The final week of the fantasy regular season is upon us. Thank you for reading all season. With the Titans being on bye we lose Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray this week so the waiver wire is more important than ever. We want to be sure to lock down our star players with their handcuffs, to prepare for injury. Let’s get ready to make our championship run and bring home the title and bragging rights!
Bye week teams: Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans.
For our on-going waiver wire exclusive* we will be breaking skill players down into 3 categories and then concluding by recommending some likely free-agent Defenses and Kickers:
- Game Changers: Game changers are exactly what they sound like. Players that through injury or opportunity rise up and become real impact players immediately. They may not be the best or most well-known players, but they are in a position to impact fantasy scores on a weekly basis.
- Depth with upside: Again, the name is fairly self-explanatory. These are players that are just waiting for that opportunity to excel along with one or two quarterback streaming options. Often they possess a solid talent, and elite measurables, but they just have not had the opportunity to “break out” yet. This often includes handcuffs of underwhelming players or players that have started slow at deep positions, i.e. a QB or TE, that still have you believing in their talent.
- Hail Mary’s: This section is easily going to be the highest turnover section of your roster. And in some cases, the players will literally change from day-to-day. They are often role players that flash, or deeper roster players that may have moved up due to injury, trade, or just plain old ineffectiveness.
Alfred Morris | Running Back | Dallas Cowboys
Congratulations if you’re one of the lucky ones to have drafted Ezekiel Elliot. He is a physical specimen and behind that outstanding offensive line, the results are amazing. Morris is not on the same level, talent wise, as Elliot but he is a hard runner who can carry a starter’s workload. He is known for not being used in the passing game so he has a lower PPR ceiling. His goal line usage gives him massive touchdown potential.
Quincy Enunwa | Wide Receiver | New York Jets
The return of Ryan Fitzpatrick had Brandon Marshall owners singing songs of rejoice. While Marshal found the endzone and led the team in targets, it was Enunwa that led the team in receiver yards. Enunwa hauled in all 5 of his targets for 109 yards and a touchdown, topping the century mark for the first time this season. Matchups with Indianapolis, San Francisco, and Miami give Enunwa plenty of opportunity to continue his hot streak.
Marquess Wilson | Wide Receiver | Chicago Bears
I’ll be the first to admit I figured Cameron Meredith would be the receiver to own in Chicago. Jay Cutler’s injury forced Matt Barkley into his first career start for the Bears. It appears Barkley has a favorite target in Wilson as he led the team in targets with 11 and topped 120 yards on just 8 catches. The 49ers are travelling to Chicago in week 13 and Wilson will look to build of his best performance of the season by far.
Anquan Boldin | Wide Receiver | Detroit Lions
Let’s not forget that they played games this Thanksgiving. In the early game Boldin was the hero for Detroit on the offensive side of the ball. In week 13 the Lions will travel to New Orleans to face a defense that was undressed by Jared Goff. Eric Ebron was shut completely out against the Vikings but Boldin has served as the tight end in his absence. *Spoiler alert* If Lance Kendricks can score on the Saints a player of Boldin’s caliber should as well.
*QB stream of the week*
Colin Kaepernick | Quarterback | San Francisco 49ers
Heading into the Monday night slate Kaepernick is tied with Drew Brees in ESPN standard scoring for QB1 and no. 1 overall. Over the last 4 weeks Kaepernick has scored at least 19 fantasy points, topping 30 in week 12. Upcoming matchups feature Chicago, the Jets, and Atlanta all defenses that average at least 240 yards passing to opposing QBs. Against Miami we saw his rushing ability as he amassed over 100 yards and found the endzone.
Depth With Upside
Derrick Henry | Running Back | Tennessee Titans
On half the carries Henry not only out-rushed DeMarco Murray he also scored a touchdown. Tennessee has their bye in week 13 but will have 2 weeks to prepare for the Denver defense currently averaging 123.7 yards per game. Henry is the younger and more aggressive runner compared to Murray. One troubling this is that Murray remains a mainstay in the passing game. Should DeMarco Murray get injured—as he’s known to do—Henry will need to be able to catch out of the backfield.
