NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
That's the best question to sum up the last week of fantasy football. From Melvin Gordon going down to Kareem Hunt being released to the dud laid by the Saints offense, it's a lot to handle, especially if you're on the verge of a playoff appearance and needing a big performance from those mentioned. Hopefully, your bench is prepared. It's been past time to dump the dead weight. If they don't stand a chance at cracking your starting lineup, or you don't trust them, drop them and pick up a running back handcuff. It's a move that if you'd done already, you'd be spared the pain of seeing Kareem Hunt or Melvin Gordon go down and not being able to replace them. That said, I've got a few guys that are probably worth starting if you're in a pinch / they're available. There are also some match-ups I like that you might be on the fence about, and others that I'm staying away from. Let's begin.
RB Spencer Ware, Chiefs
This isn’t your average handcuff. I believe Ware is a legit starter, and was poised to still do that in 2017 before tearing his ACL. Yes, the Chiefs struck oil with Hunt’s talent, and that’s why he retained that starting job once Ware was healthy, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the former LSU Tiger can handle a heavy workload, and has in the past. In fact, all season, Ware remained the back of choice in the Chiefs two-minute offense. He will get touches against the Raiders which means you have to play him. I am over David Johnson today.
RB Austin Ekeler, Chargers
He’s another AFC West running back due for a big week in the absence of a starter. Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has never been shy about singing Ekeler’s praises and believes he can handle a lion’s share of the work. Especially in PPR leagues, I’m expecting a big day in a game that could turn into a shootout in Pittsburgh.
TE Cameron Brate, Buccaneers
WIth OJ Howard out for the rest of the season and Jameis Winston as the current starter, Brate is a guy you have to go with (unless you have Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz or Gronk, obviously). I think their rapport and Brate’s target share are that good, especially in the red zone. If you’re a Trey Burton owner, don’t suffer through another Chase Daniel start. Go with Brate.
RB Gus Edwards, Ravens
In this world of fantasy football where things can change lightning fast, if you see two strong weeks back-to-back, you’ve almost got to trust it. More important than Edwards two 100+ yard games are his carries. He’s got 40 over the last two games, and that can’t be ignored, especially with a match-up against Atlanta.
RB James White, Patriots
Against a Minnesota defense capable of stopping the run and Sony Michel, I think James White will be a key piece of the Patriots gameplan. I consider last week an outlier with just once catch against the Jets. Look for him to get involved with at least five receptions today.
RB LeGarrette Blount, Lions
I guess there’s a pattern here. Backup RB’s are the wave in week 13. Without Kerryon Johnson, he’s the man, and there’s production to be had against the Rams, who surprisingly aren’t better against the run.
RB Royce Freeman, Broncos
And honestly, this should he should be dropped. It pains me to say it because I was one of the big Freeman believers before the season. But this is truly the Phillip Lindsay show at this point. Touchdown dependent Freeman may not even be there to hawk goal line carries anymore.
WR Tyler Boyd, Bengals
I’m a big Boyd fan, but with Jeff Driskel at quarterback, I’m just not sure his production will be the same. But then again, you never know. Maybe with AJ Green back, Boyd will return to being a frequent target with lesser coverage. Still, that’s a lot to be determined, and I’m not comfortable starting him right now until we see what this Bengals offense looks like with Andy Dalton.
RB Tevin Coleman, Falcons
If you’re on the fence for the playoffs or just looking for that win for a higher seed, he’s not a guy I’d rely on. Ito Smith’s really eaten into his carries AND his most important quality, his targets. Against the Ravens, I don’t like the match-up.
TE Trey Burton, Bears
I mentioned it earlier, but without Mitch Trubisky, Burton’s upside is limited. The whole offense is (never thought I’d be saying that). Even with Trubisky, it was a bit of a gamble with who’d have the big day in that Chicago offense that truly spreads around the targets. Especially if they get a lead over the Giants, I’d expect a run-heavy recipe, and that’s not good for your tight end.