The Final Stretch
There comes a time in every football season, where each fantasy manager must make difficult decisions on what players they will entrust to be in their lineup for their attempt to go all the way. You may have to trade away a stud running back to improve your team at another position; you may even have to bench your first-round draft pick in favor of a player recently picked up off waivers. All these decisions are made with one goal in mind, “to win the whole f**king thing.” All the hard work put in to get your team to the promised land will finally pay off. This year more than ever, has been a stressful season due to the effect of COVID-19. The start/sit questions become harder and harder in the fantasy playoffs because there are no do-overs. It is a win or go home situation! Hopefully, we can provide you with enough confidence in the following players to give them the opportunity to be a part of your playoff run to being a fantasy football champion.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson’s price will never be lower than it is right now. With his performance so far this year and now him testing positive for Covid-19. If he can be acquired for cheap, then go and buy him if you’ve been streaming or need an upgrade in a super flex. There are quite a few Quarterbacks with a good playoff schedule, but few dual-threat quarterbacks have that great of matchups. Lamar gets his juicy playoff schedule to allow him to get back on track to becoming a fantasy superstar he was last year:
Week 14 @ Cleveland Browns
Week 15 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 16 vs. New York Giants
Jackson might not be the greatest passing quarterback in the league, but when the upside is through the roof, and the buy-low window is this low, it’s tough to ignore. Jackson has an insane rushing upside and can get 100+ easily with his elusiveness and has the passing upside of throwing 3+ touchdowns as well. In these matchups, expect Jackson to feast in at least one aspect of the game, if not both.
Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady has had a very up and down year so far in his debut season away from Belichick and the Patriots. Uncertainty and injuries in his receiving core have played a part in his struggles. Mike Evans was in and out of practice and oftentimes very noticeably hobbled out on the field. Chris Godwin has struggled to stay on the field in 2020 and has missed multiple games this year with different injuries, and continues to play through a broken finger. Antonio Brown was recently signed to help the Buccaneers solidify the wide receiver position. Brown has shown that he still has the talent to be an extremely effective receiver in the NFL. Rob Gronkowski has also reemerged as a notable target for Tom Brady and continues to be a weapon in the red zone. The receiving core is clearly starting to settle in and get more comfortable with Brady as the signal-caller. Not only are the pass catchers becoming more solidified, but the Buccaneers' schedule is noticeably light for the fantasy playoffs. In weeks 14-16, the Buccaneers face:
(via. www.bucsnation.com )
Week 14: vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 15: @ Atlanta Falcons
Week 16: @ Detroit Lions
Those teams rank 21st, 32nd, and 16th respectively in fantasy points per game given up to quarterbacks. The combination of a seemingly more comfortable Brady and a light schedule should give Tom Brady the opportunity to put up some gaudy numbers in the Tampa Bay offense.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
The main running back group is finally starting to get healthy again, with Christian McCaffrey probably coming back in week 14, Swift recovering from his concussion, chubb is back in the swing of this game, and Carson expected to be back in the starting lineup in week 12. The one guy who has dealt with an injury for a large portion of the 2020 season and wasn’t mentioned above is Austin Ekeler. The Chargers running back room has not been very impressive in Ekeler’s absence. Justin Herbert has been a very bright spot for the Chargers offense and has kept them in most of their games. Ekeler has very positive game scripts for the fantasy playoffs.
Week 14 vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 15 @ Las Vegas Raiders
Week 16 vs. Denver Broncos
Ekeler being back in the lineup will open even more doors for Herbert and allow for another weapon in the passing game for Herbert to throw to. Ekeler will be the bell cow by week 14 and should still be at a relatively low price to acquire him. Ekeler will be a sneaky running back that will be on a lot of fantasy championship rosters.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
The Packers running back has had a very steady 2020 season so far but has not provided much in terms of those huge explosion weeks (outside of week 2) that can win you a week. Aaron Rodgers has had an MVP like season, and that has definitely affected Jones’ workload and ability to be more constant than he was in 2019. Jones has also been heavily involved in the passing game with the Packers, as he has had 4+ targets in every single game this season. Aaron Jones may not have had many explosive games so far in 2020, but those such games could very easily happen in the fantasy playoffs with the matchups that the Packers' RB will face. In weeks 14-16, the Green Bay Packers will face:
Week 14: @ Detroit Lions
Week 15: vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 16: vs. Tennessee Titans
Those teams rank 32nd, 28th, and 24th respectively in fantasy points given up per game to running backs. That stretch of easy matchups is the kind of run that can lead to a fantasy championship.
Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
We saw an inside look at what Robert Woods will be up to in the fantasy playoffs this past week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Woods was incredible, garnering 12 catches on 15 targets for 130 yds and a touchdown. Woods has been one of the most consistent wide receivers throughout his career but has not been given the credit he deserves. Since Woods joined the Rams, he hasn’t finished a season worse than WR 32, and the past three years, Woods hasn’t finished lower than WR14. Woods has a crazy amount of talent and helps this offense move the ball. Woods has one of the easier remaining schedules at the wide receiver position.
Week 14: vs. New England Patriots
Week 15: vs. New York Jets
Week 16: @ Seattle Seahawks
The Rams should have no issues moving the ball down the field and putting up points against these 3 teams. Woods is one of the safest options the rest of the season, and it’s worth paying up for him looking down the stretch.
Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
It is no secret that the Chicago Bears have one of the worst quarterback rooms in the NFL. However, with Allen Robinson, that doesn’t seem to matter much. No matter which quarterback is on the field, Robinson always finds a way to produce at a good level. The only thing that has ever held Robinson back at times has been the quarterback. That will always be a concern with Allen Robinson in matchups where he faces a good secondary, but not so much when he has a matchup against a weaker secondary. In weeks 14-16, Robinson and the Bears will come up against:
Week 14: vs. Houston Texans
Week 15: @ Minnesota Vikings
Week 16: @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Those teams rank 24th, 29th, and 27th respectively in fantasy points given up per game to wide receivers. That string of matchups should give whatever quarterback is in a great opportunity to throw the ball down the field to Robinson. Robinson will be a great guy to look towards down the stretch of the fantasy playoffs and should provide a couple of explosive games that lead to a fantasy championship.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Goedert is one of the most reliable options for Carson Wentz, as the Eagles try to win the ugliest division called the NFC East, where the division winner may have a losing record. Even with Ertz coming off the IR, he hasn’t looked the same this year, and Wentz seemed to lean on Goedert last week against the Browns. Plays were drawn up specifically for Goedert. Wentz has been known to look to his tight ends and expect him to rely on Goedert down the stretch as the Eagles make their playoff push. Goedert’s playoff schedule doesn’t hurt his chances of performing well either.
Week 14: vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 15: @ Arizona Cardinals
Week 16: @ Dallas Cowboys
Not many tight ends are trustworthy, but in the playoffs, if you don’t have Kelce or Waller, Goedert could be a sneaky option at tight end down the stretch that should be putting up tight end one numbers.
Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos
Noah Fant was one of the most intriguing players at the tight end position after all of the preseason hype about the former 1st round pick. Fant had a wonderful start to his 2020 season when he totaled nine receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns through the first two games. It looked like he would be off and running to a top-five finish at his position in fantasy. The momentum didn’t last long after injuries to both Fant himself, and his starting quarterback Drew Lock. Fant's reliability at the position had gone out the window for a while, but he may be able to turn it around for the fantasy playoffs. In weeks 14-16, Noah Fant and the Denver Broncos will face:
Week 14: @ Carolina Panthers
Week 15: vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 16: @ Los Angeles Chargers
Those opponents rank 23rd, 28th, and 25th respectively in fantasy points given up per game to tight ends. Fant seems to finally be at a point where he has mostly recovered from the injuries he suffered earlier in the season, and Drew Lock is now healthy and eligible to return from the COVID list, which should give Fant a boost. Relying on Fant may be a scary thing to do in the playoffs, but with his talent, he has the chance to have some massive performances down the stretch and lead fantasy managers to the promised land.