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Show Me The Money! Stashes That Could Win Your League

Success in the fantasy playoffs is all about planning ahead. Your bench is no longer a safe space for high floor players without much of a ceiling; they won't win you the big game. You need to look ahead and stash players with exploitable matchups in the weeks to come so that you don't get caught in a bidding war with your likely dwindling FAAB budget.

Using your bench for a back-up quarterback, defense or tight end to pair with high upside FLEX plays will enable you to end up with Ryan Tannehill, Deandre Washington or the Chiefs Defense before anybody in your league can swoop them from you.

With that in mind, I want to take a look at the players you should be stashing in preparation for Week 16 - the fantasy championship. Add these guys now (in the appropriate league) to make sure they're on your roster when you need them the most. One or more of these guys may earn you some big money.

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Daniel Jones - Giants (vs Redskins) - Stash in 14+ team leagues

This move is only possible if somebody cut Jones after he missed this week with an ankle injury. The Giants made the move from Eli Manning to Jones, and I don't expect them to go back now, especially in a lost season. Even if Jones misses Week 15, I still expect the Giants to let him play in Week 16 and 17 to continue to get him more live game reps. The Redskins are 20th in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to QBs, so he'd be a good start in deeper leagues or two-quarterback leagues.

Ryan Griffin - Buccaneers (vs Texans) - Stash in Two-QB leagues

Jameis Winston claims he's going to play next week despite fracturing a bone in his thumb on his throwing hand. Jameis is in a contract year, so he has potentially tens of millions on the line for next year, which will likely mean he wants to go out there and play to show his value. However, one hit to his hand or one follow-through on a throw that leads his hand into a defender and Winston could be done. That would leave the Bucs offense in the hands of Griffin. He's not a sexy option, but the Texans rank 30th in the NFL in fantasy points against quarterbacks and just got lit up by Drew Lock. We know head coach Bruce Arians will still air it out regardless of who is at quarterback, so Griffin would likely win some fantasy titles in two-quarterback leagues.

Tyrod Taylor - Chargers (vs Raiders) - Stash in Two-QB leagues

Tyrod Taylor is the least likely option to play; however, the Chargers already talked about benching Rivers once. With Rivers an impending free agent, they may want to give Tyrod a game or two to see if he can be their bridge starter next year. It's not the most likely scenario, but Tyrod's rushing upside makes him a solid stash in two-quarterback leagues just in case.


Running Backs

Deandre Washington - Raiders (vs Chargers) - Stash in 10+ team leagues

Washington should already be owned in all leagues after the Raiders announced that Josh Jacobs was playing with a fractured shoulder. Washington filled in, playing 64% of the snaps and rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while chipping in 43 yards on six catches. While common sense dictate that the Raiders shut their rookie workhorse RB down with little chance of making the playoffs, that's not how Jon Gruden thinks. It appears Jacobs will play this weekend, relegating Washington to desperation flex status. That said, Washington could be a strong start in Week 16 against the Chargers, who are 20th in fantasy points allowed to running backs, if Jacobs get re-injured or is sent to the bench once the Raiders play their last home game this weekend.

Kerryon Johnson - Lions (vs Broncos) - Stash in 10+ team leagues

Kerryon Johnson is back and recently returned to practice. I'm not sure why the Lions would put him back on the field in a season where they're going nowhere, but he'd the best most talented player on waivers and a must-add on the off chance that he goes back to being the lead back on an offense trying to limit the amount of weight it puts on its third-string quarterback.

Jordan Wilkins - Colts (vs Panthers) - Stash in 10+ team leagues

The Colts lost in Marlon Mack's return, putting them another game behind in the playoff race. With T.Y. Hilton possibly out for another week, the Colts could drop another game and have nothing to play for in Week 16. If that's the case, expect them to sit Mack, which means the team will turn to Wilkins, who led the Colts' running backs in snaps, carries, and yards on Week 13. If he were to start in Week 16, he'd get the Panthers, who hemorrhage fantasy points to running backs at the second-worst clip in the league. If Wilkins gets the nod in that game, he could carry teams to a championship.

