I’m not going to say we can start breathing now, in fact we are far from that as things will only continue to get more stressful, but at least the bye weeks are over. That means it’s time to take a different approach towards the waiver wire and managing the end of your bench. Or maybe it’s just having the opportunity to have an approach? No longer do we have to scramble to cover holes in our starting lineup and to replace kickers, tight ends or defenses. Instead, it is all about upside and handcuffs.
Let’s take a look at some options that have caught our attention for this week:
Jeff Driskel – QB – Detroit Lions
With it truly being a multi-week injury for Matthew Stafford, we will be seeing some more of Driskel as we head towards the fantasy playoffs. It’s a point I have brought up previously, but when combing the waiver wire running quarterbacks warrant a little bump in my book (and many others as well). The proof is right there in the fantasy box scores.
Despite throwing for just 207 yards last week, Driskel was efficient going 20 for 33, with one touchdown. Some value was saved as he gained 63 yards on the ground with nine carries. Driskel has been an asset in the running game each of the last three weeks, but we do have to note he did have his worst week passing on Sunday with three interceptions. Things are going to get more difficult against the Bears, but that running ability does establish a decent floor.
Sam Darnold – QB – New York Jets
Don’t look now but things have actually been going well for the Jets offense over the past few weeks. The quality of the opponents have eased up, but we are finally seeing what Darnold is capable of while the offensive line and embattled Head Coach Adam Gase have also shown improvement. It goes without saying that the talented young quarterback has been the biggest beneficiary from the creative play calling and more time in the pocket. Darnold also deserves some credit as he is showing increased pocket awareness and confidence. Over the next two weeks he should get to continue his recent success by facing the Bengals and Dolphins.
Bo Scarbrough – RB – Detroit Lions
With Scarbrough still slightly under the 50% threshold, we would be remiss if we didn’t include him. After emerging out of nowhere, and I do mean nowhere, two weeks ago for 14 carries and 55 yards, there was some doubt as to whether or not we would see a continuation of that success. Not only did he match that performance, he exceeded it with 18 carries for 98 yards. While he didn’t find the end zone, Scarbrough showed enough that he is not entirely touchdown dependent.
Jonathan Williams – RB – Indianapolis Colts
We knew that it wasn’t going to be Nyheim Hines who took on the early down rushing work for the Colts last week, but whether it was Williams or Jordan Wilkins was up in the air. Williams took over for Marlon Mack two weeks ago after his injury and picked up 116 yards on 13 carries as Jacksonville just looked disastrous defending the run. Last week he proved that wasn’t a fluke as he was the bell cow with 26 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown while also contributing three receptions for 17 yards. At least we know who to look to as the Colts’ featured running back.
Rashaad Penny – RB – Seattle Seahawks
Sunday was a day that some had been waiting for from the start of the season. Chris Carson struggled, by no means am I suggesting to give up on him, and Penny stepped up. After entering the week with 169 rushing yards, Penny came close to almost doubling that with 129 yards on 14 carries. A large part of Penny’s production came on a 58 yard touchdown run, but he showed what he is capable of and what Seattle was expecting when they drafted him last year. I give the Seahawks credit for sticking with Penny as he was clearly the better running back on the day. He is worth a bench spot to see if this is a trend that continues.
Robby Anderson – WR – New York Jets
Why not ride the Darnold/Jets bandwagon as Anderson’s ownership has fallen a long way from the start of the season. With receptions on just half of his 58 targets for 445 yards and three touchdowns it shouldn’t be all that surprising, but the talented Anderson is New York’s big play threat. Last week that was on display, as he caught four passes for 86 yards and a touchdown, and just like Darnold he is primed to take advantage of the Bengals and Dolphins over the next two weeks.
Deebo Samuel – WR – San Francisco 49ers
After back to back weeks of eight receptions for greater than 100 yards (112 and 134 yards respectively), Samuel’s ownership isn’t as high as it should be. The shoulder injury he was dealing with heading into last week certainly played a part in that, but the receiver was efficient as the 49ers dispatched the Packers with ease. Samuel caught both of his passes for 50 yards and a touchdown as he is getting closer to WR3 status. Facing the Ravens next week doesn’t help, making Samuel more of a FLEX option although he does need to be owned in all leagues.
Darius Slayton – WR – New York Giants
Things haven’t been going too well for the Giants and the health of their receiving options, or really their offense in general, but that didn’t apply to Slayton last week. He entered the Giants’ bye week after a 10 reception, 121 yard, two touchdown outing against the Jets, and followed that up with four catches for 67 yards. Despite Sterling Shepard’s return, Slayton has appeared to carve out a legitimate and regular role in New York’s offense and now Golden Tate is dealing with a concussion. Between that and what we have seen out of Slayton, both from the production and talent standpoints, there is no reason not to expect to see that continue.
Mike Gesicki – TE – Miami Dolphins
After three straight weeks of six targets, Gesicki was targeted seven times last week as he continues evolve in his role within Miami’s offense. Last week he caught three passes for 28 yards along with his first touchdown of the season, as Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to look Gesicki’s way. Now there isn’t much to differentiate Gesicki from the majority of other tight ends, but he is young, athletic, and the potential is there from the recent high draft choice.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 13 rankings: