This column provides a look ahead at a variety of options with appealing matchups from now through Week 16 that may still be available on your waiver wire. We have once again included players such as Will Fuller that have higher ownership levels than would normally be included in the waiver column. We have also marked several fantasy assets that were newly added this week in the table of contents. If you have a question or would like to discuss a strategy you are welcome to contact me either on Twitter @RyanReynNJ or via email at [email protected]
Table of Contents
Quarterbacks with Multiple Appealing Matchups
Andy Dalton (Added this week)
Ryan Tannehill (Added this week)
Additional Weekly Streaming Options
Week 13: None
Week 14: Jacoby Brissett at Buccaneers
Week 15: Matthew Stafford vs Buccaneers
Week 16: Phillip Rivers vs Raiders
Difference Making Wide Receivers
Hollywood Brown (Added this week)
Teams with Appealing Matchups and Multiple Pass Catching Options
Bengals (Added this week)
Titans (Added this week)
Jack Doyle (Added this week)
Defenses with Multiple Appealing Matchups
Defensive Streaming Options
Week 13: Panthers Defense vs Redskins, Chargers Defense at Broncos
Week 14: Vikings Defense vs Lions (Added this week), Falcons Defense vs Panthers, Texans Defense vs Broncos
Week 15: Steelers Defense vs Bills, Chiefs Defense vs Broncos
Week 16: Colts Defense vs Panthers, Chiefs Defense at Bears
Volatile Wide Receiver Streaming Options
Week 13: None
Week 14: None
Week 15: Broncos Pass Catchers at Chiefs
Week 16: Bears Pass Catchers vs Chiefs
Running Back Handcuffs and Stashes
A brief explanation and tiering of most of the league’s backfields.
Quarterbacks with Multiple Appealing Matchups
Tom Brady (Week 13 at Hou, Week 14 vs KC, Week 15 at Cin): Brady landing on last week’s injury report with right elbow issues, as well New England’s rock fight with Dallas in Week 12, reduces the enthusiasm some on Brady’s upside heading into this string of very appealing matchups. Both Houston and Kansas City have exploitable pass defenses paired with elite quarterbacks; those conditions make the Texans and the Chiefs very capable of pushing game totals beyond 50 points. Week 15’s matchup in Cincinnati also comes with considerable upside, but Brady’s volume could easily be reduced if the Patriots comfortably handle the Bengals in that contest. If Brady’s recent performance or injury uncertainty concerns you, it would be reasonable to roster Brady while taking a wait-and-see approach while the Patriots visit Houston this Sunday Night.
Carson Wentz (Week 13 at Mia, Week 14 vs NYG, Week 15 at Wash, Week 16 vs Dal): The state of the Eagles pass catching group infuses some legitimate concern into plugging the underperforming Wentz into your fantasy lineup. With that said, Week 13 at Miami, Week 14 at home versus the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, and Week 15’s visit to Washington are all potential smash spots for the struggling Eagles offense. If you find yourself in a position where you’re juggling which quarterbacks to play down the stretch, it could be reasonable to wait for Wentz blow up one of these opponents before plugging him into your fantasy lineup. That type of decision depends on your level of risk tolerance. With that said, Wentz could very easily get hot against the weak stretch of opponents that starts with a trip to Miami this week. In fact, one could draw several parallels between Wentz’s current situation and Sam Darnold’s before the latter began his hot streak against weak opponents.
Nick Foles (Week 13 vs TB, Week 15 at Oak, Week 16 at Atl): Foles’ has been good in back-to-back negative game scripts since returning from injury in Week 11. Going forward, the Jaguars have three matchups that come with serious shootout potential, as the Buccaneers, Raiders, and Falcons each have capable offenses and vulnerable pass defenses. Week 13’s matchup versus the Buccaneers and Week 16’s matchup in Atlanta are especially appealing. In two-quarterback formats with deep rosters, it may even be worth stashing Gardner Minshew just in case the Jaguars elect to give the rookie some more action late in the season.
