Aaron Rodgers is still available in one-quarter of Yahoo! leagues.
Please go get him.
The Packers probably aren’t making the NFL playoffs. At 6-6, they’d have to run the table and would still need help. But Green Bay plays at winless Cleveland in Week 14, and Mr. Rodgers’s Neighborhood begins anew in Week 15: it’s now widely assumed that A-Rod will be able to play after missing 10 weeks with a broken collarbone. Granted, his remaining schedule would look tough: at Carolina and home against Minnesota. As such, it wouldn’t be a walk in the park to dominate your fantasy semis and finals. But good heavens. He’s Aaron Rodgers. Heck, by Week 16, I’ll probably be injecting Jordy Nelson back into the top five of my weekly receiver ranks.
Every other potential fantasy transaction we’ll discuss in this space between now and the end of your season will be about nibbling at the edges. Rodgers and Ezekiel Elliott (eligible to return Week 16 against the Seahawks) have the potential to change your league winner.
Here are some more moves to contemplate for Week 14:
Must-Add: Peyton Barber, RB, Buccaneers
There are two viable emergency running backs available on most waiver wires this week: Barber and the Seahawks’ Mike Davis. I’m not wowed by either player, and I admit that if Doug Martin returns from his concussion in Week 14, choosing Barber is probably the wrong move. But I want a piece of Tampa’s ground game going against a Lions run defense that’s one of the worst I’ve seen in the season’s second half. If you have two roster spots available, I’m also fine adding Davis, who probably isn’t any more special athletically than Barber is, but does seem to have a clear path to Seattle’s starting gig.
Must-Start: Dak, Dez, Alf, Staubach, Dorsett, Herschel
I believe! Thursday night’s second-half domination of Washington convinced me that the Cowboys have their offensive line groove back, and I think they’ll go to the Meadowlands and put a pasting on the McAdoo-free Giants. Granted, Dak Prescott’s 102 passing yards didn’t exactly wake up Troy Aikman’s ghost, but right now the Cowboys’ fate orbits around that offensive line. Give the Dallas skill players that kind of time and space, and you’re back to major league production. Bonus: We won’t be subjected to a week of talk about how Janoris Jenkins is a surefire Dez Bryant eraser, because the Giants’ star corner is out for the year with an ankle injury.
Must-Bench: Your Dolphins
Against the Broncos Sunday, Kenyan Drake looked like an above-average player with some cutting quickness to go with enough size to keep tacklers honest, and he’s a nice pass-catcher. Kenny Stills made a big play (though he fumbled another away). And Jarvis Landry kept up his dink-and-dunk act with a series of screens and slants and stops to move the chains. And against New England Monday night, I’d rather not use any of them.
In September, the Patriots featured the league’s most hospitable defense, and in terms of raw numbers, they still give up a bunch of rushing yards. But how often does anything they’ve allowed lately add up to fantasy glory? Not often.
Congratulations, Bills, on Sunday you rushed for 183 yards, including 93 from Shady McCoy … and you scored three points. The Patriots played a lot of zone to confuse the quarterback, kept everything in front of them, and waited for their opponent to make a mistake. Guess who else makes mistakes: Jay Cutler!
Landry will be my highest-ranked Dolphin, and some fantasy squads won’t have a choice but to use him. A couple weeks ago, he had eight catches for 70 yards against New England, most of which came in the first half while the game was vaguely competitive. But checking down to Jarvis Landry is exactly what the Pats want Cutler to do, just before he throws a spine-shattering pick. So okay, start Landry, ponder starting Drake, fantasize about Stills and DeVante Parker … and then wince when Miami struggles to score double-digit points.
Must-Stream: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco
We’re reaching the point where it’s not wise to mess too much with your lineup. If you’re in your league’s quarterfinals, I’m guessing you got there with a pretty good fantasy signal caller. But that may not be true. And if you’ve been looking for a streaming solution all year, I like Jimmy G as this week’s candidate. Versus the Bears Sunday, Garoppolo was calm and accurate, mostly throwing quicker underneath stuff but occasionally thwacking home a third-down dart that kept the Niners alive long enough to kick a game-winning field goal. I’m also interested in adding his (for now) No. 1 receiver Marquise Goodwin. On the road against an undermanned Texans defense, Garoppolo should give you a safe baseline with the chance for a couple touchdowns.
Must-Stream: Bengals Defense
They were fine as a streaming option through late November, we skipped ’em for Monday night’s tilt against the Steelers, but it’s time to go right back to the Cincinnati well: in Week 15 they’ll face Mitch Trubisky and the painfully awkward Chicago Bears offense. Is there a danger that Jordan Howard puts together one of his 30-carry games and wrecks your season? I guess. Then again, if that was going to happen, you sure would’ve expected it Sunday against the Niners.
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