Each week, we highlight six recommended fantasy pickups plus a team defense available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. The fantasy playoffs are upon us, so there's no reason to save your waiver priority or FAAB dollars at this stage. Let's add, friends.
Adrian Peterson, Washington (39% rostered)
It was a messy week for injuries across the NFL, and Washington's backfield was not immune. Derrius Guice suffered an early knee injury at Green Bay — at the end of a terrific 23-yard gain — and he was eventually ruled out of the game. Brutal news for a player who's been plenty impressive on limited touches. Early word is that Guice is dealing with an MCL sprain.
In his absence, Adrian Peterson handled a full workload for Washington, carrying 20 times for 76 yards and a short TD. AP isn't quite the same electric runner who won three rushing crowns back in the day, but the man is averaging 4.4 YPC at age 34. He's still a problem near the goal-line, too:
— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) December 8, 2019
Peterson is clearly set up for significant workloads in the week(s) ahead, while Guice is out. He has a date with Philly next Sunday, which isn't ideal, but Washington gets a friendlier matchup against the Giants in Week 16. AP needs to rostered in deeper formats, considering the volume that's likely to come his way.
FAAB bid: For the last time, people, you can't take this money into 2020! SPEND. Let's say $20 of a $100 budget
DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders (6%)
Washington and Jalen Richard handled the backfield work in relief of an injured Josh Jacobs (shoulder) on Sunday, with the former out-snapping, out-touching and out-gaining the latter. In a home loss to Tennessee, Washington handled 20 touches (including six receptions), picking up 96 tough yards and producing a highlight TD run:
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) December 8, 2019
If Jacobs is unable to return for Week 15, Washington is looking at another significant workload -- and with Jacksonville up next, he has a shot at a top-10-ish positional finish. The Jaguars have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season and the most over the past five weeks. Eleven backs have topped 80 scrimmage yards against the Jags so far this year and four have topped 150.
Jacobs has actually been playing with a fracture in his shoulder for over a month, and he was reportedly crushed about being sidelined this week. His status isn't yet known for the final weeks, but he's clearly a shut-down candidate. If you'd been leaning on him all year, Washington is this week's priority add.
FAAB bid: $20
Patrick Laird, Miami Dolphins (19%)
Here's a stat that tells you A LOT about Miami's season: Laird's 48 rushing yards from Sunday's loss to the Jets is somehow the second-highest yardage total produced by any Dolphins back this year. (Mark Walton had 66 against the Bills in Week 7.) Collectively, Miami's running backs are the lowest-scoring team backfield on the season. And it's not close.
If it feels as if we're not really giving you a hard sell on Laird, um ... no, we are not. He's an inefficient back attached to a do-nothing run game. He doesn't exactly have the look of a league-winner. Still, we should note that Laird has caught four passes in each of his last two games, so he has some deep league PPR appeal. Also, his upcoming matchups (at NYG, Cin) aren't particularly challenging. If you're just looking for a potential source of double-digit PPR points, he's in play.
FAAB bid: $6
Additional RBs worth grabbing: Boston Scott (he absolutely erupted on MNF with 128 scrimmage yards and one TD), Gus Edwards (just a reminder that he's a premium 'cuff, averaging 5.1 YPC), Kerryon Johnson (eligible to return in Week 16, though tough to fully trust), Chris Thompson (10 touches on Sunday, including seven receptions).
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (47%)
Since the AFL-NFL merger, only 14 quarterbacks have produced seasons in which they averaged greater than 9.0 yards per pass attempt on 200 or more throws. Tannehill is very likely to become No. 15. After Sunday's mauling of the Raiders in Oakland, he's averaging 9.8 Y/A on 203 attempts. We're just gonna keep mentioning Tannehill in this space until he's rostered in a proper percentage of leagues.
Here's the first of the two TD passes he threw to rookie A.J. Brown on Sunday:
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 8, 2019
That's a quarterback who knew he was about to be pummeled, yet still threw a dart. (For the second Brown TD, keep scrolling.)
After Tannehill's 391-yard, three-score binge, he's now thrown multiple touchdown passes in six of his seven starts this season. He's completing a ridiculous 73.4% of his throws and his passer-rating is now 118.5. Next week, he faces a Houston defense that was recently shredded by Drew Lock. So yeah, you can trust Tannehill in Week 15. Don't leave him on the wire.
FAAB bid: $12
Other addable QBs: Ryan Fitzpatrick (his receiving corps was banged up on Sunday, but the matchup ahead against the Giants is a gift), Mitch Trubisky (he's thrown six TD passes in his last two games and he ran early and often against the Cowboys), Drew Lock (five touchdown passes in his first two starts, but a trip to KC is on deck).
Wide receivers and tight ends
Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts (33%)
With T.Y. Hilton sidelined over the past two weeks, Pascal has seen 19 targets, hauling in 12 balls for 183 yards and one score. He's found the end zone five times this season and he's also produced five games with 70 or more receiving yards. Most of the recent news on Hilton has been discouraging, so we have to continue to view Pascal as Indy's No. 1 receiving threat. Passing volume won't be a concern in next week's matchup at New Orleans; we need to view Pascal as a starting-quality receiver moving forward. He has size (6-foot-2) and red-zone appeal, with upper-tier celebration skills:
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 8, 2019
FAAB bid: $16
A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (24%)
Brown has produced 100-plus receiving yards in two of his last three games, emerging as Tennessee's unrivaled No. 1 target. He was unstoppable in Sunday's win at Oakland, delivering 153 yards and two scores on five catches. Here's his second TD against the Raiders, as promised:
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 8, 2019
His big-play ability has been on display since the season-opener, in which he caught three balls for 100 yards. Brown is legit, and he's going to make a serious run at a 1,000-yard season — he’s now up to 779, with a pair of games remaining against Houston's user-friendly pass defense (265.8 YPG, 28 pass TDs allowed). Add Brown wherever you can; consider him a playable WR2 in the money weeks.
FAAB bid: $22
Various other WR/TE options: Darius Slayton (we’ve written him up week after week and he just blew up for like the third time this season), Justin Watson (he saw eight targets against Indy, caught a TD pass, and should have a substantial role with Mike Evans likely unavailable), Anthony Miller (he's drawn 37 targets over his last four games), Diontae Johnson (the leading scorer on a few of my fantasy benches, he made a pair of house calls on Sunday), Marcus Johnson (just produced 105 yards and one score on seven targets, and both Hilton and Parris Campbell are hurting), Isaiah Ford (went 6-92-0 on nine targets against the Jets, while multiple Dolphins receivers suffered injuries), Tyler Higbee (crazy that he's only 20 percent rostered, coming off back-to-back 100-yard games), Hayden Hurst (just delivered a 3-73-1 game and Mark Andrews is dinged), Noah Fant (dealing with a medley of injuries, but he was terrific against Houston), Jonnu Smith (caught a TD at Oakland, though he's not seeing many targets).
Kansas City Chiefs (30%)
KC is at home next Sunday and favored by 11 points against Denver, a team with a rookie QB (who's been shockingly productive so far). It's an ideal setup, basically. The Chiefs are tied for sixth in the league in takeaways (20) and they just held New England to 16 points in Foxborough. (Big assist from the officials.) This D should rank solidly in the top-10 for the playoff semifinals.
FAAB bid: $2
Other streamable D/STs: Seattle (traveling to Carolina to face a QB who's thrown 12 picks in his last seven games), Oakland (not a perfect real-life D to be sure, but hosting the potentially Chark-less Jaguars next week).