You know, I hate to brag about this kind of stuff. But I remember sitting in Atomic Liquors in Las Vegas back in August and I told two of my friends that they should draft Devlin Hodges and Patrick Laird in their coming drafts because they were going to be huge come playoff time. And yeah, even for Las Vegas-story exaggerations that is way too far-fetched for me to believe. I mean, I have a friend named Avi who once told me that he was playing blackjack at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino back in the day and Axl Rose told him that it was time to go home. I fully believe that story (I don't). But that still had some glimmer of truth to it. And if I'm being honest, I don't know where I'm going with that other than, I can't believe we're on the cusp (or in) the fantasy football playoffs and we're talking about Hodges and Laird.
Though it seems that some of you would be all, "well if you were good at your job, you should have been able to predict the rise of Hodges and Laird." Which, uh, sure. Every one of the sharps was on Hodges and Laird. Although I should throw out that I saw Laird play at (San Luis Obispo) Mission Prep when they traveled down to play Newport Beach Sage Hills back in the day. And whether that seems as real as my friend's Axl Rose story, I'll let you decide. But it did happen.
All of that said, I'm rolling with Hodges this week. I rage-dropped Matt Ryan a few weeks ago. I streamed Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. And now I'm out there like Brian Flores just saying screw] it and seeing what happens. I do like the matchup for Hodges because the [Cardinals have allowed 31 passing touchdowns to quarterbacks this season (the most in the NFL). They have also allowed the most passing yards (324.8 yards per game) and fantasy points (24.87) to the position.
And then there is Laird, who has scored more than 11 fantasy points in two of his last three. His snaps have increased in three consecutive weeks. He's run the most routes among Dolphins running backs over the last two weeks. There are a lot of positive signs here. Now, I wouldn't start him over, say, Royce Freeman who has a really nice matchup. This is for people who are truly desperate. Maybe somebody who is on bye and might want to use him in Week 16 against the Bengals. Realize, the Dolphins are in New York this week and next.
So again, don't start these guys over Lamar Jackson or CMC. But if you're desperate, or even out of the playoffs and playing DFS. Like my man, Robb from the Tiny Football League. Sky Doggy started running his mouth when he crushed me during CMC's bye week. Really started talking (expletive). Well, I have the No. 2 seed in that league (second-highest point total) and he's out of the playoffs. But hey Robb, you've got to shoot your shot when you have the chance, right?
Well, that is a perfect transition to some additional sleepers.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns
We are back on Baker this week. He's had at least 17 points in four of his last five. We had a bad feeling about Pittsburgh last week. Hopefully it didn't cost you. The Bengals have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year.
Drew Lock, QB, Denver Broncos
He played well in his debut last week with a pair of touchdowns. The Texans have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. And they are coming off a huge win over the Patriots and are primed for a letdown this week. Don't be surprised when Lock has a huge game. I might have a stack with Lock and Sutton this week.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Well it stands to reason if I'm going with Hodges, then I should go with his top receiver. Surprising because Washington played with Mason Rudolph in college and well, now he's seeing somebody else. I would also venture to say JuJu would likely have had a better season if Hodges had been the replacement from the start. But he's not here, Washington is and he's had at least 18 fantasy points in three of his last four.
Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland Raiders
I'm not sure why people have written off the Raiders after horrible back-to-back games in New York and Kansas City. That was an expected tough stretch (and again, why you should at least be cautious with your Dolphins even after I ran out to get Patrick Laird.) Williams was held to less than four points in back-to-back weeks. And that's cool. This is a get-right game for the Raiders this week. The Titans have allowed the third-most fantasy points to receivers over the past month.
Zach Pascal, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Let's not pretend the Buccaneers are the pushover we have thought since they have done a nice job against Matt Ryan and Nick Foles in back-to-back weeks. But they have still given up the third-most fantasy points to receivers in those games. And Pascal did have a nice game against the Titans even though he didn't get into the end zone.
Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams
This is mostly if Gerald Everett is out. But the Seahawks have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends. I know everyone talks about the Cardinals. But the Seahawks are there. It's kind of like how everyone was into Nirvana when I was a kid, but I was all, but Pearl Jam is great, too. Yes, it's exactly like that.
Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos
Yep, if I'm going with Lock and I'm dreaming of a stack with Sutton, it stands to reason that I would end up riding with his tight end, too. He's also a good option in weekly leagues if you're still trying to figure out the TE room.
And finally, your defenses to stream. And I want to do things a little bit differently this week. Because here are some teams you can not only stream this week. But could end up winning your league because the matchups are pretty solid.
The Packers are the obvious choice because they are going against Washington, and Dwayne Haskins has been sacked close to four times per game. That would be third most in the NFL. But if they are not able to go, I really do like the Eagles defense against the Giants this week. Eli Manning could be the starting quarterback. And I'm envisioning this scenario where Eli carves up the Eagles to the point where Matt Nagy falls in love and the Bears trade for him in the offseason. But the Giants have turned the ball over a lot. And the Eagles get Washington the following week, so this is a two-week play.