Mac Jones (QB-NE)
Jones was good for fantasy in a blowout win against the Titans last week, but will play in poor conditions this week, then have a bye, and he has home games that could be bad weather games in Weeks 16 and 17. He has been improving greatly, but it hasn’t always translated to fantasy numbers and the Patriots are likely retrench around their running game and defense in their push for the AFC #1 seed.
Carson Wentz (QB-IND)
Wentz is coming off of one of his best games of the year, and he should shine again this week at Houston, well at least until the game gets out of hand. After a Week 14 bye, he’ll have the benefit of playing indoors for the whole fantasy playoffs against the Patriots and Raiders at home sandwiching a date at Arizona. All of those teams should load up the box to slow down Jonathan Taylor and take their chances with the Colts passing game, which will lead to bigger numbers for Wentz.
Javonte Williams (RB-DEN)
Williams is probably not available, but you can always try to overpay for him if the trade deadline hasn’t passed. Melvin Gordon III is 50-50 for this week and one week without Gordon could be all it takes for Williams to take control of this backfield as the Broncos push for a playoff spot. He is obviously fresh after splitting work with Gordon all season and tired defenses could have their backs broken if they have to tackle him 20+ times a game. The Lions and suspect run defenses of the Raiders and Chargers are still left on the schedule.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR-GB)
Valdes-Scantling could be free on your waiver wire right now. The Packers had Randall Cobb go down with an injury in Week 12 and there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready or effective coming out of the bye. Valdes-Scantling should be the beneficiary of defenses that will focus on Davante Adams primarily and the Dillon/Jones running game secondarily with Aaron Rodgers deep passing coming into focus. The Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Minnesota secondaries all have vulnerabilities that Valdes-Scantling can take advantage of.
DK Metcalf (WR-SEA)
Metcalf’s status has fallen enough that some are rightfully considering benching the big man in the matchup against the 49ers this week. It’s easy to forget that he posted a 12-161-2 in the home game against the 49ers last year. The Seahawks also get to play indoors in Week 14 and 15 against the Texans and Rams and Metcalf posted a 5-98-2 line in the first matchup against the Rams this year. He’s too good to stay down for much longer.
Jordan Howard (RB-PHI)
It’s odd to buy an injured player, but Howard has been the most consistently effective running back for the Eagles since they switched to a run heavy attack, and he’s the only back of the top three that hasn’t had a costly fumble in a recent game. In fact, after Miles Sanders fumbled in Week 11, Howard replaced him and ran 10 times in 13 snaps for 63 yards. It’s possible that when Howard is healthy enough to play, he’ll be the lead back, and it’s also possible that Miles Sanders aggravates the ankle injury that caused him to leave early in the Week 12 loss.
Ronald Jones II (RB-TB)
Remember him? In a world where we focus on high value #2 backs like A.J. Dillon, Tony Pollard, and Alexander Mattison, all of whom are, have, or could continue to reap rewards for forward-thinking fantasy teams, why isn’t Jones thought of the same way? Defenses are likely to take their chances with the Bucs running game and short passing game, which will make the Tampa backfield very valuable down the stretch as last week Bruce Arians and Tom Brady showed a willingness to take what the defense gave them. Once upon a time we thought of Leonard Fournette as injury prone, so we shouldn’t feel too comfortable even though he has been one of the few backs to skate through 2021 without any big injury worries to date. Jones is a talented backup in a prolific offense and he could still be a league winner yet.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB-KC)
Don’t expect defenses to change their mostly successful approach to defending Patrick Mahomes II, which will lead to continued favorable conditions for the Chiefs running game. Andy Reid showed no inclination to move to more of a committee approach upon the 2020 first round picks return, and he should be well-rested and ready for the stretch run after this week’s bye. Following Denver, he’ll get a run of the Raiders, Chargers, and Steelers defenses, all of which can pressure the quarterback, but are vulnerable against the run. The Chiefs should be content to feed Edwards-Helaire, who could get hot against light boxes in the fantasy playoffs.
Foster Moreau (TE-LV)
If Moreau’s 6-60-1 line in his first start this year wasn’t enough to convince you to take a chance on him, consider that Darren Waller’s knee injury is keeping him from practicing despite the mini bye after the Thanksgiving game and that IT band injuries are somewhat rare, which means we shouldn’t think this is only a one week injury. The Raiders face the Chiefs, Browns, Broncos, and Colts from Weeks 14-17, most of whom have had their troubles with tight ends this year, so Moreau could end up being a surprise TE1 if Waller is slow to get back on the field.