Baker Mayfield (Week 14 vs Cin, Week 15 at Arz): Mayfield and the Browns offense gave us what we needed to see in Week 12’s matchup against Miami: they showed us that they can blow the doors off an exploitable defense. Week 14 versus the Bengals and Week 15 in Arizona provide two more high-upside matchups for a Browns offense that has the tools to hang serious points when their quarterback’s timing isn’t derailed by consistent pressure.
Sam Darnold: (Week 13 at Cin, Week 14 vs Mia): The Jets are nearing the end of their long run of beatable opponents that began back in Week 9 in Miami. Darnold has been running hot in the last 3 games, putting up QB1 performances during that span as the Jets have hung either 27 or 34 offensive points in each of those outings. Now that Andy Dalton has been named the starting quarterback for the Bengals, Week 13’s contest in Cincinnati comes with some sneaky shootout potential. Week 14’s matchup with the Dolphins has a similar read, as the Jets offense is capable of hanging serious points on Miami’s back-of-the-pack defense while Ryan Fitzpatrick can potentially push that total upwards against a vulnerable Jets secondary. While Adam Gase and a mediocre Jets offensive line continue to provide a realistic path towards a floor game in any matchup for Darnold, the upside in these upcoming contests is considerable.
Daniel Jones (Week 14 at Phi, Week 15 vs Mia, Week 16 at Wash): Jones’ Week 14 matchup at Philadelphia, on Monday Night Football, is the very definition of a high ceiling, low floor kind of gamble. Jones has pressure management and fumbling issues, which gives a road game against the Eagles pass rush a disastrous floor. While that floor also comes with some potential upside as the Eagles secondary has been torched by the likes of Case Keenum this season, it is probably best to not hang your fantasy season on such a volatile matchup if that can be avoided. In a two-quarterback league though, it’s worth letting it rip with Jones in this spot against the Eagles. Week 15, at home, versus the Dolphins is a massive ceiling game where Jones biggest path to failure would be Saquon Barkley completely taking over and rushing for 150 yards and 3 touchdowns. Week 16’s matchup in Washington, who could be a team that has waived the white flag by this point in the season, has a very similar read as the Miami game in terms of Jones ceiling and his path to failure. Though, the Redskins do have a much better front four than Miami, even if that group hasn’t really reached their potential yet this season. If you’re interested in Jones for this stretch of games it could be prudent to pick him up before Week 13’s contest with the Packers, as there is a legitimate path to Jones putting together a relevant fantasy output in that matchup.
Derek Carr (Week 13 at KC, Week 14 vs Ten, Week 15 vs Jax): Carr and the Raiders laid a massive egg in Week 12 at the Jets. Week 13’s contest at the Chiefs comes with high upside for fantasy purposes and it could very well make or break the Raiders season in terms of their playoff push. Week 14’s contest with the Titans and Week 15’s with the Jaguars are both average matchups that could still be worth consideration in 16-team leagues or two-quarterback formats.
Kyle Allen (Week 13 vs Wash, Week 14 at Atl, Week 15 vs Sea, Week 16 at Ind): This stretch would have been so good if Cam Newton returned. With Allen, you probably don’t want to let your fantasy season ride on him, regardless of matchups. In a two-quarterback format or as a future injury replacement in a deep league, Allen still has usable upside given this stretch of games that runs through the fantasy playoffs. Allen showed off some of that upside in Week 12 as his Panthers nearly upset the Saints during their shootout in New Orleans.
Andy Dalton (Week 13 vs NYJ, Week 14 at Cle, Week 16 at Mia): Dalton’s return as the starting quarterback for the Bengals is good news considering some of Cincinnati’s appealing matchups the rest of the way. There are, however, two major concerns for Dalton’s fantasy relevance down the stretch. The first is that there is no guarantee that Dalton will remain the Bengals starter through Week 16’s contest with the Dolphins. The second is that the Bengals have a very mediocre offensive line and poor line play can reduce the upside in any given matchup. Regardless of the downsides, Dalton is a major upgrade over Ryan Finley and Dalton should be owned in two-quarterback formats for as long as he remains the Bengals starter. Dalton is a solid streaming option this week against the Jets and he will almost certainly be among the suggested streaming options in Week 16, which is when the majority of fantasy championships are decided.
