Fantasy: Three sleeper WRs for 2022

Target these three WRs in 2022

By Calvin K (Twitter: @Calvin_SGF)

The 2021 fantasy season has officially wrapped up, and it’s never too early to look ahead to 2022. The fantasy “sleeper” is something that many argue no longer exists given the massive amount of fantasy resources available in today’s landscape. However, the three guys in this article are players who will likely be undervalued heading into next year. Below are three “sleeper” wide receivers to target in 2022.

1. Rashod Bateman (Baltimore Ravens)

Bateman is a prime candidate for a Year 2 breakout, and while he’s coming off of an inconsistent Year 1, much of his rocky play hasn’t entirely been his fault. The loss of Lamar Jackson and Bateman’s early-season injury certainly hasn’t helped Baltimore’s passing game, and while Bateman is in a crowded receiving room along with Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, there’s reason to believe his target share could ascend in Year 2.

Bateman missed the first five games of the regular season, a stint that has certainly been a hindrance to his NFL development, but since then, he garnered six or more targets in seven of his last eleven games, a testament to his ability to get open, especially on slants and short crossing routes. Bateman’s excellent separation ability along with his open-field speed allow him to be a big-play threat on any given snap, and his Year 1 17-game pace of 99 targets should only improve in 2022 as he grows and develops.

Bateman’s fantasy numbers were somewhat inconsistent, but he only had one touchdown this season, a number that will also rise given his abilities. As Lamar Jackson gains trust with his speedy receiver, they could develop a playmaking rapport potentially exceeding that of Jackson and Marquise Brown, elevating Bateman to a juicy role as the Ravens’ number two target. If he reaches that spot, he’d be well worth a selection at his likely late-round ADP, and at a low price, the minimal risk he carries is far outweighed by what could be top-24 WR potential next year.

2. Josh Palmer (Los Angeles Chargers)

Palmer, the Chargers’ 3rd round draft pick this year, has flashed in spots this year, but he mostly seems to have been written off in redraft circles at this point. Palmer’s late-round value is heavily dependent, however, on a Mike Williams exit, as Williams broke out this year but could now head to free agency. If Williams leaves LA, that could leave an opening for Palmer to be Justin Herbert’s #2 wide receiver, a spot that could pay big dividends for his fantasy numbers.

Palmer has certainly been inconsistent this year due to a limited role, but he started to show out at times later in the season. Palmer picked up 19 targets in the final four weeks of the fantasy season (Weeks 14-17), catching 14 of them for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers are far from stellar, but they’re certainly a step in the right direction, and proof that Palmer has developed since entering the NFL. I’d expect Palmer to take a solid Year 2 jump if Williams exits LA, making him well worth a selection in the late rounds of your drafts.

3. Kenny Golladay (New York Giants)

Yes, yes, I know that despite all of the preseason hype I gave him, Golladay finished as the fantasy WR81, an atrocious performance for someone being paid $18 million a year to dominate on the Giants. I will admit that this year’s performance caused me to drastically reevaluate this Giants offense as a whole, as I was a full-on proponent of Golladay in fantasy heading into the season. However, there are still reasons to be hopeful for improvement next year, and so I still feel there’s a case that he, at the very least, has potential for somewhat of a bounce-back year.

Golladay’s 2020 season was cut short by injuries, but he put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019, and at 28 years old, it’s doubtful that he lost all of his football ability. Golladay at his best is an amazing contested-catch receiver who uses his 6’4″, 214 pound frame to win 50 50 balls downfield. If he can get more involved in the offense, the big plays should start rolling in for him.

With Daniel Jones likely back for another year, the Giants should try to get Golladay much more involved so that his contract isn’t wasted, and they’ll likely encourage Jones, a solid downfield passer, to take more chances to get the ball to his star receiver. Golladay may not return to peak form next year, but his price is likely to land him at the tail end of fantasy drafts, a spot where you should be more than willing to take a guy with potential – if somewhat unlikely – WR2 upside.

3 sleeper RBs to target in 2022

Watch out for these 3 sleeper RBs next season

By: Jake Rajala

Some might say dynasty fantasy football season never sleeps. Then there are those who appeal to the notion that “fantasy football season” never sleeps. The 2022 fantasy season should be special, as we will witness a healthy Derrick Henry and Christian McCaffrey notably. Truth be told, the list of star players that will be returning ought to go on a yellow text far into the galaxy. 

Still, the stargazing and dream draft pick(s) isn’t what fantasy love should be all about. We love the juicy sleepers and players that can shock the FF realm. With that said, let’s take an early look at some 2022 sleepers from the RB position. 

