Each week of the NFL season, we search through each fantasy football position with an eye toward identifying widely available streaming options with positive matchups to help cover gaps in your starting lineup.
This exciting rookie earned some Cam Newton comparisons from Miami defenders after tallying 135 rushing yards in a rousing Week 13 win, setting a franchise record for a Bills quarterback and the most by any QB since Colin Kaepernick had 151 rushing yards in Week 16 of 2014. Some call it the "Konami Code" when a quarterback can consistently rush for big yardage totals, like how Tyrod Taylor did for years in Buffalo. It's a cheat code, in that it allows for strong fantasy performances, even when the passing phase proves poor. The Jets' blitz-happy defense should create some lanes for Allen to exploit via scrambling, while a blend of vertical passing and designed running plays helps support a fun ceiling, if unstable fantasy floor, for Allen.
A top waiver claim and strong streaming option for this first week of the fantasy playoffs -- as long as Melvin Gordon remains out of action, that is -- Jackson was impressive on Sunday night in Pittsburgh with 9.1 yards per touch. The workload will likely still be compromised with Austin Ekeler atop the depth chart for the Chargers, but Jackson's upside against a reeling Bengals team is a real factor to consider. Cincinnati is allowing the most points per drive in the NFL this season. There is a strong connection between running back production and playing on a team positioned as heavy home favorites, one that we can exploit by streaming Jackson.
With injuries and committees always influencing the running back market, sometimes it's prudent to simply pursue a receiving specialist at the position in hopes of a high-floor performance. Riddick typifies this premise, as he's third on the Lions, behind only Kenny Golladay and Bruce Ellington, with a 16.3 percent market share of the Lions' passing game during the past month. With no fewer than eight fantasy points since returning from injury in Week 9, Riddick is a reasonable flex option for those looking to play it safe.
Bruce Ellington, Detroit Lions
Ellington earns a spot in this column for another week, as he leads the Lions with 8.5 targets per game the past two weeks while enjoying a solid 24.3 percent market share of Detroit's passing game during this sample. The ceiling isn't very high, but the floor is increasingly stable in PPR formats. With 19 receptions the past three games thanks to a firm perch on a depleted Detroit depth chart at receiver, Ellington is in a nice spot to return value against the Cardinals this Sunday.
A bit more a ceiling play than Ellington, Samuel saw an uptick in usage with Greg Olsen injured and Devin Funchess seemingly limited this past week. Ellington's impressive target pattern is now almost a month long; thus, his production profile is a bit more projectable, but Samuel claims the far more impressive upside in regards to vertical usage and big-play ability. Samuel was second on the team, behind only Funchess, with 15 air yards per target, all while consuming a team-high 27.5 percent of the team's total targets. Facing a Browns defense that was just gashed by the Texans, Samuel is in a sweet spot as a streaming candidate this week.
Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers
I'm in one home league where I've netted two touchdowns from my tight end spot the entire season and yet made the playoffs. The position has just been quite fickle and variant in regards to sourcing steady scoring options. This doesn't mean we stop scouring for streaming targets; rather we need to look harder than ever for positive margins. Enter Thomas, who will consume a sizable batch of routes and appeared to have nice chemistry with Cam Newton in place of an injured Olsen this past Sunday. The Browns have surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season, fortifying Thomas' case this week.
Herndon is yet another widely available play at the position worth considering for Week 14. He's 11th in targets per game among tight ends since Week 9 with a healthy 5.5 per game -- more than Kyle Rudolph, David Njoku and Jimmy Graham during this sample. We're at the point with streaming tight ends that raw target totals are meaningful; thus Herndon's usage helps offset a tough matchup against the Bills this weekend.
The rare nomination for a multiweek stream, the Lions' defense could benefit from playing two rookie quarterbacks in consecutive weeks. First up is Josh Rosen and the Arizona Cardinals. While last week's compelling win in Lambeau is emboldening in one sense, the larger sample still reveals an Arizona offense that is 25th in passing touchdowns per attempt since Week 6 and has the fourth-highest interception-per-attempt clip, hallmarks of a green signal-caller behind center. The Lions, for their part, have compiled 14 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring the past two weeks and have netted nine sacks the past three games. In Week 15, the Bills and Josh Allen are on the docket, a team that ranks 31st in the NFL with 1.23 points per drive on offense his season, with only the Cardinals rated worse (1.16).
If I just wrote Mark Sanchez, that might work for this endorsement, but the premise for streaming the Giants goes behind just the choice matchup against the mistake-prone veteran understudy. The Giants' defense is showing some signs of life lately, with the league's fifth-highest turnover rate on a per-drive basis. Fresh from a ball-hawking showing against the Bears, those in truly deep leagues or in need of a high-ceiling D/ST target might want to consider this group.
Individual defensive players
With four sacks and 12 total tackles across his past three appearances, Autry is heating up as a pass-rusher just in time for a crucial stretch of division battles. The Texans' offensive line has yielded pressure on 41.4 percent of opposing dropbacks, the highest rate in the league by nearly 5 percentage points and well above the league-average allowance of 29.1 percent. This signals another shot at a multi-sack showing for Autry.
In playing around three-quarters of Atlanta's defensive snaps in Week 13, Jones tallied a monster line against Baltimore's run-heavy offense that included 15 tackles and a sack. He's likely to play even more snaps against the Packers this week, making him an ascendant fantasy option.
Whitehead has topped 60 snaps in consecutive games for the first time this season, and is enjoying a stellar tackle rate as Tampa's strong safety. He has been targeted nine times in coverage the past two games, per Pro Football Focus, and now has 25 total tackles in his past three outings. He is available in nearly every league and is a nice play against the Saints' prolific offense this week.