It’s playoff time! If you’re reading this, then you’re likely in the playoffs, or a deep dynasty league. Right now, is a great time to add a defense for week 16 and week 17. Look ahead, play it smart. Quarterbacks
Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers Mr. Irrelevant just beat Tom Brady in his first career start. He didn’t just defeat him; they blew them out. He completed 16 of 21 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns. Two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Purdy has now thrown two touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and looks like a viable streaming option going into Seattle.
Baker Mayfield, Los Angeles Rams Baker Mayfield had less than a few days to learn the Rams' playbook after being claimed on waivers by them. He not only played but beat the Las Vegas Raiders. Down 16-3, Mayfield led two touchdown drives to win the game. While the Rams season is all but over, Mayfield should see the starts for the rest of the season. He threw for 230 yards and the winning touchdown, while also rushing four times for ten yards. The Rams travel to Green Bay next week.
Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers After Baker Mayfield was cut, Sam Darnold continued his starting role in Carolina. Darnold traveled to Seattle and defeated the Seahawks. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. He rushed three times for 31 yards as well. While his stats are nowhere near fantasy starting numbers, he presents a deep league QB2 option if one is needed. The Panthers host the Steelers next week.
Mike White, New York Jets Mike White has won the locker room over, and essentially the starting job for the rest of the season. White left the game Sunday after taking two hits to his ribs. He returned in dramatic fashion and put the Jets in position to tie the game. While losing, he still played well in snowy Buffalo. He completed 27 of 44 passes for 268 yards. Looking ahead, the Jets host the Lions and Jaguars next week. Followed by a trip to Seattle. White is absolutely on the streaming radar. Justin Jefferson put up over 200 yards against the Lions. Garrett Wilson is going to be an excellent start next week with White playing. White suffered a rib injury, but Robert Saleh all but confirmed he is starting next week.
Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons Rookie Desmond Ridder is going to see his first start this week going to New Orleans. The Falcons are having a bad season but surprisingly are in the playoff hunt. A lot of pressure on the rookie, but his mobility adds to his fantasy value.
Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins With Jeff Wilson leaving Sunday’s game with a hip injury, Mostert took over the starting running back role. He looked fast, but the Chargers were able to contain him. He rushed 11 times for 37 yards and caught a pass for seven yards. If Wilson misses their next game at Buffalo, Mostert will be in line for the start, but it will be a difficult matchup.
Rex Burkhead, Houston Texans Rookie Dameon Pierce left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, which opens the door to numerous options. Option one is Rex Burkhead. While Burkhead hasn’t put up much fantasy value this season, he could be a goal-line back for the Texans. The Texans play the Chiefs this week, so likely they will be chasing points, but Burkhead presents an option if you are in a deeper league.
Dare Ogunbowale, Houston Texans Option two is Dare Ogunbowale for the Texans. With Dameon Pierce’s injury, expect a running back by committee approach. The Texans play the Chiefs this week in a matchup where we all expect them to be chasing points. Ogunbowale saw two targets out of the backfield and seems to be the pass-catching back in the event Pierce misses time. This week I would prefer Ogunbowale over Burkhead, but it’s a backfield with not much clarity.
Jordan Mason, San Francisco 49ers With Christian McCaffrey as the starter, Jordan Mason is earning the RB2 role in San Francisco. The rookie rushed 11 times for 56 yards. Last week he rushed eight times for 51 yards. If you roster McCaffrey going into the playoffs, it’s very wise to roster Mason in the event he gets injured or misses a game. The 49ers are set to play the Seahawks this Thursday night.
Jerick McKinnon, Kansas City Chiefs Jerick McKinnon has become the primary backup in Kansas City to Isiah Pacheco. McKinnon had a statement game this week catching the ball. He caught seven of nine targets for 112 yards and two touchdowns. McKinnon caught a receiving touchdown as well last week. Going into a matchup at Houston, McKinnon is not a bad flier for a deep flex option.
Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers D’Onta Foreman is the starter in Carolina, but it did not seem that way Sunday. Chuba Hubbard carried the ball 14 times for 74 yards and a touchdown while catching all three of his targets for 25 yards. Foreman did see 21 carries, but he also rushed for 74 yards. It’s very possible we see a running back by committee going forward. We even saw Raheem Blackshear take four carries for 32 yards and a touchdown, and a reception for 17 yards.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cleveland Browns A weekly member of this waiver wire, Donovan Peoples-Jones had a huge game. He caught eight of 12 passes for 114 yards. He is consistently putting up double-digit fantasy points every week and continues to be under 50% rostered on ESPN. He is a startable flex option every week and needs to be rostered for the playoffs.
Ben Skowronek, Los Angeles Rams With Allen Robinson and Cooper Kupp out, Ben Skowronek is taking over the starting role with Van Jefferson. He caught seven of eight passes for 89 yards. He seems to be developing a rapport with Baker Mayfield, and this could continue for the rest of the season. He becomes an interesting deep-league flex option.
Elijah Moore, New York Jets Elijah Moore was the most targeted Jets receiver on Sunday. With Mike White at quarterback, it is a big boost to all Jets receivers. Moore caught six of ten targets for 60 yards. Watching tapes, he seems to get open often but isn’t thrown at due to the offensive line breaking down. The Jets host the red-hot Lions next, who just allowed Justin Jefferson to go over 200 yards receiving.
Jameson Williams, Detroit Lions The rookie Jameson Williams scored his first career touchdown on Sunday. He only caught one pass for 41 yards, but that was the 41-yard touchdown. It seems the Lions are slowly getting him involved on offense. He gets a very good Jets defense next Sunday. Williams may find himself on Sauce Gardner or DJ Reed, so next week may not be the ideal week for a breakout, but he is someone to roster for sure. His ceiling is very high, and he has top-level speed. He has the chance to break out any week.
DJ Chark, Detroit Lions The last two games have been very productive for DJ Chark. On Sunday, he caught six of seven targets for 94 yards and a touchdown. While his next matchup against the Jets is not ideal, Chark plays the Panthers and Bears in the last two games of the playoffs. He may not be picked up this week considering his matchup, but he is a good stash for the remainder of the playoffs.
Richie James, New York Giants Richie James seems to be establishing himself as the top wide receiver on the Giants' roster. James caught seven of nine passes for 61 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Eagles. In a full PPR setting, James has scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. The lone game was against Washington, who they play next Sunday night. After Washington, he plays the Vikings who have been beaten by several opposing wide receivers of late.
Chris Moore, Houston Texans With Brandin Cooks out again and Nico Collins out as well, Chris Moore turned in his best game of the season. He caught ten of eleven passes for 124 yards. Acting as the top wide receiver, he saw his highest target share of the season by a wide margin. Next week the Texans host the Chiefs. If one or both Cooks and Collins are out, Moore could be in line for another big game in a matchup where they will be expected to chase points.
Marquise Goodwin, Seattle Seahawks Marquise Goodwin is a good addition in deeper leagues. He caught five of six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s loss against Carolina. Goodwin is not a top-two option in Seattle but has fantasy value going forward. He has had a few games this season with big fantasy numbers and is worth a look in those deeper leagues.
Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars Talk about a breakout performance! Evan Engram caught eleven of fifteen targets for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Engram broke out in a huge way noe comes in at TE #4 on the season. He should be a fantasy starter the rest of the way. The Jaguars play the Cowboys this Sunday. Trevor Lawrence has been very good of late as well, and Engram is becoming a big part of that.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, Tennessee Titans
Chigoziem Okonkwo saw his largest target share of the season Sunday with Treylon Burks out. He caught all six of his passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. While he has put up back-to-back double-digit fantasy performances in a full-point league, he is a risky start but could be considered a streaming option going to Los Angeles to play the Chargers.