Playoffs are officially visible in the horizon. As you have been driving over the regular season mountain, the post-season has officially appeared over the top. Similar to driving over a mountain, finishing the regular season strong takes some extra power…….except this is brain power.
The trade deadline likely has expired in your league. Adjusting your roster through the waiver wire is the only option left. For that reason, staying ahead of the curve is key. In this week’s version of Value Up-Value Down, I’m going to try and find the guys still available on waivers that may win you a league. For giving you players owned on somebody else’s roster probably serves you no good at this point. You’re welcome.
Here are some players whose values have changed significantly since this time last week. Remember, as always, I try my best not to be so obvious with the players I choose……but at this point it’s difficult not to be.
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Ryan Fitzpatrick – Okay, so admittedly you have to be in a pretty bad situation to consider the Harvard product, but hear me out. Fitzpatrick has one of the best quarterback schedules remaining: @OAK, @IND, @DEN, ARI and @JAC. By team, here is how they rank against the quarterback position in fantasy (out of 32 teams): 22, 13 (but have allowed 2+ passing TD in 3 of the last 4 weeks), 25, 18 and 30. Besides great match ups, he has the ability to beat teams with his underrated legs. He has had at least 26 yards or a rushing TD in all four games he has started this season. Combine favorable schedule, his somewhat dual threat ability and his developed red zone rapport with Delanie Walker, and you have a usable QB down the stretch.
Knile Davis – As the backup on a team that has Jamaal Charles, obviously something would have to happen to him for Davis to gain value. Just imagine he does go down though. I mean this is football and one hit has taken Charles out before. Fully entrenched as the backup, Davis is one simple play away from being a starter and a pretty committed running team. The Chiefs offense cannot succeed if they give up on the run. Dink and dunk type offense is easily defended if they can’t establish a run game. Therefore, adding him down the stretch makes sense, because he could be an important piece of a good offense if something were to happen. His 3.6 YPC doesn’t compare to Jamaal Charles’ but he is a nice, cheap insurance policy.
Dennis Johnson – Ben Tate has been playing through broken ribs. Other than that, Johnson is in a semi-similar position to Davis. Currently, he has little to no value, but trading season is over. However, the Texans’ offense is not quite as effective running the ball this season but also the starter is already hurting. All it will take Johnson is one wrong hit to the ribs for a setback so this one seems a little more reasonable.
Mychal Rivera – Finally Rivera’s consistent targets paid off. If you haven’t checked lately, Rivera has had one week all season under 3 targets. He has seen 5+ targets in two of the last three weeks and this week was a big one: 5 catches, 54 yards and a TD. McGloin will once again start at QB this week. Hey, Rivera has as many TD under McGloin in one week as he did with Pryor in 9 weeks. If you are looking for a sleeper TE start once again this week, Tennessee is the 25th ranked defense against fantasy TEs. I believe the risk will be worth the reward.
Case Keenum – After his benching last week, Wade Phillips/Gary Kubiak and fantasy owners alike can’t trust Keenum anymore. In an important fantasy week, he crapped the bed. Knowing that the team isn’t fully committed to him despite, in theory, being their QB of the future is disheartening. I’d still start Andre Johnson and Ben Tate with confidence regardless of QB, but I’d prefer someone like Carson Palmer down the stretch if you are a low-end QB type of guy.
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Knowshon Moreno – Montee Ball’s emergence is really, really annoying if you are a Moreno owner like I am. For the whole season he has been a borderline top 10 running back but yet John Fox has let Ball become at the very least the team’s Mike Tolbert. Ball vultured 2 TD last week and 3 total in the last 3 weeks. If Moreno isn’t finishing off drives with the TD, he is nowhere near as valuable. If he doesn’t start doing an impression of his early season self once again, he can no longer be valued as an RB1 even though he plays on the right offense.
Julius Thomas – Two Broncos in value down? “You must be nuts Ricky!” Well yes, I am, but that isn’t the point. Thomas’ knee problems seem like they are getting worse by the week and have him in jeopardy of missing week 12. Now don’t go dropping him or I’ll slap you (just kidding…..just needed to type that to add in the link) but worrying is warranted. I’d add Joel Dreesen just to give yourself a sense of relief because it’s hard for a guy blocking 300 pounders to not use his knees in the game. If they aren’t game-ready he is going to sit for at least one week.