It’s the championship week, and there’s a good chance some of us just lost one of our starting running backs. Don’t leave anything on the table this week, go out and get whoever you need to in order to win your matchup, and hopefully when we see you on the other side, you’ll be a champion.
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Le’Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs (56% rostership on Yahoo/59% on ESPN)
I start this week with a guy who’s a bit above the rostership cutoffs, but he should be picked up and probably started everywhere. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to be out until the NFL playoffs, giving Le’Veon Bell a great opportunity as the starting running back here. The Chiefs have a very winnable matchup coming up against the Falcons, and while that certainly means big games for the Chiefs’ stars are coming, Bell should still be able to be productive in this one. Granted, the last time he got a chance to start he did not produce well against the Denver Broncos, but the Chiefs only scored 22 points in that game, and I expect they will be able to score many more than that against Atlanta. Also, Bell looked a lot better this past week against the Saints than he has at really any point this season.
Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys (47%/47%)
This one entirely depends on the health of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. He was inactive this past week after missing every practice, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on his status this week. If he’s back and playing, then Tony Pollard is no longer interesting. But if Elliott misses another game, then we definitely want in on the guy who just put up 31 points in PPR leagues against the 49ers defense. It wasn’t just his work on the ground that made him interesting, but also how much he was targeted through the air as well. If Pollard is the starter come Sunday, you’ll want to be starting him too.
Salvon Ahmed, Miami Dolphins (35%/33%)
Salvon Ahmed has started three games for the Dolphins this year, and has produced 16 points per game in PPR across that stretch. While we haven’t seen both him and Myles Gaskin healthy at the same time, and therefore don’t know what the usage will be like if they are both available, Gaskin is currently on the COVID-IR after testing positive, so there’s no guarantee he will be available for this weekend’s game. If Gaskin does miss the game, that makes Ahmed a very tantalizing starter going up against a Las Vegas Raiders run defense that ranks bottom-5 in the NFL in yards per attempt allowed.
Honorable Mentions (above the 50% rostership cut off): Darrell Henderson Jr., Giovani Bernard.
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (24% rostership on Yahoo/31% on ESPN)
While the Falcons offense as a whole has been very up and down, Matt Ryan has finally developed a consistent connection with Russell Gage, targeting him at least 7 times and connecting at least 5 times in 4 of the last 5 games. I was really impressed with how well they performed against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, as Gage was able to snag 5 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs pass defense is pretty strong too, but the Falcons will likely be playing from behind the whole game and that portends good things for Gage.
Keke Coutee, Houston Texans (41%/45%)
It’s been three weeks of Keke Coutee as a starter after the loss of Will Fuller, and it seems pretty clear that he performs better with Brandin Cooks on the field to take some of the heat off of him. For the first time since Coutee has been a starter, the Texans will face a mediocre defense, and I expect them to put up a good amount of points against the Bengals. Coutee has been involved in all three games he’s started, and that won’t change this week.
Other streamers I like this week are: Chad Hansen against Cincinnati, Rashard Higgins against the Jets, Darnell Mooney against Jacksonville, and Nelson Agholor against Miami.
I hope you have a decent tight end on your roster already, as there isn’t much on the waiver wire this week. If any of the following players are available for some reason, grab them: Logan Thomas (64%/69%), and Noah Fant (73%/78%).
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (40%/46%)
It was the battle of the young running QBs, and Kyler Murray lost to Jalen Hurts. That’s three straight weeks of impressive production from Hurts, and he has a dream matchup against the pathetic Cowboys defense. Get Hurts. Just do it.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (47%/35%)
If you missed out on Jalen Hurts, then Baker Mayfield is a solid backup option at QB. He’s been playing well as of late and the Browns have an easy matchup this week against the Jets. While a running team like the Browns may seem like they won’t throw much against the Jets, that didn’t stop Mayfield from putting up 21 points against the Giants in a blowout, and QBs have done very well against the Jets this year. He’s averaged 25 points per game over the past four weeks, and hasn’t dipped below 18 points over that stretch.
(Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire)
RE: LeVeon Bell – the Falcons are giving up the fifth-fewest points to opposing RB’s this year. I’d argue he’s a risky pickup, additionally so considering the Chiefs have a 61.21% pass percentage this year, going up to 64.89% at home (like they are this week).