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Recent posts by William Del Pilar
The loss of DeMarco Murray and Greg Jennings will send fantasy owners scurrying to the waiver wire in the desperate hope there's someone who can replace their loss. Odds are, you're out of luck, so making sure you pick the right high-risk, high-reward player will probably determine if you continue to move on in your fantasy playoffs. That's what makes this hobby fun; just like the real NFL, an injury here or there can change the landscape of fantasyland.
Mark Sanchez, Jets (66 percent ownership)
Sanchez threw for only 181 yards, two TDs and no interceptions but had two rushing TDs. He's only a No. 2 fantasy QB and is risky, but the team is beginning to play better overall, especially rushing, and that should continue to open up the passing attack.
Rex Grossman, Redskins (13 percent ownership)
Grossman was a recommended play for those in larger leagues who were desperate, and he came through with 252 passing yards for two TDs. Once again, he has value in larger leagues, and the return of Santana Moss will only help, as well as a favorable schedule. Understand you could get "Bad Rex" at any time.
Ryan Grant, Packers (44 percent ownership)
Grant (10-85-2 rushing and 1-13-0 receiving) had his best game of the season. If James Starks (ankle) and Brandon Saine (concussion) can't play in Week 15, Grant will carry the load.
Marion Barber, Bears (56 percent ownership)
Barber (27-108-1 rushing and 2-32-0 on four targets) is now the team's starter, with Kahlil Bell (9-40-0 rushing and 5-24-0 receiving on five targets) as the change-of-pace back. With Matt Forté (knee) expected to miss another game, Barber has value. Don't worry about his horrible flubs that cost the Bears their game; Barber looked strong in his first start as a Bear. With the passing attack struggling, the team may run him into the ground. He'll start until Forté returns.
Toby Gerhart, Vikings (47 percent ownership)
Gerhart (19-90-0 rushing and 3-19-1 receiving on three targets) has a three-game average of 23.7 utilizations for 101.7 yards from scrimmage, providing greater-than-expected fantasy returns. Until Adrian Peterson (ankle) is confirmed to play, Gerhart has value, and with two weeks left in the season, I keep asking myself: Why would the team risk their franchise back in two meaningless games? I'm not sure they will, but stay abreast of the updates and grab and stash Gerhart.
Kahlil Bell, Bears (4 percent ownership)
Bell (9-40-0 rushing and 5-24-0 receiving on five targets) saw enough touches to tease but not enough to give any confidence to use him outside the largest of leagues. Because he's the pass-receiving back, in larger leagues those five receptions are valuable points. If Matt Forté (knee) isn't back in Week 16, the Packers are an attractive matchup, possibly using backups. Bell is a desperation play, but you do what you have to do.
Keiland Williams, Lions (3 percent ownership) and Maurice Morris (44 percent ownership)
When Morris (4-13-0 rushing and 1-3-0 receiving on one target) went down with a chest injury, Williams (12-43-0 and 2-17-0 on two targets) saw the most work he has seen all season. Morris did return and had one carry in the second half, but Williams was the lead back. With Kevin Smith (ankle) possibly returning this week, this pickup could be a moot point, but nothing's a given yet. If Smith can't play and Morris can, his matchup against the Raiders is serviceable, and if he can't play, then Williams makes the start. This pickup is only for larger or high-stakes leagues. Morris provides depth in typical leagues, and that's about it.
Felix Jones, Cowboys (60 percent ownership)
For those who read this column regularly, you know I've been saying to pick up Jones (16-106-0 rushing and 6-31-0 receiving on seven targets). With DeMarco Murray, suffering a season-ending broken ankle, Jones gains immediate fantasy value as the featured back and has a favorable schedule.
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (14 percent ownership)
Eddie Royal (concussion, neck) didn't play, giving Thomas (7-78-1 on 13 targets) another week to shine. He's starting to show the talent he has and leads the team in targets the past two weeks with 20. He has a two-game average of 5.5 catches for 111 yards and 1.5 TDs. Realize he's a boom-or-bust player.
