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Can you feel that? The electricity of the matchups in your league has intensified! These weeks mean more than ever! For most, this is the week before the playoffs! Which in some cases creates a pseudo-playoff game depending on how well you've played your team this season. Do you need a waiver wire Hail Mary? Or maybe just some reassurance that your guy is still a rising stock? Well, you have come to the right place at just the right time! Here it is, your pre-playoff stock market! Make sure you take some notes! You'll need to know when to high-five me (or curse my name). Ring the bell!
The Fortune 5
EDGE Andrew Van Ginkel, Dolphins: This may be hyperbole, but have we ever seen Lawrence Taylor and Van Ginkel in the same room… Ok, maybe he isn't that good, but when Jaelen Phillips is down with an injury, he has emerged as a must-start and is creeping into the league-winner territory. He had another monster game without Phillips, compiling five total tackles and two defended passes, including a pick-six! In five games Phillips has missed this season, Van Ginkel has 22 tackles, four sacks, and four defended passes. He has a chance to still be on your waiver wire! But get him while you can; he won't be there long. That long flowing blonde hair isn't the only resemblance of the Mighty Thor, he is playing with the strength of the God of Thunder as well.
S Antoine Winfield Jr, Buccaneers: Winfield has been a good player for most of his young career, but this year he has finally become a great player. His career highs going into this season were 94 tackles (he has 89 currently), two sacks (he has three currently), and six defended passes (he has 11 currently). He can no longer be denied a spot atop the list of dynasty league safeties, and he is likely a major contributor to your team's successes (or losses if you're facing him). He has had 8+ tackles in three straight games and has some juicy matchups upcoming with the Falcons, Packers, and Jaguars in his next three games. Look for Winfield to continue shattering his career highs well into the fantasy playoffs.
EDGE Samson Ebukam, Colts: The Indianapolis Colts pass rush at times feels like a hodge podge of players all contributing, but it is difficult to figure out which person will consistently contribute to your fantasy team. We have seen one player emerge off the edge over the others. Ebukam has put together the finest season of his career thus far, achieving career highs in sacks, solo tackles, and forced fumbles. He is also pacing to achieve total tackle career highs, and if these last couple of weeks are any indication, he will undoubtedly be a player you should start on your playoff journey. He has had multiple sacks in his last two games, and even in the games he fails to record a sack, he is tackling the ball carrier enough to have a stable floor, with the big play upside that can win a matchup.
S Derwin James Jr., Chargers: This has been a somewhat stable year for James's managers, and if you are a long-term holder of James, you understand exactly what that means. To start, he is the type of player who, when he is on the field, is likely one of the top players in the entire game, let alone his position. Unfortunately, though, we have had to endure the trying times he sometimes brings with him in this management process. Not this year. He has been the exact player you need for the entire season, and he has been hitting his stride here the last few weeks. He has had 6+ tackles in the last five games but can truly go off any given Sunday. In that five-game span, he has had games with 10 and 13 tackles as well as last week's nine tackle and a sack performance. Don't sweat James down the stretch. He appears to be on his way to his first truly healthy season, and we could be seeing the peak performance of an exciting player in his prime.
LB Eric Kendricks, Chargers: At times, Eric Kendricks is a frustrating player to have to manage, but when he is on, it is a beautiful sight to behold. We are currently in that window of enjoyment. Kendricks was given a fresh start in Los Angeles this past season and has been anything but reliable. Whether it was injury or inconsistent performance, he was likely a player that hindered you more than helped you early on. Since Week 5, however, Kendricks has hit his stride. Last week was his best game all season, a 10-tackle and one-sack performance that is likely one of the crowning games of his career. He will fall well short of his production from last season, but for this playoff run, he appears to be as safe of a bet as ever to give you the safe floor with boom upside. Kendricks needs to be a starter for you moving forward if he isn't already.
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