And then there were four… As we progress deeper into the playoffs there is a fine line to walk. You want to dance with those you brought to the ball, but at the same time you might be missing out on a more valuable option. There are also injuries to deal with and you can never be too prepared. With that being said, let’s take a look some options who might be available on your waiver wire:
Philip Rivers – QB – LA Chargers
After some chatter gained steam about Rivers potentially being benched due to his struggles, the veteran looked a lot better last week. In fact it was the Rivers we had previously come to expect as he needed just 16 completions to reach 314 yards while throwing three touchdowns. It was Rivers’ seventh game of more than 300 passing yards on the season and this week he takes on the Vikings, who have been a middle of the road defense against fantasy quarterbacks. If Rivers is past the interception issues, just eight in his other 11 games, then he is poised to finish the season strong.
Drew Lock – QB – Denver Broncos
After eclipsing 300 yards for the first time in his career, albeit his second career start, and throwing three touchdowns in Houston I’d venture to say that Lock deserves a little more respect. Entering this week’s waiver run he is available in about 99% of all ESPN leagues, and with five touchdowns against just two interceptions the rookie has been efficient in his brief career. Facing the Chiefs in Kansas City should be a little more difficult, but he and the Broncos certainly are riding a positive waive of momentum.
Adrian Peterson – RB – Washington Redskins
With Derrius Guice injured once again and possibly done for the season, we now bring our attention back to Peterson. The veteran hit 20 carries for the third time this season on Sunday and he once again impressed. A week after gaining 99 yards on 13 carries while scoring a touchdown, Peterson followed it up with 76 yards and a touchdown. Overall he hasn’t shown his age, and we know that the workload is going to be there (at this point in the season that is half the battle).
Peyton Barber – RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It looked like Ronald Jones was beginning to grab a hold of Tampa Bay’s backfield, but struggles in the blocking game pushed the Buccaneers back to Barber. It’s not like Jones has completely gone away, but Barber is back to having a role in what is close to a 50/50 timeshare. Neither option does much in the passing game, but Barber did find the end zone twice two weeks ago in Jacksonville. If you are desperate then Barber is worth a look against Detroit and their weak run defense, but know he is touchdown dependent as he is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.
DeAndre Washington – RB – Oakland Raiders
With Josh Jacobs’ shoulder leaving his status questionable for next week, Washington will be the biggest beneficiary. As Jacobs missed the game last week his understudy was quite busy as he touched the ball 20 times; 14 carries for 53 yards and six receptions for 43 yards. Washington also found the end zone for the second time this season in what was clearly his best game of the year. The fact that he had a role in the passing game helps to maintain his value, as does the fact that he was able to find the end zone.
Darius Slayton – WR – New York Giants
It is honestly surprising to me to see that Slayton is still available in more than half of ESPN leagues. Amidst a lost season for the Giants with injuries abound in the passing game he has emerged as the one constant and big play threat. That has especially been true over the last four weeks, as he has 25 receptions for 386 receiving yards and four touchdowns. That includes a monster effort on Monday night with Eli Manning under center as Slayton caught five passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Over this time he has also been targeted 38 times, so there is no questioning his role in New York’s passing game.
A.J. Brown – WR – Tennessee Titans
Let’s stay with rookies as the big play threat is closing in on the 1,000 yard mark for the season. Brown has 39 receptions for 779 yards, for an average of 20 yards per catch, with six touchdowns as he is striving to be a more consistent option. The move to Ryan Tannehill worked in Brown’s favor as he is becoming less big play dependent. Depending on your roster situation Brown’s upside might be just what you need.
Anthony Miller – WR – Chicago Bears
Miller followed up a strong effort on Thanksgiving with a quieter day, but his first touchdown of the season helped to save his value. Prior to last week he had 21 receptions over his three previous games as his role is beginning to increase in Chicago’s passing game. It’s possible Miller has another tough battle against the Packers this coming week, but the targets have been consistent and that is more than we can say for a lot of other available wide receivers.
Noah Fant – TE – Denver Broncos
A by-product of Lock’s success was Fant’s performance last week as he caught four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. As the Broncos are looking towards next season I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fant take on a larger role to close out the year. After all he was a first round pick and his receiving ability is evident, he just needs more of a chance.