Uh-oh. Melvin Gordon investors suddenly have a problem on their hands. Gordon suffered a multi-week MCL injury on Sunday, a brutal development for the player, his team and his fantasy investors. He’s expected to return before the end of the regular season, so hope isn’t entirely lost. Austin Ekeler is the preferred Gordon handcuff, but most of you won’t find him on the wire — he’s currently rostered in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues. It’s worth getting to know the handcuff’s handcuff on this team, because Ekeler isn’t likely to handle every backfield touch in the weeks ahead…
Justin Jackson belongs in your deep league fantasy plans
Jackson’s brilliant career at Northwestern felt like it lasted twelve years, but, according to official stats, it was apparently only four. He did a lot of work in those four seasons (1264 touches). Jackson holds every significant career rushing record in school history. He’s an elusive runner (if not a burner) and he crushed the jumps and agility drills at the combine. Jackson ran for 57 yards on seven carries against the Cardinals on Sunday, flashing big play ability. He’s a lock for a supporting role behind Ekeler at worst; no one should be surprised if he sees 8-12 touches per game while Gordon is sidelined.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Pit, Cin, at KC
FAAB bid: $16 ($100 budget)
Frank Gore’s revival is still a thing
Gore is averaging 4.5 yards per carry through 11 games, enjoying his finest season since he led Walter Camp’s Yale Bulldogs to an undefeated season back in ’88 his bellcow days in San Francisco. It’s clear than standard rules regarding aging humans do not apply to Gore. He’s a freak, an anomaly. He’s handled 51 touches over the past three weeks, so workload is not a concern. Kenyan Drake is dealing with a shoulder issue at the moment, so Gore’s usage might actually spike in the week ahead. He’s a high-floor/low-ceiling option for desperate owners, managing around injuries.
Schedule, next three weeks: Buf, NE, at Min
FAAB bid: $14
With Marlon Mack dinged, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins get interesting
We’ve been through this drill before, so fantasy managers should know how to deal with Mack’s concussion. If Mack can’t clear the protocol ahead of Sunday’s matchup at Jacksonville, Hines and Wilkins both get a value bump. Hines has consistently received double-digit touches when Mack is sidelined, with a season-high of 22 in the Colts’ loss at New England (15 carries, 7 REC, 90 yards). He’s a dynamic talent with exceptional speed. If Hines is available to you, he’s the priority add in this backfield.
Wilkins is averaging 5.6 YPC on 57 attempts this season, though he’s found the end-zone just once and has only one gain of greater than 20 yards. Hines has been substantially more involved as a receiving threat, too, with 40 catches compared to Wilkins’ 13.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Jac, at Hou, Dal
FAAB bid: $14 and $10
Carlos Hyde is back in our lives, at least for a week
Well, we’re duty-bound to recommend Hyde (and the more widely owned T.J. Yeldon), because Leonard Fournette is about to serve a one-game suspension. Just be warned that Hyde is averaging 3.4 YPC for the season and he plodded his way to a 10-33-0 line on Sunday. Jacksonville’s offense is a smoldering ruin at the moment, as the team just replaced one sketchy quarterback (Bortles) with another (Kessler). Hyde can only help for a single week and his matchup isn’t ideal. Indianapolis ranks eighth in the league in YPC allowed (4.0). Hyde could see 50 percent of the backfield touches, however, so maybe he’ll stumble into the end-zone for you. Woo.
Schedule, next three weeks: Ind, at Ten, Was
FAAB bid: $10
Case Keenum, anyone? Anyone? No?
OK, so Keenum is perhaps not the most exciting add in the player pool. If you’re in need of QB assistance, any reasonable owner would prefer Dak Prescott or Jameis Winston, both of whom are unattached in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. But in this space, we prefer to focus on widely available names. Keenum is owned in just 16 percent of leagues at the moment, coming off a respectable performance against Pittsburgh (197-2-0). He has a gift of a matchup ahead at Cincinnati; the Bengals defense has allowed 292.2 passing YPG and the most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Keenum faces three of the NFL’s most pass generous defenses in Weeks 13-15, in fact.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Cin, at SF, Cle
FAAB bid: $12
Adam Humphries makes another another house call
Humphries is long gone in the deepest and most competitive leagues, but the Tampa slot receiver is only 30 percent owned overall. He’s tied to an offense that leads the league in passing yards (355.8 pass YPG) and he’s hauled in 26 balls over his last five games, with four touchdowns included. Humphries currently ranks second on the Bucs in receptions (46), behind only Mike Evans, and third in targets (64). His full season stats (46-545-4) aren’t so different from Larry Fitzgerald’s (44-460-5) or Amari Cooper’s (44-629-4), but those two dudes are owned in over 90 percent of fantasy leagues. Humphries can help, PPRists. Add as needed. Here’s a sample of his work, if you aren’t yet sold…
Jameis scrambles to find a wide open Humphries who fights for the TD! pic.twitter.com/hJGQSDSQjH
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 25, 2018
Schedule, next three weeks: Car, NO, at Bal
FAAB bid: $12
Seattle’s defense draws the Niners twice in December
This add should require little explanation if you witnessed any portion of the Nick Mullens show on Sunday (18-for-32, 2 INTs, 4 sacks). Mullens was a mess against Tampa Bay, the NFL’s worst pass defense. We don’t yet know if Mullens will get the start this week at Seattle, but the Niners’ only alternative is C.J. Beathard. Either way, it’s a quality setup for the Seahawks defense. Seattle is tied for sixth in the league in interceptions (11) and tenth in total takeaways (17).
Schedule, next three weeks: SF, Min, at SF
FAAB bid: $4
Also recommended: QB Dak Prescott, QB Jameis Winston, RB Doug Martin, RB LeGarrette Blount, RB Theo Riddick, RB Carlos Hyde, RB Spencer Ware, WR Taylor Gabriel, WR Dede Westbrook, WR David Moore, WR Robert Foster, WR Curtis Samuel, WR Christian Kirk, TE Gerald Everett, TE Chris Herndon, DEF Denver Broncos