Ryan Tannehill (Week 13 at Ind, Week 14 at Oak, Week 15 vs Hou): There is no way around it, Tannehill has been a valuable fantasy asset since replacing Marcus Mariota as the Titans starter back in Week 7. During that five-game stretch, Tannehill has breeched 300 yards in the air twice, he’s exceeded 37 yards rushing 3 times, and he’s scored multiple touchdowns in all five of those contests. Tennessee’s next 3 games all have legitimate playoff implications while doubling as contests with some sneaky shootout potential. Tannehill is particularly viable in two-quarterback formats, but he will also be among the suggested streaming options through Week 15 as long as he continues to play well.
Additional Weekly Streaming Options
Jacoby Brissett at Buccaneers: The Buccaneers have been a prime candidate to play streaming options against all season, and Brissett will almost certainly be among the streaming options presented in Week 14.
Matthew Stafford vs Buccaneers: Stafford is going to miss the Thanksgiving game this Thursday against the Bears and there has been increased chatter recently of the Lions internally discussing whether or not to shut Stafford down for the rest of the year. If they don’t, and Stafford plays in this matchup, this is an absolute smash spot for the Lions passing offense.
Phillip Rivers vs Raiders: Rivers arm strength is starting to limit his ability to be an effective NFL quarterback, but he’s still a gunslinger in a very appealing matchup during the week most fantasy championships are decided.
Difference Making Wide Receivers
DeVante Parker (Week 13 vs Phi, Week 14 at NYJ, Week 15 at NYG, Week 16 vs Cin): Parker has 10 or more targets in each of the last 3 games since Preston Williams went down for the season. The efficiency on those targets has been sporadic, but the volume cannot be denied and all four of these matchups come with tremendous upside. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a history of providing big volume for primary wide receivers such as Brandon Marshall and, more recently, Mike Evans. While Parker is not on the level of Marshall or Evans, he does appear to be Fitzpatrick’s guy since Williams went down for the season.
Will Fuller (Week 15 at Titans, Week 16 at Buccaneers): Fuller is coming off a 7 catch, 140-yard game last Thursday Night versus the Colts. That is going to result in Fuller being picked up in virtually every fantasy league in the world when waivers process this week. While Fuller realistically has a big ceiling whenever he’s healthy, that Week 16 matchup in Tampa comes with enormous upside.
Hollywood Brown (Week 15 vs NYJ, Week 16 at Cle): Hollywood has been slowly becoming available in more leagues for several weeks. That trend will be coming to an end after Brown’s 2-touchdown performance last Monday Night in Hollywood, so you will certainly have to grab Brown now if he’s available in your league. While an elite lid lifter like Brown has a chance for a spike game any given Sunday, Week 15’s matchup with the vulnerable Jets secondary comes with extreme upside. Baker Mayfield has played some of his best football as a pro against the Ravens, which makes Week 16’s tilt in Cleveland a potential over candidate. Games that exceed their projected game total often result in more opportunities for offensive players on both sides of those contests.
Deebo Samuel (Week 13 at Bal, Week 14 at NO, Week 15 vs Atl, Week 16 vs LAR): Early in the year we framed Deebo as a talented rookie wide receiver, with a legitimate path to a fantasy relevant role, on a then undervalued 49ers team. Deebo has caught 18-of-23 targets for 296 yards and a score over the past 3 games. The return of George Kittle could considerably cut into Deebo’s volume, but Deebo should be owned in all leagues at this point.
Alshon Jeffery (Week 13 at Mia, Week 14 vs NYG, Week 15 at Wash, Week 16 vs Dal): Availability has been a challenge for Jeffery at varying points in his career. If he is able to return to action at some point during this stretch through vulnerable pass defenses, he could be a difference maker down the stretch for your fantasy team. With that said, acquiring Jeffery also comes with some risk given his injury status.
A.J. Green (Week 13 vs NYJ, Week 14 at Cle, Week 16 at Mia): It’s entirely possible that Green does not play a single snap this season. If he does, especially now that Andy Dalton is back under center, Green could light up any of these 3 opponents with little to no surprise. With that said, even if Green does become active, there is a very real chance that his play volume is cautiously handled. Those conditions make Green a high upside risk vs reward bet going forward.
