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    Injuries Create Playoff Waiver Wire Opportunities

    RotoExperts Staff December 12, 2016 5:41PM EST
    If you are reading this, you have likely survived and advanced to Week 15. For that I say congratulations!

    Week 14 was interesting to say the least. We saw a number of players go down with injuries, creating opportunities to grab their replacements off the waiver wire. We saw Donte Moncrief (hamstring), Melvin Gordon (hip), Ryan Tannehill (ACL), Wendell Smallwood (knee), Matt Forte (knee), Torey Smith (concussion), Vance McDonald (shoulder), C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion), Jared Cook (chest) all exit and not return. We also saw Julio Jones, Theo Riddick and Michael Thomas all inactive. Owners need to monitor these players, as all are likely to be questionable heading into Week 15. In most cases, adding their replacement is a must.

    Let me preference this article again by saying if you have a pressing need at this point of the season, do not hesitate to blow all your FAAB on one player.

    Running Back

    Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Bucs

    The Saints and Bucs may have disappointed this week, as they had one touchdown between the two of them. However, it was a good sign to not only see Charles Sims return, but to be a key part of the offense. Sims had four carries for 17 yards, but added three catches on four targets for 33 yards. Sims is more than a handcuff. He has standalone value in PPR leagues, as we have seen the Bucs have used him as the pass catching back when both he and Doug Martin are healthy. I would expect his targets to increase a bit as he gets acclimated back into the offense.

    Owners should spend between 30 and 40 percent of their remaining FAAB.

    Bilal Powell, New York Jets

    Perhaps there was no bigger winner in Week 14 than Powell. Matt Forte suffered an early knee injury, and according to reports there was “cracking and popping” in his knee. I’m no doctor, and I don’t play one on TV, but man, that does not sound good. Add in the fact that the Jets are out of the race and have no reason to push Forte. I would be shocked to see him play, but that is fine, as Powell stepped in and dominated in his place. Powell had 29 carries for 145 yards and two scores. He added in five catches for 34 yards. Yes, those are monster numbers! Granted, it was against a weak 49ers defense, but it is evident that the Jets want to limit how often Bryce Petty throws the ball. That means there will be plenty of touches for Powell going forward. Owners should feel free to blow all their remaining FAAB on him if in need of a running back.

    Kenneth Farrow, San Diego Chargers

    If you own Melvin Gordon, well, I hope you have listened over my past four articles and picked up a

    Kenneth Farrow is the Chargers lead back if Melvin Gordon misses time. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

    Kenneth Farrow is the Chargers lead back if Melvin Gordon misses time. Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

    handcuff. If not, this is precisely why you should. While reports indicate that Gordon will be ok, there are questions about whether he will be able to play next week. The Chargers have no reason to push the young running back, so I would advise owners to prepare to be without him. Farrow saw 16 touches for 55 yards, but added six receptions for 23 yards. Granted, Ronnie Hillman was a healthy scratch prior to the game, but Farrow is still expected to be the lead back if Gordon misses time.

    Owners can spend between 30 and 40 percent of their remaining FAAB. 

    Alfred Blue, Houston Texans 

    It seems like all year that Lamar Miller has been banged up. However, he was able to carry the ball 21 times. Still, Blue had 16 carries for 55 yards. Blue played 20 snaps. Jonathan Grimes played 17, but only had one carry. Blue is not only the clear handcuff at this point, but if he continues to see eight to 12 touches a game, he could provide RB depth.

    Owners should spend up to five percent of their remaining FAAB.

    Justin Forsett, Denver Broncos

    Forsett signed with the Broncos earlier this week and he’s ALREADY out-touched Devontae Booker, nine-to-five. That’s right, despite an early fumble, Forsett had more touches. Booker had just three carries for one yard, and two catches for 10 yards. Forsett, on the other hand, had six carries for 17 yards and added three catches for 18 yards. We learned a couple of years ago, in Baltimore, that Forsett is a Kubiak guy, and it quickly surfaced in Denver. He is not a handcuff at this point, as he could quickly become the Broncos lead back.

    Owners should spend between 20 and 30 percent of their remaining FAAB. 

    Dwayne Washington, Detroit Lions

    With Riddick out, Washington paced the Lions running backs with 64 yards on 16 carries. He added in one catch for 10 yards. It is hard to trust Washington, as he has likely burned owners several times this year. Hell, he burned me. Not only is Riddick banged up, but Matthew Stafford tore ligaments in the middle finger of his throwing hand. He will play with a glove going forward, but the Lions may look to ease the burden on him and run more. If they do so, Washington would be the biggest benefactor, as Riddick is more of a scat back than a guy who rushes between the tackles.

    Owners should spend between five and 10 percent of their remaining FAAB.

    Deep League options: We discussed it earlier, but Ronnie Hillman was a healthy scratch in Week 14. If Melvin Gordon is out, Hillman will certainly be active and will see some time behind Farrow. He could be especially useful in the passing game. He is definitely worth a flier, as we are not positive how the touches will be distributed. Corey Grant carried the ball four times for 13 yards. The Jags’ backfield is very banged up, as both Chris Ivory and Denard Robinson sat out in Week 14. As long as those guys are out, Grant is worthy of a flier in deeper formats.

