Another week, another set of injuries to contend with
By Martin Richardson
Week 14 is in the books and the fantasy football season is fast approaching its end, with the playoffs getting ever closer. Speaking of, how are we all looking this season? Anyone already locked in? Anyone hanging on by a thread? Anyone farmed out their top players for a top draft next season?
What was a crazy week of results, we saw the Giants continue their resurgence with Tommy DeVito, as well as showing the world his agent (who looks like an extra from a high school production of Bugsy Malone by the way). The Dolphins are just unable to shake off the the Tua needs Tyreek narrative, no matter how hard they play. Patrick Mahomes was incredulous about some unusual decisions by both his fellow players and the officials. This of course meant the Bills managed to keep their division and playoff hopes alive.
But, as always, there were some injuries that will have some impact on your fantasy hopes. Justin Herbert has been ruled out for year, Justin Jefferson was in the hospital by the end of his comeback and Nico Collins could well be out this week with a calf injury.
No doubt some of you are in need of a waiver pick up now that trades are off the table, so let’s have a look at those as well as some players you should be hanging on to as I think better days are ahead for them.
He seems like an obvious place to start, what with Alexander Mattison potentially missing time for the Vikings. Normally, this would be a shoe in when someone steps up to be RB1, but a lot has happened in the last seven days for the stuttering Vikings. They have named perennial back up Nick Mullens as the starter after such a poor showing by Josh Dobbs against the Raiders. Justin Jefferson was back from injury, only to leave the game potentially injured once again. If this chest injury isn’t serious, then Jefferson will no doubt play a part.
But, if you’re now the third starting QB, you need someone to hand the ball off to and avoid any risky plays and turnovers. Chandler could well be that against the rejuvenated Bengals. When he has played, he has been solid: a touchdown against the Saints and over a hundred total yards against the Broncos. So there is some optimism that maybe Chandler could offer an interesting option for the Vikings as they look to get back on track.
Since he was drafted, Isaiah Likely was always going to be in the shadow of star tight end Mark Andrews. But after the season ending injury to Andrews Likely has now showed signs as a solid TE option for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense. His massive touchdown last week in the end to end game versus the Chargers show just how effective he can be. Forty yards the previous week may not be difference making, but it showed to me that the Ravens were looking to get him more involved, and with a game against the hit the miss Jags coming up, Likely and the Ravens could capitalise.
Two touchdowns in two games makes anyone stand up and take notice, especially in an offence that includes Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua and Kyren Williams. He has nearly 100 yards in those two games and has become an important facet of the Rams offence. He has a really interesting match up against the Commanders where the entire Rams offence has a chance to continue their good form and that certainly includes Robinson.
Bit of a Rams focus here, both players here have the chance to make some impact for the Rams as they chase down some important wins. Higbee made an impact with 2 touchdowns against the Cardinals and got some vital yardage as well. With games looming against the Ravens, Giants, Saints and Commanders, Higbee has the chance to continue his revitalised end to the season.
MULLIGANS OF THE WEEK:
I feel like after 14 weeks teams are likely on our radars for who are underperforming or even having a bad week. So let’s have a look at some players who perhaps deserve another chance as we approach the business end of the fantasy football season.
Call it a hunch, but I think Cooper is ready for a big game or two. Veteran Joe Flacco has been better than expected for the Browns and has some big numbers and it’s only a matter of time before he connects to Cooper for some spectacular catches or game changing touchdowns. Last week against the Jags he had a massive uptake in targets and nearly eighty yards receiving, so all signs are pointing up for Cooper. Add to the mix games against two porous defences in the Bears and the Texans, and Cooper could have two solid fantasy weeks.
Oh Tyreek Hill, he’s awesome, two thousand yards, MVP etc etc. Yes, he’s been a monster this season, but what has gone under the radar is the fact that Waddle is on course for his third straight year. He has been a constant flex option for most fantasy players, getting constantly over 50 yards a game and is a viable touchdown threat when teams make the mistake of trying to put Hill in double coverage. This week against the Jets he is definitely a threat on offence for Dolphins as Sauce Gardner will preoccupied with Tyreek Hill, leaving Waddle open for a potentially big week.
FANTASY CONCERNS DOWN THE STRETCH:
I know I’ve mentioned they Ty Chandler could well be a positive for the Vikings this week, I’m a little concerned about the Vikings skill players in Jefferson, Addison and Hockenson. It was such a poor showing against the Raiders that I’m really worried that down the stretch these players are going to suffer fantasy wise. Hockenson’s form has been a little inconstant for touchdowns, but for chunk yardage he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on to see if that drops off.
With the news of Justin Herbert’s injury, this could be a very difficult end to the season for players like Austin Ekeler and the Chargers. With only two touchdowns in two games for Ekeler, he hasn’t exactly been in top form. The loss of a dynamic QB could well hinder Ekeler if he wants to finish the season strong. Now, I wrote this prior to the shocking showing by the Chargers on Thursday Night Football which has finally lead to their Head Coach Brandon Staley and GM Tom Telesco; but, I do feel as though the Chargers are a team in total disarray and the likes of Ekelar have little or no benefit in fantasy football.
Finally, should we start to be a little worried about David Montgomery and his situation at the Lions? He’s not been a consistent big gain threat for them recently, with Jahmyr Gibbs taking the, excuse the pun, lions share of the opportunities thrown his way. Even with a touchdown against the Bears in a wild game, I’m not sure he can be counted on as a solid RB option when it matters. A tough game against the Broncos this week makes me think that perhaps Montgomery could be limited in this matchup.
A Yorkshireman living in Lancashire, Martin is a massive NFL fan but his heart belongs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Also a huge Fantasy Football enthusiast and spends far too long crunching the numbers! Follow him at @MRBucsFan31