Fantasy football waiver wire: Roster tips to help you survive and advance in the playoffs – USA TODAY

At long last, it’s finally playoff time as fantasy football leagues look ahead to Week 14 and the start of the postseason 

It’s a time when individual league rules make it difficult to offer one-size-fits-all fantasy advice — especially when it comes to free-agent pickups. Some leagues even freeze roster moves for the duration of the playoffs, which means the roster you have today is the one you’re stuck with all the way through championship week. 

If you do have an opportunity to add players for the stretch run, however, then our final look at the fantasy waiver wire will cover the entire playoff period. Simply put, do what you can to survive and advance. If you can also improve your chances of winning in the future, even better.

Over the past two weeks, Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has 12 receptions for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

INSTANT IMPACT

Don’t say we didn’t warn ya! Two of last week’s top waiver wire targets came through with huge games in Week 13. Hilton (11 targets, eight receptions, 110 yards, TD) and Coutee (eight catches on nine targets, 141 yards) have performed well enough lately that they could be under consideration as playoff starters. Hilton has a better schedule with games against the Raiders, Texans and Steelers the next three weeks. Coutee faces the Bears next.

WR Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

Patrick could also be intriguing. He caught four passes for 44 yards and a pair of touchdowns at Kansas City. But his playoff run of the Panthers, Bills and Chargers is no picnic.

TE Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team

Thomas posted his best single-game totals of the season on Monday at Pittsburgh, catching all nine of his targets from QB Alex Smith for 98 yards. He also scored his fifth touchdown of the season, tying him for sixth among tight ends. He has a tough matchup this week vs. the 49ers, but faces Seattle and Carolina at home after that.

INSURANCE POLICIES

QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Perhaps the most intriguing performance on Sunday came when Hurts took over for an ineffective Carson Wentz. He completed five of 12 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 29 yards. Now that the Eagles have chosen to give the rookie his first NFL start, he has Taysom Hill-like upside. He’s probably not worth an active roster spot this week vs. New Orleans, but with a full game’s worth of experience under his belt, it’s possible the following weeks at Arizona and Dallas.

RB Ty Johnson, New York Jets 

The Jets lost starting running back Frank Gore to a concussion early in the first quarter on Sunday. That opened the door for Johnson to run through the Raiders for 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Gore’s status will determine how much playing time Johnson will get against the Seahawks in Week 14 – and we may not know until later in the week.

RB Mike Boone, Minnesota Vikings

Generally, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the backup to your star players on your roster. In Minnesota, that running back would normally be Alexander Mattison — except he underwent an appendectomy last week and is still recovering from the surgery. If anything should happen to starter Dalvin Cook, remember Boone got the start in Week 17 last season and rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown. 

LONGSHOTS

RB Alfred Morris, New York Giants

Don’t get carried away by Morris’ two touchdowns vs. Seattle. He had only 45 total yards and the receiving TD was the first of his nine-year NFL career.

TE Dan Arnold, Arizona Cardinals

Arnold also scored twice against the Rams, but was on the field for only nine offensive snaps.

Follow Steve Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner.

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