Baker Mayfield (QB – Cleveland Browns; FAAB Bid: 20-25%) – It’s still a mystery to me that Mayfield is under 50% owned on ESPN. Somehow Matthew Stafford is owned in more leagues than Mayfield, which seems absurd at this point in the season. Mayfield’s coming off a pretty rough game against the Texans where he was picked off three times, but he still almost threw for nearly 400 yards so it’s a good sign that the Browns are confident enough in him to be aggressive and let him make his own mistakes. He gets a great home matchup against the Panthers in Week 14 and since Week 2 Carolina has given up multiple passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in every game, except for one and that was against the previously-mentioned Matthew Stafford .
Nyheim Hines (RB – Indianapolis Colts; FAAB Bid: 35%) – Marlon Mack owners should be a little bit concerned about his output recently. Sure against Miami he left with a concussion, but Mack was outshined on Sunday by Hines in a low-scoring affair. Even in a tight matchup, Hines caught nine passes for 50 yards which you’ll certainly take in PPR formats. Next week the Colts are in a must-win game against the division rival Houston Texans. Houston’s been rolling lately to the tune of nine straight wins and it’s essentially do or die for Indianapolis. If they fall behind they may resort to getting Hines more involved in the passing game just to keep pace with Houston.
Theo Riddick (RB – Detroit Lions; FAAB Bid: 15-20%) – I’m not as optimistic for Riddick as I am for a few other running backs that are further down in this article, but he still has PPR appeal. Riddick carried the ball eight times on Sunday, which was a bit surprising since he only had 11 carries prior to that and he was still mixed in the passing game as well. Golden Tate ’s gone, Marvin Jones Jr. is done for the year, and sure Kerryon Johnson is coming back soon, but there’s still a need for Riddick in the offense. This upcoming week the Lions face the Cardinals and while it might be a nice matchup on paper for teammate LeGarrette Blount , this is still a good matchup for Riddick. The Cardinals are awful against the run, but they’re also pretty bad against pass-catching running backs. They give up a little more than five receptions per game to opposing running backs so if you’re desperate, Riddick’s a flex play this week.
Adam Humphries (WR – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; FAAB Bid: 15-20%) – This is seemingly last call on Humphries. He has five touchdowns over his last five games to go with 26 receptions. He’s maintained a steady involvement in the offense and gets another tempting matchup this week against New Orleans. The Saints defense has been performing better and they’ll likely look to avenge their loss to Tampa from Week 1. Plus New Orleans is coming off a bad loss to the Cowboys last week so they’ll likely look to run up the score. This provides plenty of opportunities for the Bucs to play catch up. You have to figure that Mike Evans will get most of the attention which could open things up for Humphries. He is absolutely a flex play this week and a low end WR2.
Chris Godwin (WR – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; FAAB Bid: 15%) – Humphries’ teammate also cracks the waiver wire list since he broke out of his touchdown slump on Sunday. Early in the season, Godwin was a touchdown gem catching one in each of the first three games of the season. Lately, however, he’s had a problem finding the end zone. But his catch rate has been solid. Over his last four games he’s caught 19 of 20 targets with two games over 100 receiving yards. He averages 13.8 yards per catch and with a matchup against the Saints on the horizon, he could be in line for another big game.
D/ST to Stream – The Patriots are doing what the Patriots do best. They get off to a sluggish start at the beginning of the year, all the experts write them off, then they turn it around and the defense starts putting it all together at the right time. The narrative hasn’t changed this year either as the Pats D/ST has been performing much better of late. Earlier this year in Foxboro the Pats held the Dolphins to just seven points and forced two turnovers. Sure it’s a road game, but when streaming a defense you should only expect seven or eight points and that is well within New England’s reach this week.
Justin Jackson (RB – Los Angeles Chargers; FAAB Bid: 35%) – While Austin Ekeler may be the handcuff to Melvin Gordon , Justin Jackson is the handcuff to Austin Ekeler . And even beyond that, Jackson just might be better than Ekeler. While Ekeler was on the field for 49 offensive snaps, he finished with 13 carries for just 21 yards, but he did add five catches for 22 yards. Jackson, however, was much more efficient on fewer snaps (35). Jackson finished with 63 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. He’s a big physical runner, while Ekeler is better served as a pass catcher out of the backfield. Too many times the Chargers tried running Ekeler right up the middle into the defensive front and it just wasn’t working. That’s not his game. Jackson can endure that kind of power running and he had a pretty good night on just eight touches. In the short-term Jackson can be flexed next week against Cincinnati if you’re hurting at running back. But the Chargers expect Gordon to return sooner rather than later. Personally I don’t expect Gordon back in Week 14, but I do expect him to be active for Week 15’s Thursday night game against the Chiefs.
Rashaad Penny (RB – Seattle Seahawks; FAAB Bid: 20-25%) – While it appears Chris Carson will be fine and active for Week 14’s game against Minnesota, picking up Rashaad Penny may not be such a bad idea. Carson dislocated his finger in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win over the 49ers and Penny didn’t look too bad in his minimal workload. On seven carries he rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown. Now if Carson’s good to go he’ll still get a majority of the workload. But it’s not a terrible idea to handcuff Penny to Carson for insurance. The Seahawks run more running plays than any team in the league and they’re pretty good at it. Getting a chunk of this pie could be a solid move for your playoff run.
