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Colin Kaepernick is one of several players who could be very valuable during the fantasy postseason
Chances are your fantasy league’s playoffs either start this week or next, should your team be eligible for the postseason. If that is the case, time is running out to fortify your roster as you prepare to begin your quest for a championship. Injuries also continue to be a factor and another reason why the waiver wire is such an important tool. To that end, here are some possible options worth considering for Week 13 and the rest of the season.
Week 13 Recap: Kevin Kolb missed another game, but if Ryan Lindley’s performance against the Jets (10-of-31, 72-0-1) on Sunday is any indication, Kolb still appears to have a good shot at getting the starting job back if he’s able to return. Jake Locker was battered and bruised by the Texans’ defense all afternoon long, finishing with 309 yards passing, but also five turnovers (3 INTs, 2 fumbles).
Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
Henne struggled (208-1-1 and a fumble) against Buffalo, but he’s in no danger of losing the starting job for the rest of the season. He also threw for a combined 615 yards and six touchdowns (with just one interception) in his previous two games combined. Henne’s matchup this week with the Jets isn’t the best, but after that he has Miami, New England and Tennessee. All three rank among the bottom fourth of the league in passing defense and No. 17 and higher in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis did a much better job of containing Kaepernick the second time around in the Rams’ overtime win over the 49ers on Sunday. Still, the dangerous dual-threat quarterback made his share of plays, including a key 50-yard scamper in the fourth quarter, and for the time being, it looks like he will remain as the 49ers’ starting quarterback over Alex Smith. If Jim Harbaugh has any intentions of going with Kaepernick in the playoffs, then it stands to reason that he will give him as much playing time as possible for the rest of the regular season. Miami and New England are next up on the schedule, with conference tilts in Seattle and against Arizona also remaining. As long as Kaepernick keeps the starting job, he will remain an intriguing fantasy option that could either pay off big or end up falling short. Smith still bears watching, however, should he get his job back, especially these next two weeks based on the matchups with the Dolphins and Patriots.
Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders
Palmer has thrown seven touchdown passes and five interceptions over his last four games. However, he’s also passed for 300 or more yards in all but one of these games and has no fewer than 34 pass attempts during this span. As long as Darren McFadden remains sidelined, the Raiders will continue to throw the ball and overall Palmer has had only two games in which he’s scored fewer than 17.1 fantasy points. You could do a lot worse in terms of a backup quarterback than Palmer.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Entering Sunday’s game in Chicago, Wilson had yet to put together a solid game on the road. That is no longer the case after Wilson threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 71 with no turnovers in the Seahawks’ overtime win over the Bears. He still has conference games with Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis remaining, but two of these are at home, where he has been stellar (11 TDs, 0 INTs) all season, while his only road contest is in Buffalo. He may not be an every-week starter just yet, but if he continues to play like he did against the Bears, it won’t be long.
Week 13 Recap: Matt Forte (ankle) not only played against Seattle, he dominated the carries (21 to 7) and scored on a touchdown reception in the Bears’ overtime loss to the Seahawks. As long as Forte is able to play, Michael Bush doesn’t carry much fantasy value, other than as a must-have handcuff. Beanie Wells found the going pretty tough (15 att., 22 yds.) against the Jets, but had twice as many carries as the rest of the team combined. David Wilson had as many carries as he did kick returns (four each) in the Giants' loss to Washington on "Monday Night Football."
Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis offense is all about Andrew Luck and how far the rookie quarterback can carry the Colts, but don’t overlook Ballard. As long as he gets more opportunities than Donald Brown, the rookie running back could have value. Especially with games against Tennessee and Kansas City remaining, not to mention two games against Houston, a team that has already clinched a division title and may be resting its starters in Weeks 15 and 17.
Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
Dwyer was named the Steelers’ starter a few weeks ago and he did receive the bulk of the carries (16 of team’s 26) in the win over Baltimore. The Steelers’ offense should only get better once Ben Roethlisberger returns under center, and they definitely need to keep winning to secure a playoff spot. As long as Dwyer maintains his position as the Steelers’ lead back, he will hold some degree of fantasy value.
Justin Forsett and Ben Tate, Houston Texans
Whether it’s Forsett or Tate, whoever is backing up Arian Foster is a must-have handcuff for owners of the Texans’ workhorse. Houston has already clinched the AFC South division title, so it’s highly likely Foster will see fewer carries the rest of the way. Look no further than yesterday’s win in Tennessee, as Foster carried it 14 times for 38 yards, while Forsett matched that with 14 totes of his own, gaining 64 yards. There’s no debate that Foster’s No. 1 and he’s most likely in for a busy day at the office against New England this coming Monday, but for now it appears that Forsett may have supplanted Tate, who’s been dealing with numerous injuries this season, as the backup. However it shakes out, both names should be watched closely, especially if any sort of announcement regarding Foster’s workload is made in the near future. In fact, if you own Foster and can make it work, I would strongly consider adding both Forsett and Tate to your roster. That’s how highly I think of the Texans’ ability to run the ball.
Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
He was mentioned in this space last week, but bears mentioning again because of his position as the starting back in Denver. Moreno has seen 20 carries and caught four passes in each of his first two games as the Broncos’ lead back in place of an injured Willis McGahee. The Broncos have clinched the AFC West division title, but still have seeding and home field to play for, so there’s no reason to think Moreno’s load will lessen any over the next few weeks. Oakland, who is 28th in the league against the run, is next up, with home dates against Cleveland and Kansas City also remaining. Unless you are absolutely loaded at running back there is no reason to not at least consider adding Moreno to your roster, if not starting him right away.
Week 13 Recap: Cole Beasley and Julian Edelman posted identical stat lines (1 rec., 13 yds.), while Justin Blackmon fared even worse with one catch for nine yards. Still, of these three, Blackmon by far is the most intriguing fantasy option for the playoffs. Ryan Broyles, however, will not be an option for the playoffs, as he tore the ACL in his right knee in the game against Indianapolis and is done for the season. Pierre Garcon posted just his second 100-yard game of the season (other coming in Week 1) and scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown against the Giants on Monday night.
Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers
All Alexander has done in his last five games is lead the Chargers in targets, receptions and yards, while matching fellow wideout Malcom Floyd in touchdown catches with three. Alexander has become Philip Rivers’ new deep threat and as much as Rivers has struggled throwing the football this season, it’s not like he’s getting benched anytime soon and he will not hesitate to continue to air it out. Also, while this Sunday’s matchup with Pittsburgh appears daunting, the Steelers’ lost their top coverman, cornerback Ike Taylor, to injury last week and have dealt with injuries in their secondary all season long. After the Steelers, the Chargers close out things with Carolina, the Jets and Oakland.
Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
As long as Andrew Luck continues to throw the ball as well as he has lately, both Avery and Hilton (who showed up here last week) could be valuable WR3/flex options. Reggie Wayne is the clear-cut No. 1 option for Luck, but Avery and Hilton combined for 11 catches, 191 yards and two scores (both Avery’s) on Sunday against the Lions. Hilton also has value as a returner for leagues that include that aspect in their scoring. The Colts are leading the chase for a Wild Card berth right now and have games with Tennessee and at Kansas City left, along with two games against a Houston team that already has its playoff ticket punched and may not have much else to play for by the time Weeks 15 and 17 come around. All reasons why you may want to give Avery and/or Hilton a close look if you are in need of some receiving depth.
Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
It has been a disappointing fantasy season to put it mildly for Britt and all other Titans, with the possible exception of Chris Johnson. That said, there’s still plenty of time left for Britt, who when healthy has the ability to produce like a No. 1 wide receiver, to have an impact. He and quarterback Jake Locker hooked up for a 34-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against Houston on Sunday and considering the duo figures to be the future of the Titans’ passing attack, it’s safe to assume they will work to build on their chemistry as the season winds down. The Titans still have games with Indianapolis, the Jets, Green Bay and Jacksonville remaining, so there also should be opportunities to produce some decent offensive numbers as well.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
It took five games, but Gordon finally got back into the scoring column on Sunday against the Raiders, thanks to another big play. Gordon’s 44-yard scoring strike from Brandon Weeden may have been his first touchdown in five games, but it’s also indicative of the playmaking ability he brings to the table. Gordon is averaging 19 yards per reception for the season and more than a third of his catches (12 of 34) have gone for 20 yards or more. Kansas City and Washington are next on the docket for Cleveland, so the opportunity for more of these types of plays appears to be there.
Week 13 Recap: Dallas Clark maintained his recent stretch of solid play with a touchdown catch against Denver, while Rob Housler led Arizona in receptions, albeit it was a total of four and they went for only 15 yards.
Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders
I have no idea why the No. 5 tight end in fantasy football is owned in a little more than half of Yahoo! leagues, but that's the story with Myers. The leading receiver for the Raiders by a whopping 31 catches and 86 yards over Denarius Moore, Myers had 14 receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against Cleveland. Myers has posted fewer than five catches only once in his last eight games. Really, what else are you looking for in your starting fantasy tight end?
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
After going through a three-game stretch in which he caught just two passes total, Rudolph has recorded no fewer than five receptions in each of his last three contests. He also has hauled in a touchdown in each of these three games, giving him a total of eight on the season. For all his inconsistency, Rudolph is tied for second among tight ends with those eight scoring strikes. If Christian Ponder's going to have any sort of success the rest of this season, Rudolph figures to be a key reason for it.
Week 13 Recap: Cleveland had just one sack and an interception in its 20-17 win in Oakland.
The Falcons have been a borderline top 10 fantasy DST for most of the season and picked off five Drew Brees passes in their win last week. The unit has produced eight double-digit performances on the season and has been a fairly reliable source for both sacks (27) and turnovers (24 total).
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are the No. 7 fantasy DST thanks to an opportunistic ball-hawking unit that has produced 22 total turnovers and scored six defensive touchdowns and a safety. The NFL playoffs may not be a possibility for them, but with games remaining against Carolina, the Jets and Oakland, the Chargers' DST could be just what your fantasy team needs for its own postseason push.
Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point per 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.