Teams with Appealing Matchups and Multiple Pass Catching Options
Giants (Week 14 at Phi, Week 15 vs Mia, Week 16 at Wash): Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton all have legitimate fantasy value down the stretch. Shepard led the Giants in targets against the Bears in his first week back after missing several games with his second concussion of the season. Engram has been on the shelf for multiple games with a foot injury, but he would remain a plug-and-play option at tight end once he returns to action. Tate has been a high-floor PPR asset for his entire career, though he is currently in the concussion protocol heading into Week 13’s matchup with the Packers. Slayton has made the most of his opportunities this season and he benefits considerably if any of these other Giants pass catchers miss any time.
Jets (Week 13 at Cin, Week 14 vs Mia): Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson, and tight end Ryan Griffin all have strong upside through these matchups. Crowder and Griffin are likely to be more reliable than Anderson, who the Jets still can’t seem to find a proper (consistent) role for. With that said, Anderson is a player with a path to 100 yards and at least one score in both of these matchups, which makes him worthy of a roster spot in most situations. Anderson’s Week 12 spike game against the Raiders was encouraging, but we should not yet expect that to be the new norm.
Patriots (Week 13 at Hou (Sunday Night), Week 14 vs KC, Week 15 at Cin): Julian Edelman is not going to be available on your waiver wire in most formats. Both Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett missed Week 12’s matchup with Dallas due to injury, which paved the way for preseason all-star Jakobi Meyers to see a usage spike while first-round pick N’Keal Harry saw the majority of his considerable action on the perimeter. Availability will determine which Patriots pass catchers have the most value heading into this string of appealing matchups. All four of these wide receivers should be owned in leagues with very deep rosters.
Jaguars (Week 13 vs TB, Week 15 at Oak, Week 16 at Atl): D.J. Chark is not going to be available in the vast majority of leagues, but both Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley have significant roles in the Jaguars passing attack. Westbrook could be worthy of a roster spot in most leagues, where Conley is a steadily rising fantasy asset that now warrants consideration in 12-team leagues. To phrase this another way, both Westbrook and Conley are likely to warrant DFS tournament consideration in these matchups as long as they are active and healthy.
Packers (Week 13 at NYG, Week 14 vs Wash): The pecking order behind Davante Adams is not set in stone, but Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and tight end Jimmy Graham all have paths to spike games in these matchups while Geronimo Allison saw a spike in playing time in his slot-heavy role during Week 12’s blood bath in San Francisco. Lazard and Allison are in the lead for playing time behind Adams heading into Week 13’s matchup with the Giants.
Bengals (Week 13 vs NYJ, Week 14 at Cle, Week 16 at Mia): Andy Dalton’s return increases the value of all potential Bengals pass catchers, who all happen to have multiple favorable matchups looming on the schedule. We still don’t know if A.J. Green will return this season. If he did, it would limit the value of Auden Tate, Alex Erickson, or John Ross should the latter return from injury. With that said, should Green and/ or Tyler Boyd go down with an injury over the next few weeks, those complimentary parts in the Bengals passing game would see another rise in usage during these appealing matchups. Boyd is not available in the majority of leagues, but Dalton’s return to a starting role significantly increases Boyd’s value.
Titans (Week 13 at Ind, Week 14 at Oak, Week 15 vs Hou): Ryan Tannehill has played very well since taking over this offense, which makes Titans pass catchers worthy of consideration going forward. Corey Davis and A.J. Brown both have high upside with week killing floors in these contests. Adam Humphries would also be worth consideration in deeper leagues, though his week-to-week usage has been shockingly low considering the hefty contract he was given this offseason.
Jacob Hollister (Week 13 vs Min, Week 14 at LAR, Week 15 at Car, Week 16 vs Arz): Hollister’s value is almost entirely built on being Russell Wilson’s current tight end. Hollister is potentially usable in Weeks 13 through 15 with major upside in Week 16, which is when most fantasy championships are decided.
Jack Doyle (Week 13 vs Ten, Week 14 at TB, Week 15 at NO, Week 16 vs Car): Eric Ebron’s move to injured reserve creates further opportunity for Doyle, who already has a reasonably stable role (4 or more targets in 7 of 10 games) in the Colts offense. While Doyle is not an explosive athlete, he is a solid PPR asset that has a legitimate chance to see a consistent usage uptick in Ebron’s absence.