  • Michael Carter

The New York Jets fourth-round pick has been one of the lone bright spots on the 4-12 squad. Carter has ousted roughly 73 all-purpose yards per game (missed three), as he’s been reliable in the run and pass game. A healthy Mekhi Becton, more impressive growth in the system, and fewer defenders in the box from at least a modest passing game, should provide wonders for Carter in year two. We shouldn’t expect a year-two jump that we saw out of Jonathan Taylor, but he should at least crack the 1,000-yard club. 

The New York Post nicely depicts how Mike LaFleur raves about his knack to learn quickly and utilize his all-around skill set. If he continues to keep climbing the ladder, he should have a nice floor and thrilling ceiling.

  • Mark Ingram 

It’s strange to see Mark Ingram, also known as the Saints hypeman, turn back the clock at age 32. The bowling ball halfback has had 3.8 YPC and 398 all-purpose yards (seven games) in his short Saints tenure thus far. These stats don’t truly reveal how impressive his running has been with NOLA. In comparison, Alvin Kamara has only mustered out 3.6 YPC, which is a full yard worse than his previous YPC of 4.6 YPC. The Saints OL has been beaten up and to be honest, the Saints offense has been absolutely decimated. It’s been reported that the Saints have set an NFL record of 58 different starters this season. Ingram may be a bit of a deep sleeper, but he could surprise A LOT of fantasy fanatics when he’s in sync with a healthy, well-oiled machine in NOLA. The Saints have lost Terron Armstead, Ryan Ramczyk, Andrus Peat, Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, Deonte Harris, and the list goes on. Yet, Ingram looks explosive and efficient when he’s not meeting defenders at the line of scrimmage.

  • Elijah Mitchell 

This might be a bit of an obvious *sleeper choice. Nonetheless, let’s not forget how absolutely phenomenal Elijah Mitchell is. As a rookie, the former Louisiana RB has notched 878 rushing yards, 4.7 YPC, in 10 games. If his rushing yard tally is averaged out over 17 games, the rook would have picked up 1,492 yards on the ground. That would place him second in the league (1734 is the first/1205 would be the third). Mitchell is flat out a special football player and fully expect him to be a Top 5 RB with ease next season. Fall in love with the news circling around him throughout the offseason.

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 16

Jared Goff is a must pickup on the fantasy football waiver wire

By: Rishi Patel

Welcome back to this NFL column where I will be preaching my advice about which fantasy players you should pluck off your waiver wire each week during this NFL season. 

During each NFL season, there are usually sleepers that emerge who you should pick up off the waiver wire due to various reasons, such as better performances than expected, injuries, etc. It’s important to make good use of the waiver wire as players from here could sometimes be good depth and even a starter for your team in critical stretches. It’s hard to believe we are in the fantasy playoffs. Congrats to those who will still be setting their lineups at this point. Going forward, things will get more intense as managers play for all the marbles. Let’s look at some players who could be of sneaky value during your quest for the title:

Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions

Don’t look now, but the Lions are a two-win team now. Who would have thought after the disastrous start to the season? In the last three games, the 27-year-old Goff has seven touchdowns to two picks and at least 215 yards in all three contests. The Lions play the Falcons, Seahawks, and Packers to close out the season and Goff can continue to put up good numbers given the Packers are the only intimidating defense on that list. (Note: Goff got put on the COVID list Monday and his status will need to be monitored but he’s worth stashing for now and potentially streaming in Week 16 if he can play). 

Craig Reynolds, RB, Detroit Lions

The Lions have been shorthanded at running back but first-year player Craig Reynolds has been making noise lately. The Kutztown product has at least 83 rushing yards in the last two weeks, including 112 yards in the stunning upset of Arizona on Sunday. Reynolds is worth stashing as coach Dan Campbell may ride the hot hand to close the season. If D’Andre Swift (shoulder) returns, then Reynolds would have no fantasy value. 

Duke Johnson, RB, Miami Dolphins

Duke Johnson has hopped around NFL teams and he produced a vintage performance out of nowhere in Week 15 against the hapless Jets. Johnson had 22 carries for 107 yards and two scores as a member of the Dolphins and looks like a solid complement back to Myles Gaskin. While the performance was impressive, Johnson is only worth stashing for now as managers should wait and see whether the back can sustain this production. It’s best not to stream a player based on one performance. 

Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, San Francisco 49ers

As the 49ers deal with RB injuries, Jeff Wilson has risen up and posted 21 carries for 110 yards and a score in Week 15. The 25-year-old isn’t normally the starter but Elijah Mitchell is dealing with a knee injury and his return remains uncertain. For now, consider Wilson the workhorse back and he’s worth stashing as the 49ers face a tougher defense in Tennessee in Week 16 before playing a porous Texans defense in Week 17. 

