It is playoff time for most season-long formats as we move into the final third of the regular season.
If you have made it that far, congratulations. I am not sure if this happened to any of you, but of the handful of season-long leagues I am in, my guys were red hot out of the box in two leagues and ice cold in the other three. Since, that has reversed in a completely puzzling fashion such that I will need a killer Week 14 to stay alive for another cycle.
I did write earlier in the season that one of the big changes I will make next season when drafting is pay much less attention to defense.
But, the other thing--which I think is the source of my now struggling teams--is I tend to move slow on the waiver wire when the season begins, trying to employ the same patience I do to my baseball teams. But, even though the length of the baseball and football seasons are the same, obviously the number of contests is not.
However, I do think being more aggressive the last three weeks has juiced teams that lost the likes of Julian Edelman, Marshawn Lynch and Carlos Hyde among others. Mind you, I realize that every one of you had one of those guys, or Andrew Luck, Le'Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles or Jordy Nelson (sigh, Todd and I drafted him for our FSTA team last June).
That said, who are the guys who can plug the holes, make a cheap DFS play, or even be worth a grab and stash next year off Week 13?
Well, let's start with the Niners, who got the most out of castaway Shaun Draughn. who is now picking up the slack for Hyde, and who grabbed a score, rushed for 36 yards, and caught five more balls for 50 yards. Draughn gets to be the flavor of the week as the low play DFS guy, but the extent of his value is probably there. Still, since the Niners are facing the equally inept Browns in Week 14, that play could work out really well, as Draughn will surely get the ball to start.
If you cannot bag Draughn, another good consideration is the Cardinals' David Johnson, who stepped in to pick up 99 yards and caught a couple of passes for 21 yards and a score. Johnson was a third-round pick this year and with Chris Johnson (turf toe) hobbled, he will get some more attention.
One more running back who caught my eye is the Texans' Chris Polk, who took over for Alfred Blue (back), gaining 61 yards on 12 carries while catching just one target, but that was good for paydirt and a score. The Texans have been hot and Polk does give an option, but check the availability of Blue before you put too many sprinkles on the Polk-salad.
My afternoon was split with my remote between the Raiders and the Chiefs, and then during commercials, the Panthers and Saints, and vice versa.
If you watched any of that Carolina contest, Brandin Cooks had a fine game, but the up-and-comer might be Brandon Coleman, who caught four for 73 yards and a score. A 6'6", 250 pound first rounder this year, Coleman graduated from Rutgers, and that makes him smart, and smart players are almost always a good thing.
Another rookie wideout I really liked going into the season was Dorial Green-Beckham, the Titans' second-round pick this past spring out of Tennessee. Another big (6'5", 235 pounds) receiver, he picked up five catches, tying his season high, while gaining 119 yards and scoring a TD. Like Coleman, as the season progresses, I would expect Green-Beckham to get an increased look, and I think it will be a good one.
One last receiver is the Browns' Brian Hartline, who had 16 receptions through Week 9, but 22 since (and that includes a bye week), good for 234 yards. If the name of the game is PPR, well, that is pretty productive.
Finally, Buffalo did outlast the Texans, and one contributor to that effort was Tight End Charles Clay, who plucked four of seven targets, good for 66 yards and a score. Clay is kind of a quiet pick, but he has 50 receptions this year, good for 519 yards and three scores. He too becomes an interesting option, depending on the matchup. He has the Eagles coming up next.