This is what we’ve all been waiting for; a chance to truly separate ourselves from our friends, family, colleagues, strangers or general acquaintances. Welcome to the first week (for some of us) of the fantasy football playoffs! This is where the strong, savvy and smart survive, and the unprepared go home.
However, if you’re one of the lucky ones who have performed at such a high level throughout the regular season and have gotten one of the two top spots, you likely get to sit back with your feet up as you’ve found yourself with a first round bye. Congratulations, you’ve earned it, but don’t rest on your laurels completely. A wise man once told me if you stay prepared, you’ll never have to get ready, and that is exactly what we’re doing for you with this week’s top waiver wire pick-ups… so let’s go!
Rex Burkhead (Cincinnati Bengals, 12% Owned):
Honestly, this may be one of my favorite names in the NFL and that alone makes him worth an add this week for your squad. But seriously, he’s actually been sneaky productive thanks to the absence of Gio Bernard. He wasn’t super effective last week but was solid in a complementary roll and his activity seems to be increasing week to week. Last week, he carried the ball eight times for 38 yards and was productive out of the backfield as well, snagging four catches on five targets for 28 yards.
He won’t take over Jeremy Hill’s job but he could continue to eat into his workload since we know the Bengals enjoy deploying a dual back system. I like Burkhead for that reason, and, well, THEY’RE PLAYING CLEVELAND. That might be enough of a reason to make him a low-end flex play this week.
Troymaine Pope (Seattle Seahawks, 0% Owned):
If you thought Rex Burkhead was a cool name, how about Troymaine Pope? Another stellar name makes the cut and again, it’s not just because of the name, but could you blame me if it was? Pope has worked his butt off to come back much quicker than anticipated from a high-ankle sprain and he’s back in line as the number two running back behind Thomas Rawls. You Rawls owners have been loving his production as an asset to your lineup since returning as the number one back and we know it’s important to have insurance for your assets. That’s where Pope comes into the picture; handcuff him to Rawls in case anything happens late in the year here.
Malcolm Mitchell (New England Patriots, 41% Owned):
When one Tom Brady weapon goes down, he always seems to bring along another one. Next in line after a Rob Gronkowski injury has been WR Malcolm Mitchell. Last week, he played in 84 percent of the Patriots offensive snaps and was targeted a season-high 10 times to go along with a season high in receptions as well with eight for 82 yards. In addition, add in the fact that Danny Amendola is taking, what seems to be his yearly injury break, and Malcolm Mitchell’s stock is certainly on the rise.
Dontrelle Inman (San Diego Chargers, 30% Owned):
Dontrelle Inman’s been a tricky player to predict this season. He’s been up and down in terms of his production and some less productive weeks have done a number his stats. I’m going purely with the matchup in this one as the Chargers are playing a very young, banged up and downtrodden Carolina Panthers team that just got waxed by Seattle. Don’t get me wrong, Inman’s had his moments and has scored in two straight weeks, so there’s reason for some optimism aside from just a juicy matchup. I’d say he’s a WR 3 or a flex option this week.
Ladarius Green (Pittsburgh Steelers, 24% Owned):
I don’t want to say I told you so, but I have been harping on Green’s ability to be a weapon in this Steelers offense all year and it finally showed this past weekend. Green had six catches on eleven targets for a cool 110 yards plus an always coveted TD. I would look to stream him into your tight end spot since Big Ben is just getting comfortable with Green in an offense that is looking for somebody to step up next to Antonio Brown in the passing game.
Greg Larnerd is a fantasy football writer/contributor for CBS Sports Radio and is a fantasy football nut. You can find him on Twitter: @glarn34 or on YouTube: Greg Larnerd for all of his latest fantasy football videos.