I’ll give you a personal example of what can befall a playoff team just before the most important games of the season are here. Monday Night Football, I was cruising with a 20-point lead with only the winner of the game making the playoffs.
My team had Kyler Murray, and my opponent had Rhamondre Stevenson. You can imagine how that worked out. When Murray went out for the season (and probably a chunk of 2023), I had visions of Stevenson going for 120 total yards and 2 scores, knocking my team out of the playoffs. I all but conceded victory to my opponent. Then Stevenson’s ankle began to bark, and he was ruled out. Playoff seed secured, albeit awkwardly.
The aftermath of that game is that to field a full active roster in this do-or-die game, my team dropped Aaron Rodgers. So now I’m going into the playoffs with no QB, and Rodgers was wisely picked up by another team last weekend. At least I have no QB before hitting the waiver wire. So you can imagine I’m going to heed my own advice that I’m about to share with you here.
Time for Los Peekups for the first round of fantasy playoffs. This is more for finalizing your playoff run, so you may get an extra backup QB if you feel like your skill players are in good shape. I can attest to the need for a backup QB. FYI, all players here are available in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues and all per-game averages are since Week 10. Salud!
MIKE WHITE (20%) vs DET
That hit he took against the Bills was one of the hardest legal hits in recent memory. The word is bruised ribs and it’s a pain tolerance thing. Seems similar to Justin Herbert earlier this season, and he was plenty compromised. White has thrown 101 times and 737 passing yards in the past couple games. The Jets are slinging it, and get the Lions, who have given up 300+ yards and/or multiple TDs in four of their past five games.
TAYLOR HEINICKE (11%) vs NYG
Even with Carson Wentz announced to be returning from the IR, Heinicke was declared to still be the starter. And he gets a Giant D that he picked apart for 275 yards and 2 TDs in their 20-20 tie in Week 13. The Giants got torpedoed, 48-22, by the Eagles, so Heinicke could have a nice soft spot in a home game coming out of the bye week.
BROCK PURDY (10%) @ SEA
Enough on the purdy nice puns that can be made with his name. Purdy is not Justin Herbert, but he’s a competent backup QB who can match what Jimmy Garoppolo did before going down with injury. In two games, he has 395 combined passing yards and 4 TDs. Again, he doesn’t have Herbert’s physical skills, but he does have Kyle Shanahan calling plays, a great O-line, Christian McCaffrey running the ball and catching passes, and Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle as other options in the passing game (Deebo Samuel is expected to miss multiple games). The Seahawks have faced lesser passers from the Rams and Panthers the past two games, but in their previous three games they allowed 7 TD passes and in that run Derek Carr had a 295-3 line.
DESMOND RIDDER (4%) @ NO
This is purely a speculation play for super flex or dynasty leagues – though he should have been drafted before the season in just about any dynasty format. Ridder had some of the best athletic scores among all QBs at the combine, and it’s the rushing that could make him viable even if the passing is slow to come around. From Weeks 9-11, the Saints let Lamar Jackson (81 yards), Kenny Pickett (51-1) and Bryce Perkins (39) do some damage on the ground.
DAMIEN HARRIS (50%) @ LV
With Rhamondre Stevenson likely to miss at least one game, Harris may be returning from injury at the right time. Earlier in the season, Harris had a three-game run with double-digit carries in each game. If there is no Stevenson, even going against the Raiders who are #22 against the RB, Harris is in line for plenty of carries for at least one, and likely multiple games.
TYLER ALLGEIER (38%) @ NO
Nothing has changed over the past several weeks of having Allgeier on this list. He has 10+ carries in 9 of 12 games this season. It’s a timeshare with Cordarrelle Patterson, but with a rookie QB the Falcons may want to run the ball more to keep pressure off Ridder. The Saints are getting touched up for 104 rushing YPG.
CHUBA HUBBARD (33%) vs PIT
Hubbard has 31 carries for 139 rushing yards and 1 TD in his last two games. D’Onta Foreman has 45 carries in the same span. Hubbard is not going to be the bellcow, but he’s going to get double-digit carries in a rushing offense, just like Allgeier. Before giving up 120 yards to J.K. Dobbins, the Steelers allowed 129 total yards to the Falcons.
JORDAN MASON (12%) @ SEA
Getting 11 carries last week compared to 14 by McCaffrey looks good, though enthusiasm has to be tempered because a lot of Mason’s touches were after the game was out of hand. Still, Mason is the guy the 49ers are going to after CMC. Seattle is dead last in the league after getting lit up for 171.5 rushing YPG to the RB, including 180 combined rush yards allowed to the Panthers last week.
D.J. CHARK (41%) @ NYJ
Compadre Mauricio Gutierrez liked to sing Chark’s name to the Baby Shark theme song. He broke it out again when Chark went off for 192 combined receiving yards and a score the past two games. With Jameson Williams getting ramped up coming off his ACL surgery, Chark could have his target share eaten into. The Jets are also #2 against WRs, so Chark may be more of a bench stash if you get him.
ELIJAH MOORE (27%) vs DET
With so much preseason hype around Moore, it’s hard to believe he’s available in so many leagues. After 10 targets, 6 catches and 60 yards, that’s going to change. Corey Davis is possibly going to miss a game, so that could mean more looks for Moore against the Lions. The same Lions who are #30 against the WR, allowing 211 receiving YPG.
JAHAN DOTSON (15%) vs NYG
In Week 13, before going on the bye, Dotson saw 9 targets and turned it into a 5-54-1 line. That was by far his biggest game since getting hurt in Week 4. Dotson is potentially a stash, but he could be an emergency start in deeper leagues with lots of flexes. The Giants are #26 against the WR.
CHIGOZIEM OKONKWO (15%) @ LAC
Turning 6 targets into 6-45-1 and adding a 2-point conversion, Okonkwo rewarded those who were hearing our calls for him last week. This recommendation does come with a bit of a warning. Treylon Burks could return this week and significantly cut into Okonkwo’s targets. But TE is such a heap of flaming basura, it’s hard not to recommend any breathing member of the TE fraternity.
STREAMING DEFENSE OF THE WEEK
DENVER (44%) vs AZ
With 6 sacks and 5 interceptions the past two games, the Broncos’ defenders are pulling on their end of the rope. Up next is a home game against the Cardinals reeling from the loss of Murray and having to start Colt McCoy. The Texas product is no slouch, but if the Denver pass rush is in his face like it’s been that could lead to more turnovers.