Rookies emerge as priority playoff adds

Ideally, you would have no need for a fantasy football waiver wire column at this late date. Here’s hoping you find yourself cruising into the semis, coming off a playoff bye with a healthy, loaded roster. Not all of us are in that situation, however. For those of you with various fantasy problems to address, we have potential solutions. Each player discussed below is available in a majority of Yahoo leagues and approved for immediate use. Let’s get you to Championship Week.

Running backs on the wire

Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons (37% rostered)

Allgeier ran with remarkable purpose violence on Sunday at New Orleans, establishing a new career-high with 139 rushing yards, with a bruising 5-yard score included:

In the first game of the Desmond Ridder quarterbacking era, Atlanta ran the ball 39 times and attempted just 26 passes despite an early multi-score deficit. We should expect exactly that sort of run-pass ratio in the final weeks of the season.

Allgeier split snaps fairly evenly with Cordarrelle Patterson, outgaining the vet by 84 scrimmage yards. Each back caught a pass from Ridder. Allgeier is now averaging 3.52 yards after contact per attempt — the eighth best rate in the league — and he spent his Sunday pinballing around and through various Saints defensive players. The BYU rookie is gaining 5.0 YPC on the season. He’s given himself a shot at reaching the 1,000-yard plateau, too. He’s a viable flex in the closing weeks.

Recommended offer, assuming $100 budget: Listen, we’re in the playoff semifinals. Empty the wallet if necessary. These fake funds don’t carry over to next season.

In the somewhat unlikely event that you made the fantasy playoffs after drafting Jonathan Taylor first overall … well, hey, thanks for playing this season. Good effort.

Your luck ran out in the quarterfinals when Taylor was lost to an ankle injury on the first series of Indy’s wild loss to the Vikings. Just a brutal break in a game in which the Colts raced out to a huge lead, a scenario that would have ensured a monster performance by a healthy Taylor.

With JT sidelined, Dean Jackson soon found the end zone:

You might recall that when Taylor missed time earlier in the season, back in Weeks 5-6, Jackson gained 212 scrimmage yards on 39 touches, catching 14 balls and delivering one score. He finished with 14 touches and 56 total yards against Minnesota on Saturday, although he also lost a crushing late fumble, accelerating his team’s freefall.

Moss out-snapped and out-touched Jackson, carrying 24 times for 81 yards. He was also rebuffed repeatedly at the goal-line on the Colts’ opening series following Taylor’s exit, and he wasn’t exactly hyper-efficient on the ground. But he dominated the rushing work after Jackson’s fumble, which probably tells us something about this backfield hierarchy moving forward. Moss and Jackson’s upcoming matchup against the Chargers is spectacular, so these backs are both on the radar as well Taylor expected to sit for the remainder of the season. The preferred option here is Moss, the favorite for early-down touches.

Offer: $18 and $9

Other RB adds: Chuba Hubbard (he out-snapped D’Onta Foreman on Sunday, 29 to 14, and functioned as the primary receiving option in Carolina’s backfield), Khalil Herbert (he’s a good bet to return for Week 16 and he’s leading all qualified running backs in yards per carry at 6.0), Jaylen Warren (the rookie handled a season-high 11 carries on Sunday, plus he reached the end zone; he and Najee Harris get a friendly matchup with Vegas this week), Joshua Kelley (he’s running as the clear No. 2 behind Austin Ekeler and he broke the plane against the Titans).

We should probably also mention that Royce Freeman and Dare Ogunbowale led the Texans backfield on Sunday, but those two are attached to a low-yield offense and the matchup ahead against Tennessee is unusually rough. Those two don’t receive an official endorsement.

Wide receivers and tight ends to prioritize

At this point, it’s never a surprise to see Dotson find the end zone for the Commanders — the rookie scored again on Sunday night, his sixth spike in nine games this year. Dotson also hauled in this field-flipping contested deep ball, a catch that felt, in the moment, as if it was going to change the trajectory of Washington’s season:

He delivered his first 100-yard performance on Sunday and he’s now seen 15 targets over the past two weeks. The upcoming matchup with San Francisco is clearly a little rough, but Dotson is an ascending talent earning a greater share of his team’s pass attempts. If he’s going to continue seeing six or more targets per game, he’s a no-doubt fantasy starter.

Offer: If receiver is your biggest need, spend whatever it takes.

Seattle was stomped at home by the Niners on Thursday night and, unfortunately, the team lost Tyler Lockett to a fractured index finger late in the game. So it was just a generally miserable night for the Seahawks. Lockett, of course, is one of the NFL’s most talented receivers, a gifted route-runner who can’t be easily replaced; his loss is an unsolvable problem for his team.

But without Lockett in the mix, 7-9 targets per game are up for grabs and Goodwin is likely to claim a few of them. He’s one of the fastest men in the league and only a week removed from a 5-catch, 95-yard performance in which he delivered his fourth touchdown of the season. Seattle is definitely gonna have to put the ball in the air against the Chiefs in Week 16, so Goodwin has a clear path to fantasy relevance. If you just lost Lockett from a playoff roster, Goodwin is a reasonable replacement option.

Offer: $8

Johnson returned from his ankle injury in Week 15 and immediately resumed his relentless touchdowning:

He simply won’t stop. Johnson made a pair of home calls on Sunday, giving him seven for the year on just 35 catches. We can have the TD regression conversation next summer during draft season, but, for now, let’s just enjoy these spikes. The Saints will finish up the fantasy season with road dates against Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Offer: $7

Osborn saw an outrageous 16 targets in the most improbable comeback in NFL history on Saturday, catching 10 for 157 yards and one score. He had another long gain erased by replay review, too. We certainly aren’t about to guarantee that he’ll produce another stat line like Saturday’s again this season (or maybe ever), but the man has reached the end zone in back-to-back games. He’s obviously a circle-of-trust receiver for Kirk Cousins, for what it’s worth. We can’t completely ignore a 16-target game. Osborn has entered the deep league conversation. It’s not difficult to build a case that he’s at least as interesting as Adam Thielen these days.

Offer: $4

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver KJ Osborn is on the fantasy radar coming off a career-best game. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Additional receivers and tight ends to stash: Mecole Hardman (he seems likely to be activated for the Week 16 matchup with Seattle; we’ll remind you that Hardman had emerged as a key red-zone weapon, scoring five TDs in three games prior to going down with the abdominal injury), Russell Gage (he’s healthy again and coming off a two-score, 12-target week), Noah Brown (over the past two weeks, he’s been targeted 15 times, delivering 134 yards and two spikes), Rashid Shaheed (he hasn’t actually seen more than four targets in any game, which is a clear concern, but the speedy rookie from Weber State keeps making plays; he actually led the Saints in routes run on Sunday), Mack Hollins (he remained heavily involved, even with the Raiders receiving corps close to full strength, drawing eight targets and crossing the goal-line), Taysom Hill (he rushed for 30 yards and passed for 80 with one score, not functioning as a tight end in any obvious way *shrug*).

Quarterbacks to target

Whatever take you may happen to have on Purdy specifically or the future of the quarterback position for the Niners in general, this much is certain: The Iowa State rookie is producing exactly ace Jimmy Garoppolo would have for fantasy purposes.

Jimmy G is the unrivaled master of the 200-yard, 2-TD game and Purdy has averaged 204 and two scores over the past three weeks. Kyle Shanahan’s offense creates so many layup throws for his quarterback and Purdy hasn’t missed any of them. On Thursday night, San Francisco reached deep into the archives for the first of George Kittle‘s two touchdowns:

Kittle’s second score was somehow even more ludicrously wide open:

This offense is rolling at the moment, despite the fact that a third-string quarterback is at the controls and Deebo Samuel is sidelined. San Francisco has the necessary weapons to stress defenses at all levels and Purdy is in absolute command of the offense. You can trust him against Washington and Vegas in the money weeks if you have QB needs.

Offer: $7

If Jalen Hurts is in fact unable to go in Week 16 against Dallas due to his right shoulder injury, Minshew is certainly competent enough to direct an offense loaded with playmakers. He made two starts for Philly last season, completing 67.2 percent of his attempts for 428 yards, four TDs and one pick. He clearly has none of Hurts’ rushing talent, but he’s a capable passer.

As a playoff replacement option at QB, you can definitely do worse than the guy who gets to throw to AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. The Eagles have obviously played their way into a spot in which they do not need to rush Hurts back into regular season action and Minshew is an excellent Plan B.

Offer: $6

If you’re streaming D/STs

Los Angeles Chargers (24%)

The Chargers get a road date with Matt Ryan on Monday night, which, honestly, should be all you need to know. At this stage, Ryan is an immobile and highly sackable quarterback who remains a volume passer despite the fact that he’s averaging over an interception per game. Even LA’s flawed defense should be able to deliver for us in this matchup.

Offer: $2

Follow the Yahoo fantasy crew on Twitter: Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Matt Harmon, Scott Pianowski, And Titus and Tank Williams.

Leave a Comment