Ladies and Gentlemen: it’s finally upon us, the final week of fantasy football’s regular season. For those of you who have clinched a playoff spot, I would like to say congratulations, your weeks of research, trades, waiver wire pickups and lineup tweaking has finally paid off. But don’t get too cocky just yet; the real part of the season is just about to begin.
For those of you still fighting for a spot in the postseason, Week 13 is the most critical point of the season to date. Whether injuries, mediocrity or just plain poor drafting has bogged down your team, Week 13 is your final chance to make a playoff push.
We’ve come down to the nitty gritty. It’s been 12 weeks of analysis and hawk eyeing the waiver wire and things are starting to get a little thin. Pending any major injuries, your options are becoming increasing limited. However, I’ve found the best of the best when it comes to the players still on the waiver wire. I wish you all the best of luck this week because for many of us, it all comes down to this.
LeGarratte Blount, RB New England Patriots: Unreal. The guy gets cut on Monday, picked up on Thursday and he’s starting again on Sunday. Returning to the Patriots on a two-year contract, LeGarratte Blount was given the start and made the most of his opportunities in their 34-9 routing of the Lions. Blount had 12 carries for 78 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Both touchdown runs were within three yards and the second of which came in garbage time, however, Blount got the start, made the most of his opportunities and his team rode the hot hand to victory. This is just one week after Jonas Gray set the team-record of four rushing touchdowns, but did not get the start because he was late to practice earlier in the week. In fact, Gray didn’t touch the ball on Sunday; it was all Blount and Shane Vereen. Starting a running back in the New England system is always a tough call because it’s essentially unpredictable. However, Blount was a monster for the Pats at the end of last season and it looks like he didn’t skip a beat on Sunday. While you could see shifts in production between Blount and Vereen, Blount seems like more of a sure bet, especially to anyone who picked up Gray recently. Blount is available in just over 65 percent of fantasy leagues, but he won’t be around for long.
Daniel Herron, RB Indianapolis Colts: A late season injury to Ahmad Bradshaw has created an interesting running back situation in Indianapolis. While the seemingly probable succession to Bradshaw would be Trent Richardson, the former Alabama star has not made much of an impact for the Colts. Enter Daniel “Boom” Herron. Getting the start over Richardson, Herron had 12 rushes for 65 yards and added five catches for another 31 yards. Despite a lost fumble in the red zone, the Colts favored Herron’s play. Richardson did finish the day with a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, but Herron out-touched him 17-13 and finished with 54 more total yards. Herron’s 5.4 yards per carry was also a much healthier number than Richardson’s 3.2. Herron seems like h’s going to be the man in Indianapolis as the Colts are seemingly putting more faith into his ability to move the ball for them. Richardson has been a disappointment for the Colts and his lack of real productivity leaves a big opportunity for Herron to put up some big numbers, especially since they host the Redskins in Week 13. Herron is available in about 75 percent of fantasy leagues.
Jarvis Landry, WR Miami Dolphins: Rookie wide receivers have been a hot commodity late in the fantasy football season and whether you’re in a dynasty league or you play in a normal format, Jarvis Landry is guy you might want to pick up. In their 39-36 loss to the Broncos, Landry put up some big numbers, catching 7 of the 11 passes thrown his way for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Not only was Sunday his first multi-touchdown game of his career, but he also played on 46 offensive snaps, the same amount as Mike Wallace. Landry has been putting up big numbers over the last four weeks after a quiet start to his rookie campaign. In that time, Landry has been targeted 32 times and out of those opportunities, he’s caught 24 of those passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns. He has caught a minimum of five passes in each of those games. While Landry hasn’t eclipsed 60 receiving yards since Week 6 when he put up 75 against the Packers, his high volume of targets, receptions and touchdowns make him a threat, especially in PPR leagues. Landry is available in just under 80 percent of fantasy leagues.
Charles Johnson, WR Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings receiving corps is filled with raw, but talented pass catchers. While many fantasy football players were hoping for a breakout year from Cordarelle Patterson, a guy who went as early as the third or fourth round in a lot of fantasy drafts, it’s been a frustrating year to say the least. However, there’s another young promising receiver who’s quickly becoming a buzzworthy name in fantasy football talks. Charles Johnson, the second year player out of Grand Valley State, has become quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target as of late. In their 24-21 loss to the Packers on Sunday, Johnson caught three passes for 52 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Even more exciting than all the scoring he did was his 11 targets and a snap count similar to the amount for Greg Jennings. Over the last two weeks, Johnson has had a team-high18 passes thrown his way. In that span, he’s pulled in nine of those passes for 139 yards. Although he only caught about a quarter of the passes thrown his way on Sunday, there’s a lot of promise there, seeing that Bridgewater is willing to throw to him that much. With a juicy matchup against Carolina next week, Johnson is a low-end receiver with a high ceiling, especially in a deep PPR league. Johnson is available in virtually all fantasy leagues.