Fantasy Football: Working the Waiver Wire Playoff Edition

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Jimmy Garapollo

Isn’t there some obligatory Jim Mora reference button that needs to be pushed right now? And not just pushed once. Oh no. Once would not be enough. Push that button until the end of the earth. Push it until there are languages crafted on the nuances of Mora’s derision. Or until statues are erected in it’s honor. That way when people ask what our generation contributed to the world, we can point to that video and say “that overplayed reference right there” with pride. Too much?

Either way you’re likely here because your team is in the playoffs, so congratulations. Now some of you are in playoffs wondering how you got there with your current team, and some of you know why you’re there but are looking to block your competition. For both of those situations and many more, there is a list below of players with decent to good matchups in week 13 and beyond. Week 17 is not taken into account because no fantasy league should hold their championship in that week. If you’re in a league like that, please get help. It’s not too late–well, it’s too late for this season, but you get the point.

The players below are also owned in 50% (or less) of ESPN or Yahoo leagues out there. If you decide to play the streaming game, hopefully it works out for the best for you. Good luck, everyone.

Fantasy Football: Working the Waiver Wire Playoff Edition

Quarterbacks:

Blake Bortles (SEA, HOU, @SF)

Once upon a time, ladies and gentleman, Bortles was the turnover lord. He could look a potential scoring drive right in the eye as if to say “not on my watch” and then promptly ruin it as only Bortles could. Somehow Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin have tamed the great Bortles this season.

Through 13 weeks he has yet to throw a red zone interception. Crazy, right? Now Bortles faces a decent playoff slate, making him a top option for those thin at quarterback. The Seattle Seahawks may have done a decent job against Carson Wentz; however, their team will have two notable obstacles to overcome in this matchup: their injuries and playing on the road.

After the Seahawks, Bortles has two plus matchups. Since their bye, the Houston Texans have surrendered multiple passing touchdowns in four out of six games. In an attempt to match the Texans, the San Francisco 49ers have accomplished the same feat in eight of their games this season.

One potential cap to Bortles’s fantasy production is his stout defense. The defense creates game scripts that are more supportive of the running game, which limits the window of time that Bortles can do his damage.

Jimmy Garoppolo (@HOU, TEN, JAX)

Garoppolo carries more risk than the other options on this list because of his limited sample size. However, he also led the 49ers to a win in his first start with the team. In that game against the Chicago Bears, Garoppolo impressed with nearly 300 passing yards despite having a less than stellar supporting cast. When you look at his upcoming schedule, it is obvious that he is only a streamable option in weeks 14 and 15. The Texans, as mentioned above, are more vulnerable to the pass. And the Tennessee Titans have surrendered multiple passing touchdowns in three out of their last five games.

In comparison to Bortles, Garoppolo has the chance to face more positive game scripts. Although, there’s a chance that running teams, like the Titans, play keep away and limit Garoppolo’s chances.

Joe Flacco (@PIT, @CLE, IND)

Unless you’re in some kind of fantasy football suicide pact, Flacco won’t be in your week 14 lineup. After that week, however, Flacco becomes an option for teams who are desperate. The matchup against the Cleveland Browns would be more enticing if it were at home, and the game wasn’t played in the middle of December. The good news, if you’re looking for it, is that Flacco hung 217 passing yards and two touchdowns on the Browns earlier in the season.

Going with Flacco in week 16 would be quite the dice roll. Sure we could say that Flacco is playing good football right now, but there’s only a one game sample size to prove that. The main reason you’re playing him against the Indianapolis Colts is their recent loss of Rashaan Melvin. The hope is that Flacco could duplicate what Bortles did this past week, but it’s Flacco, who only exists to punish those desperate enough to play him.

Blaine Gabbert (TEN, @WSH, NYG)

Once a giant bust, and now a streamable option for your fantasy playoffs. Congratulations, Gabber, quite the accomplishment. In all seriousness, in a league that has no problem leaving players for dead, Gabbert has a done an admirable job of finding a role and playing decently. Decent enough to entertain playing him while he’s at home against the Titans and the New York Giants. Although, Carson Palmer could complicate Gabbert’s week 16 matchup.

The Washington Redskins matchup also merits some consideration. Yes, Gabbert would be on the road, but he would be facing a passing defense that has struggled since coming off their bye. In the eight games after their bye, opposing teams have thrown for an average of 236 yards and nearly two scores a game.

DeShone Kizer (GB, BAL, @CHI)

Yes, Kizer turns over the ball quite a bit. And yes, he plays on a team that invents new ways to lose. That doesn’t change the fact that Kizer has that “Konami code” with his rushing ability. Since the bye, Kizer has averaged 41 rushing yards a game, and has two rushing touchdowns over that span. He also faces his fair share of positive game scripts, because, you know, the Browns. There is risk though. As mentioned before, Kizer turns the ball over. Seven times in the last four games to be exact. That’s what the kids call not good.

Out of the three upcoming matchups, the game against the Green Bay Packers holds the best streaming appeal. Kizer will be playing at home against a defense that is giving up an average of 292 passing yards and two scores since their bye. If decide to roll with Kizer in the first week of the playoffs, find a safe place to watch the game. The tilt will be real.

Mitch Trubisky (@CIN, @DET, CLE)

Since the bye, Trubisky’s passing numbers have been trending downward. Consider Trubisky more a desperation week 16 play than anything else. The Browns have surrendered at least one passing touchdown in each game since their bye. They have also allowed an average of 240 passing yards in the same time period. Most people would probably consider 240 yards and a touchdown from Trubisky as a win. However, those averages are hardly a guarantee. As is the Chicago weather in late December.

