We’re in the thick of mounting injuries as the fantasy football playoff hunt intensifies. Immediate help becomes more valuable, as bye weeks have yet to conclude. Still, it’s important for teams in solid positions to think a few weeks down the line, as playoff success is ultimately all that matters. Teams on the playoff bubble need to maximize points now though.
As always, all rostership levels are based on Yahoo leagues. Your mileage may vary depending on your provider and league settings.
Alexander Mattison, RB Minnesota Vikings (50% Rostered)
If you’re in one of the leagues where Mattison is unclaimed, it’s all in time. Dalvin Cook will be out at least the next week, but very likely longer than that, with a torn/dislocated shoulder. Unlike some backup backs, Mattison will see most of the workload in his absence. If you’re in a FAAB league, spend the rest of it here. This is yet another example of getting your hands on as many high-value backups as possible. If you’ve held Mattison all year, this is your second stint of usable games from him.
D’onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard, RB Tennessee Titans (46%/29% Rostered)
Forman is making his second appearance in this column, after being recommended last week. He didn’t disappoint, running for over 100 yards on 18 carries. Joining him this week is Hilliard, who also ran for over 100 yards in Week 12. The Titans won’t run for that many yards in most games, but Hilliard in theory has the stronger pass game role. That makes the pair a poor-man Chubb/Hunt, with Hilliard the preferred options when the Titans are underdogs. Of course, it’s hard to see the Titans as favored in any games the way they’ve played lately, so perhaps Hilliard is the better choice entirely. Either way, the titans will likely be very run-heavy with Julio Jones and AJ Brown both injured, so both backs have some weekly value.
Chuba Hubbard and Ameer Abdullah, RBs Carolina Panthers (39%/0% Rostered)
Starter Christian McCaffrey is done for the year, making the backup situation in Carolina interesting. Hubbard handled the majority of the touches when McCaffrey was injured before, but I’m not so sure that remains the case. He was largely ineffective in that stretch. He was also out-touched by Abdullah after McCaffrey went down, as Abdullah caught two passes while Hubbard wasn’t targeted (both had two carries). It’s unlikely that this offense supports two fantasy-relevant backs moving forward. If Abdullah truly has the pass game role, he’s more valuable given the likely game scripts ahead of Carolina. Still, both are worth an add — an injury to one would make the other highly relevant.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB San Fransisco 49ers (34% Rostered)
Jimmy G is more of a “short term fill-in” option this week. His 49ers are taking on the Seahawks, who rank 25th in DVOA against the pass. It’s unlikely you need a fill-in this week — unless you have Aaron Rodgers — as the other quarterbacks on bye are Ryan Tannehill, Baker Mayfield, and “Carolina QB.” Still, if you need one, Garropolo is a solid option.
Marquez Valdez-Scantling, WR Green Bay Packers (25% Rostered)
The Packers have a bye in Week 13, so you can likely wait until post-waivers on MVS and pick him up for free. Which you should, as he wasn’t slowed by Allen Lazard returning to the Packers lineup. MVS still had nine targets against the Rams. He’s a true deep threat option, menaing there’s going to be some bad games. Still, he has the upside to win you a week almost single-handedly.