this year, but hey, there are still four weeks left.
Drew Brees, QB, Saints- Drew Brees delivered a very lackluster performance against a juicy Atlanta matchup on Thanksgiving. The aging veteran racked up only 11.3 fantasy points, with six of them coming from a pass thrown to, ironically, his backup. Brees has his work cut out for him the next two weeks against stingy San Francisco and Indianapolis secondaries.
Nick Chubb, RB, Browns- Chubb, like OBJ, is suffering from Kitchens play-calling, however, Chubb's fantasy value has another red flag—the arrival of Kareem Hunt. Hunt vultured one touchdown from Chubb, as well as 12 touches and 79 yards. This looks like a split backfield down the stretch.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles- Alshon Jeffery's recent fantasy uptick has been directly related to his volume of late. Just last week, he was targeted sixteen times. He turned that massive volume into nine catches, 137 yards, and a touchdown; a performance which was good for 28 fantasy points. As Wentz continues to air the ball out, and his pass-catching competitor Agholor continues to be a liability, Jeffery is getting low-to-mid WR1 looks.
Devante Parker, WR, Dolphins- Well if you started Devante Parker this week congratulations on both your win and your ability to predict the future. If you're not a psychic, then chances are you saw that Parker has had four straight weeks of 10+ targets a game, and figured that a Dolphins team that is perpetually playing form behind could make Parker a worthy fantasy starter. Well, you're right, and it doesn't take a crystal ball to figure out Fitzmagic is back down the stretch. He's bordering a must start for the rest of the year.
Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins- Guice certainly has fantasy value down the stretch. He is fresh off a long period of rehab following an injury, and is still showing the consistent ability to make defenders miss. His only knock is that he is splitting carries with aging future hall of famer Adrian Peterson. Still, Guice has the edge with his pass-catching ability, especially considering the Redskins play from behind in nearly every game.
James White, RB, Patriots- White is the greatest beneficiary of a neutered Brady offense. Brady's arm isn' what it used to be, and New England has resorted to running an "efficent" West Coast offense. This means a whole lot of outlook and swing passes to White, who racked up 8 receptions for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. This stat is all the more appealing when coupled with the fact that Sony Michel is being used exclusively as a rushing threat.
Badass hit of the week
That's not an intercontinental ballistic missile you see shooting through the B-gap right there. That's Kiko Alonso, with a full head of steam, showing Devonta Freeman why offensive linemen need to communicate. Freeman couldn't do anything but lock up and pray.
...or Quandre Diggs
Quandre Diggs made a last-second bid for Badass hit of the week on Monday night, resulting in the first split-champion result of the year. This ain't no participation medal, though. This was well earned. Just ask Irv Smith (once he regains consciousness and regains full use of language again).