Patrick Laird/Zach Zenner - Dolphins (vs Bengals) - Stash in 12+ team leagues

In the first week with Kallen Ballage on the IR, Laird played 82% of the Dolphins' snaps, rushed for 48 yards and caught four passes for 38 additional yards. He's not a dynamic player, but he sees a huge chunk of opportunities in both the run and pass game and would face a Bengals run defense that routinely gets gashed on the ground and comes in as the 25th-ranked fantasy defense against running backs. Laird wouldn't be game-scripted out, which could make him a safe play, unless... newly signed Zach Zenner starts to take over carries by Week 16. Zenner is likely the most talented of the two backs and has shown good ability in his preseason work in prior seasons. Perhaps he gets a chance to prove himself in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on practice reports.

Reggie Bonnafon - Panthers (vs Colts) - Stash in 12+ team leagues

The Panthers have been eliminated from playoff contention, put their former franchise quarterback on IR, and fired their coach. At some point, they might think about shutting down their franchise running back to avoid him taking an unnecessary beating. If Christian McCaffrey sits, Bonnafon would carry the load for the Panthers and would be an intriguing option, even against the Colts top-10 run defense. It would likely be a match-up of two teams with nothing to play for, so why not start a guy who might get 20 touches?


Wide Receivers

Chris Conley - Jaguars (vs Falcons) - Stash in 12+ team leagues

As of Monday, D.J. Chark was in a walking boot. That's never something you want to see for your star wide receiver. With the Jaguars already eliminated from playoff contention, it makes zero sense for them to push their emerging playmaker to play through an injury. Despite Dede Westbrook being the more well-known fantasy asset, it's been Conley who is seeing more snaps, including playing 86% on Sunday. If Chark were to sit, Conley would emerge as option 1A for Gardner Minshew against a Falcons Defense that is 22nd in fantasy points allowed to receivers and will also have nothing on the line. He'd be a solid play as an upside WR3 in that matchup.

Keke Coutee - Texans (vs Bucs) - Stash in 12+ team leagues

Coutee saw his first action since Week 11 on Sunday, playing 71% of snaps and finishing with 68 yards on five catches. He'll likely only be an option if Will Fuller remains out, or if Coutee remains healthy himself, but he could be a championship-winning asset against Tampa Bay's league-worst pass defense in what could be a shootout. He'd be a WR3 option, but the presence of DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills would still make Coutee anything but safe.

Allen Hurns - Dolphins (vs Bengals) - Stash in 12+ team leagues

On Sunday Devante Parker left the Dolphins loss with a concussion. So did Albert Wilson. That left Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to Allen Hurns and Isaiah Ford. Hurns has played at least 80% of snaps in five straight weeks, so he seems the most logical choice to fill the WR1 mantle if Parker can't get back in time. Fitz is gonna sling it regardless of who he's throwing the ball to, so Hurns could be a low-end WR3 in a potentially ugly shootout versus the Bengals. You may hate having to play him, but he may win you a title if Parker can't get back in time.

Breshad Perriman - Bucs (vs Texans) - Stash in 12+ team leagues

Breshad Perriman has been acting as the Bucs deep threat in the second half of the season, playing 57% of snaps or better in five of his last seven games. With Mike Evans pulling his hamstring in obvious and seemingly painful fashion on Sunday, Perriman seems likely to take the WR2 job in Tampa Bay. That could be a juicy fantasy role in a pass-heavy offense against the Texans' 18th ranked fantasy defense. With the Bucs likely needing to keep up with the Texans' high-powered offense, Perriman could see his fair share of big-play opportunities during Championship Week.

John Ross/Alex Erickson - Bengals (vs Dolphins) - Stash in 14+ team leagues

John Ross made his return last week and played 50% of the snaps for the Bengals, but only ran a route on 38% of dropbacks. Ross is a dynamic player with deep speed and had two huge fantasy games in the first two weeks of the season against the 49ers and Seahawks. He would be a risky option, but Auden Tate left last week with an injury, so somebody has to get the snaps and targets against a Dolphins Defense that ranks 27th against the pass. Ross is the option with game-breaking talent, but Erickson did play 80% of snaps on Sunday, even more than Tyler Boyd, so he could also fill the void and be valuable in PPR leagues since he's more likely to see a high number of targets but not break any big gains.

