The fantasy football season is coming down the home stretch and there are only a couple more weeks until you’re either in or you’re out of the playoffs. Wins become an absolute necessity at this point of the year and losses can be crushing to your chances. Every single catch, carry, throw, fumble, interception and touchdown becomes magnified and the anxiety and anticipation can drive even the sanest person crazy.
Roster construction, matchups and injuries will play an enormous role in the fate of your team down the stretch. Those of you who were intelligent enough to snag Washington Redskins upstart running back Robert Kelley were rewarded kindly with three touchdowns and a monster game on Sunday night. On the flip side, if you put a lot of faith in Cam Newton to lead your squad this year you’re probably not in a great spot, but it’s Cam Newton and he has so much potential you can’t not play him.
Oh the decisions… let’s see if we can help you make some smart ones this week to get you to the real playoffs and keep you out of the poo-playoffs.
Wendell Smallwood (Philadelphia Eagles, 9% Owned):
Things have been tricky to figure out this season in the Eagles backfield. Ryan Mathews begins the season as the starter, but he’s hurt and ineffective so Darren Sproles gets more opportunity and is named the starter. Sproles becomes the hot commodity and then proceeds to get outplayed by Mathews. Finally, on Sunday Mathews and Sproles both get banged up, allowing Wendell Smallwood to join the fray.
We’ve seen him play in spurts, but if both running backs are hurt or limited in any way I would expect Smallwood to shoulder the load as he did against the Seattle Seahawks where he carried the ball 13 times for 48 yards and caught 4 of 5 targets for 31 yards. He’s also got a great matchup this week against a Green Bay Packers defense that’s taking on water fast.
Mike Gillislee (Buffalo Bills, 50% Owned):
We know Bills head coach Rex Ryan loves to deploy the “ground and pound” style of offense, but LeSean McCoy has been run into the ground a couple times this year in terms of being injured. Back up RB Mike Gillislee has shown a nose for the end zone with 5 TDs in a limited role for most of that time. Still, he has shown that he can handle leading the running game in Buffalo when need be. Depending upon how serious McCoy’s latest ailment is with his hand, Gillislee should find himself in a good spot this week if you can get him on your waiver wire as he’s facing a weak Jacksonville Jaguars run defense.
Chris Ivory (Jacksonville Jaguars, 72% Owned):
Things certainly haven’t gone the way people might have anticipated it would for the Jaguars. Blake Bortles and the offense hasn’t been efficient, the defense has been pedestrian and who knows how Gus Bradley still has a job. Anyway, running back TJ Yeldon left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and he hasn’t been effective anyways, so I would roll with Chris Ivory moving forward if you have the opportunity to pick him up.
Tyler Boyd (Cincinnati Bengals, 9% Owned):
Terrible news for a disappointing Bengals team as they’ve lost star WR AJ Green to a torn hamstring, but one man’s loss is another man’s gain and I believe the man who will gain the most is the youngster Tyler Boyd. I don’t see Boyd has having a HUGE impact the rest of this year because this offense isn’t great, especially with all the injuries. But, he may be useful for depth or to stream in your lineup if you’re dealing with injuries.
C.J. Fiedorowicz (Houston Texans, 44% Owned):
We’ve seen that Texans QB Brock Osweiler is extremely average, or at least that’s how he’s performed thus far in 2016 after signing a big deal in the off-season. The one thing a struggling QB can always count on is his security blanket of a TE and that’s exactly what C.J. Fiedorowicz has been for the Houston Texans. In addition, check out this stat: since Week 4, in every game he’s either led or finished second in targets, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns for the Texans. That’s a very telling stat when it comes to the state of the Houston Texans offense, so roll with Fiedorowicz.
Greg Larnerd is the CBS Sports Radio Round-Up Midday Host on CBS Local Sports, 10am-2pm on RadioRoundup.com. Greg’s the resident fantasy football nut, constantly talking everyone’s ear off around the office about all things fantasy football and the glory that is this great game.
You can find him on Twitter: @glarn34