Brett Hundley (@CLE, @CAR, MIN)

Aaron Rodgers could return as soon as week 15. Even if he doesn’t, Hundley would be a poor streaming option after week 14. The Browns, as mentioned above, have supported some decent fantasy outputs lately. Hundley also has running ability, which, in theory, raises his weekly floor. However, Hundley didn’t exactly shine in a great matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Running Backs:

Mike Davis  (@JAX, LAR, @DAL)

You already know the success that most Seahawk running backs have had this year. So it would make sense if you were hesitant to buy Davis’s recent production. Although, it’s hard not to be at least a little intrigued with 64 rushing and 37 receiving yards. While Davis’s moves likely earned him some tweets, his recent usage should earn him more roster spots going forward.

Giovani Bernard (CHI, @MIN, DET)

Much like Barber, Bernard’s value is dependent on the health of a teammate. Simply put if Mixon isn’t cleared to play after his concussion, Bernard becomes a really interesting play against the Bears. Bernard looked quick in relief on Monday night as he was able to turn 15 touches into 96 yards. While there’s a possibility that Brian Hill would be more involved, Bernard still offers electric receiving ability and great upside.

Peyton Barber (DET, ATL, @CAR)

Barber’s value is dependent upon Doug Martin and his health. If Martin is active, Barber’s value obviously takes a hit. Although, it’s not like Barber hasn’t earned more playing time going forward. If Martin is out, the Detroit Lions are hardly a stout defense against the run.

Wide Receivers:

Marquise Goodwin (@HOU, TEN, JAX)

As mentioned above with Garoppolo, we only have a limited sample size of what this offense will look like going forward. But if Sunday is any indication, Goodwin is a guy to target as a potential streamer for the next two weeks. Goodwin was the go to guy this past Sunday as he led the team in targets, receptions, and yards. His big play ability combined with those targets makes him the best wide receiver option on the wire.

Martavis Bryant (BAL, NE, @HOU)

As long as Antonio Brown (or Antonio Bryant if you’re John Gruden) is pulling in a crazy amount of targets, Martavis Bryant will be more reliant on the big play. The surprising development on Monday night was that Bryant tied for the second most targets on the team. Perhaps that was due to the Pittsburgh Steelers wanting to be more cautious with JuJu Smith-Schuster in his first game back from injury. If you’re hurting for wide receiving options, Bryant makes an interesting flier, especially for the week 16 match against the Texans.

Mike Wallace (@PIT, @CLE, IND)

Living and dying on the wings of Joe Flacco is not the life for everyone. Especially since the Baltimore Ravens have only had two games this year with a 100 yard receiver. Both of those games belong to Wallace by the way. In other words, there isn’t a history (at least this year) of great fantasy finishes for Raven wide receivers. The good news is that Wallace has some decent matchups coming up. The best of the bunch being the matchup against the Colts; although, that would require you to trust Flacco in what would be/should be championship weekend. If you take that plunge, I wish you good luck.

Dede Westbrook (SEA, HOU, @SF)

Westbrook was second on the team in targets this past Sunday. After those nine targets, Westbrook now has 25 targets over the last three games. As long as Allen Hurns is out, it looks like Westbrook will have a valuable role in the Jacksonville Jaguars offense.

As mentioned with Bortles, the Jaguars face a decent slate of teams for their passing offense. The Seahawks, who would have been the team to avoid in the beginning of the year, are not the same team after all of their injuries. The Texans have been vulnerable to the pass, and the 49ers have been vulnerable to, well, everything this season.

Corey Coleman (GB, BAL, @CHI)

Based on talent alone, Coleman is worth a flier. The worry here is that Josh Gordon continues to see the majority of the targets because Kizer has yet to prove he can support two wide receivers. The bummer here is that the Packers would be the best matchup to use Coleman, but we don’t have enough information to really know if Gordon’s targets will be a rest of the season trend. Coleman is too risky to use until those trends become a little clearer.

Tight Ends:

Charles Clay (IND, MIA, @NE)

Clay’s value going forward is dependent upon Tyrod Taylor‘s health. If Taylor is healthy, Clay moves to front of the line of potential streaming options. The Colts have been vulnerable to tight ends this season (seventh most points to the position). The Miami Dolphins (fifth most points) have also had that problem. With the tight end position essentially a crapshoot, the best you can hope for is a good matchup and/or targets. Clay has the matchups working in his favor for the next two weeks.

Tyler Kroft (CHI, @MIN, DET)

Kroft is a touchdown dependent option for at least the next two weeks. And given the history of the teams the Bengals are facing those weeks, it would be best to look at Kroft as a viable week 16 streamer. The Lions have given up the sixth most points to the position this season, which makes Kroft a little better than a desperation championship play.

Ricky Seals-Jones (TEN, @WSH, NYG)

Seals-Jones tied for third in targets for the Cardinals on Sunday. Apparently the rookie isn’t going to fade away after all. While week 14 isn’t a great matchup, Seals-Jones faces teams that ranked fourth and first in most points to tight ends. In terms of streaming options, there are worse options out there.

Benjamin Watson (@PIT, @CLE, IND)

Simply put, if you have the stomach for it, Watson and the Ravens have some nice matchups in week 15 and 16. The Browns have given up the third most points and Watson was able to hang 8 receptions for 91 yards on the team the last time they faced off. The Colts, as mentioned before, have also struggled, but Seals-Jones in dome against the Giants has more upside.

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