    Wide Receivers

    If available: Alshon Jeffrey is eligible to return in Week 15. He has been dropped in a decent number of leagues after being suspended for four games. While he struggled before the suspension, with just one 100-yard game and one touchdown all season, owners need to add him if he is out on waivers. Jeffrey was drafted as a WR1, and while he should no longer be viewed in that light, we do know the upside this elite talent has. While I do not want to trust Barkley, I will add Jeffrey, and view him as a WR3/Flex option going forward. Corey Coleman had a pedestrian day, with three catches for 26 yards. However, he was targeted a team-high 11 times. In fact, Gary Barnidge was targeted the second-most times with just five. RG3 clearly felt comfortable throwing to Coleman, making him an upside flier.

    Dontrelle Inman, Sam Diego Chargers

    Inman continues to be overlooked. Maybe it is because Tyrell Williams has played like a WR1, or the fact that Travis Benjamin had a hot start. However, Inman has blossomed into a very reliable Fantasy asset. In his past three games, he is averaging six targets, 80 yards and a touchdown. He has double-digit PPR points in all three of those games. In fact, he has double-digit PPR points in five of his past six games. The one he didn’t reach double-digits? He finished with nine. That is a pretty high floor, and the guy has the ability to get behind the defense and break one deep. He is a reliable WR3, who needs to be added in more formats.

    Owners should spend between 15 and 20 percent of their remaining FAAB.

    Marquise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Not only has Lee been overlooked in Fantasy, but it is time to ask whether he is the Jaguars’ best wide receiver? While I still think that is Allen Robinson, it is certainly more of a question than it was coming into the year. In fact, you would have been laughed at if you asked that question early in the season. But, Lee now leads the Jaguars in receiving yards with 728 yards. Lee has double-digit PPR points in three of his last four games. He continues to be heavily targeted, as well, making him a viable Fantasy option.

    Owners should spend between 10 and 15 percent of their remaining FAAB. 

    Robby Anderson, New York Jets

    Anderson is clearly Bryce Petty’s favorite target. He was targeted a team-high 11 times, catching six passes for 99 yards. He also rushed two times for 12 yards. We have seen in the past, when Petty has played, he will look Anderson’s way early and often. Not only does Petty take shots deep to Anderson, but he consistently looks his way. It may be hard to trust any Jets WR, especially with Petty at the helm. But if I am going to throw one out there, it would be Anderson.

    Owners should spend between 10 and 15 percent of their remaining FAAB. 

    Deep League options: Devin Funchess was targeted five times, catching two of them for 33 yards and a touchdown. That may not impress you much, but the targets and yards led all Panthers wideouts. He will struggle with consistency, but is certainly worthy of a flier, especially if he blossoms into a go-to option for Cam NewtonTrey Burton stepped up as the Eagles second WR option this week. He was targeted 10 times, and caught seven of them for 65 yards. It will be tough to trust anyone on the Eagles outside of Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, but Burton is a viable deep league flier.

    Worth Noting:

    – Terrelle Pryor had a day to forget as Robert Griffin III targeted him just three times. He had one catch for three yards. It was a tougher matchup than people realize, as the Bengals’ defense has been playing better of late; but still, this is certainly a red flag.

    – Sammy Watkins played in 50 of 52 snaps this week, in the snow no less. He is officially fully back from the foot injury as far as I am concerned. He was targeted six times and finally found the end zone. However…. (see below)

    – Reports indicate that the Bills may bench Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie Cardale Jones. While the jury is still out on Jones, his accuracy issues were widely reported in the preseason. If the change is made I would expect the Bills to run even more, if that is possible. It would hurt the value of all their offensive weapons.

    – Speaking of QB changes, we saw Bryce Petty start for the Jets. If you’re a Brandon Marshall owner, well, it wasn’t fun. Marshall was targeted just five times, and caught three of them for 35 yards. Petty frequently targeted Anderson (11 targets) and Quincy Enunwa (7 targets) before Marshall. Fantasy owners can not only bench Marshall, but if they’re in a pinch they could think about dropping him at this point.

    – With the Broncos’ inept running game, Trevor Siemian was forced to throw the ball 51 times. 30 of those targets went to Demaryius Thomas and                 Emmanuel Sanders. This is a great sign for these guys going forward. They are entrenched as WR2.

    – Ryan Tannehill tore his ACL and will be out the season. Matt Moore will replace him. We saw him complete three of five passes. In total,                                                                                                                       he targeted Kenny Stills twice, and Jarvis LandryDamien Williams and DeVante Parker all targeted once. He connected with Stills on two of those, for 41 of his 47 total yards.

    Tight End

    Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills

    Man, Charles Clay is becoming a regular on this list. Clay finally found the end zone this week, as the first Bills’ TE to score this year. Not only should some TD regression be coming his way, but if the Bills make a QB change it could benefit Clay, as rookie QBs often rely on safety blanket TEs. He is inconsistent, but worthy of a flier.

    Owners can spend up to five percent of their remaining FAAB. 

    Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

    Just last week I noted how the Packers tight ends were taking away from each other. Well, with Cook getting hurt, Rodgers took over as the lead tight end. That will continue if Cook misses time going forward. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Green Bay, making it hard to trust Rodgers, but we have seen him heavily targeted in the past.

    Owners can spend up to five percent of their remaining FAAB. 

    Deep League options: I noted earlier that Siemian threw the ball 51 times this week and 30 of those targets went to Thomas and Sanders. Well, third in targets on the Broncos was AJ Derby. He caught all five of his targets for 57 yards. If he blossoms into the Broncos’ third option he could become a TE1. If C.J. Fiedorowicz misses time, Ryan Griffin would step in as the top tight end.

    Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.

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