It is do-or-die time in the fantasy football world. Most of you out there are in your last week of the regular season, some may have another week (or two) left, but the goals are all the same – win and you’re in. There were a few injuries round the NFL this weekend making for some juicy late-season pick-ups, but for the most part the waivers this week hinge on match ups and necessity.
**Owning percentages are based off of ESPN standard leagues**
Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs – Owned in 38.7% of leagues
Smith and the Chiefs have been reeling. Smith hasn’t thrown a pick since Week 3 and he’s coming up against a rather soft Oakland secondary. Depending on your QB situation, Smith offers a significant amount of upside especially in two-quarterback leagues.
Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins – Owned in 26% of leagues
I like Cousins simply because it is a Monday Night match-up at home. In six games at FedEx Field this year Cousins has averaged 272-yards with 11 touchdowns to 2INTS. In five road games he’s averaged 231-yards with 5 touchdowns and 8INTS. Bottom line – he’s been a monster at home this season.
Shaun Draughn – San Fransisco 49ers – Owned in 35.3% of leagues
Let’s face it Carlos Hyde likely isn’t coming back this year and if you’re a Hyde owner you need Draughn. He’s averaged over 86 all-purpose yards the last three weeks against three top defenses (Atlanta, Seattle, Arizona). He’s got a great match-up against Chicago this week and should find pay dirt for the first time since taking over.
David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals – Owned in 23% of leagues
Handcuff and injuries make Johnson a priority. Chris Johnson is done for the regular season, if not the year. Andre Ellington is still banged up leaving Johnson as the likely owner of Arizona’s backfield this week. He’s been a touchdown machine, finding the endzone eight times to date.
Brandon Bolden/James White – New England Patriots – Owned in 4.1% & 32.9% of leagues respectively
Pick your poison. It is tough to decipher which one of these pass-catching backs is better to own, let alone start. However, both are worthy of roster spots especially considering the recent slew of injuries to New England’s receiving core. White played significantly more snaps this past weekend than Bolden, but Bolden made the most of his play-time compared to White. Treat both with caution.
Jay Ajayi –Miami Dolphins – Owned in 14% of leagues
Ajayi is simply a handcuff addition at this point. He has been receiving a bit more action in the Dolphins offense, but he isn’t worthy of starting unless Lamar Miller goes down with an injury.
Anquan Boldin – San Francisco 49ers – Owned in 48.5% of leagues
Back-to-back 93-yard games (5 and 8 catches in those games). It is clear to say that Bolden has a great QB-WR relationship with Blaine Gabbert and should continue to see a steady rise in his numbers the rest of the season.
Dorial Green-Beckhaam – Tennessee Titans – Owned in 12.2% of leagues
He’s a big-play, boom-or-bust type of receiver, but it is very difficult to go against his matchup this week against the Jaguars. They give up loads of fantasy points to wide receivers and DGB could finally see that breakout game we have all been waiting for.
Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers – Owned in 23.8% of leagues
He’s a touchdown threat going against the hopeless New Orleans defense. Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington just carved up the Saints defense last week and this rookie is significantly more talented than both of those wideouts; expect a big day from Funchess.
Jacob Tamme – Atlanta Falcons – Owned in 23.7% of leagues
Any time a TE leads his team in receiving yards it is always a good sign. Such was the case last week (69 yards). Tamme has established some solid chemistry with quarterback Matt Ryan and could prove to be a viable TE1 going into the fantasy playoffs.
Scott Chandler – New England Patriots – Owned in 2.6% of leagues
The unthinkable happened – Gronk got injured. If you’re a Gronk owner once you recover from that mild heart attack, go ahead and snag Chandler. He’s no Gronk, but Chandler is 6’7’’ and is a huge redzone target. Not to mention, he piled up 58 yards on five catches and score against the stout Denver defense this past weekend.
Vance McDonald – San Francisco 49ers – Owned in .6% of leagues
Worried you’re going to lose the Chandler sweepstakes? Don’t worry McDonald will be available and quite frankly is the better option. He’s the number one TE1 and he’s had back-to-back games with a touchdown; fair to note those games came against Seattle (4 catches, 65 yards) and Arizona (6 catches, 71 yards). Mcdonald has a solid relationship with Gabbert and could provide solid TE1 numbers the rest of the season.