The fantasy football season is nearing its end. This is either the last week of the regular season, or the first week of the playoffs if you play in a deeper league. Either way, we’re in the stretch run and every move will be critical from here on out as owners fight for the championship.
For the most part, fantasy owners avoided serious injuries in Week 13, at least to major star players. Matthew Stafford suffered a bruise and contusion on his throwing hand, but he didn’t break any bones and should be ready for Week 14, even at less than 100 percent. Tyrod Taylor got carted off with a knee injury, but again, it’s only a minor contusion. Owners will also be getting some reinforcements in the playoffs, with Aaron Rodgers on track to return in Week 15 and Michael Crabtree coming back from suspension this week.
The biggest fantasy news of the week concerns Rob Gronkowski, who laid down a blatant cheap shot on the Buffalo Bills’ Tre’Davious White. Gronk was suspended for this week’s game, and deservedly so, but it does leave fantasy owners in a bind.
With all that in mind, here are the top five waiver wire options of the week, owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! standard leagues.
1. WR Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars (28 percent)
Westbrook’s impressive preseason performance has carried over to the regular season, where he has 15 catches in three games since making his NFL debut in Week 11. Westbrook has slid into the No. 2 receiver spot next to Marqise Lee while Allen Hurns recovers from a sprained ankle, and is acquitting himself nicely. Blake Bortles clearly trusts him with 25 targets in three games, and he had his best one yet in Week 13, getting 78 yards on six catches. Playing a bigger role in the offense every week, Westbrook is shaping up as a PPR gem down the stretch.
2. RB Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks (8 percent)
The Seahawks’ backfield has been a running joke for most of the season. Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy have traded off ineffective stretches, and the few running backs who did show promise (Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise) all got hurt. Well, it seems like Seattle finally settled on Davis as the guy. He handled most of the heavy work in Sunday night’s big win over the Philadelphia Eagles, racking up 101 total yards on 20 touches. Pete Carroll is making noise about Carson coming back soon, but it looks like this is Davis’ job — for now.
3. RB Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (35 percent)
Jones was enjoying a nice rookie campaign while filling in for Ty Montgomery — 62 carries for 346 yards in a four-game stretch between Weeks 4 and 7. Then he suffered an injury of his own, a sprained MCL that kept him out two games. In the meantime, Jamaal Williams had his own solid performances, which continued in Week 13 even as Jones came back. Williams finished with 113 yards and a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Jones had the exclamation point with a walkoff touchdown in overtime. At best, this could be a muddled committee down the stretch, but Jones’ talent is worth betting on. He should be a bench stash in all dynasty leagues, at the least.
4. WR Josh Doctson, Washington (47 percent)
Doctson still doesn’t get many targets, but he’s carved out a niche as a jump-ball specialist. Kirk Cousins really likes chucking it up to Doctson when all else fails. That renders him a risky boom-or-bust play in fantasy, but it’s also led to five touchdowns on the season. Doctson scored for the second straight game last Thursday, the lone bright spot in a dismal showing for Washington.
5. TE Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals (28 percent)
Gronk owners will need a streamer this week, and tight end is enough of a crapshoot that your guess might be as good as mine. That said, if you’re looking for a high-upside option, I’d recommend Seals-Jones, who came out of nowhere to be a go-to target for Blaine Gabbert. Seals-Jones has nine catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns in the past three games as the Cardinals are surprisingly competitive with Gabbert under center. This is a longshot, but compared to the other tight ends on the wire, it’s worth taking the gamble. Seals-Jones matches up with the Tennessee Titans next.