This is it! In fantasy football, it is either the final week of the regular season or the first week of playoffs. Some teams already secured a bye and get to sit back and watch their opponents duke it out for a chance at the championship. Sadly, some teams will have to try again next year. A few will try to come away with some pride and attempt to win their consolation brackets. With all that said, there are still plenty of moves to be made before the season officially ends. Here are some players to keep an eye on during this week’s games that could be worth adding next week.
While everyone was jumping on the Spencer Ware bandwagon last week, there were small murmurs that Damien Williams might actually be the guy to own to replace now-released Kareem Hunt. While Ware got the start, likely due simply to being around longer, Williams was actually the more effective of the two. He could end up taking over the starting role for the Kansas City Chiefs in the coming weeks.
Williams saw only a limited role last week against the Oakland Raiders, carrying the ball five times. He made the most of his opportunities, accumulating a healthy 38 yards. Ware still outgained Williams by nine yards but did so on almost three times as many carries. The only thing that saved Ware’s fantasy day was a touchdown, but Williams looked much more explosive.
It is honestly going to be an uphill battle for Williams to gain the trust of fantasy owners before the season is over. The Chiefs face the Baltimore Ravens this week, who rank third against the run. Things get easier against the Los Angeles Chargers week 15 and Seattle Seahawks in week 16, but his workload needs to be monitored. Even if he doesn’t do much against the Ravens, his stats should be looked at against Ware’s.
One wild-card that could muddy this situation is that the team re-signed Charcandrick West. Still, with big-name running backs like Melvin Gordon and James Conner question marks for the fantasy playoffs, Williams could be worth a desperation add for some teams if he sees more work this week.
The Buffalo Bills offense looked like one of the most atrocious the NFL had ever seen early in the season. In fact, the team only scored more than 13 points once in the first nine weeks, and only more than ten points three times. They finally seem to be waking up, and rookie quarterback Josh Allen is improving and getting healthy. Second-year wideout Zay Jones is also trending upwards. With the release of the disappointing Kelvin Benjamin, he has no real competition for targets either.
Jones has posted at least 19 points in standard leagues two of the last three weeks. He has also scored three touchdowns and one two-point conversion during that time. In his two high scoring games he saw 11, and then nine targets. The issue with him is that he put up a big fat donut between his two great games. It is hard to trust a wideout with such a low floor, especially at this time of the season.
Still, he has been targeted all season. He only has four games with less than five targets all season, he’s just struggled to do much with them. Now, without Benjamin in the picture, he may see even more. With a solid matchup against the New York Jets to build his confidence, he is someone to consider if a need for a wide receiver emerges.
For those that need a tight end at this point, the options are bleak. After the top five scorers, there is a huge drop-off in numbers. O.J. Howard is the sixth highest scorer at the position this season, and he went to injured reserve. Many are probably just streaming as they look for good matchups on a weekly basis. One guy to consider streaming this week, and even keeping for the rest of the season is Chris Herndon of the New York Jets.
The Jets haven’t really had anyone secure the top wideout spot this season. Most of the receiving corps have dealt with injuries, leaving Herndon as one of the more consistent faces in the passing game. His role is seeming to grow lately, having at least four targets in five of the last six games. The past two weeks he’s seen at least six targets. He isn’t going to go off and put up 20 points, but he also seems to have a solid floor, as he hasn’t scored less than four points since week five.
Herndon could see work this week against the Buffalo Bills, who field one of the better secondaries in the league. He’s worth rolling the dice on this week for players who don’t want to waste a waiver pick on a tight end. In a year where tight end standards are at an all-time low, his four-point floor may be just what team owners need to get them through the playoffs.
Redux: Justin Jackson
Last week’s top watch list candidate was Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson. Just a few weeks ago, Jackson was third on the depth chart, behind Melvin Gordon. Austin Ekeler was supposed to be the next man up, but as predicted here, he couldn’t handle the workload. He put up a putrid statline of eight carries for one yard in the first half before the team turned to Jackson after halftime.
Jackson was much better, and a big reason for the Chargers second half comeback win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He totaled 72 yards and scored a touchdown after sitting on the bench in the first half.
The issue here is that Gordon could be back as soon as this week. Still, the Chargers would be smart to play it safe and keep resting Gordon. With a rush on waivers to get running backs like Jeff Wilson Jr. of the San Francisco 49ers, or Steelers backup Jaylen Samuels, Jackson might get lost in the shuffle. The first two should be prioritized since they have a chance at starting more than one game, but if Jackson goes unclaimed, he should be scooped up immediately.
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