D’Onta Foreman, RB, Tennessee Titans

Foreman has quietly put up at least 108 rushing yards in two of the last three games while seeing at least 19 carries in two of the last three games too. While Dontrell Hilliard is also in the picture, he hasn’t been as explosive as Foreman, only posting over 100 rushing yards once. Foreman is currently dealing with an ankle injury, but he’s worth stashing given his recent production. 

Amon Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions

Yes, this is the third LIONS player on this list, but that team is playing with heart and some players are actually producing fantasy-relevant numbers. St. Brown has been playing lights out recently. He has posted at least eight receptions, 11 targets, and 73 yards in the last three contests. The WR posted a season-high 90 yards in Week 15. Given Detroit plays teams like Seattle and Atlanta in the next couple of weeks, St. Brown is a must-add and is even in the streaming picture given his recent production. 

Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Denver Broncos

The TE out of Mizzou is quietly posting better game stats as of late. He has at least three receptions and four targets in the last three games while posting at least 41 yards in the last two games. Okwuegbunam is worth adding as a stash given he could be of use as a TE2 in very deep leagues if needed. 

Deep Fantasy Football Stashes for Week 15

Let’s take a deep dive with these fantasy football stashes

By: Malcolm McMillan

It is officially the fantasy football playoffs. I can only assume that you made it into the fantasy football playoffs or are preparing for next year. In either case, congratulations on doing the right thing. Prepping ahead of the competition and being active in your dynasty league will pay off next year. You know you can wait until after the Super Bowl to take a break from fantasy football.

This week’s article will be a little different. Like in previous weeks, these players are still widely available, though one of them is only available in about 40% of Sleeper dynasty leagues. The goal is to find players with 50% rostership or less, but after last week two sets of players stand out. One set of players for those managers still making their playoff run, the other for dynasty fantasy football managers looking beyond the 2021 NFL season (though redraft people can pay attention too).

First up, two running backs that could make a difference in the 2021 fantasy football playoffs.

Jermar Jefferson vs Craig Reynolds vs Godwin Igwebuike: Which Detroit Lions Running Back Do You Want?

Last week everyone thought that they made a killer waiver wire addition in Jermar Jefferson. After all, both D’Andre Swift (shoulder) and Jamaal Williams (COVID-19) were out for the Detroit Lions Week 14 matchup against the Denver Broncos. Sure, Jefferson had been sick in the lead-up to the game, but plenty of experts assumed he and fellow running back Godwin Igwebuike would see the work out of the Lions backfield.

Unfortunately, neither Jefferson nor Igwebuike saw meaningful work in Week 14. Igwebuike at least got to touch the ball; Jefferson was on the field for a mere six snaps. Instead, Craig Reynolds stole the show (relatively), with 11 rushing attempts and a pair of receptions that resulted in an RB20 finish in half-point-per-reception (half-PPR) formats. Williams and Swift are both out again for the Lions Week 15 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, so the pressing question is: which Lions running back do you trust?

In terms of athleticism, betting on Jefferson is not smart. Per PlayerProfiler he lags behind both Reynolds and Igwebuike in every athletic metric. Igwebuike is the most athletic of the three, though Reynolds does have some mildly impressive agility. The problem is that none of that has mattered all season. All three running backs have been anything more than bench depth until now. Jefferson had a brief flash in Week 10, and Igwebuike has been involved regularly on special teams, but Reynolds made his season debut in Week 14.

Unfortunately for Jefferson and Igwebuike, Reynolds made the most of that debut and probably qualifies as the “hot hand” going into Week 15. If you have to trust a Lions running back in the fantasy football playoffs, Reynolds is the player to roster, though do not be surprised to see Igwebuike cut into Reynolds’s workload. Detroit is not seeing what they have here. All three of these running backs are undrafted or seventh-round picks firmly behind Swift and Williams on the depth chart. The Lions just need a body to carry the ball, and that body will look like Reynolds’s until Swift or Williams returns.

Jalen Guyton and Josh Palmer: A Dynamic Dynasty Duo

If Jalen Guyton and Josh Palmer are still available in your dynasty leagues, they need to be on your roster. Now. The Los Angeles Chargers passing attack has become red hot with Justin Herbert under center, and it is not just the usual suspects that are benefiting. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams still dominate the wide receiver room. The Chargers’ current studs each have over 100 targets after 14 games. However, both Guyton and Palmer are flirting with fantasy football relevance recently.

Let us start with Guyton. Guyton showed a connection with Herbert in 2020, but things have heated up over the past few weeks. In half-PPR fantasy football leagues, Guyton led the Chargers wide receivers in fantasy football points from Week 12 to 14. Week 15 was more subdued but still saw Guyton score a touchdown for the third game in a row. With Mike Williams headed for free agency after this season, the Chargers may make Guyton the next man up. He already has a connection with Herbert and an impressive athletic profile. At just 24 years old, what is not to love?

