After the Giants got beat by the Redskins last night in Monday Night Football Week 13 in the NFL’s regular season officially came to a close and with that that the regular season of most fantasy football regular seasons also ended.
Week 14 in the NFL is the first week of the playoffs in most fantasy football leagues and if you were among the fortunate owners to clinch a spot in your league’s playoffs congratulations are in order!
With an eye on the playoff prize now is not the time to become complacent in the land of fake football. Anything can happen from week to week in the NFL, which can have a major impact on your fantasy team. The waiver wire is still going to include some intriguing names and you have to be willing to tinker with your line-up until the season is over.
For example, your studs like Matt Ryan or Julio Jones have taken you this far but you never know if the Falcons might start resting players and you have to be prepared for such an event. Hopefully some of the names in this week’s waiver wire column will help you out in the weeks to come.
Greg McElroy. The quarterback position is usually a settled one in leagues that only start one QB; you have your starter in place and a QB on your bench that you plug in based on match-ups or byes. With the bye weeks over and done with most teams tend to just have one QB rostered and roll with him for the rest of the season. However, in leagues where you start two quarterbacks you’re always on the lookout for a QB to add to your roster just in case and this week McElroy might be that guy.
In the event that the Jets end up starting McElroy, who in relief of Mark Sanchez against the Cardinals on Sunday went 5 of 7 for 29 yards and a touchdown, then you might want to consider taking a gamble on him based on the match-up. The Jets play the Jaguars on Sunday and they just finished letting Ryan Fitzpatrick throw two touchdown passes and run for an additional touchdown against them.
Jonathan Dwyer. The Steelers running back situation has been a mess this season with the likes of Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Chris Rainey and Rashard Mendenhall all getting touches. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin seems to have finally settled on one guy and that guy is Dwyer, who was named the starter in their game versus the Ravens this past week. While Dwyer didn’t exactly light up the Ravens, he only totaled 57 yards on 19 touches he did score a rushing touchdown. Starting running backs in fantasy football this late in the season are hard to find and we might just have found one in Dwyer.
Donnie Avery. Avery was probably a guy many have picked up and dropped throughout the course of the season, as he has had his ups and downs. With T.Y. Hilton getting hot lately Avery has been an afterthought in the Colts’ offense but this past Sunday against the Lions Avery had a huge game catching five passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Luck has been targeting Avery a ton this season and the Colts will continue with their pass heavy offense down the stretch. We’ve seen a lot of pass catchers on the Colts be targeted by Luck this season so there shouldn’t be any worries that there aren’t enough looks to go around in Indy.
Golden Tate. What might be surprising to find out about Tate is that he has quietly been playing at a high level these past few weeks scoring touchdowns in three out of his past four games with a multi-touchdown game thrown in. Against the vaunted Chicago Bears defense Tate caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Tate’s a guy that’s available in a lot of leagues and with Russell Wilson improving weekly and his trust in Tate being at a high level that could make for Tate to be an every week fantasy starter the rest of the way.
Chris Givens. You only want to be adding Givens to your roster for now and not starting him with confidence unless Danny Amendola is out, which is something that might happen again this season. We’ve seen Rams QB Sam Bradford have lockdown tunnel vision this year, which is usually reserved for Amendola. However, with Amendola sitting out the game versus the 49ers on Sunday Bradford’s favorite WR was Givens, as he was targeted 14 times. Givens caught 11 of those targets for 92 yards and would make for a great WR3/Flex start against the Bills this week if Amendola doesn’t play.
Tony Scheffler. The tight end position in fantasy football this season has been a crapshoot. Unless you drafted one of Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Tony Gonzalez you have been stuck with one of the many tight ends that have been just okay on a week-to-week basis and possibly also starting a different tight end each week based on match-ups.
The reason I mention Scheffler’s name isn’t because he’s suddenly become a stud in that Lions passing game or that he has surpassed Brandon Pettigrew as the starting tight end in Detroit. Nope. The real reason why Scheffler’s name is mentioned in this column has to do with Ryan Broyles’ season ending injury. You see, the Lions are depleted at the WR position after Megatron and with Broyles out and Titus Young being benched for being an idiot the Lions are losing bodies. The person to benefit the most from Broyles’ injury is Scheffler, who should see an increase in looks and more time lining up in the slot. Basically you’re getting a WR designated as a TE in Scheffler and in fantasy football this year that could be huge!
If you’ve been starting a different defense each week based on match-ups this season Week 14 brings you a few good options. The Jets, Cardinals, and Browns would be at the top of my one-week plug-and-play rankings, as they go up against the Jaguars, Seahawks and Chiefs respectively.