Any teams that have been hit hard by RB injuries lately can attest to the importance of stashing priority handcuffs at the end of your bench. Even if you do not roster the starter, it is still good practice to target these players if they are available in your league. Trade deadlines have now mostly come and gone, so the best way to find a potential game-changer is by getting in early or spending that FAAB you have been hiding away all season. Players like Alexander Mattison, Jamaal Williams, and Tony Pollard, among others recently, have climbed from priority handcuff status to nearly universal must-starts this week and potentially rest of season. This week we will take a closer look at a few more players who I feel can help fill any holes or bench spots on your roster for Week 13.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end. If anyone featured below is at risk of not playing or is relegated to a bench role late in the week, I will do my best to keep you all updated on Twitter (@BrandonMillerFB). All players below are under 65%-rostered as of 12/01/21.
Sony Michel (RB, Los Angeles Rams)
Keeping with the theme of stashing priority handcuff RBs that could come in handy down the stretch, Michel may now be at the top of that new list as the undisputed “next man up” in a talented Rams offense. In terms of just appearing in games, starter Darrell Henderson Jr has only missed one full contest. However, his fantasy managers will tell you that there have been some nervous Sundays this year where he has gone in and out of the lineup due to injury; this week he is already “questionable” due to a thigh injury. Take a look at the rankings below (Michel is a “sit” if Henderson is fully active), but make sure he is on your roster in the event he ascends to a starting role.
* Matt Breida (RB, Buffalo Bills)
Breida is more of a pseudo-handcuff since I could see a path to standalone value as long as it is just him and Devin Singletary splitting backfield snaps (Zack Moss healthy scratch last week). With three straight games of 50 or more total yards and touchdowns in two of them, Breida has provided a decent floor in PPR leagues and will look to thrive despite a tough opponent in New England for Week 13. Although I like him as a solid bench stash and borderline RB3/RB4 this week, I am fading Breida due to the matchup unless you are desperate.
RB Streamers (ranked): Tony Pollard (65% ESPN, must add), Devonta Freeman (65% ESPN), Boston Scott, Rhamondre Stevenson, Tevin Coleman, Devin Singletary (60% ESPN), Matt Breida, Alex Collins, Rex Burkhead, Ty Johnson, Darrel Williams, Latavius Murray, David Johnson, Nyheim Hines, Sony Michel (priority handcuff), Jeff Wilson Jr, Kenyan Drake, DeeJay Dallas, Ronald Jones II, Mike Davis, Brandon Bolden, J.D. McKissic, Devontae Booker, Samaje Perine, Phillip Lindsay, Carlos Hyde, Kenneth Gainwell, Eno Benjamin, Khalil Herbert, Jermar Jefferson, Kene Nwangwu, Giovani Bernard, Jaret Patterson, Wayne Gallman.
T.Y. Hilton (WR, Indianapolis Colts)
In a 2021 season that has largely defied all logic, sometimes you just have to run with your instinct instead of trying to understand the “why?” and analyzing everything. No amount of analysis could explain just how dominant T.Y. Hilton has been against the Texans throughout his career. Even in an injury-riddled season that has seen Hilton appear in just 5 games and fail to exceed 28 receiving yards in four of them, his one shining moment so far was against Houston in Week 6 (four catches for 80 yards). Coming off a tough loss that the Colts let slip in Week 12, look for the veteran Hilton to set the tone in this divisional must-win for Indy.
* Russell Gage (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
The Falcons’ passing game has not been pretty since Calvin Ridley (personal) stepped away from the field. Kyle Pitts is seeing constant double-teams while Matt Ryan attempts to find any separation created by Atlanta’s unheralded WR corps on a weekly basis. While Russell Gage will not be mistaken for a league-winner, he does provide a familiar face for Ryan among an unfamiliar group of pass-catchers and has now seen seven-plus targets in three-of-four games (Week 12: six catches, seven targets, 62 yards, one TD). I feel he could “volume” his way to a WR3 finish in PPR formats.
WR Streamers (ranked): Elijah Moore (69% ESPN), Van Jefferson, Kendrick Bourne, Christian Kirk (60% ESPN), Marvin Jones Jr, Rashod Bateman, Emmanuel Sanders, Tim Patrick, Cole Beasley (68% Yahoo), T.Y. Hilton, Russell Gage, Kenny Golladay, Tyler Boyd, Tre’Quan Smith, A.J. Green, Marquez Callaway, Jamison Crowder, Laviska Shenault Jr., Nelson Agholor, DeAndre Carter, DeSean Jackson, Gabriel Davis, Rondale Moore, Deonte Harris, Allen Robinson II (62% Yahoo), Josh Reynolds, Corey Davis, Sterling Shepard (check status), Kadarius Toney, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Olamide Zaccheaus, Albert Wilson.
Logan Thomas (TE, Washington Football Team)
If Thomas is still floating out there within grasp in your league and you need help at TE, this could be your final chance to scoop him up while < 65% rostered. Despite finishing with a modest three catches for 36 yards in Week 12’s box score, it was encouraging to see Thomas get six targets and very nearly have a TD catch in his return to action. This week he will take on one of the most generous defenses to opposing TEs in terms of fantasy points allowed, so do not be shy to start him as a back-end TE1 that could go on a hot streak to finish the year.
TE Streamers (ranked): Pat Freiermuth, Zach Ertz (62% ESPN), Logan Thomas (check status), Hunter Henry (55% ESPN), Tyler Conklin, Cole Kmet, Foster Moreau, Gerald Everett, C.J. Uzomah, Jared Cook, Evan Engram, Jack Doyle, Ryan Griffin, Jonnu Smith, Albert Okwuegbunam, Donald Parham Jr., James O’Shaughnessy, Brevin Jordan, Mo Alie-Cox, Cameron Brate, Juwan Johnson.
Accountability is everything, so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Devin Singletary (RB, Buffalo Bills): As mentioned in the Matt Breida section (above), Zack Moss was a healthy scratch last week while Breida and Singletary carried the load for Buffalo’s backfield. While neither player jumped off the screen, Singletary received the most volume with 15 carries for 44 yards and one catch for four yards while Breida had nine carries for 26 yards. I think both players are worth rostering in case one of them pops in this solid offense.
Ty Johnson (RB, New York Jets): In a rare neutral/positive game script, it was Tevin Coleman who led the Jets RBs with 16 carries for 67 yards while Johnson had just six carries for 42 yards and did not haul in his only target. I still feel he will factor into games where the Jets are playing from behind, but he is more of a deep league option than someone who needs to be rostered.
Tyler Boyd (WR, Cincinnati Bengals): The Bengals have gone run-heavy lately and Boyd was left to catch just two-of-two targets for 13 yards in Week 12. It hurts if you started him, but Boyd has enough of a track record to remain rostered, even if you place him on temporary “bench timeout.”
Kendrick Bourne (WR, New England Patriots): Despite somewhat low volume continuing to be a constant, Bourne just keeps on making the most of his opportunities. He came through big for fantasy managers who took a chance on him in Week 12, snagging five catches on six targets for 61 yards and two scores. He should be rostered in all but very shallow leagues.
Evan Engram (TE, New York Giants): Engram was unable to get it done against an exploitable Eagles defense (last vs TEs) and finished with three catches on six targets for 37 yards. This already struggling offense will now be without Daniel Jones in Week 13, making it a situation to avoid altogether.
Make sure to check out AJ Passman’s priority waiver wire adds article every Tuesday for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday. Good luck in Week 13!
(Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)