At the beginning of the season I wrote a blog titled “Fantasy rules to live by.” If you asked me I would describe it as the Fantasy Football equivalent to Sun Tzu’s book “The Art of War.” The basic theme is don’t overreach, don’t overreact, and finally don’t overthink. It requires a bit of discipline and a lot of patience, but it always pays off, even if it doesn’t always look like it on paper. You might remember last week I was licking the wounds from the 3 game losing streak only to come back this week with the highest score of the season.
Enough about me, this blog is for you. The end is near with only 3 or 4 weeks left in the season. That means there are only 2 types of waiver watchers left out there. Those of you who are trying to make the playoffs and those of you who are already in the playoffs. One group is looking to for a boost while the other is just trying to keep the advantage. Either way the next 3 weeks are possibly the most important of the season.
Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles– Sanchez makes the top spot for the second week in a row because he is still only 40% owned. Don’t expect that to be the case next week, in fact I don’t expect that 40% to last the next 24 hours. Sanchez is now playing in one of the most QB friendly offenses in the league and he is surrounded by more weapons than he can shake a stick at. Vegas is predicting this game to be a shootout and it will have to be if the Eagles are going to stand a chance. Chip Kelly is going to rely on Sanchez to put points up on that board. Even if you don’t believe in Sanchez, I think this season has proved that you can believe in Chip Kelly.
Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers– In his 1st week back Bucs fans finally saw the McCown they thought had signed over the summer. His “almost tears” after last week’s tough loss I will chalk up to passion for the game. They have a favorable match-up this week against the Redskins. Evans has emerged as a legit threat that defenses have to account for who knows how to get into the end-zone. Jackson is still a top receiver in this league. If the running game can carry its part of the load I would look for McCown to score big numbers again this week.
Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, and Ryan Fitzpatrick should have honorable mention this week. All 3 have been good “replacement” players however they all have difficult matchups.
C.J. Anderson. Denver Broncos– I expected Monte Ball to underachieve since week #1 which is why I didn’t draft him. He was slated to be the starter last year and lost out to Knowshon Moreno and then this year he was outplayed by Hillman. I don’t buy the injury excuse. Face it, Ball just isn’t the back we hoped he would be. Enter C.J. Anderson who had 163 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown. He averaged almost 7 yards per carry which is incredible. Not sure how long Hillman is out, but if you are looking for a fill in this week, I expect another big game out of Anderson.
Terrance West, Cleveland Browns– Here is another name that we have seen here before but I am thinking that this will be the last time. It appears that he has taken the lead back role away from Ben Tate who has underachieved as the Brown starter. If that trend continues West will be good for 10pts which is plenty if you looking for a one week boost. They are going up against a tough Houston defense but if he gets the carries I look for West to be a top 15 back this week.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers- I don’t think it has quite clicked with everyone that he is going to be taking his starting job back in an offense that needs a boost after a difficult loss. He is active in both the running and passing game and has the potential to score big points. He should be starting in all formats and is still readily available. Similar to Sanchez, once these waiver blogs and articles start hitting websites he isn’t going to last very long.
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants– With all eyes on Ruben Randle it appears the Beckham has taken over the #1 receiver spot. Maybe not in targets or on the depth chart but statistically he is looking strong. Jennings is supposed to back this week and Giants showed they can move the ball on a tough defense after staying close for a while in Seattle. Jennings will give Beckham some single coverage opportunities and Manning will find him. 15 catches for 164 yards over the last 2 weeks are fantasy starter numbers. Keep your eye on this guy.
Cecil Shorts III, Jacksonville Jaguars– BYE WEEK ALERT! He is not playing this weekend which is the reason he is on this list. This guy was supposed to be the man this year, picked up and dropped multiple times because of high expectations that never worked out. Last week he finally stepped up. If that was a sign of things to come he is worth a stash. Remember with playoffs coming up you may need to rely on some “unproven” players to carry you to the end. Shorts might be a steal.
Preston Parker, New York Giants- The down side here is a rookie who has really only had one strong week. The upside is that it came in the form of 7 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. That is an impressive resume. Manning will continue to throw so there is a good chance that Parker will continue to get passes in his direction. If he continues to haul them in he will be a trusted force to be reckoned with.
Mychal Rivera, Oakland Raiders- Seems like there is at least one “must have” player in each of the categories this week. I have posed this questions a few times this season but let’s try it again. How many weeks does a guy have to perform before we actually buy into him? 21 catches, 185 yards, and 3 touchdowns in 3 weeks. During his hot streak he is averaging 12 pts per week. That puts him in the top 3! One more note if you are not already buying. He did this against Cleveland, Seattle, and Denver.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers– If you are like me you are asking yourself, who? I figured that we needed a little fresh meat this week and maybe this Jenkins character will be something special. Is it a coincidence that he pops up on the radar the same week McCown returns? Maybe. He is on the field about 85% of the snaps so again with that word “opportunity.” This is probably a stretch but there isn’t much out there for TE this week.