Chris Conley (WR – Kansas City Chiefs; FAAB Bid: 12-17%) – I am not particularly the biggest Conley fan, but there’s no denying his usage over the last two games. It certainly helps when Sammy Watkins is inactive because Conley has three touchdowns over his last two contests. Perhaps my biggest concern stems from the fact he has just one game this season with over 30 receiving yards and that came against the Rams a couple weeks ago. He’s a risky play this week against Baltimore, but if Watkins is out again he does become an interesting flex option.
Bruce Ellington (WR – Detroit Lions; FAAB Bid: 10%) – Since being acquired by Detroit, Ellington has been a frequent target of Matthew Stafford ’s over the last three games. Over that span he has 19 receptions on 26 targets for 115 yards. In standard formats that hardly moves the needle. But in PPR leagues he’s a borderline flex play with at least six receptions over his last six games. The yardage hasn’t been there yet since he’s averaging just over six yards per reception, but Stafford is at least looking his way.
Ian Thomas (TE – Carolina Panthers; FAAB Bid: 15%) – Since tight end has been an abomination in 2018 you may find yourself in need of one for your playoff run. The good news for Ian Thomas is that he should see an uptick in work considering Greg Olsen is done for the year with a foot injury. Once Olsen left Sunday’s game, Thomas caught all five of his targets for 46 yards. Is he as good as Olsen? Not even close, but he can still help Carolina move the chains and he gets a pretty good matchup this upcoming week against the Browns.
D/ST to Stream – The Titans defense has been horrendous lately and they even struggled against the Jets at times. But they get a tempting matchup in Week 14 against the Jaguars. Heed this warning, the Jags are getting Leonard Fournette back for this game and if Cody Kessler is slated to start again then they’ll lean heavily on Fournette. But in a 12-team league the Titans are still an intriguing option if Kessler gets the start. They could stack the box against Fournette and try to force Kessler to beat them through the air. It’s a risk, but there’s some upside in streaming the Titans this week.
Deeper League Options
Josh Allen (QB – Buffalo Bills; FAAB Bid: 18%) – A healthy chunk of Allen’s fantasy production over the last two weeks comes from his 234 rushing yards over that span. He hasn’t done much through the air so you’re really banking on him to run all over the Jets. Even if he falls well short of the 100+ yards he’s averaged the last two weeks, 30-40 yards is perfectly in reach for Allen. If he can avoid turning it over and toss a couple touchdowns then he could keep you afloat in the playoffs this week.
Jaylen Samuels (RB – Pittsburgh Steelers; FAAB Bid: 10-25%) – Hopefully if you’re the James Conner owner, you’ve also handcuffed Jaylen Samuels to him. But considering that Samuels is only 3.2% owned on ESPN, that’s highly unlikely. The reason behind the wide range in the FAAB bid will be determined on the severity of Conner’s injury. Sure we only have Tuesday to place bids, but right now it doesn’t sound like it’ll be too serious so you may not want to bid too much. However, if you’re the Conner owner he’s venturing into territory he’s never been to before. He’s never carried this kind of a workload this late into the season. He currently has what is being described as a contusion in his leg and it doesn’t sound too serious right now. But it also doesn’t hurt to handcuff Samuels if you do own Conner. If Conner breaks down then Samuels is at least fresh and seems to be a valuable asset in the passing game.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (RB – San Francisco 49ers; FAAB Bid: 25%) – You don’t get too many opportunities this late in the season to scoop up a team’s lead running back heading into a fantasy playoff matchup. Alas, here we are. Matt Breida is one of the toughest players in the league. He’s played through multiple injuries before, but finally the injury bug has finally gotten the best of him and he’s already been ruled out for this week’s upcoming game. The bad news? It’s against Denver. The Broncos running game has been much improved as of late. They haven’t surrendered 100 yards to opposing running backs since Week 6 nor have they allowed a rushing touchdown to opposing running backs. But based on Wilson’s presumed workload as well as his involvement in the passing game, he warrants consideration as a flex option in deeper leagues.
Dante Pettis (WR – San Francisco 49; FAAB Bid: 15%) – Well it’s finally time to take notice with Dante Pettis . A week after catching four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown against Tampa Bay, Pettis followed it up with five catches for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He gets a much more difficult matchup next week against Denver, but they will be without Chris Harris Jr. who broke his leg on Sunday. Nick Mullens is no world beater by any means, but he’s still managing to get the ball to the weapons at his disposal. Consider Pettis a flex option in deeper leagues this week.
Antonio Gates (TE – Los Angeles Chargers; FAAB Bid: 5%) – It’s hard to imagine many folks will be pushing hard for Gates this upcoming week, but he gets a pretty nice matchup against Cincinnati. The Bengals have given up seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Obviously you’ll need that from Gates in order for him to return value, but if Melvin Gordon is unable to go this Sunday then Gates is a big target in the red zone that could get an opportunity to score.
D/ST to Stream – I’m going to suggest the Lions in deeper leagues. They have to travel on the road to Arizona, but I don’t expect the Cardinals to follow up their win against the Packers with another win, but I could be wrong. The Lions run defense is really good. Their secondary isn’t capable of stopping much and this is where Arizona will have to beat Detroit and that means taking the training wheels off Josh Rosen , which the coaching staff has been hesitant to do.