Fantasy football in 2020 requires patience, flexibility, and a whole lot of woooooosaaaah. The most dedicated and passionate managers get that … since they continue to find zeal in exploring the concepts and happenings occurring under the radar. While there are times your roster may allow for snoozing on sleepers, it’s always beneficial to keep tabs on emerging trends and players. This weekly column is for those who understand the satisfaction of digging deep.
All of the listed players are rostered in under 60 percent of Yahoo leagues (at time of writing) and/or are a significant value in our daily game. They’re not the obvious picks, and they’re not without their risks … but that’s what makes them so intriguing.
I got loose with my picks in Week 13. The whiffs were as big as the swings when it came to Colt McCoy and Ryan Izzo. And variance chipped away at Devontae Booker’s and Breshad Perriman’s opportunities. But both T.Y. Hilton (WR6) and Cam Akers (RB12) continued to roll. My greatest win of the week, however, was predicting that the Washington Football Team would upend the Steelers’ perfect record.
Let’s focus on the future and see what fantasy damage we can do in Week 14!
Mike Glennon, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (3% rostered – $25)
Don’t try to match Glennon’s decision-making skills by starting him if it’s not necessary. But if you want to keep the #2020 tilt alive then consider a journeyman in an exploitable matchup. Mistakes are part of Glennon’s game (61.1%) but he’s unlikely to make as many when facing the Titans pass rush.
Generating the second-fewest sacks (14) and without Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Tennessee doesn’t figure to muster much pressure. They helped bring back 2018 Baker last week, who managed a season-high completion percentage (75.7%) while passing for 334 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs. Over the last four weeks, the Titans have allowed three top-seven fantasy performances to opposing QBs.
Glennon isn’t likely to thrive as a top-10 option in Week 14, but he has been adequate since being named the Jags starter, averaging more than 250 yards and passing for 3 scores over his last pair of games. His arm is strong, his weapons are good, and his defense is bad. That means a lot of passing for the Jags. And Vegas agrees, as this game currently boasts the second-highest projected point total of the week (53, per BetMGM). Your playoffs may be the only ones Glennon sees. #doit
J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team (49% rostered – $14)
Turf toe is likely to keep Antonio Gibson out in Week 14. That means an increased role for McKissic. Alex Smith’s favorite target, McKissic has recorded double-digit looks in three of his last five games and is averaging 5.5 catches per contest since Smith became the starter.
As was the case last Sunday after Gibson exited the game, Peyton Barber figures to handle the majority of totes on early downs and near the goal line but McKissic should still lead the Football Team’s backfield in total touches. Furthermore, the game script versus the 49ers sets up nicely for McKissic. San Francisco is allowing the fifth-fewest yards per carry (3.9) to opposing rushers, but have been more generous to RBs via the air, allowing a conversion rate of nearly 78% when targeted. Barber could get lucky and “fall into the end zone” but McKissic has a better shot of finishing inside the position’s top-30.
Bonus: Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons (4% rostered – $11)
Toddy Gurley has a knee issue. Again. He hasn’t looked explosive for more than a minute. Smith, on the other hand, is electric in space. He also managed 20 more yards than the vet on the same number of carries in Week 13. Despite all of that … current reports suggest that Gurley’s role will grow in his second game back from injury. With Brian Hill additionally in the mix, it’s hard to count on Smith’s volume.
However, the Chargers are allowing the sixth-highest YPC to opposing runners (4.6) and have given up the fifth-most rushing plays (11) over 20 yards. Smith could get lucky on a long run, especially if Gurley has a setback. Consider the 25-year-old a break-glass desperation play in the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos (21% rostered – $15)
Relying on Drew Lock is an exhausting endeavor but Patrick has repeatedly risen to the challenge. Recording a top-14 contested catch rate (61.1%) and a top-10 true catch rate (93%), it makes sense that the former Ute is also posting a top-five dominator rating (35.3%). Since Week 6, with Lock as the starter, Patrick has averaged over 66 yards per game and found the end zone three times. He’s posted fantasy-relevant stat lines in five of his last six contests.
Coming off a loss and a bye but with Christian McCaffrey expected back, the Panthers should be ready, willing, and able to put up some points. They’ll have an easier time taking advantage of the Broncos given A.J. Bouye’s six-game suspension (have yourself a day, Robby Anderson). That means more pass attempts for Lock — and more opportunities for Patrick. Since the Panthers have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing receivers in two of their last three games, there’s a better than slim chance Patrick delivers.
Cole Kmet, TE, Chicago Bears (1% rostered – $12)
Arlington Heights, stand up! The Bears’ second-round selection (still wondering why, but going with it) appears to have leap-frogged Jimmy Graham. Since Week 10, Kmet has run more routes than the vet, recording 33 in back-to-back efforts (Graham hasn’t run 30 since Week 9). He’s also drawn at least three looks in each of his last three games and is coming off a seven-target effort.
In Week 13, the rookie brought down five balls for 37 yards and a touchdown (TE6). While a larger sample size would, of course, inspire more confidence, the tight end position doesn’t provide FF streamers that kind of luxury. With RZ opportunities in two straight and facing a Texans squad that’s allowing a healthy 270+ receiving yards per contest, Kmet offers top-15 potential.
Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills (1% rostered — $10)
We’re digging real deep on this one. A walk-on at Ole Miss, Knox has the hands and size (6’4,” 254lbs) to thrive in the red area of the field. He’s demonstrated that ability since returning from a calf injury, scoring in two of his last three games. Over that time he’s run an average of 25 routes per contest and is coming off of a week in which he drew a season-high four looks (and converted on all of them).
John Brown’s absence has obviously benefited Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, but Knox appears to be seeing a slight volume bump as well. The Steelers wouldn’t normally project as a plus matchup, but given the numerous injuries suffered to their linebacking corps, Knox could pop (like that other converted QB, Logan Thomas).
Dig deep with Liz on social @LizLoza_FF
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