But Guyton is not the only intriguing up-and-coming wide receiver on the Chargers roster. While not as athletic as Guyton, Palmer was the Chargers’ third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which is not insignificant. Plus, while Guyton has been the third wide receiver this season, Palmer did fill in for Allen in Week 14 to great success. Palmer’s seven targets that week led all Chargers players, and the five receptions, 66 yards and a touchdown were enough to finish WR16 on the week. The best part is Palmer is flashing this production all before turning 23. He will be just 25 when his and Allen’s contracts expire at the end of 2024. The Chargers bringing back their 25-year-old WR rather than the 32-year-old wide receiver will not be a surprise, and this role seems to be Palmer’s for the taking. Worst case, he should become one of the top three wide receivers in Los Angeles when Williams leaves at the end of the year.

The Chargers already have their quarterback of the future in Herbert, but it is expensive (if not impossible) to acquire that piece of their offense if you are a dynasty manager. However, you can get either—or both—of their wide receivers of the future for dirt cheap right now. The return on investment will not be instant, but it will be worth it.

Top 3 Fantasy Bust Franchises

Urban Meyer was gloomy for Jacksonville

By Chinmay Kulkarni

There are a thousand storylines written during every fantasy football season strictly about the best players in the league or the specific teams with the greatest quality players. But we never give shine to the bottom feeder teams, the Mr. Irrelevants. See, it takes power just to be invited to the fantasy football party, and some teams are simply happy to be seated at the table with the contenders. They’re quite a few teams that have young rosters, unsurmountable injuries, or just plain incompetence at the helm that make the cut for this list.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been a complete dumpster fire this entire season – setting a clear bad example of how to run a sports franchise into the ground. Furthermore, the Jags seemingly inventing ways to upstage their own off-field problems by creating new ones It starts at the top with the owners, Shahid Khan and his son Tony Khan, a family more interested in their own business and running knockoff (but successful) versions of WWE, in AEW wrestling. The hiring of Urban Meyer symbolizes the impending doom on their season, even before the season had begun.

Fast-forward to week 15 of the NFL season – the Jaguars are on a course to ruin Trevor Lawrence’s career even before it started, have won 2 games (somehow beating the Bills by only kicking field goals), and have a HC who leads with a sense of chaos while fostering a culture of mismanagement. Sure, in the words of RG3, it may take pressure to make diamonds, but it’s impossible to make diamonds when a foundation doesn’t even exist.

James Robinson and Marvin Jones Jr were the only fantasy-relevant players in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, Urban Meyer is bricked into thinking this is 2016 and continues to run Carlos Hyde as if Robinson doesn’t exist on the roster. Surrounding Trevor Lawrence with talent at the WR/TE spot has largely been a failure, though Marvin Janes Jr does hang around as a flex play in deeper leagues.

Also, I was reminded recently that Tavon Austin is still in the league. I think Urban Meyer really does think it’s 2016.

(Update: Urban Meyer has been fired)

Chicago Bears

There’s a slight trend to the teams on this list – they have to do with the uninspiring coaching staff. Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears are no different, standing at 4-9 and third in the NFC North. This division always seems to be a hotbed for coaches perpetually on the hot seat, bad, or have a terrible roster. Unfortunately, Matt Nagy is hands down the worst coach in the NFC North, but Mike Zimmer takes a small runner up in the category.

Regardless, the main purpose of the Chicago Bears should be to grow talent on offense and defense, especially to allow Justin Fields to acclimate to the NFL. However, instead of doing what Fields is good at -running with the football – Nagy consistently wants to throw the ball and run the ball behind a weak offensive line.

David Montgomery is the most fantasy relevant player on the Bears, being the bell cow back, and having two games with 20+ points. The problem – durability and consistency. Montgomery missed 4-games in the middle of the season and returned to provide decent RB2 status. The Bears are a relatively predictable team, so playing defense against them is reasonably easy combined with the suspect playcalling from Matt Nagy.

The greatest surprise of the season comes from the WR core, especially with the success of Darnell Mooney and surpassing Allen Robinson. The receiver has had three 100+ receiving yard games. However, relying on him and the Bears offense wholly does not produce consistent results.

On a side note, Matt Nagy should 100% be fired at the end of this season. The Bears have never fired a HC in-season so it sounds like this slow-moving wreck is going to continue for a few more weeks until the inevitable – or they somehow make the playoffs and Nagy gets a contract extension. Seems like something the Bears would do.

Houston Texans

To be honest, I didn’t even know if the Texans would be able to play a full football season – just punting on the season. The DeShaun Watson saga continues to drag on without any end in sight, the front office and coaching staff restart with the firing of Bill O’Brien, and the endless clown show at the running back position, it seems that any semblance of balance would not even be allowed at the Texans practice facility.

