Josh Brickner helps the Standard League owners with his look at their Consistency and who can save you this week. Follow him on Twitter @joshbrickner.
It was African American activist Bertha Calloway who said, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” I’m not sure there’s a more apropos comparison for the state some fantasy owners find themselves in during this stretch run. While we all dream of a starting lineup consisting of Mahomes, Barkley, Gurley, Davante Adams, Thielen, and Kelce; that’s not quite realistic (if your lineup is close to this please send a screenshot to me on Twitter). It’s much more likely you’re going into this playoff push without a significant contributor to your squad.
If James Conner (check), Kareem Hunt (check again), Melvin Gordon, or Emmanuel Sanders helped you reached the playoffs in your standard leagues, then have no fear as I’m here to help.
There’s plenty of fake footballers who are in need of some reinforcements for these crucial last three weeks. Enter the below list of players. Now let me be perfectly clear about one thing, I am NOT advocating starting anyone mentioned in this article over any reliable, consistent fantasy contributor or a stud player who has had a few down weeks. This is a great way to end your season prematurely and be faced with nine months of stinging regret. These players are only to be used in case of emergency as most have more than questionable consistency.
It’s the playoffs, your only job is to find a way to survive and advance. Winning means getting one step closer to the holy grail of fantasy football and losing… is unacceptable!
Josh Allen, QB BUF
I’m not going to lie to you, leading up to this year’s NFL Draft I was no fan of one Mr. Joshua Allen. In fact, if the Browns took him first overall, I had promised to drive to Berea and picket the facility. Well, the jokes on me as Allen has shown flashes of his immense upside this season, despite missing five games due to injury. The Wyoming product has even put up QB1 numbers the last two games aided by his legs (22 Att/234 Yards/TD) to make up for pedestrian passing numbers (391 Yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs). The result has been two straight Clutch Games.
Let me be clear, this is the ultimate slingshot play for those who find themselves as huge underdogs in their opening round playoff matchup. Allen’s ceiling has been on full display the last two weeks in rewarding those brave souls who started him with 26.3 and 28.7 points respectively. Conversely, prior to his injury the Bills’ rookie signal caller demonstrated his basement dwelling floor scoring 5.9, 10.2, and 5.4 fantasy points in weeks four through six.
It will take a big set of brass cojones to roll out Allen as the matchup is mediocre. The Jets rank in the middle of the pack (17th) in terms of allowing fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, but just allowed 22.6 to the mobile Marcus Mariota on Sunday.
Jeff Wilson Jr., RB SF
Matt Breida has already been ruled out for Week 14 and Jeff Wilson Jr. will serve as the lead back on Sunday against Denver. The 49er running back dropped 13.4 FP in relief against the Seahawks on Sunday. Breida was averaging just over 13 touches per game (while nursing various injuries) meaning Wilson should get more of a workload and have ample opportunity to rack up garbage time points in a home tilt with Denver. Again, your goal right now is to survive and advance into the next round of the playoffs, and the North Texas product should be a solid RB2 option on volume alone.
Jaylen Samuels/Stevan Ridley, RB PIT
James Conner has already been ruled out for week 14 so those of us who have been rolling him out as their weekly RB1 (heavy sigh) need to find a replacement ASAP. Jaylen Samuels should get first consideration as he is your chief in-house replacement option. The NC State product has only 19 touches (12 rushes, 7 receptions), 85 yards, and a pair of scores on the season in limited relief of Conner (including a ten yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss). Samuels is a low-end RB2 with upside against a leaky Raiders defense that has allowed the sixth most fantasy points to the running back position on the season.
While Jaylen Samuels has been getting all of the buzz in the fantasy community this week, don’t forget about Stevan Ridley. Ridley served as the lead back in last year’s season finale converting 17 carries into 80 yards, a touchdown, a CG, and helped keep my Browns winless (I hate you, Hue Jackson!). In the Carolina blowout in week nine (where James Conner rested a good portion of the game), the eight year vet got the lion’s share of the backfield carries (8/26) over Samuels (5/7). Though the rookie (3/22/1) dominated in the passing game.
Mike Tomlin has said this week would be more of a backfield committee, yet this is the same man who said James Conner’s injury wasn’t that serious. Samuels himself said the two running backs will split series officially making this situation a clusterfu mess. I can envision a scenario where the rookie fumbles and/or whiffs on a blitz pickup and Tomlin turns to the sturdy veteran. If you’re desperate, take a chance on Ridley as a flex option.
Chris Godwin, WR TB
On Sunday, aided by the absence of speedster DeSean Jackson, the former Nittany Lion rewarded those believers who started him catching five of six targets for 101 yards and a score. Godwin should continue to see ample opportunity moving forward as the Bucs may hold out DJax for the rest of the season.
In 2017, when Jackson missed the last two games of the season, the Penn State product was targeted 18 times resulting in 10 receptions for 209 yards, a touchdown, and hit the Clutch Factor in both contests. The Saints have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers on the season. Godwin should draw a favorable matchup against corner Eli Apple while Mike Evans will be covered by the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore.
Ian Thomas, TE Car
The feces continued to combust in the landscape of the tight end position last Sunday as Greg Olsen re injured his foot and is done for the season. Enter Ian Thomas. The Indiana product flopped earlier this season with Olsen sidelined producing only 68 scoreless yards in three games with co CGs. Thomas acquitted himself much better on Sunday catching all five of his targets for 46 yards, but still failed to produce a consistent game.
Why am I suggesting starting a player with zero standard league CGs on the season? Olsen had been given a red zone target in five of his last six games prior to Sunday resulting in four touchdowns and, in this tight end landscape, that’s a win. The matchup isn’t bad as the Browns have been generous to tight ends this season (tenth in fantasy points allowed). I’ll be starting the Panthers’ rookie tight end in a playoff matchup this week in my most important redraft league because, like many of you, I don’t have any better options.
Do you disagree with any of my assessments? Have a tough lineup decision? Reach out on Twitter .