Case Keenum (QB) Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield has tested positive for Covid this week and looks like Case Keenum is in line to get the start. In this likely scenario, Keenum will face the Raiders who are bottom 10 in the league when it comes to slowing down fantasy quarterbacks. If you are searching for a Superflex option because of a terrible matchup or perhaps you’re a desperate Lamar Jackson manager, Keenum could be a sneaky good play. What it comes down to is that Keenum is one of the best backups in the league, the Raiders are on their usual late-season spiral, and he isn’t much of a downgrade from the beat-up version we’ve seen of Mayfield as of late.
Tyler Huntley (QB) Baltimore Ravens
Speaking of Lamar Jackson, I do not expect him to play this week. The fact that Baltimore elevated backup quarterback Josh Johnson from the practice squad on Wednesday is very telling. If Jackson misses Huntley will slide into his starting role. Although the matchup against Green Bay isn’t ideal, he played fairly well last week after entering the game for an injured Jackson. He went 27 of 38 for 270 yards a touchdown with no picks and added an additional 45 yards on the ground. If you lost Jackson, Huntley may be worth a look and he also makes for an interesting DFS option in tournaments.
D’Ernest Johnson (RB) Cleveland Browns
Kareem Hunt went down with an injury last week and with Baker Mayfield also likely out the Browns may look to lean on the rushing attack. Nick Chubb is undoubtedly the workhorse in Clevland, but we could see Johnson get some run too. He has been undeniably good when given opportunities this season and gets to take on the Raiders who are allowing the third-most points to fantasy runners this season. With all the injuries and Covid around the league, Johnson is an interesting flex option.
Eno Benjamin (RB) Arizona Cardinals
James Conner has yet to practice this week and has undergone an MRI on the ankle he injured at the end of last week’s game. He is in legitimate danger of sitting this one out. Chase Edmonds has a shot to return from injured reserve but isn’t a lock to play and his workload and conditioning are in question. If neither plays Benjamin is a locked and loaded starting option this week against the Lions. If just one of them plays he becomes an interesting flex option for owners scrambling for bodies and points entering the fantasy playoffs.
Jordan Howard (RB) Philadelphia Eagles
Howard’s production was a shock very few saw coming this season once he joined the Eagles’ backfield. Of course, we all expected Howard to get two carries for one yard and a TD, however, he saw volume and looked like the lead back in Philly before he injured his knee Week 11. He has returned to practice this week and is looking likely to get back on the field. While he is not a safe start this week against the Football Team, if he is active he immediately becomes a flex consideration. Even if Miles Sanders can return from his injured ankle. Howard could see a heavier workload than anticipated and is always a threat to score a TD or two.
Craig Reynolds (RB) Detroit Lions
With D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, both sidelined last week fantasy owners scrambled to the waiver wire to try to decide whether they wanted to add Jermar Jefferson or Godwin Igwebuike as an emergency flex option. Then like an RKO, Craig Reynolds came out of nowhere and was the lead back for the Lions. He led the team in both carries and running back receptions while falling just one yard short of hitting the century mark for scrimmage yards. Swift is once again looking unlikely for Week 15 and Williams is not a lock to suit up either due to Covid issues. Reynolds could be the RB1 again in Detroit this week.
Christian Kirk (WR) Arizona Cardinals
DeAndre Hopkins has been shut down for the remainder of the regular season. This will open up targets for A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, and Rondale Moore in the passing attack. Green I believe is the top choice so I wouldn’t consider him a sleeper and Moore I don’t trust to play, so Kirk fits in as a sleeper just right. Coming off an 86-yard performance with a dream matchup against the Lions, we don’t need to over-complicate this. If you lost Hopkins and are looking for a replacement, Kirk has the opportunity and matchup in a high-powered offense. Plug him in.
Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR) Cleveland Browns
The Browns are ravaged with injuries and plague this week. Due to so many players being out with Covid, DPJ will serve as the WR1 in Cleveland this week. Should the Browns fall behind in this one and be forced to throw, which isn’t unlikely, he could be the focal point of the entire offense. That is more than enough to make him an intriguing sleeper option this week. Double-digit targets aren’t out of the realm of possibilities.
Gabriel Davis (WR) Buffalo Bills
A popular breakout candidate coming into 2021, Davis is finally starting to play the way we all hoped he would prior to the season. Last week he ran a route on more than 80-percent of Josh Allen’s dropbacks and Emmanuel Sanders is expected to sit out this week with a sprained knee. On the off chance Sanders can suit up, Davis is still in the midst of surpassing him in relevancy. He is a deep threat, a top red-zone target, and now has added opportunity in this offense. I like him so much this week, that like DPJ, he barely even qualifies as a sleeper for me because they both could have been in the “Start Em” article.
Adam Trautman (TE) New Orleans Saints
When Trautman went down with a knee injury Week 11 he had begun distinguishing himself as the viable fantasy option he was pegged as by many entering the season. Unfortunately, he landed on IR and was forced to miss the next three weeks. There is still a chance he’s not activated this week, nevertheless, he has been designated to return. This immediately makes him a sleeper candidate for this week and the remainder of the season. The Saints play the Bucs this week who are allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.