It’s the week of Thanksgiving and hopefully your team is thankful for a shot to make the playoffs, if you haven’t already sewn a berth up already.
If you’re on the fringe of making the playoffs, this column should hopefully help you avoid turkeys on the waiver wire and help you find the players that are worth more than a parking spot at the mall on Black Friday. Speaking of Black Friday, can someone send that running back from New England a clock? He had an issue with his phone dying out on him and he wound up getting benched for it.
Running Backs are going to be all the rage this week, so we’ll start with them.
Latavius Murray of Oakland looked amazingly quick in recording 112 yards on four carries highlighted by a 90-yard touchdown run through the rain against Kansas City. Then he took a hard hit and missed the rest of the game with a concussion. Murray is still going through the protocols so he’s questionable for this week as of now. He missed practice Monday so there’s a little hesitation to think about there.
Hopefully the Raiders got the message and should ride him down the stretch. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. Oakland has St. Louis, San Francisco and a rematch with KC coming up in their next three games so expectations need to be limited.
LeGarette Blount of the Patriots was able to wake up on time and gave the Patriots’ running game a welcomed jolt. He scored twice and took advantage of Jonas Grey’s sudden benching for being late to a team meeting. He has the pillowy Packers defense up next in a game that’s widely expected to be a shootout. He should be added this week and has more long-term value than Murray does. San Diego, Miami, the Jets and Bills round out the Patriots’ schedule so this will be more than a one-week fancy.
If you’re looking for some boom in the PPR world, look at Colts running back Dan Herron. Herron didn’t look too bad for the Colts as they started off slowly but finished nicely to wipe out Jacksonville. He could wind up being the lead back for Indianapolis since Trent Richardson, is, well Trent Richardson. He had 96 total yards on 17 touches so the potential is there. The Colts are nearly 10-point favorites at home against Washington so they should be running the ball often. The rest of the Colts season is favorable with Cleveland, Houston, Dallas and Tennessee on the docket. Blount is the more proven commodity of the two and should be added over Herron.
Pierre Thomas of the Saints was okay in last night’s win 19 rushing yards and 37 receiving yards. He should get more involved going forward and the Saints should be able to make headway in the final month of the season. Carolina, Chicago, Atlanta and Tampa await the Saints after this week’s game with the Steelers.
Let’s dive back in with the rest of the positions.
Quarterbacks look a little thin now. Arizona’s Drew Stanton is a poor one-week choice even with a good matchup against Atlanta. He has problems with locking on to his targeted receiver and it leads to interceptions like what happened against Seattle. Stanton is only served as a measure for the truly desperate.
Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins is a much better choice. He put up solid numbers against Denver (228 yards, 4 total TDs) before an interception (tipped pass) undid Miami at Mile High. He makes a nice fill-in against the Jets next week if you need an extra spark.
Teddy Bridgewater is coming along nicely and was able to keep the Vikings in the game against Green Bay this past week. Minnesota lost 24-21 but he posted okay numbers with 210 passing yards and two touchdowns with a costly interception. Carolina and the Jets are up next so he has potential to really go off late in the season.
John Brown of Arizona is a boom-or-bust player. Larry Fitzgerald is likely out again this week with a sprained MCL and Michael Floyd was practically invisible against Seattle. There’s just too much risk involved to start him and he should only be rostered in deeper leagues.
Andrew Hawkins of the Browns was back to where he was earlier this season. He posted a 5-93 line against the Falcons and seems to benefit from Josh Gordon’ return. Other than these guys, the position is pretty much status quo.
Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings looks to be a late-season addition at a thin position. He played 61 of 69 snaps against the Packers and turned in a 3-50 stat line on five targets. Carolina and the Jets are up next so he can really impact your team.
Cooper Helfet of Seattle scored the Seahawks’ lone touchdown in the 19-3 win over Arizona but was slowed down with an ankle injury that makes him questionable for this week against the 49ers on Thursday.
See who has the kicking job in Denver as of mid-week. Brandon McManus can’t seem to hit from beyond 40 yards so Jay Feely and Connor Barth have been brought in for tryouts. Whoever the kicker is should be owned in every league because of the potential for Denver to put up the points.
Pick the Baltimore DST back up if someone dropped them. They finish the year with Miami-Jacksonville-Houston and Cleveland on Week 17 so the potential is there for the Ravens to kick it up at the end of the season. The Houston DST is also worth getting since they get the Jags twice in the final five weeks of the season.
Remember to play the reverse waivers too and don’t forget about the three games Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!