When you’ve written these a few times, you’re going to mention a few familiar names. Among the returning here are Damian Williams, Roy Helu, and Marion Barber. However, we do mention a few new names this week and also – new – we recommend pickups at the kicker and fantasy defense positions. Kicker?! Fantasy defense?! Well, defense and special teams can win fantasy games too. This is the best time to snatch up the excellent match-up plays in front of your rivals – right before the playoffs begin.
Roy Helu, Redskins – A few days after Mike Shanahan said he didn’t think Helu could handle a full load, Helu gets 30 total touches. He totaled 162 yards, 108 and a score on the ground. His ownership is already fairly high. Checking two different platforms, we saw a range between 33-49%. If he is available, make it a priority to pick him up. A solid three down back can run the ball effective, catch the ball, and punch it in from the goal line. Helu has shown the aptitude to be good in at least 2 of those 3.
CJ Spiller, Bills – We came away with a few observations from the Jets / Bills matchup. One of them is Spiller is a very fluid athlete. Although he owned a good box score, Fitzpatrick was actually throwing high for a lot of the game. Spiller was able to snag a high and well in front swing pass from Fitzpatrick. If the pass hit Spiller in stride, he could have very well had a big gain. Grabbing the majority of carries at 19 out of 22 rushes, he’ll get the work load from here on out. Can he capitalize? Think Spiller gets 100 all purpose yards this weekend against the Titans.
Deangelo Williams, Panthers – Williams had his most impressive game of the year with 12 carries for 69 yards and two scores. One was a 2 yard touchdown and the other a nice looking 25 yard glide into the end zone. Williams has two juicy match-ups left, both against the Bucs in week 13 and 16.
Marion Barber, Bears - Things are slowly shifting to Marion Barber’s way in terms of work load, much to the dismay of Matt Forte owners. One theory circulating is that if Barber had been healthy at the beginning of the year, this type of split would have been implemented sooner. We find that hard to believe, but Barber has looked good with the touches given. He had 63 yards and 12 touches against the Raiders and will now face the Chiefs at home. He is still owned in a meager 25% in Yahoo! leagues.
Marcel Reece, Raiders – We’ve always been a bit akin to picking up a gadget type player or player miscast in a fantasy football platform; Danny Woodhead last year at RB or WR, Colston as tight end, Joe Webb at receiver for a game. Love it. With all the injuries to the Raiders receivers, Reece has seen time running more complex routes than a usual full back. How is he able to do this? He played wide receiver in college. Against the Bears he caught 5 passes for 92 yards. It’s Michael Bush’s backfield, but Reece is showing productivity past it. Think this is a sneaky pickup if you are desperate for depth at the running back position.
Johnny Knox, Bears - Johnny Knox may well be a late in the season performer. In 2010, he scored 1 touchdown in the first 11 weeks of the year, and then scored 4 the rest of the way. His breakaway speed does distinguish himself from “plodding” receivers like Roy Williams and Earl Bennett. Like a lot of WRs, Knox is streaky though. Let’s see how does with a nice matchup against the Chiefs leaky secondary. Already owned in 60% of ESPN leagues.
Damian Williams, Titans - We like Damian Williams a lot. He’s been mentioned in this space before. His game, size, and skill set is really translating well to the NFL game. He caught his 5th touchdown on the season against the Bucs and seems to be a guy the Titans are trying to include heavily every week. In the previous week, against the Falcons, Williams was targeted 11 times. Like a lot of young receivers, he’ll have his up and downs (that 11 target game against the Falcons only resulted in 1 catch), but he is filling some of the void left when Kenny Britt went down.
Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders – If there is such a thing as a star fantasy kicker, it’s this guy. For a few years it used to be Rob Bironas in Tennessee that would put up a 20 point game on occasion, now it’s Janikowski. He has a big leg and a gambling coach who isn’t afraid to let him pull up from 56 yards to swish a field goal. He’s 5 for 6 from 50 yards and out this season. If he’s there, put some FAB in it to get him, especially if you get extra points for distance.
Titans Defense - We usually don’t discuss picking up defenses, but a good fantasy analyst, we have had the pleasure of knowing, Mark Moret, once let us in on a favorite strategy of his. Prior to the playoffs, pick up an extra defense or two with great fantasy match-ups. Some league formats really reward fantasy defense scoring. The Titans, who had a kick off return touchdown last weekend, plays the Colts in week 15 and the Jaguars at home in week 16. A great pickup and hold for a contending fantasy team.