FANTASY FOOTBALL ADD/DROPS

Week 14 working the waiver wire: Playoff time

The Texans defense has a nice matchup against the Broncos. Photo by Getty Images.

For many leagues the playoffs have already arrived. This means that it might be easier to add free agents with many teams already done for the season. Keep in mind the owner % mentioned is for 10-team standard ESPN PPR leagues. Some of these players below are good for the short-term, while others have more long-term value. You have to make the call on what your team needs. Immediate help to start this week, or a player to stash on your bench and hope he breaks out soon. Let's get started!

QB

Mike Nowak/Chargers team site

Ryan Tannehill: He plays the Raiders this week, so the matchup doesn't get much better. I like him a lot better than the other options this week. Owned in 23% of leagues.

Jared Goff is coming off a great game, but his matchup against the Seahawks concerns me. Only two teams have been tougher against QBs over the last 4 weeks. Owned in 58% of leagues.

Sam Darnold: Darnold was running for his life last week, and even a great matchup against Miami is a little scary. Owned in 33% of leagues.

Philip Rivers: Proceed with caution! Rivers could get benched during his game against the Jags, and that's the last thing you want this time of year. Owned in 43% of leagues.

RB

Photo by Getty Images.

Rahaad Penny: He's owned in just 41% of 10-team leagues and scored twice this week. He's in a time-share so it's hard to know when he'll have a big game. He plays the Rams this week, which is a below-average matchup. Owned in 41% of leagues.

Bo Scarbrough: He's had at least 14 rushing attempts for 3 straight weeks and had 21 rushing attempts against the Bears on Thanksgiving. You have to love his workload. He gets the Vikings this week who are the 8th best matchup for RBs over the last 4 weeks. Rostered in 46% of leagues.

Derius Guice: He looked great this week, but you still have to deal with Adrian Peterson getting touches. He's out there in about 50% of leagues.

Alexander Mattison: If Dalvin Cook is out with the shoulder injury, Mattison could be a league winner. Cook says he intends to play this week though.

Duke Johnson: He had a great game against the Patriots, but his usage is so inconsistent. 2 weeks ago against Indy he had only 6 touches. Owned in 58% of leagues and get the Broncos this week.

WR

Robbie Anderson: He's had 2 great games in a row and gets the Dolphins this week. Pick him up. He's rostered in 48% of leagues.

James Washington: He's been awesome in 3 of his last 4 games. He's only rostered in 23% of leagues and has a great matchup against the Cardinals.

Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard: It's hard to know which guy to start but if you're desperate, you can give one of them a shot. Shepard has the better pedigree.

TE

Kyle Rudolph: I've been saying it for weeks, add him! He has 6 TDs over his last 6 games.

Jack Doyle: He just had a huge week, so pick him up if you need a TE. He's available in 50% of leagues and plays the lowly Bucs this week.

Ryan Griffin: He gets the Dolphins this week and has been pretty decent if you're desperate. He's available in 75% of leagues.


DEF

If you need some help on defense, the Texans and Vikings have decent matchups.

Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.

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Friday the 13th. Triskaidekophobes' worst nightmare. It's silliness. Like believing in the Texans as Super Bowl contenders.

So how did the Texans go from toppling the 10-1 Patriots one Sunday, to having the 4-8 Broncos humiliate them the next? That is what mediocrity is all about, Houston Texans style. Imagine how ugly it would have gotten had the Broncos not had to deal with the intimidation factor of playing under a closed roof on a gorgeous autumn afternoon. There was a surprising number of no shows for an 8-4 home team off of two quality wins. Coincidence? Certainly not entirely. Ticket holders who opted to stay away joined essentially the entire team in no-showing.

With their record 8-5 the odds still favor the Texans making the playoffs. Winning two of the remaining three games does the job (and secures other one of those cute little AFC South Champion banners!). Of course, the odds favored the Texans not trailing 31-3 at home at halftime to a Broncos' team that hadn't scored more than 24 points in any game all season. Winning one to finish 9-7 could mean a Wild Card. Yippee!

They are only three point underdogs at Tennessee Sunday. If the Texans' feeble pass rush can't pick it up the Texans' D figures to be D-stroyed again. Ryan Tannehill's career revival with the Titans has been astounding. What reasonable person would have believed that entering this game Tannehill would be playing better quarterback than Deshaun Watson over the last month? Defending Derrick Henry's power running is a big problem, and that has made Tannehill devastating in the play action passing game. Good chance the Texans will need to score more than 28 points to win. They last did so eight games ago in their 31-24 victory at Kansas City. The Titans look like the better team right now, but week to week in the NFL who knows.

As I put it on the radio show earlier this week, in an either or scenario which would you prefer: the Texans do win their division, maybe win a wild card weekend home game, and if they do then take a shot at not getting crushed at Baltimore again. OR…the Texans lose twice to the Titans, lose in Tampa, tumbling from 8-4 to an 8-8 playoff miss and Cal McNair decides to fire Bill O'Brien?

Tough spell for Astros

Given that Oakland wasn't a possibility, Gerrit Cole picking the Yankees is the Astros' worst case scenario. If you're thinking nine years 324 million dollars is nuts, of course nine years is crazy long, but the Yankees are a money printing machine. Forbes magazine estimate for 2018 had the Yankees generating roughly 300 million dollars more in revenue than did the Astros.

Another bottom line: with Cole the Yankees are markedly better, without him the Astros are markedly worse.

The Astros are in a payroll bind, hence the trade Carlos Correa rumblings. In isolation, trading Correa would be dumb. Yes he has proven brittle. But Correa is also super-talented, 25 years old, and for two more years in Major League Baseball terms, dirt cheap. Trade Correa for what? A desperate play to escape the 13 million dollar anvil that is Josh Reddick's 2020 contract? Offered for nothing in return the Astros have no takers for Reddick. As a must take in a Correa deal, Reddick would drive down the return the Astros could get.

The Astros would be seeking a cheap, multi-years team-controlled stud young starting pitcher for Correa. They're not getting one for him. Guys like the Dodgers' Walker Buehler, the Cardinals' Jack Flaherty, the Braves Mike Siroka, the Indians Shane Bieber, those teams wouldn't swap their guy for Correa straight up. They'd laugh at an Astro offer of Correa and Reddick. Reds' starter Luis Castillo's name has been thrown against the wall. He's had one really good full big league season. At 27 years old, Castillo isn't eligible for arbitration until 2021. Why would the Reds trade him for Correa who can walk as a free agent after the 2021 season? Mets starter Noah Syndegaard? Probably not available, and he can become a free agent the same time as Correa.

It's always easy to burn someone else's money, but the Astros' best play is keeping Correa and swallowing the Reddick 13 mil if necessary, rather than taking 70 cents on the dollar back in a trade. Jim Crane and his partners can make back any loss in profit margin during this Astros' window of excellence by cutting costs when the next rebuilding time comes around and/or by selling the team down the line for several times the 610 million dollars they paid to buy it.

Buzzer Beaters

1. If you can get a ticket, UH-Oklahoma St. at Fertitta Center is the place to be Sunday afternoon. 2. The NBA has captivated very few around here so far this season, but the relentlessness of James Harden's scoring pace (37.6 points per game) is stupefying. 3. Absurd actual phobias: Bronze-Somniphobia, fear of sleep Silver-Cherophobia, fear of happiness Gold-Arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth


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