Each week of the NFL season, we sift through the deeper options at each position with an eye toward identifying streaming fantasy commodities with valuable matchups to consider.
Now that bye weeks are over for the season, your main reasons for needing a pickup are usually due to injury or suspension. Sometimes, though, it's also because you're unhappy with the production you're getting at a certain position and you simply don't have a better option on your roster. In deeper leagues, those in which you start two QBs or those with an "OP" (offensive player) or superflex position, you may just need the best warm body available with upside. And no matter your league size, it should go without saying that we strongly advise streaming at defense/special teams (D/ST) throughout the season.
That's what we're here for, to identify widely available options that could provide the relief you are seeking this week.
Would it surprise you to know that over his past three games, Gabbert has averaged 240 passing yards and two touchdowns? Those numbers will typically result in a weekly total around 18 points. That would prorate to a full season of 288 fantasy points which would have finished sixth last season. In context, his production is even better. Two of Gabbert's three opponents during this three-game stretch, the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars, are among the three hardest teams for quarterbacks to acquire fantasy points against. In fact, Gabbert posted the highest total of the season against the Jaguars. This weekend, Gabbert's Arizona Cardinals will host the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are a neutral matchup, as they allow just shy of 17 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, but they have allowed multiple passing scores in six of 12 games. Perhaps better, is that the floor for Gabbert isn't that low as the Titans have only managed to keep two quarterbacks - Cody Kessler and Jacoby Brissett - from throwing touchdowns in their games. Look for Gabbert to continue his recent string of solid performances. -Daube
It's not often you can start a quarterback with three "o's" in their name. It's also not often you find the Houston defense looking as suspect as it has over the past six weeks, as only the Jets have allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks since Week 8. Garoppolo capably moved the ball on the road against a solid Chicago defense, so this trip to Houston to face a Texans defense that has the ninth-lowest pressure rate since J.J. Watt was lost to injury isn't exactly scary. Afforded time to operate, we could net another 300-yard performance from Garoppolo in Texas this Sunday as one of the better superflex or QB2 candidates of the slate. -McCormick
Amazingly, entering Week 14, there is a potential workhorse back available in more than 75 percent in ESPN.com fantasy leagues and that back is Davis. Davis not only led all Seattle Seahawks in touches on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had 85 percent of their running back carries and four of five running back receptions. He acquitted himself nicely, averaging four yards per carry and over nine yards per reception against the team that allowed the second fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. Davis draws the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, which sounds a lot tougher than it actually is. The Jaguars are as dominant as it comes against both quarterbacks and wide receivers, however they are downright average against running backs - ranking 17th overall. If Davis can manage even 75 percent of the running back touches, he's likely to break 17 fantasy points as that represents three-quarters of the average fantasy total the Jaguars allow to opposing backs. With a Week 15 contest against the Los Angeles Rams, who allow the third most points to opposing backs, on the horizon, Davis could be the unheralded player who decides many fantasy leagues. -Daube
Frank Gore continues to grind his way to borderline RB2 production, but there could be a quiet shift occurring in Indianapolis, as the veteran stalwart played on only 32 percent of the team's offensive snaps in Week 13, his fewest since Week 17 of 2011. That's a long time ago. Now that Gore has secured his perch as the fifth leading rusher of all time, it could be time for Mack, who played on 43 percent of the team's snaps this past Sunday, to emerge as the busier back going forward. If he can earn double-digit touches in Orchard Park on Sunday, I could see Mack producing flex-worthy results against a Buffalo front that has allowed 27 percent more fantasy points to backfields than any other team since Week 8. -McCormick
Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers
If you watched any part of Sunday's San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears game, you likely saw Jimmy Garoppolo locked in on Goodwin. Goodwin received eight targets; catching them all for 99 yards. The biggest improvement for Goodwin has come recently on throws of 10 yards or less. From Week 3 through Week 11, Goodwin caught just three of 20 targets that traveled within that range. Over the last two games, Goodwin has caught all six such targets. Having Goodwin be a capable short yardage receiver will only serve to open "and go" routes on which he can utilize his world class speed after faking an underneath route. If that happens, Goodwin would be extremely difficult to cover and being to offer similar potential as T.Y. Hilton. Goodwin will test the Houston Texans secondary and it should be an easy test to pass. The Texans have allowed the second most points to opposing quarterbacks and the 49ers don't have enough quality receiving options at either tight end or running back to cut into Goodwin's target share. Expect the rapport between Garoppolo and Goodwin to grow quickly and for Goodwin to connect on a long score this week. -Daube
Trent Taylor, San Francisco 49ers
A smaller and shifty rookie who ranked in the 91st percentile in the 20-yard shuttle among receiving prospects since 1999, per MockDraftable, Taylor is a rising name to consider in deeper (think at least 14 teams) PPR formats. In his first action with Garoppolo this past Sunday, Taylor caught all six of his targets and averaged a robust 6.7 yards after contact per reception. As a slot weapon for Garoppolo, a position that is a staple of the Patriots' agenda, Taylor could prove busy facing an exploitable Houston secondary. -McCormick
Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals
Over the last three weeks, only Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Delanie Walker, Kyle Rudolph and Jimmy Graham have more fantasy points at the tight end position than Seals-Jones. Seals-Jones has become a consistent receiver, gaining at least 44 receiving yards in each of those games, but remains on the waiver wire in nearly 80 percent of ESPN.com leagues. With Gabbert proving that he can move the ball down the field, Seals-Jones is the guy you want to pick up immediately - either to replace Rob Gronkowski or to ensure the team with Gronkowski on it's roster doesn't get him. -Daube
Stephen Anderson, Houston Texans
The Texans are third behind only the Eagles and Chiefs in targets to their tight ends since the start of last season. With injuries ravaging the depth chart this season, Anderson is now the team's top option at the position. Week 13 saw Anderson targeted on 27.3 percent of his routes, the highest clip among six players who ran at least 20 routes in the loss to the Titans. The 49ers have allowed the ninth-highest touchdown (per target) rate to tight ends this season and their linebacker corps has struggled in coverage, thus Anderson is a widely available streamer to consider during a week where some top names at the position could be on the shelf. -McCormick
Quick, name the backup quarterback for the Detroit Lions. No, it's not Dan Orlovsky anymore. It's actually Jake Rudock. Rudock was a sixth-round pick in 2016 that wasn't even good enough to make the Lions active roster until Week 13 last year. Rudock has played a total of eight NFL snaps, handing off on three, getting sacked once and throwing one interception. The reason for this information is simple. Matthew Stafford is dealing with a badly bruised hand after being stepped on by Terrell Suggs. Because of these factors, the Buccaneers defensive team should be picked up immediately. If Rudock starts, the Buccaneers need to be in your starting lineup. If Stafford starts, the Buccaneers are still capable of posting a solid fantasy total. -Daube
Available in about 99 percent of ESPN leagues, it's safe to assume you can add the Colts' D/ST if you'd like to this week. I get that it's difficult to overcome reputations in fantasy, especially for amorphous groupings rather than specific players. The premise that the Colts defense is bad isn't new, but we should recognize that they've allowed 20-or-fewer points in four of the past five, including a strong showing against the Steelers. We can also acknowledge the Colts have at least five fantasy points in four of the past five and now get a choice matchup with Nathan Peterson, he of the five-interception debut a few weeks back. -McCormick
Individual Defensive Players
Christian Jones, Chicago Bears
The Bears have been ravaged by injuries to their linebackers for the second straight season, vaulting Jones into a busy role as the early-down enforcer against the run. Jones has at least seven tackles in seven of the past eight and just delivered a 13-tackle opus that included his first sack of the season. Sure to be busy chasing down the Bengals' backfield this Sunday, Jones is a worthy streaming candidate. -McCormick
Justin Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This second-round selection from Texas A&M is thriving in a starting role with 14 tackles over the past two games and with an interception in two of the past three. The Lions apply a pass-heavy agenda and could feed Evans with a series of opportunities for tackles and pass deflections. -McCormick
Without a sack since Week 4, it's not surprising to see Hughes available in well over 90 percent of ESPN leagues. I think this cold stretch ends, however, as Hughes is still creating pressure and could thrive off the edge against a Colts team allowing the highest sack rate in the league. -McCormick