Noah Fant (Week 13 vs LAC, Week 14 at Hou, Week 15 at KC, Week 16 vs Det): Since the Emmanuel Sanders trade, Fant’s role has been elite. While the Broncos volatile quarterback situation is likely to continue causing efficiency issues for Fant and other Broncos pass catchers, no tight ends that are available in most leagues have a greater current role than Fant. Fant has particularly high upside matchups in Week 14 and 15 as Denver will likely be trailing against the Texans and Chiefs.
Dallas Goedert (Week 13 at Mia, Week 14 vs NYG, Week 15 at Wash, Week 16 vs Dal): Goedert’s been one of my favorite fantasy assets to breakdown all season because he’s fairly unique. As of this moment, Goedert has a significant role in an underperforming, but capable offense with a string of great matchups coming throughout the fantasy playoffs. He’s been productive enough to warrant consideration as a fringe fantasy starter for six weeks. He also comes with the condition that, if Zach Ertz were to go down with an injury, Goedert would immediately become a plug-and-play option at tight end with top 5 upside at the position. Goedert’s week-to-week value is enhanced if Alshon Jeffery continues to miss time.
Gerald Everett (Week 13 at Arz, Week 14 vs Sea, Week 15 at Dal, Week 16 at SF): While all of these matchups come with some appeal, that Week 13 matchup against the Cardinals comes with major upside as Arizona has been destroyed by tight ends most weeks this season. If considering Everett, keep in mind that he played a limited amount of snaps in Week 11 vs the Bears and again in Week 12 against the Ravens, so his future status is currently in question.
Jimmy Graham (Week 13 at NYG, Week 14 vs Wash, Week 15 vs Chi, Week 16 at Min): The appeal for Graham is based on Aaron Rodgers willingness to give him contested catch opportunities in the endzone. While the matchups against the Giants and Redskins certainly have appeal, Graham is capable of hauling in a score or two in any given week, just as he’s capable of a basement level floor.
Ryan Griffin (Week 13 at Cin, Week 14 vs Mia, Week 15 at Bal, Week 16 vs Pit): Griffin has been productive for fantasy purposes in 4 of the last 5 weeks. Now that Chris Herndon is completely out of the picture, Griffin has a stable role in the Jets offense with two appealing matchups in Week 13 at the Bengals and Week 14 versus the Dolphins.
David Njoku (Week 13 at Pit, Week 14 vs Cin, Week 15 at Arz, Week 16 vs Bal): Njoku did not return to action in Week 12 despite logging some practice time, so we have to continue monitoring his status. If Njoku is able to return, both Week 14’s contest with the Bengals and especially Week 15’s matchup with the Cardinals are high upside matchups for the athletic tight end. With that said, keep in mind that Njoku has heavy competition for targets with wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, as well as running back Kareem Hunt.
Vance McDonald (Week 13 vs Cle, Week 14 at Arz, Week 15 vs Buf, Week 16 at NYJ): With McDonald, we now have all of Arizona’s matchups listed in this section through the fantasy playoffs. In some home leagues, you could potentially stream Gerald Everett in Week 13, McDonald in Week 14, David Njoku in Week 15, and Jacob Hollister in Week 16 if you wanted to try and target Arizona every week. With that aside, the Steelers passing offense is the very definition of underwhelming and volatile. So, while all of these listed matchups have upside apart from Week 15’s contest with the Bills, McDonald’s usage is likely to continue to be unreliable.
Eagles Defense (Week 13 at Mia, Week 14 vs NYG (Monday Night), Week 15 at Wash): The appeal of the Eagles defense for both fantasy and betting purposes is that their front is capable of derailing games against weak offensive lines. The Eagles play the first three games of the fantasy playoffs against turnover-prone quarterbacks, that play behind average or worse offensive lines. While the Eagles defense comes with the risk of getting shredded through the air due to their vulnerable secondary, the Eagles defense as a whole has played well in recent weeks while their pass rush provides considerable upside during money making season in fantasy football. Given their schedule, rolling out the Eagles defense the next 3 weeks would be a logical decision.
