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We made it, everyone. Or rather, we've almost made it. The last of the bye weeks are here; the playoffs are nearly upon us. If your roster needs a few enhancements ahead of the season's most important weeks, we have a few recommendations.
Below, you'll find a collection of priority pickups, all available in over 50 percent of leagues and approved for use.
Wide receivers and tight ends to prioritize
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (20% rostered)
Last season, it seemed as if all Marquez Valdes-Scantling could catch was a weekly death-stare from Aaron Rodgers after yet another drop. But this year, particularly in recent weeks, MVS has been seriously productive. He's drawn 19 targets over his last two games, catching eight balls for 173 yards and this memorable long score...
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 21, 2021
Valdes-Scantling leads all receivers in air-yards per target (18.3), so his opportunities are of the highest quality. He has a Sunday night home matchup with Chicago on deck, followed by a visit to Baltimore in Week 15. All year, the Ravens defense has specialized in giving up big plays. Keep MVS in your plans as a high-ceiling WR3 or flex.
Recommended offer (assuming $100 budget): $11
K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings (4%)
K.J. Osborn has spent his season as the No. 3 receiver on a team that generally only wants to throw to two guys, yet he's still produced the occasional nice moment, particularly early in the season. Osborn opened the year by catching 12 balls for 167 and one score in Minnesota's first two games. The second-year wideout has been relatively quiet in recent weeks, but he was needed on Sunday when Adam Thielen was ruled out with an ankle injury against Detroit. Osborn was targeted seven times, catching four for 47 yards and a fourth-quarter TD.
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 5, 2021
Osborn is a physical receiver who uncovers quickly and it's clear enough he's trusted by Kirk Cousins. The Vikings face the Steelers on Thursday night, so it's going to be tough for Thielen to recover in just four days. Osborn should be in line for another healthy workload.
Also, if you're interested in intangibles, please note that Osborn named his dog "Larry," which is delightful and objectively great.
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (34%)
It's tough to navigate a fantasy season without being tempted at some point by Russell Gage's most recent target totals. If you'd avoided him to this point, perhaps you're not interested in hearing about his 12-target, 11-catch, 130-yard performance in Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay. Matt Ryan put the ball in the air 41 times, which naturally led to significant volume for Gage. He's now drawn 27 targets over his last three games, catching 22. We're not promising touchdowns, but Gage can certainly help in any PPR format.
Additional WRs to consider: Amon-Ra St. Brown (the rookie had a signature game, establishing new single-game highs in everything that matters and catching the game-winning TD), Tre'Quan Smith (just saw seven targets and Deonte Harris is suspended for three games), Jalen Guyton and Josh Palmer (both could find themselves in line for increased usage if Keenan Allen can't return from the COVID list for Week 14), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (if you absolutely have to add a Titans receiver — you don't, but let's just say — this would be the guy), Josh Reynolds (he's seen a dozen targets in his last two, catching seven for 139 yards).
TEs deserving attention: Tyler Conklin (an obvious add with Thielen injured; he was targeted nine times on Sunday, catching seven), Ricky Seals-Jones (he was inactive on Sunday, but his return to practice suggests that he's close; his services will be needed after Logan Thomas suffered a knee injury that will sideline him indefinitely), James O'Shaugnessy (he's drawn 11 targets in his last two games, picking up Dan Arnold's workload).
Running backs on the wire
Dontrell Hilliard and D'Onta Foreman, Tennessee Titans (41% and 41%)
It's understandable that neither Dontrell Hilliard nor D'Onta Foreman managed to reach the 50 percent roster threshold over the past week with the Titans on bye. This time of year, few of us have the luxury of looking beyond our next matchup. We'd simply like to remind you that Hilliard and Foreman each topped 100 rushing yards back in Week 12 at New England while splitting snaps evenly (32 vs. 31). Hilliard made a house call, too.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 28, 2021
Neither back had a flawless performance against the Pats, as both lost fumbles. Hilliard caught eight passes on 10 targets in his previous game against the Texans, but he was only targeted twice at Foxborough. Foreman is simply one of the least elusive skill players in the game, but the Titans keep feeding him. When we're making waiver adds, we're generally just chasing workload.
Tennessee will face Jacksonville in Week 14, so it's safe to assume the team will be able to lean on its running game. Jeremy McNichols could return after missing multiple games with a concussion, which would obviously complicate this committee. None of these backs have separated themselves.
Offer: $7 and $8
Various other add-worthy RBs: Samaje Perine (he's been productive on limited touches for the Bengals, and Joe Mixon emerged from Sunday's loss with a neck issue), Kenneth Gainwell and Jordan Howard (it should be clear at this point that Miles Sanders will never, ever score a touchdown; Howard could be returning after Philly's bye), Matt Breida (he'd reached the end zone three times in his previous three games entering Week 13, playing roughly a third of the offensive snaps for Buffalo), Adrian Peterson (you'd have to be outrageously desperate, but, hey, Houston is on deck).
Quarterbacks deserving attention
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (34%)
Just in case you needed further evidence that traditional fantasy scoring is hopelessly broken at the quarterback position, we offer up Taysom Hill's 24.66-point eruption on Thursday night — a game in which he was irrefutably not good. Hill threw four interceptions, with a pick-six included, and he completed just 46.3 percent of his attempts. But he also had a pair of TD passes and, per his usual, did a few ridiculous things as a rusher...
Taysom Hill with the bunnies ⬆️pic.twitter.com/if9Bm8xmEN
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) December 3, 2021
Hill finished with 11 carries for 101 yards, which saved his fantasy day. He came away from the Dallas loss with a finger injury — essentially the same issue that cost Russell Wilson multiple games — but he reportedly won't have surgery to address the problem. So you can feel free to fire him up in Week 14 in a favorable matchup against the Jets. Hill clearly carries elevated risk of a mid-game exit, given the nature of the injury, but his rushing floor is too great to ignore.
Other QBs of interest: Jimmy Garoppolo (it's not always a fun watch, but he has such a friendly schedule ahead: at Cin, Atl, at Ten, Hou), Taylor Heinicke (the loss of Thomas is a big blow to the passing game, clearly, but he gets a pair of starts against Philadelphia in the fantasy playoffs), Ben Roethlisberger (if you're just looking for 230 and 2, he can help this week with the Vikings on the schedule), Cam Newton (after the 5-completion performance against Miami, I think I'm out ... but, hey, he is the goal-line back at Atlanta is up next).
Defenses to stream
Green Bay Packers (35%)
Green Bay's defense is irrefutably good in reality, ranking fifth in scoring and seventh in yards-against. We don't often find quality units like this available via waivers so late in the fantasy season. There are plenty of takeaways ahead for this group. Just take a look at the Packers' schedule over the next four weeks: Chi, at Bal, Cle, Min. Go get 'em.
Los Angeles Chargers (26%)
It's not so much that the Chargers produced a massive fantasy performance in an opportunistic win at Cincinnati, although a 6-sack, 4-turnover game is plenty impressive. We're recommending the Bolts because they face the Giants in Week 14, which might very well mean a meeting with third-stringer Jake Fromm — and if it isn't Fromm, we're looking at Mike Glennon. Either way, it's a matchup to exploit. Joey Bosa exited with a head injury on Sunday, but he was cleared of a concussion so he should be good to go.