“Merry Christmas, happy holidays” you politely mutter to people on your way in to work. “Is Santa ready to come to your house?” asks Cheryl, in her annoyingly high pitched voice. “I’m sure the little guy will just play with the boxes. Ha ha ha.” says another co-worker.
Yes, you nod and move on. You can’t be bothered by the incessant Christmas chatter. You have more important things to focus on. Because you have made the Fantasy Football finals.
Forget what you have done this entire year. You may have cured cancer in April, but if you lose in the finals, this year was a failure. Everyone’s path to the finals is different…but one thing remains clear: no one gets to the finals without successfully navigating the waiver wire.
Guys like Charcandrick West, David Johnson and Gary Barnidge, true nobodies at the beginning of this season. But if you frequented the Big Red Sports Machine, they weren’t no names to you. You knew when to pick them up. And now that you’re so close to tasting victory, now is not the time to stop. There are still guys on the waiver wire that can help you win…especially if you’re an Odell Beckham, Jr. or TJ Yeldon owner (like me).
If you’re still reading, that means you’re in the finals. Congratufuckinglations. Now let’s go win that belt.
Markus Wheaton, WR Pittsburgh (37% owned in Yahoo! leagues)
An astounding 31% of teams in the finals have Odell Beckham, Jr. That means a lot of people are searching to replace him and try to salvage a victory. Look no further than Wheaton. The knock on Wheaton is that he’s the #3 option in Pittsburgh’s offense, behind Antonio Brown and Martavius Bryant. However, Markus has been carving out more of a role. Over the past 4 games, Wheaton has averaged over 9 targets, and has more yards (378 to 319) and tds (3 to 1) than Bryant. The Steelers have a great matchup against Baltimore this week. Bryant should get plenty of opportunities to continue his solid play.
Rueben Randle, WR NYG (42%)
This one’s a no brainer. With OBJ out, Reuben becomes the de facto #1 WR for the Giants. Rueben has been a td dependent receiver for fantasy relevance. He’s caught 3 tds over the past 4 weeks but has only averaged 3 catches a game over that span. That should increase this weekend. The Giants (somehow) still have a shot to make the playoffs, and to do so they will have to rely on Eli Manning to throw the ball. That puts Reuben in a prime spot.
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB Carolina (30%)
If I told you a rookie running back would bring you a fantasy championship, who would you guess: Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Duke Johnson? How about the 14th running back picked in the Draft? If you’re iffy at RB or Flex, pick up Cameron Artis-Payne right now. He is poised to bring you a fantasy championship. First, the Panthers have a great match up against the creampuff Falcons. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the Panthers are 14-0. Ron Rivera indicated he will not sit his starters, but that doesn’t mean the offense will be the same. Translation: Cam will play but they’re going to run the shit out of the ball. The Machine predicts that Cam will have the fewest passing attempts all season. There’s no way he’s going to be unnecessarily put in harm’s way. One person Rivera will rest: Johnathan Stewart. That means great things for Artis-Payne, a rookie 5th round running back from Auburn. Last week, Artis-Payne carried the ball 14 times for 59 yards, plus caught 2 passes for 34 yards. This week will be even more. Artis-Payne should run the ball 20+ times, and should get multiple catches as the Panthers passing offense should change to a check down mode.
Christine Michael, RB Seattle (38%)
Remember, back in August, when Michael was THE sleeper pick of the draft? “He’ll be the number 1 running back in Dallas by Week 3.” said the d-bag in your league who religiously reads Pro Football Weekly (barf). It’s safe to say his time in Dallas was a bust. Total stats in Dallas over 10 weeks: 15 carries, 51 yards, 0 tds. However, Michaels is back with Seattle, and ready to make amends. In just his first game back with the Seahawks, Michael eclipsed all his numbers in Dallas, rushing 16 times for 84 yards. With no Beastmode, and Fred Jackson just celebrating his 81st birthday, Michael is ready to reclaim the feature back position in Seattle. Bryce Brown may get some touches too, but Michael will be a goal line vulture. Look for Michael to flirt with 100 yards.
There you have it. Another season of fantasy advice in the books. Good luck.