The problems, from both a fantasy and a football standpoint, come from the QB position. Tyrod Taylor has turned into the traveling salesman at the QB position, normally signifying better days for the QB that takes over his place. As with the incompetence of the Texans, Davis Mills was ‘that guy for maybe three-quarters of an NFL game, and then proceeded the nosedive.

The Texans backfield has been a mess, with Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson, Mark Ingram (now with the Saints), and Rex Burkhead. A backfield of yesteryear has been accumulated and David Culley attempts to squeeze any sort of life from his backs as well as his fans.

An absolute minuscule glint in the Texans is Brandin Cooks. Cooks, throughout his career, has been a reliable source of fantasy points and was the clear WR1 on the team – drawing all targets his way. Fortunately, the AFC South is not known for lockdown defense, spurring him into the top-25 in fantasy production amongst WRs. Though the Texans may not see light at the end of the tunnel, Cooks is the only Texans player that can be drafted in next season’s draft, provided they don’t draft/sign a better WR.

Top 5 Players for the Fantasy Playoffs

Fantasy Playoffs are around the corner

By Chinmay Kulkarni

Welcome to the endgame…

After four long, grueling months of triumph, heartbreak, euphoria, and disappointment, we’ve approached the end of the regular season.

The fantasy football community has arrived at its yearly impasse. For the passive fantasy football enthusiasts, this time is no different – life goes on, with or without making 10 waiver wire claims a week. For the more aggressive-minded owners, a struggle between life and death reaches an inflection point – personal dignity is on the line. Some owners look to avoid punishment, while another look at winning a cash prize. Regardless of personal importance, there’s no doubt that fantasy football is something uniquely American, having the abilities to form tight relationships, teaching us about teamwork, decision making, marketing, trades, etc. For some, fantasy football is a way to make friends. For others, it’s the only commonality of keeping friends together.

Our virtual season simulation, when played correctly, is a multi-season marathon. It starts with preseason draft analysis, free agency scalping, and the weekly routine of setting one’s lineup. With an entire arsenal of advanced stats, projections, and hot takes, there’re a few players that have maintained status with the set-and-forget status that we take for granted. Let’s look at the top 5 players primed to bring fantasy football playoff success.

1. Jonathan Taylor – RB1

The defacto RB1 since Derrick Henry’s injury – Johnathan Taylor reached a set-and-forget status that the second-year back was meant to be. Behind one of the best offensive lines coupled with a QB favoring the continuous checkdown, the Wisconsin product is a menace in the backfield with several 100+ yard rushing games on top of a constant receiving threat. We must look back to week 3 when Taylor didn’t score a touchdown, becoming the most valuable picks in a redraft. Taylor should be a lock for each week moving forward, with NE, ARI, and LV left on the schedule.

2. Austin Ekeler – RB2

The Chargers’ backfield often gets overshadowed by some of the passing and receiving talent on his team. Considered a less sexy option for RB1, Ekeler may be the league’s premier pass-catching back, averaging nearly 5 catches per game, 43 receiving yards per game, and securing 7 passing TDs and 8 rushing TDs on the entire season. With an extremely aggressive approach by Brandon Staley with respect to his offense, Ekeler is a staple that makes the Chargers offense move then the passing game stalls. The Chargers play NYG, KC, and HOU in the coming weeks, and should have plenty of opportunities to run the ball.

3. Joe Mixon – RB3

The Cincinnati backfield at times has evolved into an RB by committee, with head coach Zac Taylor tending to the hot hand. Joe Mixon still towers over his fellow backfield with respect to sheer talent, standing second in both rushing attempts and rushing yards on the season. As a regular sighting in the endzone, the last non-touchdown game from Mixon was in week 3, just like Johnathan Taylor. Cincinnati is still a very pass-heavy scheme, but with the last playoff push necessary to improve potential standing, upcoming matchups with SF, DEN, and BAL will require establishing the run.

4. Cooper Kupp – WR1

To say Cooper Kupp broke out only this year is an understatement. Kupp achieved his lone 1000 yard/10 TD season in 2019. What makes this season starkly different, is his shattering of previous personal records extremely early in the season. He stands with the most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs this season, and averages 100+ yards per game. His connection with Matt Stafford is exceptional and should continue with the absence of Robert Woods and replacement with Odell Beckham Jr. Clearly a set a forget WR1, the Rams must look to remain within striking distance of Arizona for the number one spot in the NFC West, and look to play their rival in the upcoming week, similarly with dates playing SEA and MIN.

