Playoffs change everything
We're doing things a little different this week. It's playoff time, and that means that the lineup you have is pretty much the lineup you're sticking with. Trade deadlines are done. So all of our assessments will be about player outlook over the next two weeks. The waiver wire is (mostly) picked clean, but if you had injuries, or if you have a player with rough matchups down the backstretch, look no further; we're here to give you the edge you need to win that $140 office pool.
Interesting playoff must starts
Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers- Austin Ekeler just racked up the rare running back triple-double: 100 yards receiving and 100 yards rushing in the same game. He was the top running back this week, is the #4 overall RB total, and he plays a questionable Minnesota defense next week, followed by an atrocious Oakland defense the following week. He's a must start.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans- Here's an interesting stat for you: in the last four weeks, the only quarterback who has averaged more touchdowns per drive than Tannehill is Lamar Jackson. The Titans are white-hot, and it's mostly in part to the stellar play of "Tan Marino."
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears- Allen Robinson has the benefit of being the only offensive weapon on the entire Bears offense. This responsibility comes with insanely high usage, and therefore, fantasy value. He's also going three straight games of +20 points.
Jared Cook, TE, Saints- Jared Cook had two catches on Sunday—both going for touchdowns. His huge frame and sure hands make him the perfect endzone target for an aging Drew Brees who's catching his second wind. He has 4 touchdowns over the last four games on one of the highest scoring-offenses in the NFL.
Steelers D/ST- The Steelers are the #2 fantasy defense. After a slow start in the first three weeks, they're averaging over 16 points a game. That includes 13 against the insanely dominant Baltimore offense, 19 against Indianapolis at their offensive peak, and 22 against a loaded Rams offense. They're essentially matchup proof and, even better, they play the Jets on championship week.
Potential waiver wire pickups
A.J. Brown, WR, Titans- A.J. Brown is the favorite target of the 2nd hottest quarterback in the NFL right now. He has deep threat ability (just ask Oakland after an 83 yarder he took to the house), and Derrick Henry forces linebackers and safeties to play underneath, exposing defenses. Go with the hot hand.
Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers- Mostert is, for some reason, only rostered in 23% of leagues. The hesitation must be around the jumble in San Francisco's backfield, but last Sunday, Mostert got the bulk of the carries and was by far the leading fantasy back for the 49ers. He has +20 points in the last two games, and the ESPN app keeps downplaying him for some reason, so he remains on the waivers. Worth a move if you are short a back.
Deandre Washington, RB, Raiders- Most people thought Washington would split carries with Jalen Richard when Josh Jacobs' last-second scratch showed up on the injury report. They were mostly wrong—as Washington was used as the feature back in a lopsided affair against the Titans. While that may have been a last-second gameplan adjustment (I.e. simply swapping Jacobs usage for Washington) is left to be seen. However, if you have Jacobs, he is a solid handcuff.
Drew Lock, QB, Broncos- Well, the Broncos may have found their quarterback of the future. Since taking over, their offense has flourished and opened up. He plays against the vulnerable KC and Detroit defenses the next two weeks, and for quarterback streamers who missed the boat on Tannehill, he may be the edge you're looking for.
Playoff fool's gold
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, 49ers- Emmanuel Sanders is the beneficiary of some fireworks and trickery recently. His growth, however, does not seem sustainable. There are simply too many weapons in the San Francisco arsenal, and Sanders only has boom or bust potential. Sure his 30+ point week was an insane key to many wins across fantasy football this week, but I'll bet his sub 10 point performance next week will be the cause for a lot of wins. The last time he posted a 20+ game was week 9... He followed it with four straight games with less than 10.
Devin Singletary, RB, Bills- Devin Singletary has been a great fantasy running back this year. He's going on three straight 17+ point games. Then why our hesitation? Matchups. He plays the two best defenses in the NFL in New England and Pittsburgh the next two weeks. Buffalo will be playing from behind, and most likely, not scoring many touchdowns at all. He is a flex play with a low floor.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins- McLaurin finally caught a touchdown from Haskins. The two have not found their rhythm this year, and this last Sunday seems like (on paper) a step in the right direction. That is, unless you watched the game footage—McLaurin had to make insane catches to post any kind of a worthy performance. That kind of performance simply isn't reliable in fantasy, and until Haskins proves to be a more efficient passer, McLaurin is a risky start.
Robert Woods, WR, Rams- Robert Woods scored his first touchdown of the season Sunday night. Goff just prefers Kupp (7) and Gurley (10). So he may be somewhat valuable in PPR leagues, but his recent uptick in numbers could be the glittering of fool's gold. Proceed with measured caution.
Badass hit of the week
In a "Badass Hit of the Week" first, a QUARTERBACK has made the cut. The NFL is so soft at this point that the only position that can lay the wood without getting a flag might be a quarterback anyway. Ryan Tannehill has been so good lately that the most impressive part of a 55-yard interception by a defensive tackle is the textbook schlacking that he gives at the end of the play. Play to the whistle, fellas.