By Matt Citak
(CBS Boston/CBS Local)- If you are reading this, then congratulations are in order. You reached the fantasy playoffs, something that only a few people in your league can say.READ MORE: Crisis Inside The Classroom: Baltimore County Teachers Rally, Demand Change
While making the postseason is great, it is far from your goal. Now that you’re here, let’s get you over the hump so you can take home that fantasy championship.
Bye weeks are over, so we are now going to focus on guys that look like they could have a big impact in the final few weeks of the fantasy season.
Here are the top waiver wire adds for Week 14, a.k.a the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans– Tannehill struggled this past Sunday, finishing the day with just under 14 fantasy points after throwing for 182 yards and two touchdowns, but losing a fumble. While this performance was far from ideal in the biggest week of the fantasy season, Tannehill’s production over the last month cannot be ignored. Week 13 was the first time in five games that the veteran QB did not finish with at least 18.5 fantasy points, including two outings with at least 23 points. The Titans faced the Colts on Sunday, who have a surprisingly stingy pass defense. Over the next two weeks, Tennessee faces off against the Raiders and Texans, both of which rank in the top-7 in most fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. If you’ve been streaming QBs all season, Tannehill could be the guy to get you to the championship.
QB Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars– Minshew Mania is back! After Nick Foles put up a dismal first half against one of the league’s worst pass defenses in the Buccaneers, Minshew took over in the second half and finished with over 10 fantasy points. We have already seen what the rookie quarterback can do when starting under center this season. The Jaguars take on the Chargers in Week 14, which is far from an easy matchup. However, things get a lot easier in Weeks 15 and 16, as Jacksonville will hit the road to face off against the Raiders and Falcons, both of which serve as great fantasy matchups for opposing QBs. With Jacksonville’s season all but over, the team is handing the reins to the rookie QB for the final few weeks of the season, making Minshew a solid streaming option.
RB Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers– Everyone knows that the 49ers love to pound the rock. With Matt Breida sidelined and Tevin Coleman continuing to struggle, it was Mostert that exploded for San Francisco on Sunday. Going up against a tough Ravens defense, Mostert ran the ball 19 times for a whopping 146 yards and a touchdown, good for an average of 7.7 yards per carry. It is unclear how long Breida will be sidelined, and even if he does return, he likely will not be 100%. Unless Coleman is magically able to turn his season around, Mostert could end up leading the 49ers backfield in touches in the final stretch of the season. That is a very valuable role in the NFC’s top team’s offense. Go grab Mostert in case he becomes the guy for the 49ers these next few weeks.
RB Patrick Laird, Miami Dolphins– I never thought I’d be saying this, but how about those Dolphins! Miami picked up its third win of the season in Week 13, defeating the Eagles by six. Laird did not have the most dazzling stat line, finishing with 10 carries for 5 yards and a touchdown along with four receptions for 43 yards. But Kalen Ballage appeared to suffer a serious leg injury in this contest, and if he were to miss any time, then Laird would step up as the lead back in Miami’s backfield. The Dolphins’ offensive line is still very bad, but it is not often that you get a chance to pick up a feature back at this point of the season. With Miami’s offense somehow actually rolling, Laird could offer FLEX value over the next few weeks if Ballage is out.READ MORE: COVID Outbreaks At Baltimore-Area Schools Raises Concerns For Parents
RB Alexander Mattison, Minnesota VIkings / Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys / Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens– With the playoffs getting underway, it is officially handcuff season. Whether you own the starting back on any of these teams or you just have an extra roster spot at the end of your bench, it would be wise to go out and pick up one of these handcuffs for the fantasy postseason. Injuries occur every week, and if anything were to happen to Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott or Mark Ingram, their backups would immediately become borderline RB1s. Don’t test fate during the playoffs. If you have a top back, make sure you add his handcuff before the postseason kicks off.
WR Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears– Want to hear a crazy stat? Over the last three weeks, Mitchell Trubisky has targeted Miller 33 times. No, that is not a typo. Miller has turned those 33 targets into 21 receptions for 271 yards, and is coming off of a nine-reception, 140-yard performance on Thanksgiving. Trubisky does not have good arm strength, and while that would scare me away from most outside receivers, it actually plays right into Miller’s strengths as the team’s slot receiver. Chicago’s final three matchups are against Dallas, Green Bay and Kansas City, all of which have strong outside corners. With Chicago back at 6-6, there is still hope (albeit small) that the Bears can make the playoffs. Trubisky will have to target Miller early and often over the next three weeks, which makes the second-year receiver an interesting fantasy play during the fantasy postseason.
WR Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons– Gage took over as Atlanta’s number three receiver following the trade of Mohamed Sanu to New England. While it took a few weeks for him to get going, Gage has look rather impressive over the last two games. He has caught 13 passes on 19 targets for 128 yards and a touchdown, and with Julio Jones being a potential shutdown candidate due to his shoulder injury, Gage could be looking at a much bigger role over the final few weeks of the season. With how bad Atlanta’s defense is, the Falcons have been playing from behind all season. That is unlikely to change here in the final stretch of the year. Keep an eye out for news on Jones, but be proactive and go snag Gage while you have the opportunity.
WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers– Davante Adams is the clear no. 1 receiver on the Packers, and frankly, it isn’t remotely close. However, Green Bay has been looking for someone to step up as the team’s no. 2 receiver all season. Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow and even Ryan Grant have all been given chances, but it is Lazard that has been the only one able to take advantage of the opportunity. Lazard caught all three passes thrown in his direction Sunday, totaling 103 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers has spoken at length about Lazard’s abilities and hard work, and it is clear that the two-time MVP loves throwing him the ball. With an appetizing matchup against Washington this week, Lazard could find himself open for another deep touchdown in Week 14.
TE Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams– With Gerald Everett ruled out, Higbee got the start on Sunday for fantasy’s greatest matchup: a tight end going up against the Cardinals. As expected, Higbee shined in this one, catching seven of eight targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. It was a huge game for the Rams offense, as Jared Goff threw for 424 yards and LA seemed to get back on track. The Rams next two matchups are against Seattle and Dallas, and while they aren’t as strong of a matchup as the Cardinals, they both land in the top-10 for most fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends. As long as Everett is out, Higbee will remain the only reliable tight end in the Rams offense, making him a solid TE1.
TE Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins– Another Dolphin on the list? I know, I’m surprised as you are. Over the last two weeks, Ryan Fitzpatrick has targeted Gesicki 14 times (seven in each game), and in each one, the young tight end was able to find the end zone. Against the Eagles in Week 13, Gesicki reeled in five passes for 79 yards and the score. The second-year tight end and the veteran quarterback have appeared to develop a strong connection, which has played a large part in Miami’s offense actually looking decent. If your season-long search for a tight end has continued into the fantasy postseason, then Gesicki might just be your answer.MORE NEWS: Preventing Mass Shootings: Seizing Guns Under ‘Red Flag’ Laws From Baltimore To Buffalo
Matt Citak is a contributing writer for CBS Local. Follow him on Twitter here for all things fantasy football, New York Giants and more.