5. Alvin Kamara – RB4

The Saints roster is in complete shambles. With several injuries on the defensive line, running back group, and the threat of COVID impacting some players, Kamara is the only reliable offense left on the entire team. The Saints passing offense took a nosedive after the Jameis Winston injury and therefore needs the running and short passing threat from Kamara to move the offense. With Kamara scheduled to return as the lone back in week 14, matchups with NYJ, TB, and MIA carry enough weight to make a final playoff push from the Saints. Kamara should eat up touches and should be the only New Orleans player started with absolute confidence in the fantasy playoffs.

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 14

Look to acquire Taysom Hill

By: Rishi Patel

Welcome back to this NFL column where I will be preaching my advice about which fantasy players you should pluck off your waiver wire each week during this NFL season. 

During each NFL season, there are usually sleepers that emerge who you should pick up off the waiver wire due to various reasons, such as better performances than expected, injuries, etc. It’s important to make good use of the waiver wire as players from here could sometimes be good depth and even a starter for your team in critical stretches. It’s hard to believe we are on the cusp of fantasy playoffs. Going forward, things will get more intense as managers play for all the marbles. Let’s look at some players who could be of value during your quest for the title:

Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints

Hill is currently dealing with a finger injury but he will try to play through it. The versatile player may have thrown four picks against Dallas in Week 13, but hear me out– Hill can be effective on the ground (he rushed for 101 yards against the Cowboys) and did throw for 264 yards and two touchdowns as well so he does have the talent to shine in both the rushing and passing game. The only hope is that Hill’s injury doesn’t affect his passing tremendously. If anything, adding him as a streaming option this week is good especially since the Saints play the Jets on Sunday. 

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins were once left for dead across the pond in London when they allowed the no-win Jags to beat them. Well, that might as well be as distant as the flight to the UK because Miami has been on a torrid stretch lately, winning five straight games. The youngster Tagovailoa has shined as well, posting at least 230 yards in the last three games with a 5:1 touchdown to interception ratio in that span. After their bye in Week 14, Miami gets the Jets, Saints, Titans, and Pats and three of those four teams are in the top-10 in most fantasy points allowed to QBs. Tua’s a great addition in this final stretch. 

Sony Michel, RB, Los Angeles Rams

With Darrell Henderson (quad) ailing in Week 13, former New England back Sony Michel stepped up and delivered his best performance as a Ram, 24 carries for 121 yards and a score. Next up, a marquee matchup with divisional foe Arizona looms on Monday Night Football, and the Rams will look to avenge an early-season defeat to their division rivals. Henderson may return to full form for this contest but Michel is worth adding as a handcuff given his 100-yard day on Sunday. 

JaMycal Hasty, RB, San Francisco 49ers

No surprise here, but the 49ers are banged up all over, including the RB position. Surprisingly, Hasty is the only fully healthy back right now and he’s certainly worth an add given he can take on a workhorse role this week, potentially. That would make him worth streaming. 

K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Vikings star receiver Adam Thielen sustained a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s loss to Detroit. With his status murky, the youngster Osborn is worth adding as insurance. The 24-year-old recorded four receptions for 47 yards and a score on seven targets on Sunday and would be the WR2 alongside Justin Jefferson if Thielen is out for some games.

Josh Reynolds, WR, Detroit Lions

Reynolds has reunited with his former QB from LA, Jared Goff, this time in the Midwest. It seems the chemistry hasn’t worn off, as the 26-year-old has posted at least 69 yards in two of three games with Detroit after being traded from the Titans. The Lions don’t have a clear-cut WR1, so Reynolds could see more targets going forward and thus is a solid addition. 

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

The former first-round pick Treadwell hasn’t really shined in the NFL despite being drafted so high but he’s gaining small momentum on this young Jags team. The 26-year-old has posted at least 53 yards in the last two contests while seeing at least five targets in both games. While you shouldn’t assume he’s a must-start each week in fantasy, he is worth adding as depth given his recent numbers. 

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team

The WFT remains resilient despite a rash of injuries, and you can now add star TE Logan Thomas to that list with a knee injury. Thomas is expected to miss some time which means Seals-Jones will be the TE1 of the team now. The 26-year-old is nursing a hip injury himself, but he’s still worth stashing right now given his role will increase when he can return. 

Top 5 defensive units for the fantasy playoffs

By Chinmay Kulkarni

Football guys always preach that defense wins championships. While defensive success has translated to Superbowl winning results over the past decade, having a dominant defensive unit can translate to fantasy football playoff success or failure for the rest of us non-players. As we near the end of the fantasy regular season, teams will attempt to navigate a gauntlet schedule and chain together three to four wins in a row to win their respective league championships. With respect to roster building for the playoffs, it’s generally necessary to have a consistent D/ST that presents favorable matchups for their respective teams. Some of the best D/ST units in the league may not be the best for the fantasy playoffs on the lone statistic of matchups. Therefore, here are 5 D/ST units that will be reliable towards the end of the season.

