Last week I wasn’t sure that we were going to even have a QB section on this list anymore. I should have known that it would be short lived, as the injury monster has been destroying the NFL this season. It only took a couple of key injuries and some poor play to bring QB’s back into the spotlight.
QB’s were not the only ones to take a hit as we also saw another starting running back go down, Chris Johnson has a fracture in his leg and currently has no time table for a return. Jimmy Graham has completed his disappointing fantasy season with a season ending injury. In the fantasy world sometimes that is the best way to get rid of a player that you don’t have the heart to trade or drop. No, I am not suggesting Graham should have been dropped but let’s be honest. Graham has not been all we had hoped this season. Gronk is also going to be down a week or so. The Patriots dodged a bullet with this one, it looked far worse on the TV than it was. I took Gronk in the second round and I am planning to lean on him to get be through the first round to the playoffs. Missing one game is a sigh of relief.
Couple of quick thoughts from the holiday weekend. The Cardinals are really good, despite their struggle against San Francisco. No one plays perfectly all season long and the 49ers have given teams problems at times this season. A couple of wins do not make me fear the Seahawks. Just because they have had a couple of good games doesn’t change the fact that their offense is still a question mark. This is a problem going forward because they are not the same defensively as they have been in the past. Redskins might not take the division but they will to a lot to shape it going forward.
They are improving every week, no one wants to play the Redskins. Kansas City is good, they have the longest winning streak this season of any team not in New England or Carolina. New England’s loss doesn’t mean anything. The team is decimated with injuries at this point and it’s hard to go undefeated. They are still the Super bowl favorite. It is time for Manning to retire. Osweiler has been pretty good under center. His arm is stronger and he can move. Manning is living off of experience and it’s finally caught up with him. Matty Ice is melting in Atlanta. As a Falcons fan, watching Ryan this season has been painful and I am starting to wonder if he is the guy. He is a pretty good QB, but he is making rookie mistakes. I will be looking to replace him this week as my starter in fantasy.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs- 39% Owned
It is said that winning cures everything thing. I would have to agree and make no mistake the Chiefs are winning right now. Heading into week #13 Smith is ranked 13th overall at the QB position. He is within roughly 10pts from being a top 10 fantasy option. The biggest draw for Smith is the fact that he isn’t going to be sitting out any games this season. They are right on the edge of playoffs and are going to need to play all 16 games to lock in the wild card. Don’t expect them to catch the Broncos but they are a team to watch. Smith has 12 TD’s which isn’t going to make you jump out of your chair but he has not thrown a pick since week #3. He is a safe bet moving forward.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 38% Owned
Winston is right behind Smith at 14th overall. Most people thought Winston would have a better season than Mariota just due to skill set. While the verdict is still out on who the better QB is, there is no debate on who has better weapons. This is what sets Winston apart from Alex Smith. Winston has great weapons which makes him a threat every week to put up big points. The other thing I like about Winston is that he has been improving as the season moves along. A lot of established QB’s like Smith have maintained their stats. Smith has always been around 13th overall but Winston has steadily been climbing that ladder all season. Winston is a real threat to make the top 10 by the end of the season.
Brock Osweiler, QB, Denver Broncos- 12.8% Owned
If you are in a keeper league I would take a real hard look at Osweiler. I don’t know how your draft rules work but Osweiler could be a steal for next season. I would be surprised if Manning is starting for the Broncos next season. Osweiler is only going to get better and he is going to cost you nothing. The biggest upsides for Osweiler going forward is schedule and CJ Anderson. Anderson showed up in a major way on Sunday night. Games against SD, Oak, and Pit provide opportunity for Osweiler to improve. None of those teams are particularly strong against the pass. I might not start him just yet, but he is worth a stash from here on out.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals- 23% Owned
After a strong start to the season Johnson sort of became a forgotten man in Arizona. However injuries to Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington have pushed David Johnson to the front of the line. Pending a meltdown the Cardinals will win the division. 4 of their final 5 games are against playoff teams or teams fighting for a spot. Johnson isn’t going to be allowed to slowly work his way in. It is sink or swim and he is going to be on the field a lot. We already know that he is dangerous catching passes out of the back field, now we will see how good he is between the tackles. Arizona has a high scoring offense, look for Johnson to keep it rolling.
