By John Evans
Editor’s Note: Originally published at ChiefsSpin.com, republished here with permission.
We’re getting to the end of the fantasy season. Soon I will need a new excuse to be sedentary and drink too much beer. Until now, I’ve mostly devoted this space to spotlighting under-the-radar or as-yet-underachieving talents who aren’t big talking points yet. For a change of pace, I thought I’d take a look at the fantasy playoffs and guys whose arrows are pointing either up or down.
HE COULD BE BACK…
C.J. Spiller. Back to breaking off big runs against Atlanta, Spiller made it through the whole game with only a tweaked ankle to worry fantasy owners. Then again, he tweaked his ankle, which should worry fantasy owners. If you somehow make your fantasy Super Bowl with Spiller on the roster, he should help in Week 16, when he draws Miami’s inept run defense.
Julian Edelman. After his hot start to the season the ex-cornerback fizzled, but over the last two weeks Edelman has taken advantage of soft spots in defenses justifiably concerned with Gronk Smash and Shane Vereen. After posting 9-110-2 and 9-101-0 stat-lines, Julian is certainly your best bet among the Patriots WRs and a strong WR3.
Ben Tate. You would be forgiven for benching Ben after he totaled a single yard on seven carries in Week 12, but Tate seized the reins again vs. New England and scored three times on 22 totes for 102 rushing yards. With Tate’s sore ribs on the mend and Dennis Johnson not taking over the job while the incumbent was shakiest, Tate is at least a low-end RB2 (with RB1 upside) over the season’s final month, which presents no tough matchups.
Roddy White. Against Buffalo, Rowdy Roddy White went off like it was the good old days of 2012, registering 10 receptions for 143 yards. He looked spry. The Falcons are only playing for pride but with White FINALLY healthy, there’s no reason to think he won’t be startable in fantasy leagues with the Packers and Redskins up next (oh yeah!).
Darren McFadden. Just kidding. Mostly. If Rashad Jennings doesn’t recover quickly from his concussion, and the Jets’ run defense collapses… Yeah, never mind.
Lamar Miller. Managing 72 yards against the aforementioned Jets and their fearsome front is actually impressive for the often horrifically ineffective Miller. Daniel Thomas is out for the season and Lamar has three tasty matchups coming up, including the Buffalo team a fading Steven Jackson just ran through. He’ll warrant flex consideration, at least.
HE COULD BE DONE…
Percy Harvin. When your surgically repaired hip flares up twice and you’ve only played a handful of game snaps, you could be done. Fantasy owners who overreacted to reports that Harvin would play “significant snaps” before the bye (I’m raising my hand) have already been burned once and the choice to carry him most (or all) season may end up being a waste of a roster spot. Sigh.
Aaron Rodgers. The Packers haven’t been able to win games without him and thus, it might be smart for Green Bay to punt on the year and protect their prize asset. This gives the offensive weapons a significant downgrade, though the return of Scott Tolzien wouldn’t be bad news for Jarrett Boykin. They have a good thing going on.
Stevan Ridley. I’m not really predicting that Ridley remains in the doghouse for the rest of the season, but can we rule it out? After three fumbles in three games, the big back was inactive against Houston. There is no obvious rhyme or reason to the depth chart here, however. LeGarrette Blount, a guy with ball-security issues of his own, inexplicably saw 12 carries to just four for Brandon Bolden. Bolden must be thinking “What did I do wrong?” after Week 13, with no lost fumbles on the season and a 4.9 yards-per-carry average.
Josh McCown. After playing some lights-out football, it looks like McCown is headed back to the bench. QB streamers and some savvy Aaron Rodgers owners can thank McCown for his four 15+ point starts, but hopefully you picked up Jay Cutler along the way. With a deeper bench, you might want to hang onto McCown just in case Cutty goes down again.
Andre Ellington. I have devoted this space to Ellington in the past and remain high on the rookie RB long-term, but it doesn’t look like it’s happening for him in the 2013 fantasy season. Andre is banged up and Rashard Mendenhall is actually playing pretty well (go figure), so it would be a surprise if Ellington ever becomes a trustworthy start… this year.
Dennis Johnson. See Tate, Ben.
Miles Austin. Bet you knew that already.
Hakeem Nicks. Two catches, 34 yards in a dream matchup with Washington? Gah! Averaging four for 59.5 is not a recipe for fantasy goodness. We can’t point to one injury Nicks can recover from that should get him back to where he once was (adjacent to greatness). Rueben Randle has surpassed him as a fantasy play so even nice matchups with San Diego (Week 14) and Detroit (Week 16) may go to waste if you have Hakeem.
After writing light-hearted sports columns in college, John Evans covered a variety of sports for The Olympian, a daily newspaper. While chasing Hollywood dreams for most of the last decade, he discovered that the entertainment industry loves fantasy football! For three seasons and counting, John has co-hosted The Xs & Ys Podcast with The Fantasy Football Girl and he now writes for ChiefsSpin.com. Follow him on Twitter @Evansjo5.