Olamide Zaccheaus/Christian Blake - Falcons (vs Jaguars) - Stash in 14+ team leagues

On Monday Calvin Ridley was ruled out for the season. When he left early on Sunday, it was Zaccheaus who took the majority of his snaps. The Falcons have very specific roles in their offense, so only certain players do certain things. Russell Gage has been operating as the Falcons WR3 with the team at full strength, but they seem to like him in the slot, so I don't expect him to take on a bigger role. When Julio Jones missed the Thanksgiving game, Christian Blake played the majority of snaps in his place. It seems likely that the rookie Zaccheaus will play most of Ridley's snaps and Blake could be an add if the Falcons shut down Jones, who is playing through an injury of his own. They would get a Jaguars Defense that has seemingly given up and got trounced by the Chargers last week.

Marcus Johnson - Colts (vs Panthers) - Stash in 14+ team leagues

T.Y. Hilton's season is in doubt, and the Colts also put Parris Campbell on the IR on Monday, which means that there are tons of wide receiver snaps up for grabs. Zach Pascal is likely owned and will operate as the team's WR1, but Marcus Johnson has played 80% of snaps or more in four of the last five games. He led the NFL in air yards in Week 14, catching three passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers have the 10th best defense against wide receivers, so the matchup isn't great, but in deep leagues, you're looking for guys with defined roles who get lots of opportunity. Johnson could be that guy against an eliminated team that fired a coach who was beloved by his players.

Justin Watson - Bucs (vs Texans) - Stash in 14+ team leagues

We already talked about the Bucs injury situation above, but it's important to note that Watson played 55% of snaps, most of which came after Mike Evans went out and seemed to occupy his role. He's a complete roll of the dice, but he could certainly be a usable piece in a shootout against a mediocre defense, especially after hauling in five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown against a better Colts secondary.


Tight Ends

O.J. Howard - Bucs (vs Texans) - Stash in 10+ team leagues

O.J. Howard is out of the doghouse. His snaps have escalated each of the last three weeks from 77% to 83% to 87%. He went from five catches for 61 yards last week to four catches for 73 yards this week. With Mike Evans likely out for the season, it wouldn't be a shock to see Howard continue to emerge as a bigger part of this offense. At a position devoid of surefire options, Howard is a worthwhile guy to have on your bench, especially for a matchup against the Texans, who rank 21st against TEs.

Nick Boyle/Hayden Hurst - Ravens (vs Browns) - Stash in 12+ team leagues

The Baltimore Ravens seem to be an unstoppable force and one that loves to use their tight ends. They've rotated all three guys for most of the season, but Mark Andrews has been the dominant receiving option. Except Mark Andrews left the Bills game with a knee injury. The injury itself doesn't sound serious, but the Raves have a firm grip on the No. 1 seed in the AFC and may choose to be cautious with their best receiving option. If they do, one of Boyle or Hurst could be in for a big game against Cleveland's middle-of-the-road defense. The problem is figuring out who it will be. Both caught touchdowns against a Bills Defense that had been great against tight ends, but Boyle played 90% of the snaps to Hurst's 47%. However, Hurst's long pass showed his superior athleticism. Boyle is the safer bet because he's likely to see more opportunities, but Hurst is the one who could surprise and be a top-1o option at the position.



Kansas City Chiefs - (vs Bears) - Stash in 10+ team leagues

I don't usually talk about defenses, but I'll make one exception. Everybody thinks the Chiefs are a bad defense, but there is little basis for that. They have the fifth most interceptions in the league, the 10th most sacks, and are tied for the eighth-most forced fumbles. Those stats are all far more important to fantasy defenses than points against. When teams play the Chiefs offense they usually have to play an uptempo game to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and company. That creates extra urgency and thus opportunities for mistakes. Having Mitch Trubisky feeling pressured and forced to make big throws to win a game will likely mean interceptions and potential defensive touchdowns. Get yourself a piece of this.

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