Playoffs are here! I am here to get you fantasy football fanatics ready with a few players who may have underperformed during the regular season but will step up and help you win a title.
David Montgomery – RB CHI
David Montgomery has secretly been one of the few true workhorse running backs left in the National Football League. However, poor run blocking by his offensive line, tough matchups, and a high volume passing attack, have all limited Montgomery’s fantasy points ceiling this season. But these circumstances are about to change.
Let’s review his usage this season first because he’s been used much differently than ever before.
Injury to Tarik Cohen has caused his usage to spike much higher than expected, with a 74.2 percent snap share, 159 carries, and route participation in 63.2 percent of the Bears pass plays. Montgomery has seemingly taken over as the receiving back in Chicago after being targeted a total of 51 times (4.6 per game) in the 11 games he’s played this year. As a result, he’s capitalized on that opportunity by catching 39 of those targets for 291 yards and two touchdowns. And despite the poor run blocking provided by his offensive, combined with tough matchups, he has still managed to evade 44 tackles this year and created a total of 298 extra yards on his own.
As his matchups have started to improve over the past couple of weeks so has his production. He’s posted a strong base stat line of at least 109 scrimmage yards and a touchdown over that time frame and has been a top-5 RB both weeks in PPR and standard-scoring formats.
Now let’s take a look at the matchups ahead for him and his offensive line over the next four weeks.
Two of the remaining four teams on Chicago’s schedule (HOU and JAX) are in the top-4 for most rushing yards allowed by a defense. Those teams have also already been eliminated from the playoff picture and will have limited motivation. And remember, just two weeks ago he dropped 143 total yards and a touchdown on that 4th team, Green Bay. In addition, Minnesota has also given up an average of 137 yards rushing in their last three games. With all four of these teams struggling against the run right at the start of the playoff season, do not pass up on the guy who gets to run against them all.
Monty is that league winner you’ve been looking for to fill out your backfield as your RB2/Flex but will produce like a true RB1. This is the type of advantage we want out of a true league winner!
Jarvis Landry – WR CLE
It’s official, Jarvis has become a WR1. His first two weeks as the WR1 in Cleveland were plagued by poor weather limiting the Cleveland passing game. Since then he has been producing top-10 WR performances.
Recently, the volume he has been getting in this run-heavy offense has been significant. Each of the past two weeks he has recorded ten or more targets – and the results from that volume speak for themselves.
Week 12 – @JAX | 8 recs – 143 yds – 1 TD
Week 13 – @TEN | 8 recs – 62 yds – 1 TD
He seems to fit the play-action passing attack that Baker Mayfield has been having so much success with lately. Mayfield played so well these past two weeks that he managed to pass for an average of 296 yards per game and a total of six touchdowns. Jarvis has two of those six TDs (33.3 percent) and an average of 102.5 of those 296 yards (34.6 percent). Solid volume, market share, and results.
Landry’s supporting cast has also taken great strides towards improving lately as well. Guys like Rashard Higgins and Donovan People-Jones have been able to draw coverage away from him and compliment his underneath route running very well.
The road ahead does look rough, yes. But recent key injuries to both the division rival Ravens’ and Steelers’ defenses will really allow all of Cleveland’s offensive weapons to have a much higher chance for success against otherwise extremely stout defenses.
It seems as though the Browns offense is finally living up to expectations from a year ago and is right in the playoff mix in this division at 9-3. And they are doing so with Jarvis Landry as their number one receiver. Find a way to get Jarvis into your playoff lineup while he and the Browns fight for their playoff spot.
TY Hilton – WR IND
Indianapolis has been treating almost every pass catcher in their offense as a number one receiver this season, except for Hilton. And now their coaching staff is finding out that they should have been using him as their number one weapon all along.
He has been trending in the right direction the past couple of weeks because he has been capitalizing on valuable volume. Since Week 12, Hilton’s yards per target have spiked considerably from 7.8 YPT (his season average) to 13.1 YPT. Consequently, his yards per reception over the past two games is a very healthy 17 YPR.
This increase in target depth resulted in more production. And just like a smart NFL coach should, Hilton was given a larger role by Frank Reich and his staff because of that elevated production.
After recording the first touchdown and the highest yardage total of his season (81 yards) on only four receptions in Week 12, Reich significantly increased Hilton’s workload in Week 13. Not only was he targeted 11 times by Philip Rivers, but he was often the first read on the majority of his routes and many others.
Hilton answered the call last week with eight receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. It’s safe to say he did not disappoint Frank Reich and there is no reason he should not continue to treat him as the WR1 that he is moving forward. With three weak defenses and a banged up unit in Pittsburgh left on their schedule, his rest-of-season matchups should be tasty too.
Corey Davis – WR TEN
This man right here is having a career year.
Here are some fun facts about Corey Davis:
- Has more targets (70) and receptions (53) in 10 games this year than in 15 games last year (69 targets and 43 receptions)
- Tied with a career-high of four touchdowns, still has four games left to play
- Recording the highest yards per reception (15.1) of his entire career
- Has more receptions and receiving yards than AJ Brown
It is safe to say that he is finally having his breakout season. Now here is why he is going to continue this solid fantasy campaign for the rest of the season.
AJ Brown has been dealing with injury all season long, even when active and playing. The coaches have limited his reps and volume in order to not overload him or cause reinjury. Davis has picked up the slack during that time. As the season has gone on, Brown has slowly looked healthier and more explosive. But an additional minor injury to his ankle in the first half of Sunday’s game could slow him down yet again. Yes, Brown did come back in the game, but it was clear that he was not the same dominant force he usually is when healthy for the remainder of that contest. The coaching staff will likely limit him once again, opening the door for Davis once again.
Aside from Brown’s injury troubles, the matchups moving forward for Tennessee are fantastic. Jacksonville, Detroit, and Houston all are in the top-10 for most points, total yards, and yards per play allowed this season. And as for Green Bay, Jaire Alexander is expected to be shadowing Brown, again leaving the favorable coverage to Davis. With Tennessee’s run-first mentality and Green Bay’s lack of ability to stop the run, that matchup is also tailor-made for the Titans to have success offensively.
Don’t let Davis’ previous seasons of disappointment dissuade you from trusting him, he is a new man. He’s proven himself, his situation is perfect, and so is his remaining schedule. Take full advantage!
The lesson to learn here is to accept when a player is showing you improvement don’t reject it or sit there in disbelief. Take advantage of it and get out in front of others who don’t – especially during your fantasy playoffs when you need every advantage possible.
If you have any questions about these gentlemen or any other players in the league, you can follow me on Twitter @ParkerJamesFF and ask me anything. Thank you for reading and good luck this postseason!