Congratulations, you made it! What we have been working toward all season is here: fantasy football playoffs. And, man, are there some injuries making you head over to the waiver wire/free agents.
You want to maximize your lineup and advance to the next round, which is all that matters. NFL fans saw Justin Herbert, C.J. Stroud, Alexander Mattison, Josh Jacobs, and more go down just in time for the fantasy postseason. Some of their backups – such as Minnesota’s Ty Chandler — is a fine replacement, if available. Others, such as Houston’s Davis Mills are not.
I used to write a weekly Start Em, Sit Em with Sleepers and Busts at another publication, but I have brought my talents to RSJ and am revamping the launch of that series.
Last week, we saw Jets’ tight end Tyler Conklin, Panthers’ wide receiver Jonathan Mingo, Ravens’ wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and Chiefs’ running back Jerick McKinnon make the list.
Again, we’re looking for diamonds in the rough, and this week is no different.
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington
@ Los Angeles Rams
A friend of the series, Antonio Gibson is slated to start in just 16% of leagues despite Brian Robinson Jr. (hamstring) already being ruled out. Washington was on bye in Week 14, but after Robinson Jr. went out in Week 13, Gibson saw a combined 14 touches in the air and on the ground.
He is also averaging five catches per game in the last five games played, which is important in a game that could be back-and-forth all afternoon. I’m not concerned about Chris Rodriguez’s impact on Gibson, even if Washington wants to give him a little more action than usual. Gibson should be a set-and-forget this week — especially for those who have stashed him all season.
Keaton Mithcell, RB, Baltimore
Did you see who’s atop Baltimore’s depth chart?? I hope you listened when I told you to stash him. The Jaguars have allowed the most receptions to running backs this season, and I think Baltimore should win this game with ease on the road.
The Ravens also don’t have a dominant receiver now with Mark Andrews (fractured fibula) out, making the ball go around to different players. With Keaton Mitchell being able to score from anywhere on the field it seems, he is a deep sleeper regardless of format. As of Friday night, he is slated to start in 40% of leagues.
Zay Jones, WR, Jacksonville
Zay Jones is the receiver to have whenever Christian Kirk (groin) is out. His track record makes more sense than to put your faith in Parker Washington. Jones is owned in just 40% of leagues and slated to start in 17%, giving ample opportunity to still add and play him.
He is averaging 11 targets per game in the last two weeks without Kirk. He also exploded against Baltimore last year for 145 yards on 14 targets (CBSSports). Trevor Lawrence will need someone other than Calvin Ridley against Baltimore’s secondary.
Cade Otton, TE, Tampa Bay
@ Green Bay
Bucs’ wide receiver Chris Godwin (knee) will be at half-mast at the most on Sunday, leaving the passing game in desperation out in Green Bay. Mike Evans is not a full-field threat, so someone besides him and Rachaad White will need to be involved in order to move the ball.
Cade Otton only has three games with more than 7 points (standard) and in those three games he has scored. He’s currently a top-20 tight end in the league despite that, and could boost his showing on Sunday.
Geno Smith, QB, Seattle
I’m expecting Geno Smith (groin) to play after missing last week since, as of Thursday, he was practicing in some capacity with an extra day to recover. Philadelphia is last in pass defense, and even if Seattle is chasing points, that’s a good script for quarterbacks.
Quarterbacks are around 20 points on average against the Eagles, and with so many injuries to the position, Smith playing would give most teams an edge who plays him. D.K. Metcalf has come alive the last two weeks, and we are due for a big Tyler Lockett game. Having Jaxon Smith-Njigba is also helpful against any secondary struggling with pass defense.