Damian Williams, Titans (25 percent ownership)
Williams (2-62-0 on 10 targets) was outplayed by Nate Washington (6-130-1 on nine targets) but did lead the team with 10 targets. How you only manage two catches out of 10 targets is tough to imagine, but the Saints' defense looked better than it had in many weeks. Williams is a matchup play as he has a two-game average of three catches for 62 yards and zero TDs on 8.5 targets.
Jabar Gaffney, Redskins (50 percent ownership)
Gaffney (6-92-1 on eight targets) is a matchup play with the return of Santana Moss as the No. 1. He serves the complementary role much better than as a No. 1. The play of QB Rex Grossman also is what makes him relevant right now.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers (61 percent ownership)
Crabtree (7-63-0 on 12 targets) is proving to be a No. 3 or flex fantasy receiver with a two-game average of 5.5 catches for 79.5 yards and 0.5 TDs. He can still have a low-scoring game depending on how well QB Alex Smith is playing, but he's been performing much better in the second half of the season.
Titus Young, Lions (6 percent ownership)
Young (4-87-1 on seven targets) has a two-game average of three catches for 73.5 yards and 0.5 TDs but is too inconsistent and could just as easily give you a one-catch game for 13 yards. Realize you're getting a boom-or-bust player who has been playing better recently.
Kevin Walter, Texans (11 percent ownership)
Walter (6-76-1 on 10 targets) had a solid Week 14 without Andre Johnson (hamstring), and there's no given that Johnson will return in Week 15. Granted, this was Walter's best game since Week Eight, but he has value as QB T.J. Yates is playing better than expected. Walter has value in larger leagues and can be used as an injury fill-in in others. Remember, he can be boom-or-bust.
Donald Driver, Packers (14 percent ownership) and James Jones (52 percent ownership)
Driver (4-75-0 on six targets) and Jones (2-29-0 on three targets) have a chance to see more playing time with Greg Jennings (knee) out. With the team using its multiple sets, both players will see time, making them relevant as injury fill-in players.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (25 percent ownership)
Heyward-Bey (5-78-0 on 11 targets) had his best game since Week Seven, but his value is based on the status of fellow WRs Denarius Moore (ankle) and Jacoby Ford (foot). If they return, Heyward-Bey has no value. However, if they don't return, Heyward-Bey could be an injury fill-in in larger leagues. He's another boom-or-bust player.
Nate Burleson, Lions (43 percent ownership)
Despite a poor game this past week, Burleson (3-25-0 on six targets) has three games with 63 yards or more the past five weeks and one TD in that span. He's a boom-or-bust player but has value as an injury fill-in. He did have a great Week 13 performance (5-93-0) and has done that more than once this season.
Evan Moore, Browns (1 percent ownership)
Hear me out before you laugh, and I'll kindly remind everyone that Raiders TE Kevin Boss (5-43-1 on seven targets) was in my start list last week. Moore (4-55-0 on five targets) has an opportunity to post better numbers the final few weeks of the season. With Ben Watson suffering his second concussion within seven weeks, he probably won't play. I'm speculating, but for good reason. Watson has a per-game average of 2.8 catches for 31.5 yards and 0.15 TDs on 5.5 targets per game. Moore has a per-game average of 1.9 catches for 19.2 yards and 0.23 TDs per game on 2.6 targets. In essence, Moore has a chance to see approximately eight targets per game, giving him value. In larger leagues where you're desperate, a good matchup could produce a double-digit fantasy game.
Jake Ballard, Giants (46 percent ownership)
Ballard (4-52-1 on six targets) is on an offense where QB Eli Manning is playing at an elite level, and that means Ballard will have an opportunity or two weekly — converting is another issue. He has a three-game average of 3.3 catches for 48.7 yards and 0.3 TDs. As long as Manning continues his strong play, Ballard has value.
Joel Dreessen, Texans (3 percent ownership)
Dreessen (3-22-1 on three targets) has a three-game average of 1.7 catches for 15 yards and one TD but has three games in a row with a TD. In larger leagues or even some total-points leagues, if you understand the high risk he brings, then take a shot and understand Owen Daniels (7-100-0 on 10 targets) will see most of the targets to Texans tight ends.