Some “Fitzmagic” To Get Your Team Into Playoffs?
The fantasy football regular-season finale is upon us! Playoff seeding is at stake for some, while others saw their season derail weeks ago and are positioned to play the spoiler role.
The diehards that fell out of playoff contention early likely have their sights on exacting revenge in the consolation bracket. Regardless of where you stand, I have a notebook brimming with sleeper plays, key pickups, and some of my favorite flex plays.
Let’s get to it!
*Are you in desperate need of a quarterback to propel your team into the playoffs? Consider adding the Dolphins’ Ryan Fitzpatrick. Last week, Fitzpatrick threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns against the Jets and will face a similarly vulnerable Bengals’ secondary on Sunday.
*If you haven’t already, this is the week to start handcuffing your stud running backs ahead of your postseason run. Players like Jamaal Williams, Benny Snell, Devontae Booker, Alexander Mattison, Latavius Murray, Brian Hill, and Boston Scott should be rostered.
Additionally, if you’re an owner who likes to look ahead, see if Titans wide receiver Corey Davis is available on the waiver wire. His next three matchups are against the Browns, Jaguars, and Lions, respectively.
*I mentioned Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard in this space last week, but if he’s somehow still available, add him. Lazard garnered six targets last week and reeled in a touchdown. He has a desirable matchup on Sunday against the Eagles.
*Cole Beasley remains one of the more underrated fantasy assets. Much like the Giants’ Sterling Shepard, Beasley is a dependable target monster with a steady floor. Fellow Bills’ receiver John Brown will miss the next two weeks, so Beasley will be in line for more looks.
*If you drafted Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, odds are you likely you don’t have a No. 2 tight end on your roster. However, with Andrews now on the reserve/COVID-19 list, you suddenly find yourselves scrambling for a solution. Be on the lookout for Dolphins’ tight end Mike Gesicki. The second-year tight end snagged a touchdown on five targets against the Jets, and faces a middling Bengals’ pass defense.
Flex Plays I Like
Bears RB David Montgomery vs. Lions: Lost in the primetime thrashing to the Green Bay Packers, Montgomery eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time this season. Although his volume is mildly concerning – he’s averaging a mere 15 carries over the past four games – the matchup against a spiraling Lions team with a shoddy run defense could yield his second consecutive 100-yard game.
Lions RB D’Andre Swift vs. Bears: Swift is on target to return to action after missing last week’s game with concussion symptoms. In his absence, Adrian Peterson did much of the heavy lifting, with help from Kerryon Johnson. However, expect the Lions to turn the backfield over to Swift, who last accumulated 149 all-purpose yards in a breakout Week 10 performance. There’s a good chance that Bears’ interior stalwart Akiem Hicks (hamstring) may miss another week, which should open running lanes for Swift.
49ers RB Raheem Mostert vs. Bills: Mostert returned to the lineup last week after missing time with an ankle injury and totaled 29 offensive snaps. While it’s tough to rely on someone to emerge from a crowded 49ers backfield with playoff seeding on the line, Mostert has been a difference-maker when healthy. This week, he’ll draw the Bills – who currently allow the ninth-most yards per carry (4.55) and have surrendered a whopping 16 rushing touchdowns. Mostert’s usage is bound to increase after coming out of Sunday’s game unscathed, so plug the dual-threat into your flex spot.
Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins vs. Cowboys: Provided Dobbins is cleared to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list, you have to love his matchup against a faulty Cowboys defense. For perspective, the only other team to allow more rushing yards per game than the Cowboys is the Houston Texans. Also, running backs are averaging north of 20 rushing attempts per game. When Dobbins last played in Week 11, he served as the Ravens’ leading rusher, compiling 15 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore has struggled to establish cohesiveness in the passing game, so I’m expecting 15-18 carries from Dobbins.
Dolphins WR DeVante Parker vs. Bengals: With Ryan Fitzpatrick back under center for Miami, Parker has been the biggest beneficiary. Against the Jets, Parker parlayed 14 targets into eight catches for 119 yards. The Bengals’ pass defense isn’t quite as inept as the Jets – they allow the 13th-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers – but they don’t have the personnel to slow Parker. Fitzpatrick and Parker have undeniable chemistry, so I’m anticipating another 100-yard outing from the Dolphins’ top pass-catcher.
49ers WR Deebo Samuel vs. Bills: The oft-injured Samuel stylishly returned to the starting lineup against the Rams. The multi-faceted pass-catcher yielded 13 targets, reeling in 11 for 133 yards. For owners concerned about Bills standout cornerback Tre’Davious White potentially shadowing Samuel, fret not. Samuel is often moved around formations, especially the slot, where White rarely ventures. Instead, Samuel will likely draw the underwhelming Taron Johnson in coverage most often Monday night. Samuel missed Thursday’s practice with a hamstring injury, so be sure to monitor that, but with Kittle out, Samuel is clearly the team’s offensive centerpiece.
Colts WR Michael Pittman vs. Texans: The Texans won’t have cornerback Bradley Roby available for the remainder of the season as he serves a six-game suspension, which severely decimates their defensive backfield. Despite registering just two receptions against the Titans last week, Pittman was thrown to nine times. The rookie entered Week 12, averaging six targets for three consecutive weeks, so the trust-level with quarterback Philip Rivers is apparent. I like Pittman as a solid volume option this week against an overmatched secondary.
Giants WR Sterling Shepard vs. Seahawks: Shepard enters Week 13 averaging eight targets over the past four games. While his game lacks a vertical element, he thrives as a volume receiver and serves as a critical chain-mover and safety valve for Daniel Jones. The Giants figure to be chasing points against a high-octane Seahawks offense, so the game script sets up favorably for Shepard. He will have opportunities to win on slant and sluggo routes against a lackluster Seattle cornerback group. It’s not always gaudy production with Shepard, but he typically provides a safe floor.
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.