Packers Defense (Week 13 at NYG, Week 14 vs Wash, Week 15 vs Chi): The improved Packers defense opens the fantasy playoffs with 3 matchups against volatile young quarterbacks, playing behind underperforming offensive lines. The Green Bay defense could have a significant impact for fantasy and betting purposes in each of these 3 contests. If you’re looking to stash a streaming defense from Weeks 13 through 15, the Eagles and Green Bay are the best choices that are still available in the majority of fantasy leagues.
Cowboys Defense (Week 13 vs Buf (Thanksgiving), Week 14 at Chi (Thursday) Week 15 vs LAR): The Cowboys defense has underachieved to this point in the season and they would be a full tier below both the Eagles and Packers defenses for fantasy purposes from Weeks 13 through 15. Their Week 13 Thanksgiving matchup against Josh Allen comes with some upside, though Allen has improved on the ball security front in his second season to this point. Whether Mitch Trubisky or Chase Daniels is under center, there is a clear path to sacks and turnovers in Week 14’s matchup in Chicago. Week 15’s matchup with the Rams pits an underachieving Dallas defense against an underachieving Rams offense that has had offensive line struggles all season. So, while the floor is low for this Dallas defense, each of these matchups also comes with upside.
Defensive Streaming Options
Panthers Defense vs Redskins: The Panthers are second in the league in sacks with 41, as they face a stationary, rookie quarterback in Dwayne Haskins that has been sacked 13 times, with 2 interceptions, and 3 fumbles over the last 3 games. This is a potential smash spot for the Panthers defense.
Chargers Defense at Denver: The Chargers have an elite pass rush duo in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram that will have the opportunity to create havoc against a mediocre Broncos offensive line with either Brandon Allen or Drew Lock under center. Sacks and turnover opportunities are the name of the game and there is a clear path to both in this matchup. If safety Derwin James is able to return for this contest, the Chargers defense becomes even more appealing.
Vikings Defense vs Lions: If Matthew Stafford returns for this matchup, it becomes far less appealing. If Jeff Driskel is under center, this becomes a potential smash spot for a strong Vikings pass rush.
Falcons Defense vs Panthers: This is more of a play against Kyle Allen than it is a bet on the recently surging Falcons defense. In Week 11, the Falcons Defense had 26 Draft Kings points in Carolina against Allen. While Atlanta may not quite reach those lofty heights, it is reasonable to bet against Allen on the road here once again.
Texans Defense vs Broncos: The loss of J.J. Watt has turned Houston into a truly mediocre defense. That said, playing Houston here represents an opportunity to bet against the Broncos volatile options at quarterback.
Steelers Defense vs Bills: The Steelers defense is not available in the majority of leagues anymore. If they are in yours, Josh Allen has improved this season, but he still has his share of volatile moments that the Steelers zone heavy scheme and still underrated pass rush can potentially turn into fantasy points.
Chiefs Defense vs Broncos: The Chiefs pass rush and defense overall is improving, which makes them a solid option against either Brandon Allen or Drew Lock in a scenario where Denver is more than likely playing from behind.
Colts Defense vs Panthers: Week 16 looks to be thin on available defensive streaming options at this point, which makes betting against Kyle Allen on the road a reasonable option, especially if the Colts are still in the playoff race by this stage.
Chiefs Defense at Bears: Whether it’s Mitch Trubisky or Chase Daniels under center, the Chiefs improving pass rush has the potential to create sack and turnover opportunities in this spot.
Volatile Wide Receiver Streaming Options
Broncos Pass Catchers at Chiefs: Whether it’s Branden Allen or Drew Lock under center for Denver, if Courtland Sutton is somehow available in your league, he’s useful now and he could pay off big here. Aside from Sutton, Tim Patrick saw 8 targets in Week 11, which was his first action of the season since Week 1. Patrick would only warrant consideration in the deepest of leagues, though he took a big leap over the disappointing DaeSean Hamilton during Patrick’s first significant work of the season. Denver was virtually shut down by Buffalo in Week 12.
