Doug Martin is on IR. Mike James was having success, and then broke his ankle. The Buccaneers have a bad situation in real life, but many of these late season games can produce fantasy gold. Bobby Rainey (3%) appears to be the better fantasy option compared to Brian Leonard, and with the matchup against Atlanta, he is an immediate start. I sense Rainey may be the next Samkon Gado.
You can’t be picky this late in the season. If you still have money left, he’s worth using a substantial amount. If he plays well, he won’t have much competition for carries.
This week actually presents several viable starting options among potential free agent acquisitions.
Case Keenum (59%) vs. Oakland would be my first choice, followed by Carson Palmer (39%) vs. Jacksonville and Ryan Tannehill (44%) vs San Diego.
Rashard Mendenhall (62%) is a starting option this week and could be available, because of the matchup with Jacksonville, who are allowing 162 yards from scrimmage to backs. Mendenhall got 13 carries to 11 for Ellington last week, and as long as he is getting anywhere close to half the touches, that’s a matchup worth exploiting.
Donald Brown (51%) is a start this week as a flex against the Titans. Richardson has been not good and banged up, so you can expect
Mark Ingram (19%) had 145 rushing yards. Keep in mind it was against Dallas, who is dead last in points allowed to backs for the year, and was in even worse shape with injuries Sunday Night. I would not start Ingram this week, but he’s worth a pickup to set your lineup for future weeks. He is startable the following week against the Falcons.
Dennis Johnson (28%) is now the backup in Houston with Arian Foster on IR.
If you have the luxury of planning ahead on a lottery ticket, Robert Turbin (11%) and Christine Michael (8%). Michael had more carries last week, but that was because they all came on the final possession of a blowout when Seattle was handing off to go home. We don’t know how the split will be, but I suspect both would have value, probably more Turbin in the near term.
Tavon Austin (39%) had three huge plays. He still had only two catches. Will this cause the Rams to get him more involved? You would hope. We know he has the talent to make the big play. Austin is on a bye week this week.
Leonard Hankerson (10%) is not on a bye week. He gets the best team to face for opposing receivers, after having 5 catches in each of the last two weeks against two other good matchups. He is a viable spot start.
Doug Baldwin (33%) has a great matchup this week against Minnesota, and until Harvin is back at 100% in the lineup should be an option.
Andre Roberts (4%) will get more opportunities if Michael Floyd is out with the injured shoulder. Roberts led the team in targets after Floyd left, and scored a touchdown. The Jaguars are a good matchup to exploit.
Rishard Mathews (0%) had been targeted with a pass 17 times all year. He was targeted 14 times in Monday’s game, going for 11 receptions, 120 yards, and 2 touchdowns. My thoughts here: the Dolphins threw a lot trailing, and Mike Wallace was covered by Darrelle Revis. I suppose he is worth a flyer to see if that is the first sign of a breakout, but I wouldn’t go overboard, and if I needed a spot start this week, would look at the guys listed above first.
Rob Housler (6%) of Arizona is your start of the week, as a tight end has scored a touchdown against Jacksonville in 6 of the last 7 games, including Delanie Walker last week.
Zach Miller (21%) is another pretty good starting option going against the Minnesota safeties.
Scott Chandler (34%) is the other option you can fall back to if you are replacing Witten for a week.
Top choices among the waiver wire defenses this week are Houston vs. Oakland, New York Giants vs. Green Bay with Scott Tolzien, and Detroit’s line going against the Pittsburgh front.
- Bobby Rainey
- Tavon Austin
- Rashard Mendenhall
- Case Keenum
- Donald Brown
- Rob Housler
- Leonard Hankerson
- Mark Ingram