With Week 11 in the rear view mirror, the fantasy playoffs will be here in no time. As always, injuries are a big part of fantasy football and can have a major effect on your chance at a championship. Some important players like Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and Broncos RB Willis McGahee went down this past week and will now miss significant time.
If you are looking for some players to help you down the stretch, scoutPRO is here to help. Here are some options:
TE – Aaron Hernandez: With Rob Gronkowski out with a broken forearm, Hernandez will be the man at TE once he gets healthy. He has missed the last three games with an ankle injury, but could return this Thursday against the Jets. The Patriots are fourth in the NFL in passing yards per game and have one of the best QBs in the league in Tom Brady. They also have games against Miami and Jacksonville, who are 27th and 28th in pass defense respectively. If Hernandez can get his ankle healthy, he should have plenty of opportunities to produce.
WR – Julian Edelman: Along with Wes Welker, Edelman was the main man in New England two WRs sets last week. The Patriots are returning to a quick strike, short passing offense, and like the smaller, shiftier tandem of Welker and Edelman. He didn’t hurt his case for an expanded role Sunday, as he made plays in all aspects of the game. He caught five passes for 58 yards and a TD, rushed once for 47 yards and returned a punt 68 yards for a TD. With Deion Branch getting released, Brandon Lloyd’s snap count getting cut down and Gronkowski out injured, Edelman could have some opportunities over the next few weeks.
RB – Ronnie Hillman: With Willis McGahee out six to eight weeks with a torn MCL, I think Hillman will seize this opportunity and become the top RB in Denver. Lance Ball will also be involved, but I don’t think he is all that good. Additionally, the Broncos have a favorable schedule the rest of the season. With matchups against Cleveland, Oakland and two against Kansas City, that is four games against teams ranked in the bottom 10 in the NFL against the run.
WR – Danario Alexander: After five knee surgeries since 2010, Alexander is finally healthy. He has quickly developed into one of Philip Rivers favorite weapons out in San Diego. Since he became a starter in week 10, he has averaged 115 yards per game with three TDs, including an 80-yard TD against the Bucs. Rivers has struggled with INTs this season, however he has thrown seven TDs over the past three weeks. Alexander has developed a strong chemistry with Rivers – something that was lacking with fellow WR Robert Meachem.
RB – Jacquizz Rodgers: For some reason, the Falcons continue to play Michael Turner even though they want to run a high octane, up tempo offense. Interestingly, Rodgers saw more offensive snaps last Sunday than Turner (34 to 33). The Falcons have really struggled in goal to go situations, with Turner totaling only three TDs on 17 attempts prior to week 11. If he continues to not produce in these situations, Atlanta could turn to Rodgers for a spark.
WR – Justin Blackmon: Blackmon exploded last week for 236 yards and a TD after Blaine Gabbert went down with a shoulder injury. If Chad Henne plays the rest of the season, Blackmon could be an asset. Although he has been basically silent all year, all the blame cannot be placed on him as Gabbert is terrible. Jacksonville’s remaining games present some more opportunities for him. Miami, New England and Tennessee are all ranked 26th or lower in pass defense, and the Jaguars get the Titans twice.
WR – Pierre Garcon: Since RGIII is so good, Garcon could be a difference maker. He returned last week after missing four games with a foot injury and only caught three passes for five yards. However, only one player saw more targets than him. Unfortunately he wasn’t a recipient of any of RGIII’s four TD passes, but it’s encouraging to see that kind of performance from the rookie QB. Cleveland, Baltimore and the Giants all remain for Washington, and all of them are ranked 22nd or lower in passing defense.
QB – Mike Vick: He’s not really under the radar, but he may have been dropped in your league. Nick Foles is not the answer, and head coach Andy Reid is going to go out swinging. When Vick is healthy, Reid is going to play him. Philly has now lost six straight and is clearly in need of some kind of spark. Maybe Vick can be that spark and be an impact player during the fantasy playoffs.
Nelson Sousa is a high stakes expert and top-ranked National Fantasy Football Champion. Each week, Nelson participates in setting the weekly subjective player ratings for scoutPRO, one of the most accurate fantasy football tools on the market. scoutPRO subscribers receive a weekly Q&A session with Nelson for additional expert analysis. Learn more.
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