The bye weeks are finally behind us, and, for many, the first round of the fantasy playoffs has arrived. It’s winning time, people. Let’s make good fantasy choices. Every week, we bring you a collection of priority pickups ahead of waiver deadlines, each of them available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Wide Receivers on the wire
Coutee was basically placed in witness protection by Bill O’Brien, but he’d resurfaced in recent weeks. On Sunday, in Houston’s first game following Will Fuller’s suspension, Coutee absolutely erupted. It started early in the day, with this gift from Deshaun Watson…
…and it lasted into the closing minutes. Coutee finished with eight catches for 141 yards on a team-high nine targets. Some of us thought Jordan Akins might break out with Fuller shelved, but, um … nope. Coutee was the clear winner.
Fuller was seeing roughly seven targets per week and it appears that workload shifts neatly to Coutee. He’s tied to an elite QB and he gets a stellar matchup against Cincinnati in Week 16, when championships are on the line. Add and enjoy.
Let’s just stick with the Houston-Indy game and acknowledge Hilton’s re-arrival as a bankable fantasy starter. He’s spiked in back-to-back games and he drew a season-best 11 targets in Sunday’s win, hauling in eight for 110 yards. It kinda feels like a different player was responsible for all those early-season drops. When healthy, Hilton remains a technician…
He gets the Raiders and Texans (again) over the next two weeks, so there’s no benching him any time soon. If you’re playing in a shallow-ish league in which Hilton was dropped, feel free to scoop him up for the money weeks.
You shouldn’t need an expert to tell you that the Eagles make some wild personnel decisions. It’s hard to explain why Alshon Jeffery is seeing so many snaps at this stage, moving at half-speed and struggling to separate. Reagor handled just two offensive touches in Sunday’s loss, but he converted them into 45 scrimmage yards. He also made some noise in the return game, roasting the Packers for a 73-yard score.
More Reagor, please. Is that really too much to ask for? He’s a first-round pick with obvious big-play ability and he’d seen 25 targets in his previous four games. He gets a matchup at Dallas in Week 16, so he has a shot at a huge stat line when we need it most.
We’re just about out of superlatives where Patrick is concerned. He’s making his ninth or tenth appearance in the pickups column this week, which has to be some sort of record. Patrick’s roster percentage has hardly budged for the past two months, despite the fact that he’s a top-35 receiver on the season. He caught another four balls for 44 yards and two spikes against the Chiefs on Sunday night, producing his sixth game with at least a dozen fantasy points. Check the footwork on his second score against KC…
He’s plenty good, people. And yet there he sits, just 21 percent rostered. If you guys simply don’t trust Drew Lock … well, yeah, OK. But Patrick has been entirely playable all year, no matter who’s been at the controls of Denver’s offense. He has size (6-foot-4), he separates and he can win with leverage and technique. But hey, maybe you simply don’t like good football players. It’s a weird hangup, but OK.
Various other WR options: Rashard Higgins (last week’s 9-target effort should get your attention), Michael Gallup (he’s slipped to 41% rostered yet still seeing high-yield targets), Gabriel Davis (the absence of John Brown has cleared a path for snaps), Sammy Watkins (he hasn’t exactly blown up since returning from injury, but he has drawn 13 passes over two games), Allen Lazard (volume isn’t ideal, but he’s a red-zone option tied to an MVP-level passer).
Tight ends to consider: Jordan Reed (seeing a half-dozen targets each week, but George Kittle seems determined to return), Dalton Schultz (he’d seen 26 targets over his previous four games heading into Week 13), Cole Kmet (he saw seven targets and spiked on Sunday, appearing to usurp Jimmy Graham).
Running backs who demand attention
Ty Johnson, New York Jets (2%)
Just when we all assumed the Jets would play out the season with Frank Gore as their featured runner, a new name entered the backfield mix. Gore was concussed on his first carry against the Raiders, unfortunately, which led to a massive workload for Johnson. He handled 22 carries on Sunday, rushing for 104 yards and a goal-line score…
Johnson added two catches for another 13 yards, generally looking the part of a workhorse back. He was a crazy-efficient collegiate runner at Maryland, averaging 7.6 YPC over his four-year career. Sunday’s performance surely earned Johnson a rest-of-season role. If Gore can’t clear the concussion protocol this week, Johnson should see plenty of work against Seattle.
Additional RBs of interest: Gus Edwards (he was horrendously inefficient in Week 12, but the league’s top rushing offense loves to use him on the goal-line), Ito Smith (because Todd Gurley plainly isn’t right), Cordarrelle Patterson (he rushed 10 times for 59 yards and a score in a week in which David Montgomery was healthy, which is a promising sign — and the WR-eligibility is a nice bonus), Tony Pollard (one of the most interesting understudy running backs in our game).
Benny Snell, Adrian Peterson, J.D. McKissic and Cam Akers are all near enough to the 50 percent rostered threshold that we need to mention them here, while also acknowledging that they can’t be added in any sort of deep, competitive league. All have been highlighted as pickups in prior weeks. We trust you know about ‘em.
Quarterbacks to add
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts (40%)
Look, it’s never exciting to add Rivers, even for a week. At 39 years of age and playing through a foot injury, he’s arguably as immobile as any quarterback has been in the post-Bledsoe era. But the man has produced five multi-touchdown games in his last seven and he’s passed for at least 280 yards in each of his last four. Next week, Rivers travels to Vegas to face a defense that recently struggled to control Sam Darnold. There’s no question that Rivers has his flaws, but he’s a decent bet for 18-20 fantasy points next Sunday.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (3%)
Welp, it finally happened — months after Eagles fans first asked for it. Doug Pederson yanked Carson Wentz in favor of Hurts in the second-half of Sunday’s loss to Green Bay. Hurts wasn’t perfect, certainly, but he was still a welcome change for an otherwise doomed offense. Wentz currently leads the NFL in interceptions (15) and sacks (50) while averaging an abysmal 6.0 yards per attempt. Change is more than justified.
We’re going to trust that you’ve seen plenty of Hurts over the years, as he was a collegiate starter at two of the highest-profile programs and he produced in the biggest spots. He’s a dual-threat QB who rushed for 29 yards on Sunday and passed for 109, with this gem included…
In postgame comments, Pederson declined to name next week’s starting quarterback, which inadvertently told us a lot. Philadelphia has $108 million guaranteed reasons ($32 million per year) to try to fix Wentz, but it’s hard to imagine him getting right before the end of the season. If the Hurts takeover is here, he’ll face the Saints, Cards and Cowboys over the next three weeks. His rushing ability gives him a respectable fantasy floor.
Other QBs to consider: Andy Dalton (if he makes it through the Ravens matchup unscathed, he gets a Red Rifle revenge game next week against the Bengals), Jimmy Garoppolo (if/when he returns from IR, his schedule has some friendly spots, including Dallas in Week 15), Baker Mayfield (he was surgical against Tennessee, but faces Baltimore next Monday, which isn’t the best spot; if you’re adding him, it’s for his matchup with the Jets in Week 16).
Cleveland Browns (38%)
This pickup isn’t so much about Week 14 as it is the final two matchups of the fantasy season, when the Browns face the Giants and Jets. You’ll want ‘em in the money weeks. (Cleveland hosts Baltimore next Monday, which perhaps isn’t ideal.) Myles Garrett & Co. have generated 20 takeaways and 30 sacks through 12 games, so this group has been a solid fantasy play at various points this year. Give the Browns a friendly matchup and they can definitely help you win a week.
If you need to stream your D in Week 14: Washington (at San Francisco), Carolina (vs. Denver), Tampa Bay (vs. Minnesota).