1. Dallas Cowboys – @WFT, @NYG, WFT

The combination of Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs has been pivotal for the success of this unit, creating tough matchups while throwing the ball, and averaging the third-worst QBR for respective quarterbacks. The unit ranks 5th in QB hits, has the most interceptions of any defensive unit, and has scored 6 touchdowns on the entire season. However, it’s important to step back from the clear stat-dominant performance of the Cowboys D/ST, having played a relatively easy schedule thus far and project one of the easiest remaining schedules going down the stretch against Washington, the Giants, and Washington. This D/ST should continue its dominance as they look to improve their playoff standing against the general incompetence of the NFC East, and as such should be started with confidence each week in fantasy.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – @ATL, BUF, NO

The Tampa defense started the season getting completely exposed, as injuries in the secondary were being exploited by better quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and Matt Stafford. As of late, the schedule for the Bucs has been easier, creating better defensive matchups and allowing them to improve. Atlanta, Buffalo, New Orleans, Carolina, and the Jets are some of the upcoming matchups, and as such project to win 4/5 of those games. Start this unit with confidence, as competition from an NFC south heavy schedule should not faze them.

3. Arizona Cardinals – @CHI, LAR, @DET

The Cardinals are another top-5 fantasy defensive units that make a name for themselves with lockdown passing coverage, boasting 3rd best in the category, and ranking in the top 10 in sacks. However, don’t think that the Cardinals are slouches in run defense – they’ve held opponents to the 3rd fewest rushing TDs on the season. Arizona is already head and shoulders over the rest of the NFC West, with injuries piling up for the 49ers, fraudulent play from the Rams, and the Seahawks offense playing uninspiring football. The next games for the Cardinals should allow them to increase their lead on the NFC west, with only the Rams posing a threat. The Bears and the Lions rank as teams allowing some of the most points for fantasy D/ST units, and therefore should be locks in fantasy lineups in the late regular season and playoffs.

4. Miami Dolphins – NYG, BYE, NYJ, @NO

The Dolphins are not a sexy D/ST starting option. They stand as one of the worst passing defenses in the league and middle of the pack against the run. However, what the Dolphins have done over the past 4 weeks is the equivalent of catching lightning in a bottle. Sacking the Panthers 5 times, Lamar Jackson 4 times, and Houston 5 times – the Dolphins pride themselves at rushing the quarterback and causing havoc. As likely the best streaming D/ST and worthy of a roster spot, the Dolphins can be comfortably started against Daniel Jones and the Giants, and the quarterback carousel approach that the Jets and the Saints have resorted to.

5. New England Patriots – @BUF, BYE, @IND, BUF

The Patriots stand as the premier D/ST in fantasy. With several multi-interception games on the season, several fumble recoveries, and rank second best in points allowed, the Patriots are almost in plug-and-chug status with respect to their position. Where there’s room for speculation is attributed to their remaining schedule, playing the Bills twice, and the superhot Colts down the stretch. As Buffalo looks to reclaim their lead in the AFC East, and the Colts will look to make their final playoff push, these matchups present a large possibility for losing fantasy points on defense. However, this unit still deserves a mention as the best D/ST in fantasy football. Starting this unit is risky, but there are worse units to play.

The secret weapon on the Raiders offense is ready to be unlocked

By Chinmay Kulkarni

The Las Vegas Raiders, over the past several seasons have not been a team to bet on making the playoffs. Being a hotbed for inconsistency, mediocrity, and notorious for being in the news for all the wrong reasons, the former team from Oakland is having one of its better seasons in 2021, vying for an AFC West title in an extremely competitive division chock-full of extremely talented rosters (and then the Broncos). The Raiders are very prone to finishing 3rd or 4th in the division, going 8-8, 7-9, and 4-12 over the past three seasons. This year however is looking different, with good play from Derek Carr, a good running game, and an improving defense, the Raiders are poised to make waves in the wild card race if they continue to win games.

The Raider’s field general, Derek Carr stands in the inevitable ‘no man’s land’ of are they elite QBs, with the likes of Joe Flacco, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Matt Ryan. This year, offensive team building seems to have clicked for the Raiders especially with their wide receiver group. With the removal of Henry Ruggs from Raiders organization, the backs and auxiliary wide receivers have been given the spotlight. A standout star, Hunter Renfrow, is best poised to make a potential leap to star, household name WR1, from an on field perspective, and fantasy football perspective.

Hunter Renfrow, judging from his Instagram, looks like a B-tier caddie that you see on TV during the Masters Golf Tournament.  However, don’t lets his 5’10’’ smaller frame fool you, this man runs routes like the best. Renfrow leads the Raiders wide receiver group in targets, only paling in comparison to Darren Waller, a top 5 tight end in the league, stand in good company. Renfrow leads the entire team in receptions, yards, and receiving TDs.