Corey Coleman | Wide Receiver | Cleveland Browns
Another player with a late season bye, but this team could absolutely use any break they can get. Coleman caught his first touchdown since week two. As defenses shift focus toward Terrelle Pryor, Coleman will see more one on one matchups and be able to exploit slower defenders. Opportunity is favored over talent in fantasy football, with 7 targets in week 12 Coleman has both moving forward.
Dontrelle Inman | Wide Receiver | San Diego Chargers
For the second time in 2016 Inman went over 100 yards and scored a touchdown. Phillip Rivers has developed trust with Inman and Tyrell Williams. Tampa Bay enters the game allowing an average of 267 yards passing per game and Rivers averages 275 yards per game. The San Diego passing attack will look to keep their team in the playoff hunt and Inman can be a leader for this offense.
Lance Kendricks | Tight End | Los Angeles Rams
Two weeks removed from posting a zero Kendricks hauled in 4 of 7 targets for 51 yards and a score. The first overall pick, Jared Goff, playing QB for Los Angeles is hopefully a move in the right direction. Entering Monday night as TE4 Kendricks could be a top-10 play moving forward. The Rams said they would not limit Goff in their offense, but offense was already a quick west coast style passing game which favors the TE.
Jermaine Gresham | Tight End | Arizona Cardinals
If you told me before the week that Gresham would see 10 targets in an actual NFL game I might still be laughing, but he did in week 12. The 28 year TE has scored a touchdown in both of his last two games. Arizona is lacking playmakers in the passing game, but Gresham has provided some stability as the receivers—other than Larry Fitzgerald—have been ultimately disappointing. Gresham is a deeper league play and is available in 99 percent of ESPN leagues.
Seth Roberts | Wide Receiver | Oakland Raiders
Entering week 12 Roberts trailed only Michael Crabtree in red zone targets in Oakland. Against the Panthers Roberts found himself scoring again while Amari Cooper is held out of the endzone. Roberts is not someone that will start each week but can be a valuable asset if Copper or Crabtree go down with injury.
Torrey Smith | Wide Receiver | San Francisco 49ers
I know the 49ers offense is a scary proposition to believe in, but since returning from a bye in week 8 they’ve been scoring points. Smith is the ultimate boom-or-bust WR, especially in this inconsistent offense if he doesn’t find the endzone he doesn’t hit value. What is Torrey Smith best at? Running go routes. Lucky for him, what Colin Kaepernick lacks in accuracy he more than makes up for with arm strength. Smith saw 7 targets, a good sign that they will be at least attempting to go deep.
Brandon LaFell | Wide Receiver | Cincinnati Bengals
Week 12 was the first time this season we’ve seen the Bengals without AJ Green in the starting lineup. In his absence was the rookie Tyler Boyd and LaFell. Both receivers saw 9 targets, finishing tied for second behind 11 from Tyler Eifert. Although Boyd caught more of his passes for more yardage, Lafell is a valuable add if defenses begin to key on stopping the rookie. Eifert is the no. 1 receiving option as long as Green continues to miss time. Boyd and LaFell will need to find the endzone soon to help this offense, matchups with Philadelphia and Cleveland are the perfect opportunities to do so.
Defense and Special Teams:
Oakland Raiders vs Buffalo Bills
After the bye week in week 10 the Raiders have played in Mexico City and at home. They get another home game and this time welcome in the east coast Bills. After a superb defensive showing against the reigning MVP, Khalil Mack and crew look to terrorize Tyrod Taylor. Oakland entered week 12 as the third ranked team in terms of turnovers forced.
Green Bay Packers vs Houston Texans
The Texans paid Brock Osweiler all that money for the 31st ranked passing offense in the league—trailed only by the aforementioned Buffalo Bills. This matchup bodes well for the currently 24th ranked passing defense of the Packers. Green Bay has been decimated by injury and their poor play is directly tied to it. Aaron Rodgers and the offense are still looking great, but now is when the defense joins them. Houston traveling to Green Bay gives the defense a home field advantage it desperately needs.
Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals
Heading into the season this would be a matchup I’d plan to avoid. Carson Palmer has taken a step back and an injury riddled receiving corps is not helping. Palmer has only topped 20 fantasy points twice this season. Those games came against Tampa Bay and Carolina, both averaging over 250 pass yards allowed per game. Washington’s defense has been better than advertised as they have only allowed a 300 passer twice. As careless as Palmer been with the ball look for the Redskins to attack the ball if they’re able to get a lead early.