Fantasy Football: Ryan Fitzpatrick and 4 Players Primed for Breakout Performance
The playoffs in fantasy football are rapidly approaching and will be starting for most leagues sometime in the next two weeks. The moves made in the next couple of weeks are pivotal and could decide who wins the league championship.
Owners don't need to look much further than Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey, who exploded this week for 163 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Rainey looks to be a huge part of the Bucs offense for the remainder of the season.
These are five players who are most likely available on your league's waiver wire and are in line to break out in Week 12. I have included projected stats that are reasonable to expect based on the player's recent performance and how the opposing defenses have played this season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tennessee Titans
Ryan Fitzpatrick has yet to win a game as the starting quarterback for the Titans this year but is in line for a huge game against the Raiders. Over the past two games, he has averaged 22 completions, 243 yards passing and two touchdowns.
More importantly, he has not recorded a turnover during that span and done an excellent job of protecting the ball. This week he faces the Raiders defense, which has given up 253 yards per game and close to two touchdowns in the air.
Projected Stats: 22-of-30, 275 yards, two touchdowns
Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos
Montee Ball has the look of being a touchdown vulture, and playing in a Peyton Manning-led offense means the Broncos will be around the goal line a lot. The rookie running back by no means will be taking over for Knowshon Moreno as the featured back, but he has seen a noticeable increase in his workload.
Over the past three games, Ball has averaged a little over eight carries a game and has a total of three touchdowns. This is much higher than his average of two carries a game and zero touchdowns over the previous three-game stretch.
This week the Broncos face a Patriots defense that has struggled to stop the run. They have given up 128.2 yards rushing per game entering their Monday night matchup with Carolina. Even with Peyton Manning, Denver may look to rush a little bit more to control the clock and keep Tom Brady off the field. This will only bode well for Montee Ball and his fantasy owners.
Projected Stats: 10 carries, 50 yards, one touchdown
Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets
Santonio Holmes returned from a hamstring injury against Buffalo and did not show much rust after missing the past five games. He only hauled in two catches for 32 yards and 38 yards but was targeted a team high eight times.
If there is ever a week to have a Jets player, it is when they are coming off of a loss, as it is well documented that they have alternated wins and losses every week this season. The Jets take on a Ravens defense that has given up 12.6 yards per reception and just under two touchdowns per game.
If Holmes continues to be targeted heavily in the passing game by Geno Smith, and there isn't any reason to think he won't, he should be in line for a big game.
Projected Stats: six receptions, 110 yards, two touchdowns
Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints
It is difficult to pick which Saints wide receiver will have a big day because of how much Drew Brees spreads the ball around. Kenny Stills, though, has the explosiveness he needs to have a good day for fantasy owners.
Over the past four weeks, Stills has averaged 2.5 receptions, 62.5 yards receiving and just under one touchdown per game. More importantly, he has been targeted four or more times in three of those games.
This week he takes on a Falcons defense that has struggled against the pass and has given up 21 touchdowns through the air. The Saints faced the Falcons the first week of the season, and the rookie wide receiver had two receptions for 86 yards.
Projected Stats: three receptions, 120 yards, one touchdown
Rob Housler, TE, Arizona Cardinals
Whether right or wrong, the Arizona Cardinals are determined to win games with Carson Palmer's arm. He has thrown the ball 40 or more times in three of the past five games. One player who has benefited from this change in philosophy over the past five games is tight end Rob Housler.
Over this span, Housler has been targeted five or more times in four of the past five games. He has recorded four or more receptions, and over the past three games, he has averaged 10 or more yards per reception.
Titans tight end Delanie Walker will be the focus of most fantasy owners searching the waiver wire for tight end help. Rob Housler would be a great backup plan for owners who miss out on Walker, and it should be noted he plays the Colts this week. That is the same defense that was beat by Walker to the tune of 10 receptions, 91 yards and a touchdown this past week.
Projected Stats: five receptions, 60 yards, one touchdown