Fantasy football advice for the first weekend of most league's fantasy playoffs.
Rookie Westbrook Skyrocketing Up Depth Chart
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Dede Westbrook has spent most of the season on the IR following a surgery on his core, but since his return from injury he has become a reliable option in the Jacksonville passing attack. With Allen Hurns out, Westbrook has seen 19 targets over the last two weeks, and has parlayed that into 12 catches for 119 yards. That kind of volume simply can't be ignored in fantasy, particularly this late in the season where waiver wire value is hard to come by. Marqise Lee is still the WR1 on that team, but with Leonard Fournette fading in the back half of the season the Jags are being forced to rely on the passing game, which means Westbrook will maintain his role, even if it is secondary to Lee. On top of that, the Jaguars get the Seahawks in Week 14, which is a nightmare matchup for any running attack. The Jags will be throwing no matter what in this game.
Davis Is the Clear Lead Back In Seattle
Now that he is fully healthy, Mike Davis has taken command of the Seattle backfield. Davis is coming off a great performance against one of the top run defenses in football (Philadelphia) in which he piled up 64 yards on the ground and an additional 37 through the air. The 20 touches proves that Seattle has committed to him as their feature back, and the fact that he's catching passes only bolsters his value. The Seahawks offensive line is average at best and porous at worst, and they should struggle keeping the Jaguars fierce front seven out of the backfield. That should lead to plenty of opportunities for receptions for Davis in Week 14, and he should provide flex value at the very least for those seeking a plug-and-play option for the fantasy playoffs.
Mike Evans No Longer a WR1
While it's certainly going to be tough to bench Mike Evans at this point (you likely don't have a better option), if possible he should be avoided by those in a win-or-go home situation. Despite being drafted as a top-five wide receiver in August in most leagues, Evans is currently just the WR21 in ESPN default scoring, and has been utterly disappointing to those who counted on him as their top pass-catcher this season. Evans hasn't broken the 100-yard mark in any game this season, and has six or more catches in just four of the 13 games the Bucs have played (seven catches is his season-high). While it certainly doesn't help that Jameis Winston has been out or playing at less than 100 percent, all that matters for fantasy players is statistical production--no matter where the blame lies, it's tough to trust Evans anymore. He'll likely draw the Lions standout corner Darius Slay in coverage in Week 14, which gives even more reason to bench Evans.
NFL Pickups of the Week
Marqise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers - In Jimmy Garoppolo's first start of the year, he peppered the speedy Goodwin with eight targets. Goodwin caught all of them for season-high 99 yards, and should be the San Fran WR1 moving forward.
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Arizona Cardinals - Seals-Jones has seen at least five targets in each of his last three games, and looks like a quality red zone option for Blaine Gabbert. He'll be a high-end TE2 for the fantasy playoffs.
Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Barber dazzled in place of the concussed Doug Martin with 143 total yards in Week 13. Even if Martin returns, Barber has likely made this a full on timeshare and should return modest flex value.