By Julian Martinez
Quarterback: The all-time passing leader will ride the bench for the second straight week
Brock Osweiler in his first career start looked actually quite impressive. Against the Bears, Osweiler threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns. This performance was good enough to give him the starting nod over Manning against the Patriots heading into week 12. There is no telling whether Osweiler will retain the starting gig all the way to the end, but he should be Fantasy relevant, especially since Emmanuel Sanders is expected to return this week, which would give him a full complement of weapons heading into the primetime match-up.
The injury plague in the NFL continues as Ravens starter Joe Flacco suffered a season-ending injury against the Rams this past Sunday. Flacco fell victim to an ACL and MCL tear late in the fourth quarter. The early timetables have Flacco probably ready for week one next year. In his place, Baltimore will start Matt Schaub, who unfortunately doesn’t provide much upside for the wide receivers in Baltimore.
Running back: A couple pickups that can define your playoff push
One of the surprising late scratches this past Sunday was Marshawn Lynch with an abdomen injury and if you were one of the avid Twitter users who saw this and jumped on Thomas Rawls, then you probably won your match-up. The undrafted rookie ran for 209 yards on 30 carries and found the end zone twice against San Francisco. Rawls has looked impressive any time that Lynch has been out this season and there is some talk that Lynch may have played his last game as a Seahawk if this abdomen injury proves to be season ending. Rawls ownership is at 36 percent. Grab him because he’ll be an undoubted RB1 as long as Lynch is out.
The second pickup that can get you to the playoffs or even push you further is Baltimore running back Javorius “Buck” Allen.
To add to Baltimore’s woes, their starting running back Justin Forsett also had his season ended against the Rams with a broken arm. Allen will be the next man in line for carries for the stretch run. Allen ran 22 times for 67 yards and had 48 receiving yards on five receptions. The Flacco injury will force Baltimore to put stronger focus on their run game, which will give Allen serious RB1 consideration. His ownership sits at a meek 14 percent.
The last name I bring up probably won’t be as impactful as the previous two, but there is some value in Bilal Powell. Chris Ivory has not looked good the last few weeks, in fact he just looks worn down. Enter Powell who only needed nine touches to compile 89 yards against Houston this last week and looks explosive. If you are desperate, Powell can have serious FLEX consideration in 12-team leagues. Powell is only owned in four percent of leagues.
Wide Receivers: DeSean Jackson’s back, I like that!
Not a lot went right for the Redskins against Carolina but the reemergence of DeSean Jackson definitely was great to see. Jackson has really had to work his way back from a hamstring injury earlier this year and this looked like the first week that he was truly over it. The best example is when he beat the defense to score on a long 56-yard touchdown. Jackson at minimum is a WR2 with a WR1 ceiling, his availability in your league is at least worth investigating in case a frustrated owner dropped him earlier in the season.
Speaking of the Washington-Carolina game, another wide receiver showed some signs of turning the corner. Devin Funchess has struggled this year to really break out as he should have been the number one option for Cam Newton coming out of the draft and following the Kelvin Benjamin injury, but now his upside is starting to emerge. Two of his last three games, Funchess has surpassed 70 yards and he is starting to receive praise from his teammates for the type of catches he’s making. I’m not ready to name Funchess worthy of starting every week, but he definitely deserves to be picked up.
Tight End: Desperate time options
Last few weeks it’s been hard not to mention the possibility of Austin Seferian-Jenkins returning from injury or Vernon Davis potentially breaking out in Denver. For the sake of giving you something different, I will veer away from these two. Quick note though: Seferian-Jenkins should be back this week and Davis looked solid this past week.
I am going to point out San Francisco tight ends as an emerging Fantasy option. Since taking over for Colin Kaepernick a couple weeks ago, Blaine Gabbert has showed favoritism toward his tight ends in the passing game. The trick is waiting for one of them to break out. In his first start against Atlanta, Gabbert threw two touchdowns to Garrett Celek and against Seattle he found Vance McDonald in the end zone. I like McDonald a little more than Celek, but in a deeper league these might be names to highlight.
DST and Kicker: A Few Notes
A defense that should be good this week is Kansas City. In a four-game winning streak, the Kansas City defense has really stepped up, especially this past week against a rolling Chargers offense. I like them this week against a Buffalo team that might be without Tyrod Taylor. Definitely the best streaming option at the DST position this week.