This article is part of our NFL Barometer series.
As is common this time of year, season-ending injuries are opening up possibilities for backup players to step into fantasy relevance. That much was evident again in Week 13, and an unexpected release due to off-field issues also created a job opening in the league's most potent offense. With plenty to examine all the way around, let's take the temperature of the NFL heading in the fantasy postseason.
Josh Allen, Bills: Allen has made a notable impact since returning from a four-game absence due to an elbow injury. The time off seems to have helped the rookie absorb more of the playbook and nuances of the pro game, as Allen has compiled 391 passing yards and additional 234 on the ground over his first pair of contests back. That sample includes seven completions of over 20 yards and four runs over that distance as well. While his accuracy is certainly still a work in progress, Allen is demonstrating some nice chemistry with second-year wideout Zay Jones as well, providing plenty of reason for optimism regarding his prospects down the stretch.
Derek Carr, Raiders: It's admittedly counterintuitive, but Carr has actually played better the more receivers he loses to injury. The fifth-year signal-caller boasts a 6:0 TD:INT over the last three games, a stretch during which he's racked up 11 completions of greater than 20 yards. Carr is also starting to get some of those wideouts back, as Jordy Nelson returned in Week 13