By A.J. Weinberg (@Fantasy_AJ)
The fantasy football playoffs have finally arrived! Now is the time to make important decision regarding your playoff roster. While, naturally, the waiver wire isn’t as full of talent as it has been in past weeks, there is still value to be found. In this article, I will highlight some players who could help you on your quest for fantasy glory!
Tiquan Underwood (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WR – 0.9%)
While Underwood is more known for his hair than his play, his two most recent performances indicate that this could change. He followed up a huge week 12 performance against Detroit with a respectable 3 catch, 51 yard game against a stingy Panther defense this past week. Buccaneer’s QB Mike Glennon was under pressure for most of the game which generally spells doom for a deep-threat like Underwood. The fact that he was still able to produce reasonably well shows that he could be a useful fantasy commodity going forward. Paired with an experienced rookie QB in Glennon who loves throwing to big time receiver Vincent Jackson, Underwood won’t always be able to get the looks necessary to be consistently productive. But, his big play ability warrants flex-play consideration in leagues that are 12 teams or more. If you need a depth WR, Underwood is a solid option.
LeGarrette Blount (New England Patriots, RB – 4.8%)
Last week, I highlighted Brandon Bolden as the back to add from Boston. Blount, however, now seems to be the better add. With Stevan Ridley inactive in Week 13 due to his fumbling troubles, Blount saw the most carries (12) of the Pats’ RBs. While Shane Vereen still dominated the passing down and saw several targets out of the backfield, Blount was the only Patriots RB with a rushing score, and received 9 more carries than Bolden. While it remains to be seen whether he will continue to receive 10+ carries a game, as long as Ridley is out, it remains a possibility. I would not rule out Bolden as having value, as Blount was far from electrifying on Sunday (12 carries for 44 yards) and considering how fickle Coach Belichick has been with his RBs, but it seems that there is confidence in Blount’s abilities as a runner. In deeper leagues, consider Blount as a flex play, but keep in mind that he’ll be a risky start with so many RBs in the Patriots depth chart.
Ladarius Green (San Diego Chargers, TE – 0.9%)
Green posted his third straight solid fantasy game in Week 13, proving himself to be one of the rare deep-sleepers that actually wakes up. Sure, he only had 2 catches (which went for 45 yards and a score), but his 6 targets is a sign that the Chargers are putting in an effort to keep him involved in the offense. Green posted these numbers despite a hobbled Antonio Gates be able to suit up, but considering his track record of injuries, it would not be a shock to see him miss a game which would mean Ladarius could have some serious value. If Gates continues to battle through his injuries, it will certainly cap Green’s upside, but the past few weeks have shown that Green can be relevant even with Gates in the lineup. Do you have Heath Miller, Jordan Cameron, or someone of similar status as your starting TE but are looking for someone with a little more upside? Green could very well be your man. In the next three weeks, the Chargers get the Giants, Broncos and Raiders, all of which are in the top 9 in more points allowed to opposing TEs, so the matchups are certainly in his favor as well. Hop on the hype-train early, and hope it doesn’t crash just as it’s leaving the station.
Ace Sanders (Jacksonville Jaguars, WR – 0.2%)
Ace “The Helpful Place” Sanders is becoming a pretty interesting PPR commodity. His diminutive frame prevents him from seeing many red zone looks, and as a result he has yet to score a TD on the season, but Chad Henne has been throwing his way enough to make him fantasy relevant (mostly in PPR leagues). Sanders has hauled in 20 passes in the past 3 games, and had 11 passes thrown his way in the Jags’ week 13 win in Cleveland. The former Gamecock has at least 61 yards in each of the past 3 games, and certainly appears to have overtaken Mike Brown as the second option in the not-quite-as-bad-as-you-may-think Jaguars passing game. His upside is obviously limited by the fact that he isn’t a big play guy, but he should be consistently snagging 4-8 passes a week, making him a worthwhile target in PPR leagues.
Donald Brown (Indianapolis Colts, RB – 39.8%)
I highlighted Brown three weeks ago, and am quite surprised to see how few leagues he is still owned in. While his week 12 game against Arizona was a total stinker (-0.1 points!), 3 of his past 4 games have been in the double digits. That is big time production for a guy who is still unowned in over 60% of ESPN leagues. Trent Richardson was officially demoted to the RB2 spot, so going forward, Brown will be seeing the lion’s share of the carries in Indy. While not be the most talented of RBs, Brown has 4 touchdowns in the past 4 weeks and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry on the season, so you cannot argue with his production. Facing the Bengals, Texans and Chiefs in the next three weeks is far from ideal, but without Richardson hogging carries, Brown could see upwards of 12 touches on the ground each game with a fair number of targets through the air as well. He should be a flex play for as long as he maintains the starting job. Brown shouldn’t be sitting on the waiver wire in any leagues at this point.
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