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Working the Wire: Time to Think Playoffs

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

This week is about the time you should assess where your team is. Does it look like your team is playoff bound? If so, it might be time to stash potential gems who could emerge during the fantasy playoffs. Players on losing teams may sit the final few games with no reason to gamble on their health as teams look ahead to next season. Also keep in mind that teams may use these last few weeks to audition younger players.

QUARTERBACK

Secondary Targets

Matt Flynn, GB -
While the Raiders and Bills didn't have any use for him, it appears the Packers and the system Flynn knows works perfectly for him. He was unable to find any overtime magic Sunday but has a nice matchup this week against the Lions on turkey day. Detroit continues to get torched through the air as Mike Glennon would have had a better game had the Buccaneers thrown more in the fourth quarter. Flynn has a solid set of receivers, and he'll throw the ball up and give them a chance to make a play. FAAB: $6-10

Hail Mary

Brandon Weeden, CLE -
It appears that Jason Campbell will be held out of Sunday's game, opening the door for Weeden once again to start. Weeden didn't look good in relief Sunday and has been something of a disappointment considering preseason expectations. This ultimately is good news for Jordan Cameron owners who have seen his stock plummet with Jason Campbell at the helm. Any starting quarterback in the league has some value in two quarterback or deeper formats; just keep any high expectations in check. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

RUNNING BACK

Primary Targets

Benny Cunningham, STL -
Cunningham ran well in relief of Zac Stacy Sunday with 109 rushing yards and a score. Granted, it was against a porous Bears' defense, but he should get the majority of carries this week should Stacy be ruled out. The pride of Middle Tennessee State, Cunningham is an undrafted rookie free-agent who leapfrogged Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead on the depth chart. Check reports on Stacy this week to see whether he passes the concussion protocol. FAAB: $8-12

Toby Gerhart, MIN -
Gerhart has 158 rushing yards on only 15 carries over his last two games. Coach Leslie Frazier said he wants to get Gerhart more touches while Adrian Peterson is banged up. Looking at the bigger picture, it's possible that down the stretch Peterson gets shut down once the Vikings are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. If that happens, Gerhart would be a great flex play once fantasy playoff time comes. FAAB: $8-12

Secondary Targets

Brandon Bolden, NE -
Bolden was the beneficiary of Stevan Ridley's fumbling problem with a team-high and season-high 13 carries. Most important, he hung onto the ball, something Ridley and LeGarrette Blount couldn't do. It's tough to tell what Bill Belichick will do, but he loved BenJarvus Green-Ellis during his New England tenure due to his ball security. Don't be surprised this week if Bolden is the main ballcarrier while Shane Vereen (the modern day Kevin Faulk) handles the work on passing downs. FAAB: $6-10

WIDE RECEIVER

Primary Targets

Nate Burleson, DET -
Burleson made a triumphant return to the field Sunday, finishing with seven catches for 77 yards with one of those catches leading to seven points. None of the Detroit wide receivers stepped up in his absence, and he should go back to being Matthew Stafford's second-favorite target. Burleson will draw softer coverage with teams focusing on Calvin Johnson, and he's had at least six catches in all four games he's played, making him even more valuable in PPR formats. Burleson is easily the best wide receiver target this week if he's available on the waive wire. FAAB: $30-36

Secondary Targets

Julian Edelman, NE -
As an Aaron Dobson owner I was thrilled to watch Edelman go off Sunday night while Dobson put up the proverbial goose egg. It's tough to get too excited about Edelman considering he hadn't scored since Week 1 and totaled six catches for 45 yards over his previous three games. If Danny Amendola misses time it would obviously help Edelman's value, though it seems like a weekly dart throw at Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Edelman as to who has the most fantasy value week in and week out. FAAB: $5-10

Justin Hunter, TEN -
I wrote about Hunter earlier this season after he had back-to-back games with a receiving touchdown. Hunter had a nice catch-and-run with a spin move to scamper for a long touchdown Sunday. He has the size (6-foot-4) to be a threat in the red zone and at this point has more upside than Nate Washington. Kendall Wright will still be the top wide receiver target, but Hunter could emerge as his complement the final weeks of the season. FAAB: $4-8

TIGHT END

Secondary Targets

Ladarius Green, SD -
Green has come onto the fantasy radar after recording consecutive solid games. He had 80 receiving yards and a long touchdown Sunday against the Chiefs and looks like the tight end of the future once Antonio Gates retires. He's a good player to target in dynasty leagues, and if Gates were to miss time, Green would have top-10 upside at the position. FAAB: $4-8

Jared Cook, STL -
Cook found the end zone for the second time in three games Sunday and finished with 80 receiving yards. Kellen Clemens may be looking for his big target more in the red zone, and there's a chance here Cook salvages a disappointing season down the stretch if he gets said targets. After San Francisco this week, he faces Arizona, New Orleans and Tampa Bay in three following weeks. FAAB: $4-8

DEFENSE

Hail Mary

Jacksonville Jaguars -
No, I'm not under the influence of any foreign substance(s) here. Just hear me out. First, going against Brandon Weeden almost assures any NFL defense of getting multiple turnovers. Next, Jacksonville has had two solid fantasy performances in their last three games with a defensive touchdown, three sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions. If you've been hitting the waiver wire all season for your defense, they have as much upside as any other defense on the wire. FAAB: $1-3