The Raiders are an extremely boring offense, only having like 4 or so things that they really do when possessing the ball. Here is my, probably wrong list of exactly that –

  1. Run the ball down the opponent’s throat using Josh Jacobs
  2. Derek Carr closes his eye and throws the ball to Darren Waller for a completion
  3. Checkdown to Hunter Renfrow
  4. Rail it deep to DeSean Jackson

This is my impression of the Raiders offense — in is a lesser version.

In typical short-yardage situations, Hunter Renfrow is the automatic target to get 1st downs. Carr averages 8 air yards per throw to Renfrow and has been exceptionally good at it throughout the season. Fantasy owners have Renfrow’s route running to thank for his production, and as a result has catapulted him to a top-30 WR in fantasy in all formats. In dynasty leagues he also stands as an excellent investment, on pace to shatter his previous single-season total yards, receptions, and TDs without a doubt.

Any great offense can be stopped by a great defense, and fortunately, the AFC West is mostly devoid of them – the Chiefs let up a ridiculous amount of points, the Chargers can’t stop the run to save their life, and the Broncos are hit or miss. Other games on this season’s schedule include the Bengals – who can beat the Ravens one week and then lose to Mike White – and the Cowboys, likely matching up Trevon Diggs with Renfrow. The outlook looks positive and Renfrow should have a great time to flousish in the Raider’s offense.

Hunter Renfrow is the quintessential don’t judge a book by its cover player. Some may laugh at his shortish appearance, but fantasy players everywhere should be on watch, this guy is someone that all players should look to roster if still on waivers.

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 12 2.0

Who should you add on waivers this week?

By Calvin K (Twitter: @Calvin_SGF)

NOTE: These players are rostered in 40% or less of ESPN leagues

1. Devonta Freeman (RB, Baltimore Ravens)

Freeman has now solidified his hold on the Ravens backfield, racking up 22 touches on Sunday against the Bears. Freeman has been Baltimore’s back of choice over the last few weeks, and fellow RB Latavius Murray took a backseat in this game to Freeman, who has now garnered at least 13 touches in three straight matchups. The release of Le’Veon Bell will only increase Freeman’s opportunities, and while he’s not the most efficient runner compared to his younger days (only 49 rushing yards on 16 carries last week), his opportunity share still makes him a back-end RB2, placing him easily atop this week’s waiver wire adds.

2. Ty Johnson (RB, New York Jets)

Johnson has become a fantasy must-add following the news that Jets starting RB Michael Carter will miss multiple weeks with an injury. Johnson already has been somewhat involved in the Jets’ offense as of late, catching 19 passes over his last five games. Now, his carry numbers will get a chance to skyrocket in Carter’s absence, although his upside may be somewhat limited due to the presence of Tevin Coleman in the backfield as well. However, Johnson should still get some decent work in future weeks, so while he’s a risky start in fantasy as of now, he should still be rostered in all leagues.

3. A.J. Green (WR, Arizona Cardinals)

Green has been quietly productive over the last few weeks, and he had another solid game against Seattle on Sunday, catching four passes for 78 yards with Colt McCoy at the helm instead of the injured Kyler Murray. Green is currently sitting in a very crowded receiver room, so his performance can often hinge on whether the Cardinals put up a massive game that supports every wide receiver. However, Arizona’s high-powered offense has plenty of those games, which can serve to mask potential inconsistency from Green that we might otherwise see. Rondale Moore, Christian Kirk, and DeAndre Hopkins will continually eat into Green’s target share, but his week-to-week upside and relatively safe floor make him worth an add in fantasy.

4. Rondale Moore (WR, Arizona Cardinals)

Moore and Green are in similar situations, as both tend to hinder the other’s fantasy performances. However, Moore’s 11-catch day showed that, while he may be more inconsistent than Green at times, his short-yardage playmaking ability can allow him to siphon tons of targets on occasion. While this can make him a good asset in PPR leagues, the short-yardage nature of his receptions can make it difficult for him to have massive games unless he breaks off one big run, so he’s often too inconsistent to start on a week-to-week basis. However, Moore is electric with the ball in his hands, so fantasy managers could do far worse with an emergency plug-and-play.

5. Cam Newton (QB, Carolina Panthers)

Newton threw for just 189 yards on Sunday, but he still finished as the fantasy QB4 on the week (pre-MNF) due to the rushing floor that he provided. Newton picked up 46 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, accounting for 10.6 of his fantasy points with his feet alone. This baseline will allow Newton to have good fantasy performances even on days where his passing isn’t the best, and upcoming matchups against the Dolphins and Falcons will allow Newton to truly display his upside. Newton is still a risky option at QB, but his soft schedule over the next two weeks makes him well worth an add, as he could become very valuable as a streamer at QB.

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