And just like that, another Fantasy Football regular season will be in the books as of next Tuesday morning, and we’ll all know who is in, and who is out of the playoff hunt. This week will be a little different in how we look forward. We’ll review those players that will give their owners the best chance to advance, if you’re on the bubble with one game to play, but also look forward to the players who have the best opportunity ahead of them for success between Weeks 14-16.
LeSean McCoy – The Bills have the top rushing offense in the league, and get the Browns and Dolphins in Weeks 15 and 16 – two of the three worst run defenses in the league. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Shady has amassed more than 100 total yards from scrimmage in 6 of 10 games in which he’s appeared this year, and that includes the two he left early because of injury. He’s been a huge part of the offense, and the biggest reason the Bills are still in the playoff hunt, apart from a pretty stout defense. Trust McCoy going forward. He was probably drafted as a low-end RB1 or a very solid RB2, but I predict he’ll be a Top-3 RB from here out.
Matt Forte – Though he hasn’t scored since Week 8, and he’s coming off a stink bomb of a game with 27 rushing yards on 13 carries, AND even though I’ve been down on him this year, expecting the eventual cratering to happen; Matt Forte is a pretty safe bet for some big numbers over the next month, specifically the next three weeks. The Jets draw the Colts, 49ers, and Dolphins in successive weeks, which is as cake-y a cake walk as there is in the NFL this season. Forte was outgained on the ground by Bilal Powell 36-27 in the Patriots game, though, he out-touched Powell 13-8. The Patriots are a tough matchup for anyone, so he gets some slack. Plus, Forte has over 200 carries through 11 games to Powell’s 48. Even at the tender age of 30, Forte is producing and could very well top 1,100 rushing yards with peak performances against these next three opponents. If you can ride him to Week 16 against the Patriots, I’m sure you’ll be glad to be competing for the championship in your league, if that’s how it plays out. Forte is a definite RB1 these next three weeks, and should do well. Side note: If you’re not a Forte owner and Powell is still available, I could think of worse pick-ups for a lottery ticket stash in case of injury. Should Forte falter, Powell would immediately become an RB1 throughout the playoffs.
Paul Perkins – More than anything, this is just a gut feeling about a player who has the potential to earn more carries and get more involved in the passing game if Rashad Jennings struggles, since he has passed Bobby Rainey and Orleans Darkwa on the depth chart. Perkins has been a complement thus far, and hasn’t topped 11 touches in a game this season. Plus, the Giants’ rushing offense is a bottom five unit. But, as Jennings is piling up the miles at age 31, the Giants may try to preserve him for a playoff run. Perkins has looked solid when he has gotten opportunities, and is averaging a respectable 3.7 YPC over his last three games. Plus, he’s fumble-free, which never hurts if you’re looking for more playing time as a rookie. With a playoff slate of Dallas, Detroit, and Philly, Perkins could do well even with limited 12-16 touches each week. He’s a flex play for now, but based on his potential as a dual-threat, three-down back, he makes a very interesting handcuff down the stretch. The Giants are a pass-first (and second, and third) team, but starting RBs are hard to come by, and should Jennings get dinged up, or start showing signs of slowing, Perkins’ potential makes him a worthy bench stash.
Jeremy Hill – It seemed like a foregone conclusion Hill would become the centerpiece of the Bengals’ offense after Gio Bernard and A.J. Green were both lost to injury. But, hello Rex Burkhead! He mustered 21 yards on 12 carries against the stout Baltimore defense, and managed to salvage his day with his six-catch, 61-yard afternoon as Andy Dalton’s safety valve. Burkhead was out-touched 18-7, and the Bengals have a pretty friendly schedule with the Eagles and Browns coming up, but the fear that a leaky offensive line, an emerging Rex the Destroyer, and some real concerns about a guy who has topped 100 rushing yards just once this season, make it tough to trust Hill as anything more than a flex play going forward.
Jerick McKinnon – I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but McKinnon is barely worth having on roster at this point. I know there were a lot of people who dropped some FAAB funny money on him last week, and he continues to do an excellent job of letting people down. He has 99 total rushing yards over the last month, zero touchdowns since October, and he looks helpless running behind a makeshift line. Avoid him (and Matt Asiata) like the plague in these final days.
Frank Gore – Gore managed just 28 yards on 15 carries last week against the Steelers, and has just 670 yards on the season. Gore has finished a season with less than 1,000 rushing yards just once in the last five years, and it was last season, his first with the Colts (967 yards). Gore is on pace to finish with less than 900, and it won’t be easy to get there with games against the Jets, Texans and Vikings over the next three weeks. Avoid Gore if you can. He’s a middling FLEX play at best, and it appears his best days are behind him.