Normally I don’t think about picking up anybody up for the playoffs before I’ve gotten myself there. This year is different. If you have a bench spot you’re comfortable with wasting for a few weeks, now could be the right time to pick up a defense for the playoffs. Playing the right defense in Week 16 could be the difference between second and first place.
When looking for a future defense, consider their matchups in Weeks 14-16. Hopefully you don’t have a playoff matchup in Week 17 because the landscape changes completely. If your final matchup is in Week 17, look for a defense that is fighting for a playoff spot or for the top seed.
If you can nab the Redskins or Broncos defenses, I strongly encourage you to do so. Both defenses are good enough to start in most matchups leading up to the playoffs, and they have pretty enticing matchups in Weeks 14-16. The Redskins face the Giants, Jaguars and Titans, in that order, while the Broncos play the 49ers, Browns and Raiders.
The best pickup just might be the Patriots defense, solely because they play against the Bills in Week 16. I would also start the Packers defense in Week 16. They face the Jets and could be fighting for the division or wild card in the final weeks. Now, let’s take a look into the near future.
Quarterback – Blake Bortles
Jacksonville punished Bortles by benching him in Week 7. In Week 8, he played a respectable game against a respectable Eagles defense, throwing for 287 yards and a touchdown. Now he’s coming off a bye week and playing against the Colts. With Leonard Fournette making his return to the backfield, the Colts will have to respect the run, which should open up a lot of good opportunities for Bortle Kombat. Baker Mayfield has an appealing matchup this week as well, facing the Falcons defense at home.
Running Back – Duke Johnson Jr.
Last week was the first game the Browns played without their head coach and offensive coordinator, and it looked great for Johnson. With a new offensive mind in control, it looks like he will be utilized as a pass catcher once again. I think at the first hint of pocket pressure, Baker Mayfield will look to dump the ball to Johnson.
Even if he doesn’t find the end zone in Week 10, his usage should be high enough to start. The Browns play against the Chiefs defense this week, which has been ineffective at best at defending the pass this season.
Keep an eye out for Elijah McGuire as well. The Jets play the Bills this week, so there should be plenty of valuable work for both McGuire and Isaiah Crowell.
Wide Receiver – Maurice Harris
This season, the Redskins wide receivers have been about as effective as asking your organic chemistry teacher to turn your 56 percent into a B. Despite that, the Redskins are on top of the NFC East with a 5-3 record, and Alex Smith threw for his first 300-yard game of the season against the Falcons in Week 9. Week 10 could be a similar story against the Buccaneers, and if I had to choose a wideout from that roster, I would roll with Maurice Harris. Harris had 10 receptions last week compared to Josh Doctson’s 3 and Jordan Reed’s 4.
With Paul Richardson out and Jamison Crowder likely to miss again, I think Harris is the most likely candidate to produce a quality fantasy outing against the Buccaneers’ defense in Week 10. Anthony Miller is another solid streaming option at wide receiver. The Lions come to Chicago this week, and Miller should see an increased workload with Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel still banged up.
Tight End – Jack Doyle
If Jack Doyle is on your waiver wire, you should seriously consider picking him up. Doyle has been one of Andrew Luck’s most trusted targets for a couple of seasons, and I would start Doyle over Eric Ebron moving forward. The Colts are challenged by the Jaguars defense this week, but I still like Doyle’s outlook. Logan Thomas of the Bills might be worth a look this week too. He broke out last week with 7 catches. The Bills travel to New York to take on the Jets this week.