Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (13) hauls in a pass from Josh Allen for a touchdown with New England Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills (2) defending during the first half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)


Mike Shara

This week is the week that almost everyone’s league begins their playoff season. It is also going to be the most chaotic week, roster-wise in the NFL this season. Roster madness is happening right now – not just because of the usual myriad of injuries, but because of the fourth wave of Covid-19 wreaking havoc on several teams. Three games have already been rescheduled for a few days later, and over 100 players have been placed on the Covid Protocols list and are currently ineligible to play this weekend. Some of those players may indeed be cleared to play again before their game happens, so you’ll have to keep a close eye on things right up to kickoff before setting your lineup.

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The roster madness has created some unique opportunities for this weekend. Here are a few moves that may benefit you if you’re scrambling for some replacements for your fantasy team as your league playoffs get underway:

TEAM DEFENSE: Philadelphia (42% rostered on Yahoo, $3,500 on DraftKings DFS)
The Eagles’ game vs. Washington is one of the games that has been postponed a few days, (so make sure they’re still eligible in your Daily Fantasy league) but it will be worth the wait for teams that have them rostered in their fantasy playoffs. WFT has both its first and second-string quarterbacks on the Covid list right now and recently signed someone named Garrett Gilbert to be their starter when the teams eventually meet on Tuesday night. The Eagles need this game badly to stay alive in the playoff hunt, their defense will have had extra rest and they will be facing a quarterback who has started exactly one NFL game (which he lost). This could be a giant opportunity if your regular defense is facing a tough matchup this week.

WIDE RECEIVER: Gabriel Davis, BUF (17% rostered on Yahoo, $3,700 on DraftKings DFS)
A lot of wide receivers are unavailable this week, so if you’re scrambling for an emergency replacement that could actually pay off, Davis might be your man. He has accumulated 23 fantasy points over the last few weeks and his teammate Emmanuel Sanders is currently unlikely to be at full strength with a knee ailment. Davis saw 8 targets last week and played in over 80% of Buffalo’s snaps. The Bills’ offense finally started firing again in the fourth quarter vs. Tampa last week. I’d bet it continues again this week vs. Carolina.

RUNNING BACK: Chase Edmonds, ARI (80% rostered on Yahoo, $5,100 on DraftKings DFS)
He’s not exactly a secret, but after sitting out last week with a knee injury, Edmonds could very well return this week for the Cardinals. With James Conner missing practices because of a bad ankle, it’s possible that Edmonds returns this week and gets high volume usage as the Cardinals try to secure a first round playoff bye. Arizona faces a very weak Detroit run defense this week and have lost star wideout DeAndre Hopkins, so their running backs could be in for a huge day.

QUARTERBACK: Trevor Lawrence, JAX (27% rostered on Yahoo, $5100 on DraftKingsDFS)
This just in: the Jags are awful. Further updates – Lawrence has had single-digit fantasy points in five of his last six starts. However, as you may have heard, Jacksonville has just rid themselves of what could be the sorriest Head Coaching tenure in NFL history by someone not named Rich Kotite or David Shula (look them up, kids). With Urban Meyer finally fired, it is not inconceivable that the entire team just…plays better under interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell. Look at what’s happened to the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks under their new Head Coach Bruce Boudreau with the exact same players. Adding to Lawrence’s appeal this week is the fact that the Jaguars play perhaps the only other team that is as incompetent an organization as they are : Houston. The Texans’ pass defense is below average, and the Jags have a lot of offensive weapons for Lawrence that might just come out like a pack of wild dogs this weekend. Stranger things have happened…

TIGHT END: James O’Shaughnessy, JAX (2% rostered on Yahoo, $3,200 on DraftKings DFS)
So, if you’re going to gamble on Lawrence, you might as well double down by betting on a guy who he’s been going to more and more over the last few weeks. O’Shaughnessy has been targeted six times per game in the last few weeks and the Texans’ defense (did I mention they’re not that great?) has been particularly generous to opposing tight ends already this season. If a new Head Coach opens up the offense at all, there might well be plenty of ripe opportunities for him to get receptions underneath the coverage and even a touchdown, which is fantasy gold any time you can get one from this position.

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