Shaun Draughn, RB, San Francisco- 35% Owned
Most of the good waiver RB’s were grabbed early last week, however Draughn wasn’t included in that group. I get it, it’s hard to want anyone in a 49ers uniform this season. Looking at the numbers that is the only conclusion I can come to. If he was on a better team he would have been all the rage. Hyde doesn’t look like he is coming back anytime soon and Draughn is the sole beneficiary for those carries. He has had exactly 20 touches in each of the last three games to go along with an average 80 yards. He has yet to score a TD, which would have raised his stock. It is only a matter of time before he crosses the plane. 3 of the next 4 are against teams that have allowed quite a few points to running backs. Draughn is a good flex or low RB 2 in most leagues.
Per usual the RB situation is sort of slim pickings. Ware and Coleman are roughly 60% owned and both had good weeks. It looks like West and Freeman are going to return this week, but Ware and Coleman are good handcuffs. You might want to look at Jerick McKinnon as well, Peterson might see some rest once the Vikings get that top spot locked down.
Dontrelle Inman, WR, San Diego Chargers- 8% Owned
The Charger offense finally got back on track this week thanks in part to Inman. 5 catches for 65 yards and TD helped keep the offense train rolling. The running game just doesn’t exist in SD, so Rivers is going to keep putting it up. Inman is clearly the #2 WR going forward behind Stevie Johnson. I don’t think we have seen the best from Inman just yet and that could be scary for opposing defenses. This offense relies on passing so much it would be a mistake to not at least consider Inman.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks- 34% Owned
Seahawk WR’s do not show up on my waiver wires to often so if they do your ears should perk up just a bit. Baldwin has had three strong games in a row. Graham’s season ending injury means that Wilson is going to need Baldwin going forward. In the last three games he has had 19 catches for 339 yards and 4 TD’s. Lynch is out and the offense line makes the running game suspect. If they make the playoffs it will be on the back of Wilson and his receivers. Of those receivers, Baldwin is #1.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers- 8% Owned
When you have 9 catches for over 200 yards you get to make the list. Wheaton is a talented receiver stuck behind Brown and Bryant in an offense that is generous to WR’s, at least when Big Ben is under center. I wouldn’t spend my waiver pick on this guy but once leagues switch to free agency I would grab him for free, He is a great handcuff or decent keeper league grab. Keep your eye on Wheaton.
Scott Chandler, TE, New England Patriots- 3% Owned
It is no surprise that Chandler leads the list of TE this week. He is the back up to the best fantasy TE in the game. He is on a team that like to throw to TE’s and they are limited on receiving options at this point. His 5 catches last week were a season high, but they were not a fluke. Brady has target Chandler in short yardage situations and he has 3 TD catches this season. Chandler isn’t Gronk, but he is the biggest target on the field. Gronk is only out one week but while he is gone Chandler should be starting in all leagues.
Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccanees- 0% Owned
You are not seeing things, Cameron Brate is not owned in any ESPN leagues at this point. I wish I could say that I find that odd, but he somehow put up double digit fantasy points last week and stayed off everyone’s radar. However, back to back double digit weeks is hard to ignore. Before his injuries most of us thought that Seferian-Jenkins would be a TE star in Tampa, but Brate is changing that perspective. 8 catches for 100 yards and 2 TD’s in the last couple of weeks. Brate could be nice late season surprise.
Zach Miller, TE, Chicago Bears- 25% Owned
While Bennet gets most of the Bears TE love, Miller has quietly been putting up similar or better numbers. Miller is an experienced TE who has 4 TD’s in the last 4 games. Seldom used in the first half of the season Miller looks to have carved out a place on the field.