We’re off to a blazing start in the fantasy football postseason, and owners who stuck with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and actually started him this week are sporting a huge grin after Sunday’s first batch of games.
We hadn’t seen a game like that from Newton in what feels like an eternity. He completed three touchdown passes and rushed for another score in Carolina’s 41-10 rout of the New Orleans Saints in Week 14, and it was only the second game of the season that Newtown tossed and rushed for a touchdown. Last season he did it six times.
Nevertheless, only 39 percent of Yahoo! owners started Newton this week, and in 16 percent of league’s he’s available to pick up. Newton’s value always relied in his ability to pass and run for touchdowns, but he hasn’t done much of either season, so owners wisely kept him on the bench.
With two rounds left in the fantasy playoffs, it’s best to unleash Newton the rest of the way if you’re having issues at quarterback. He’ll face Tampa Bay’s up-and-down defense at home, and then welcomes a tough Cleveland squad to town. The Browns did an excellent job on Andrew Luck in Week 14, but Newton’s a much better athlete, and if he’s rushing out of the pocket there is no defense capable of containing him.
Look to pick up and start Newton next week, if at all possible, and check out some of the other standouts this week ahead of the waiver-wire for Week 15.
Jarius Wright, WR, Minnesota Vikings
In a week that featured some wild plays, Wright’s 87-yard touchdown reception in overtime to beat the Jets was certainly the highlight. Over the past couple weeks Teddy Bridgewater’s started to build a great chemistry with Minnesota’s young receivers, first it was Charles Johnson and now Wright, who racked up the longest play from scrimmage in his career.
Wright was targeted five times this week, his highest since Week 7, and he could be a cheap option in Week 15. The Vikes play Detroit next week, and Wright should have more opportunities with Johnson and Greg Jennings likely to be locked up by the Lions pass D.
Kamar Aiken, WR, Baltimore Ravens
We’ve talked about Aiken, way back in Week 6 when he caught his first touchdown of the season. Fast-forward to this week, and he was targeted a season-high seven times, including a 13-yard touchdown catch. We could call it a flash in the pan, but Torrey Smith wasn’t targeted once, despite being active, and Joe Flacco needs another receiver besides Steve Smith. Aiken’s worth a risk this week to pick up, but monitor the situation with Torrey Smith to see if Aiken should be started.
Jared Cook, TE, St. Louis Rams
He hasn’t been much of a factor since Week 6, when he totaled four catches for 74 yards off 11 targets. Since then Cook got more than five targets in a game just once. It seems like the emergence of Tre Mason has opened things up for Cook, and next week he faces an Arizona squad that has had difficulty covering tight ends all season. He’s owned in only 28 percent of Yahoo! and 40.5 percent of ESPN leagues, so Cook is available.
Others to watch: Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers; Nick Toon, WR, Saints; Mychal Rivera, TE, Raiders