Fantasy Doctor: Band-aids for everyone

By Joey Figueroa

Tweet: Daily Illini Fantasy Doctor, Joey Figueroa, suggests a few band aids for your rosterIt’s that time of year, boys and girls. I’m not talking about the magic of the first winter snow or the unrelenting strain of finals — I’m talking about the brink of fantasy football playoffs.

Depending on league format, we are a week or so away from the matchups that really matter. If you’ve been following my advice, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be poised for a playoff run. Disregarding my recent 0-3 week — pounds of turkey and sweet potatoes helped me cope — I have a playoff berth clinched in all three leagues.

Due to a mind-numbing profusion of injuries, my rosters are like Jenga towers just waiting for that final block to bring them toppling over. Until that happens, I’ll keep trudging along with my topsy-turvy piles of players, filling in any holes with waiver-wire pickups as I go.

Speaking of the waiver-wire, the well has yet to run dry, and there are some interesting streaming choices for Week 13. So if your roster is depleted like mine, you need that slight edge to sneak into the playoffs or you’re crushing it and just want to give someone else a shot, here are the top waiver options for that playoff push.

David Johnson, RBch

The third-round pick out of Northern Iowa has been a fringe flex play all season, especially when either Chris Johnson or Andre Ellington were banged up. Now with both Arizona lead backs potentially missing a game or two, Johnson’s chance to solidify himself as the top dog in the backfield has arrived. He’ll push for 20 touches against a St. Louis defense that hasn’t been imposing lately.

Scott Chandler, TEch

Another week, another crucial injury for the no-longer-undefeated Patriots. Gronk writhed in pain like a wounded animal after taking a shot in the middle of the field against Denver. He is likely to miss a few weeks, so Chandler’s workload just grew exponentially. He had 11 targets (more than he had in the past four weeks combined) and a score in the same game that Gronk left, so it’s clear his role will be large until the big guy returns.

Shaun Draughn, RBch

In the depleted San Francisco offense, Draughn has quietly dominated the backfield touches over the past three weeks. In that span, he racked up 60 touches, including an eight-catch game at Seattle. He has yet to score but will see the easiest defense he’s faced thus far in a matchup with the Bears.

Alfred Morris, RBch

Sticking with sneaky backfield pick-ups, the former unquestioned workhorse in Washington is back to the top of the depth chart. Morris has been tremendously absent this season, but Matt Jones has shown his proficiency in fumbling, which has sent him to the bench in favor of Morris.

The fourth-year back out-touched Jones 24 to 9 on Sunday and will face a leaky Dallas defense this week. He’s a low-ceiling RB3 play, but always has the chance for a Doug Martin-esque breakout game.

Doug Baldwin, WRch

Any time a mediocre pass-catcher blows up for 145 yards and three touchdowns, he’s going to be mentioned in virtually every fantasy column. The same goes for Baldwin’s performance against the Steelers.

While these numbers definitely aren’t sustainable, there’s room for the five-year veteran to see an uptick in targets, especially with Jimmy Graham down with an injury. Baldwin enjoyed a 134-yard day just two weeks ago and has seen at least six targets in each of his last four games, making him a sturdy WR3 play.

Brock Osweiler, QBch

The legend of Brock Osweiler has begun to unfold. What better way to establish yourself as play-caller than to replace Peyton Manning in prime time to take on an undefeated Tom Brady and win in overtime? That’s Hollywood stuff. Big Brock has at least 250-yards in his past two contests and will face a San Diego defense that is third-worst in the league at stopping the pass. Let the legend continue.

Defense of the week: As strange as it sounds, the Bears defense has been good lately and is set to face the 49ers’ sewn-together offense on Sunday.

[email protected][email protected]