You’ve made it through the regular season, and now you’re on to the playoffs. Or maybe you’re not playoff bound, and instead, you’re merely scouring the wire for some value that would help set you up for the playoffs next year. As I’ve mentioned multiple times over the last few weeks, it can be incredibly difficult to find good value the deeper we get into the season. Injuries have thinned the player pool, and roles have been carved out on teams leaving very little in the way of surprise breakout players. Although, you should always look and in some cases, take a chance on a player because there are times when the player you pick up in Week 14 carries you to a championship.
Eli Manning, QB – New York Giants
What a mess the New York Giants situation has become over the last few weeks. Let’s be clear, it was a mess at the beginning of the season, but it has become laughably embarrassing at this point. As a result of the terrible leadership on the part of both the coaching staff and the front office, Eli Manning found himself benched in Week 13. Manning hasn’t been great this year, but he certainly didn’t deserve to be benched. If your team is in need of a playoff quarterback, Manning’s benching could be a huge benefit to you as he may be available in several leagues as a result. Manning faces Dallas, Philadelphia, and Arizona over the fantasy playoff schedule and should be looking to prove a lot of people wrong. Dallas and Arizona are both plus matchups ranking top ten in the league for fantasy points given up to quarterbacks. Philadelphia is a little better in the category at 19th, but it is still a decent matchup.
Peyton Barber, RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There are many in the fantasy community, myself included, who have had Peyton Barber on their rosters for two years now waiting for the right time to start him. Hopefully, if you’re one of those people, you had him in your lineup this weekend. He carried the ball 23 times for 102 yards and added four receptions for another 41 yards. In Week 14 he faces the Detroit Lions who have given up the third most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year. Doug Martin is dealing with a concussion, and it’s unknown whether or not he will play, but even if he does, Barber should have earned himself some additional snaps. Not to mention, Barber is younger and much cheaper, so there is a chance that Tampa Bay moves on from Martin in the offseason to give Barber a full chance.
Tion Green, RB – Detroit Lions
I know what you’re thinking: “who?” I thought the same thing as I couldn’t honestly tell you I knew Tion Green was on the Detroit Lions 53-man roster. A six-foot tall, 230-pound undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati, Green is a big bruiser and a talented one-cut runner whose limited college production kept him off the draft board. With Ameer Abdullah on the shelf as a result of a neck injury in Week 13, Green took over the early-down work rushing 11 times for 51 yards and a touchdown. If Abdullah continues to miss games, Green is a player you could easily see getting some goal-line touches and having some value in deeper leagues.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR – Oakland Raiders
Cordarrelle Patterson is known as a speed guy, and in some circles, he would be able to develop into a reliable receiving threat in the right offense. The talent never really materialized into a starting job, and he has been a role player for most of his career. But with Michael Crabtree suspended and Amari Cooper missing Week 13 with a concussion and an ankle injury, Patterson got an extended look as a starter. He turned in decent production, catching four passes for 97 yards, and showed he could be counted on with a little more regularity. Crabtree should be back in Week 14, but Cooper’s status is still up in the air so Patterson may have another week of viability for those who can claim him.
Nelson Agholor, WR – Philadelphia Eagles
Nelson Agholor has been very up and down this season and has been very dependent on touchdowns for fantasy purposes. He’s also a guy that is probably still on many rosters as a player that many always feel could turn into a solid WR2 someday. If you do have a chance to claim him, this week will probably be your last as he caught seven passes for 141 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night. He may not be reliable enough to stake your life in the playoffs on, but he is only 24 years old and will be a free agent after 2018, so there could be some long-term value.
Marquise Goodwin/Trent Taylor, WR – San Francisco 49ers
Both Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor received a boost this week when Jimmy Garoppolo took over as the starting quarterback in San Francisco. In my mind, Garoppolo is a much more efficient quarterback than C.J. Beathard, and it was on display on Sunday when he threw for 293 yards. That led to eight receptions and 99 yards for Goodwin and six receptions for 92 yards for Taylor. With good matchups against the Texans and the Titans over the next two weeks and another week in the playbook for Garoppolo, I expect the efficiency for these wide receivers to continue to improve. The future in San Francisco should continue to get brighter as well when they add more pieces in the offseason so both could be in line for more production in 2018.
Dwayne Allen, TE – New England Patriots
A couple of weeks ago, I recommended adding Martellus Bennett when he got picked back up by the Patriots after his release from Green Bay. Unfortunately, that did not work out as Bennett found himself on injured reserve which could mark the end of his career. I do not recommend Dwayne Allen with quite as much confidence as he has been primarily invisible this year for New England. However, with Rob Gronkowski‘s Week 14 suspension for his ridiculously stupid late hit in the game against Buffalo, the Patriots will have no choice but give Allen increased looks. He may not do a lot with them, but if you’re in desperate need of a tight end, you could probably do worse than the starter in one of the top offenses in the league.