Bears Pass Catchers vs Chiefs (Sunday Night): All Bears pass catchers outside of Allen Robinson should be considered volatile. That said, both Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel are worth monitoring as Superflex options with this late season matchup in mind. Miller’s value is currently on the rise as Gabriel is likely to miss Week 13 with a concussion. Should Tarik Cohen stumble onto your waiver wire, he could be a massive-ceiling play in this Week 16 contest.
Running Back Stashes
Jaylen Samuels/ Benny Snell: James Conner remains injured, which has resulted in Samuels having a significant role, particularly as a pass catcher, throughout the season. In Week 12, however, Snell saw a big rise in usage as Samuels was relegated to more of a reserve role.
Tony Pollard: Pollard has shown that he could be a difference making asset in this offense throughout the season. If Ezekiel Elliot went down with an injury, Pollard would at least border on being a RB1 for fantasy purposes.
Alexander Mattison: Mattison has been excellent in reserve duty behind Dalvin Cook. Were Cook to go down, Mattison would be another difference making running back that would at least border on being a RB1.
Jamaal Williams: Williams already has a useful role in the Packers offense and his ownership levels are higher than what we’d typically include in the waiver wire column. With that said, Williams is currently a flex consideration in 12-team leagues that would become a viable RB2 (maybe more) if Aaron Jones were to miss time
Darrel Williams: Williams has a very reliable skillset and already has a path to becoming relevant for fantasy purposes down the stretch, as Damien Williams currently has a questionable status heading into Week 13 due to a rib injury.
Rashaad Penny: Penny had an explosive Week 12 in Philadelphia while roughly splitting running back workload after Chris Carson’s most recent fumble.
Potential Difference Makers
Brian Hill: Devonta Freeman has missed the past two games due to injury and Ito Smith is on injured reserve, making Hill the top guy in the Atlanta backfield for now.
Darrell Henderson/ Malcolm Brown: If Todd Gurley were to go down, it looks like Henderson and Brown would function in some form of a timeshare, reducing both of their potential value.
Rex Burkhead: The Patriots Swiss Army Knife could step into either Sony Michel or James White’s role effectively if either running back went down with injury.
Dion Lewis: Lewis has had disappointingly low usage this season, but if Derrick Henry were to go down, we are late enough in the year where Dion Lewis would be a max FAAB bid type of player.
Jonathan Williams/ Jordan Wilkins/ Nyheim Hines: Marlon Mack’s current hand injury has resulted in Williams taking over primary ball carrier duties in Week 12’s matchup with Houston. With Mack set to miss Week 13’s contest with the Titans, it’s worth keeping an eye on the Colts backfield deployments.
Wayne Gallman: Saquon Barkley has not looked right since returning from a high ankle sprain. Gallman would step in as a primary ball carrier and a solid pass catching asset if Barkley were to miss any more time this season.
Ryquell Armstead: Leonard Fournette has seen massive usage this season, as Armstead has served as his primary backup.
Gus Edwards: Edwards would be the next in line if Mark Ingram were to go down, and Edwards has been productive in his reserve role throughout this season.
Raheem Mostert: The 49ers backfield has deployed some variant of a committee in just about every game this season. Mostert is third in the pecking order behind Tevin Coleman and the currently injured Matt Breida.
Ty Montgomery/ Bilal Powell: Le’Veon Bell saw a reduction in playing time during the Jets blowout victory over the Redskins. While Montgomery appeared to be the stand-alone handcuff for Bell throughout preseason, Powell has seemingly surged ahead of him in recent weeks.
Deandre Washington/ Jalen Richard: Josh Jacobs has been having an exceptional rookie campaign behind a strong Raiders offensive line. If Jacobs were to go down, Washington would see the bulk of the carries and Richard would continue to see passing down work, with the potential for a rise in usage if Jacobs were to miss time.
The Hill to Die On
Justice Hill: He’s talented, but he has an increasingly unlikely path to meaningful playing time in 2019.
Ryan Reynolds has privately analyzed football for investing and betting purposes for nearly two decades. Ryan began forecasting by using sports cards as a method of investing in individual baseball and football players, a practice he still takes part in today. Ryan plays DFS, high-volume best ball, and season-long fantasy while directly betting on props, totals, and point spreads that meet his conditions. Ryan has watched every snap, of every NFL game since 2014.