WEEK 14 FOOTBALL FANTASY
Plenty of handcuffs to go around if you’ve lost an RB for the playoffs ... Bench ’em all if you have a first-round bye ... Henry’s monster night
We hate to say we told you so, but if you didn’t grab a few key handcuffs last week, your playoff hopes may be doomed.
In fact, two of the players we mentioned as good pickups last week should find themselves in big roles this week.
James Conner went down with a sprained ankle that will keep him out at least this week. While Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says that the team will use a committee approach, there’s no denying that Jaylen Samuels is the player to own over Stevan Ridley. After Conner limped off the field, it was Samuels thrust into the featured role. In fact, Ridley didn’t get a carry at all last week.
As we mentioned last week, Samuels also carries the quirky TE/RB designation and can be a game-changer in fantasy. In fact, Yahoo projects just one TE (Zach Ertz) to score higher than Samuels this week, though we’d probably take Travis Kelce over him, too.
So, could you be benching Rob Gronkowski for a Steelers running back in your fantasy playoffs? Honestly, we would.
The Chargers star back Melvin Gordon will sit again this week, but after Austin Ekeler underperformed in the feature role against Pittsburgh, it looks like Justin Jackson could be set for a big day. The rookie stole the show after halftime and is now projected to lead a time-share situation, with Ekeler returning to his previous role. That’s not exactly damning for Ekeler, who still carries decent value in PPR leagues and could certainly be the hot hand against Cinci.
If you’re looking for the Rams’ handcuff, it’s no longer Malcolm Brown, who is out for the season with a broken collarbone. Justin Davis and John Kelly would step in if, heaven forbid, Todd Gurley goes down.
And in San Francisco, injuries have caught up to Matt Breida, who has played through a variety of ailments this season. Jeff Wilson Jr. impressed in relief last week and looks to serve as the 49ers top RB against Denver.
A WEEK OFF
This one is for Yahoo users only, but it’s a good, sneaky loophole if you’re on a bye.
If you’ve earned a bye in the playoffs, it’s actually a good idea to bench all of your players. You see, in Yahoo leagues, players don’t lock in on your bench once their games have begun, like on other platforms. So, you can drop players from your bench for any free agent you choose.
So, if one of your players unfortunately suffers a serious injury and looks to be lost for the season, you’ll be able to make a move ASAP instead of having to wait for waivers to finish early Wednesday morning.
You can already do this with bench players you have, but this way you could also drop your stars if need be.
We’d also look ahead at defences for next week’s matchup, if you don’t have a solid option already.
Three big names to go on IR this week are A.J. Green, Greg Olsen and Emmanuel Sanders. Green and Olsen both aggravated foot injuries while Sanders tore his Achilles in practice, which could linger into next season.
In Cinci, Tyler Boyd becomes the top target yet again, but his value remains questionable with Jeff Driskel under centre.
Ian Thomas takes over as the Panthers top TE, but he didn’t do much with the opportunity earlier this season when Olsen was out, compiling 68 yards in three games. Look for D.J. Moore and Devin Funchess to get a bigger target share.
Sanders’ injury really hurts a Broncos team that had already dealt away Demaryius Thomas at the deadline. A lot will fall on rookie Courtland Sutton’s shoulders now while Daesean Hamilton steps into the No. 2 WR role and is slated to play out of the slot.
What a night Derrick Henry had on Thursday. The Titans RB put up an astounding 47.8 fantasy points — the highest total we’ve seen this season — and could’ve had more after he pulled himself late in the game in an effort to get Dion Lewis a TD, which ultimately failed. Here are some more stats about Henry’s fantastic fantasy outing: He has topped 90 total yards just six times in his career and four have come against Jacksonville … Per PFF, 226 of Henry’s 238 yards came after contact … Henry was owned in just 54% of Yahoo leagues and started in only 19%, while Lewis is owned in 86% and was started in 45%. This is despite the fact that Henry has outscored Lewis in five straight games in standard leagues … Henry’s 238 yards were more than 50% of his season total going in to the game … He was ranked 40th in yards per carry pre-game and is now tied for 13th … Henry had scored just five TDS coming into the game, but is now tied for fourth in ground scores … His 99-yard TD run tied the NFL record for longest rush and was worth 15.9 fantasy points alone.