Kirk Cousins, Redskins
The Redskins are going to do everything possible to put Cousins in a position to succeed since they are desperate to move him in the offseason in order to recoup the draft picks given up in the RGIII trade. He threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns this week and gets to face the sad sack Cowboys defense in Week 16.
Matt Cassel, Vikings
Since taking over as Minnesota’s starter three weeks ago, Cassel has recorded 890 passing yards to go along with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He has averaged 24.3 PPG during that stretch (padded with a rushing touchdown this week), good enough to rank as the 9th best fantasy quarterback over that stretch. If you’re desperate, reach for Cassel, who gets the Bengals this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Titans
With trepidation, I present Ryan Fitzpatrick. No, really. This one’s for the truly desperate (read – if you can’t get Cousins or Cassel, try Fitzpatrick). While Fitzpatrick has been slightly better than Cassel over the last three weeks, he is also the more inconsistent of the two. The Titans get the Jaguars this week but that matchup might not be as juicy as it seems with Jacksonville limiting the Bills to just 168 passing yards last week.
Matthew Stafford, Lions
In the Lions last two games, Stafford has thrown for 383 yards and one touchdown while completing 47.5% of his passes. Did I mention that he’s thrown nine interceptions in his last four games? This dude’s in a major slump at exactly the wrong time for his fantasy owners.
Matt Ryan, Falcons; Joe Flacco, Ravens
If I have to start these guys this week, I’m checking the wire to see what is available. Ryan faces the 49ers in a tough matchup while Flacco gets an easier job against the Patriots. Unfortunately, he has thrown for multiple touchdowns just once in his last five games and has thrown for more than 251 yards once in his last eight games.
Rashad Jennings, Raiders
Back from a concussion that sidelined him for Week 14, Jennings hit double-digit fantasy points for the sixth consecutive game, gaining 91 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries against the Chiefs. Even though Darren McFadden should return to the lineup this week, Jennings solid play has him entrenched as the team’s starter and he should continue his streak of double digit fantasy performances against a mediocre Chargers run defense in Week 16.
Jordan Todman, Jaguars
Todman has double digit fantasy points in each of the last two weeks and notched his first career 100 rushing yard performance this week against the Bills, carrying the ball 25 times for 109 yards and chipping in four receptions for 44 yards. The Titans 23rd ranked run defense comes to town this week and Maurice Jones-Drew is looking like he will be questionable.
Matt Asiata, Vikings
With Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart out of the lineup due to injury, Asiata got his first career start and managed to score three touchdowns despite gaining just 51 yards on 30 carries. He doesn’t have much wiggle but he can certainly move the pile in short yardage. The Vikings have said they expect AP back this week but that might just be their coaches playing games in advance of their Week 16 matchup in Cincinnati. If AP doesn’t go, Asiata should be a solid option in flex leagues.
Edwin Baker, Browns
While he had 12 touches for 84 yards and a score this week against the Bears, there are no guarantees he will get that usage in Week 16. And with the Jets on tap, Baker makes for a very risky option even as a flex player. He gets the Moving Up treatment but with a major risk warning.
Trent Richardson, Colts
Since the Colts signed former Chiefs running back Shaun Draughn this week in response to Donald Brown’s neck stinger, the writing seems to be on the wall that Brown could miss Week 16. That would move Richardson back into the starting lineup for Indianapolis’ road contest against a sagging Chiefs run defense.
Darren Sproles, Saints
Despite the Saints playing from behind plenty of two of their last three games, Sproles has just 166 yards on 29 touches over that stretch. And he hasn’t found the end zone in eight of his last nine games.
Danny Woodhead, Chargers
With Ryan Mathews on a hot streak, Woodhead has seen his usage decrease slightly. Over the Chargers last three games, Woodhead has 30 touches for 171 yards and a touchdown. At that pace, he is more of a flex option than the low end RB2 he has been for much of 2013.
Greg Jennings, Vikings
Coming off his 13 target, 11 reception, 163 yard, one touchdown performance last week against an admittedly less than stellar Eagles secondary, Jennings now has 32 receptions for 420 yards and four touchdowns in the five games that Matt Cassel has started. Don’t run to your calculator. That equates to 13.2 PPG. That caveat is that the Vikings get the Bengals in a road game this week.
Andre Caldwell, Broncos
Wes Welker still isn’t practicing and Caldwell filled in nicely last week against the Chargers, catching six of his 10 targets for 59 yards and a pair of scores.
Jerrel Jernigan, Rueben Randle, Giants
With reports indicating that Victor Cruz will likely be placed on injured reserve this week, there will likely be an open starting position at wide receiver for the Giants. While you might expect that Rueben Randle would fill that role, he was targeted just twice last week while Jernigan had eight looks, catching seven for 67 yards. The Lions porous secondary is on tap this week. Randle is inconsistent but he does have six touchdowns on just 68 targets this season.
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
Baldwin is coming off a six reception, 71 yard, one touchdown performance against the Giants and has now topped 60 receiving yards in five of his last six games while scoring four touchdowns over that stretch. The Cardinals 17th ranked pass defense is on tap in Week 16.
Victor Cruz, Giants
Got paid and had the worst year of his career (not counting his rookie season in 2010). Expected to be placed on injured reserve, Cruz will finish the season with 73 receptions for 998 yards and just four touchdowns. In fact, those four scores came in just two games. While Cruz is a solid receiver, the Giants will need to think hard about whether they should re-sign Hakeem Nicks, a player with more upside.
Stephen Hill, Jets
Hill had a promising start to the season with 13 receptions for 233 yards and a touchdown in his first three games. However, after suffering a concussion in Week 4 and suffering pain in his surgically repaired left knee, he struggled, catching just 11 passes for 109 yards in his final nine games. With the Jets quarterback situation remaining a mess and Hill showing little progress during his first two years in the league, his dynasty prospects are fading quickly.
Zach Ertz, Eagles
As the season comes to a close, Ertz has moved to the front of the pile amongst the Eagles tight ends. He is coming off a nine target, six reception, 57 yard, one touchdown performance against the Vikings, giving him double digit fantasy points in three of the past five weeks. Of course, the two games were duds so buyer beware.
Andrew Quarless, Packers
Six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in each of the last two weeks.
Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
Finally healthy, Lewis has nine receptions for 122 yards in his last three games and has scored a touchdown in each contest. With Cecil Shorts headed to injured reserve, he should get enough looks to be fantasy relevant in Week 16.
Antonio Gates, Chargers
The 33-year old Gates has simply run out of gas as the season comes to a close. He has just one touchdown in his last 10 games, including none in his last four. He also hasn’t topped 52 receiving yards in his last five games and is averaging 40.1 receiving yards in his last nine.