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Picking From the Fringe - Waiver Targets for a Playoff Push


With the fantasy football regular season coming down to the wire, there are those players who are established in the playoffs and those who are already out of contention. For the rest of us, there are moves to be made and waiver acquisitions to be made to keep our playoff hopes alive.

Making the correct moves will determine the fate of our teams, our seasons and, as important as fantasy football is, our very lives. Who are the players to take our fringe team to the playoffs? Should we grab Ito Smith or Mike Davis?

As the saying goes, the playoffs are the second season. Anything can happen as long as you get there first, so let’s help get you there by looking at a few players you should be picking up down the home stretch. We are not going to concentrate on handcuffs in this article as I want to give you some names who will benefit you whether or not someone goes down. We will start by answering the question from above.

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Who to Target

Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks (39% owned)

Chris Carson (hip) was injured coming into last week against the Chargers and was hurt again in the game. This could lead to a lot of work for Mike Davis in a Brian Schottenheimer offense who said they wanted to run the ball and surprisingly has done so this season effectively. Rashaad Penny is not good. Dare I say, he sucks. While no one thought he was a worthy first-round pick we thought he would do better than he has. With this being the case and Chris Carson battling injuries, it will fall to Mike Davis to take over the backfield - a position he held down nicely in the game against the Cardinals in which he finished with 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries to go along with four receptions for 23 yards.

While this is only a small sample, it shows what he is capable of and with the Seahawks determined to run the ball, he could do this again in remaining games against the 49ers and those same Cardinals who still have to come to Seattle. If Carson misses significant time, Davis will be a mid-level RB2 for the rest of the season. If he only misses a game or two you will still have borderline RB1 for a few weeks after which you can drop him for a player, you need later on after you use him to make the playoffs.

Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns (67% owned)

Ok. So, he is not widely available, and he has a bye in Week 11. Saying this, Johnson Jr. needs to be owned in 100% of leagues and is why he is in this article. If he is unowned in your league, he should be the number one pickup priority. Over the past three seasons, Duke Johnson Jr. is the leading receiver from the running back position in the NFL and his new offensive coordinator is the former running backs coach which means a huge uptick in his production, as seen in the last game where he caught nine of nine targets for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

The Browns are going to be trailing and trailing often. The pass game, both from the receivers and the running back position, is going to become a major player in the Browns offense making Johnson Jr., not Nick Chubb the back to own in Cleveland. Especially in PPR leagues, he could be a low end running back one for the rest of the season. Even in standard leagues though, he is no worse than an RB2 going forward.

Josh Adams, Philadelphia Eagles (12% owned)

Yes, I am telling you to get a running back who has only 20 rushes for 107 yards on the season, a rookie season which he started on the practice squad. If the Eagles want to win, or even get to another Super Bowl this season, they need a running game. Jay Ajayi is on injured reserve and Darren Sproles has been out most of the season. This has left Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood as the running backs being used, which hasn't been the most effective combination.

Clement is a nice piece. But he is just that, a piece. At 6’2 and over 200 pounds, Josh Adams has the size to hold up to the punishment which comes from playing in the NFC East. In his only game where he got decent work, Adams gained 61 yards on nine carries against the Jaguars in London. He showed a lot of good skills and also showed he needs to get more work. Head coach Doug Pederson has stated during the bye week he wants Adams to get more work, allowing someone to finally take over the majority of backfield work for Philadelphia.

The offensive line for Philadelphia has been dealing with a lot of injuries this season. But the main person Jason Kelce is still there, and the group has still been quite solid. When Jason Peters finally returns healthy as well as Lane Johnson, the running game should really pick up steam for the playoff push. Go get the running back now who will lead the backfield when it does. He could be a high end running back three or a low end running back two at that point in time. Until then he is still a viable flex player. Especially in these last three weeks of byes in weeks 10 through 12.

Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears (12% owned)

88% availability for a player who could end up as the wide receiver one on his team is amazing. With Allen Robinson still hurting and Taylor Gabriel dealing with nagging injuries, the next man up is rookie Anthony Miller. After an impressive career in college at Memphis, Miller came into the NFL draft as a top wide receiver prospect and despite some missed games, he is primed to breakout for Mitch Trubisky and the Bears. The Bears offense has always and will continue to go through the run game but with a lack of any weapons in the passing game besides Trey Burton, Anthony Miller will see an increase in targets and Chicago fights to stay in the lead in the divisional race in the NFC North.

With only 19 receptions for 210 yards and three touchdowns, not much has been seen from him to this point, but this will change starting in Week 10 when the Lions come to town for the first meeting in three weeks between the two division foes. The Lions defense is not very stout and With Trubisky playing much better at home than on the road, expect him to throw the ball around with a number of those targets finding Miller who should finish as a high-end WR3 for the rest of the season. Which means you could do worse, especially with six more teams on bye in Week 11.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (59% owned)

With 100 yards or a touchdown in the last four games, Scantling has taken over the role of wide receiver two in the Green Bay offense. Injuries to Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb gave him an opportunity and he has taken advantage. Even with Cobb back, his inconsistency has made MVS a more reliable and, in Aaron Rodgers' mind, trusted target. When you get the trust of Rodgers, good things come with it. Just ask Aaron Jones, who no longer has to deal with Ty Montgomery. If Allison is able to come back this season, he will be fighting with Cobb for scraps as the one-two punch of Adams and Valdes-Scantling will be key in the Packers attempts to win the NFC North or at least gain a Wild Card position in the playoffs. The fact MVS is on the waiver wire in over 40% of leagues is incredible and this shows how some people can be slow in catching on to who needs to be added to rosters for end-of-season pushes. If your league is one in which he is available, make sure to go grab him and have a low-end wide receiver two for the rest of the season.

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