I can’t think of a better present from me to you than name-dropping a few players. There’s a decent chance that each of these players I mention is available in some of your leagues. Playoffs are among us. This is semi-finals week for those of us playing in respectable fantasy leagues. One or two of these trending players that I mention may be the difference between seeing that confetti fall or ending the fantasy football season one week too early. The year is winding down, some teams are experimenting, and others have the pedal to the metal. Either way, interesting prospects have arisen, and I identify a few here.
Rashid Shaheed- WR, New Orleans Saints
Ho ho, hold up just a gosh damn minute. You’re really telling me that when the Saints come out of the tunnel today that Rashid Shaheed will be lining up as the WR1? Jarvis Landry (hamstring) has been placed on IR and rookie WR Chris Olave (hamstring) has already been ruled out of today’s game. Based on targets and snap counts, this leaves Rashid Shaheed as the most likely candidate to serve as the Saints’ number one wideout. This is not the first time I’m mentioning the undrafted free agent. Shaheed has been gaining traction from the moment he burst onto the scene with a TD in Week 6.
Rashid Shaheed led The Saints in Routes Run in Week 15, and has had three straight games of 53 yards or more receiving. He is coming off of a career high 95 yards receiving.
Will be an every down player this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/hXVENxkqx5
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) December 22, 2022
In the last three games, Rashid has seen a snap count of at least 53%. In fact, since Week 11 Shaheed has only seen that percentage increase. Assuming that Rashid does indeed claim the number one role he could be in line for his largest share yet. The Saints face a stingy Browns secondary and will likely choose to run the ball a ton instead. However, there is still a ton of room for Shaheed to improve on the four targets he saw last week. The only healthy Saints wide receiver worth mentioning, Rashid Shaheed’s outlook is trending up as the season comes to a close.
Zack Moss- RB, Indianapolis Colts
Is it Christmas or Halloween? Because Zack Moss has risen from the dead. Had the season gone anything as the preseason did, Moss would be eyeing a big contract. Alas, the goal-line usage and touchdowns did not carry over into the regular season. In fact, the Buffalo Bills wound up dropping Moss like he was hot. Moss ended up in Indy with virtually no hope of seeing any kind of playing time behind Jonathan Taylor and Deon Jackson. Lo and behold Moss now finds himself very relevant and trending up just as fantasy playoffs roll around. And he is running HARD.
Zack Moss is better than Bills fans told me he would me. #Colts#ForTheShoe#Vikings#Skol#INDvsMIN pic.twitter.com/WGKonIyteI
— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) December 17, 2022
The aforementioned Jonathan Taylor has been shut down for the remainder of the year as he’s banged up and his team no longer has anything to play for, except maybe Jeff Saturday’s job. It’s likely that the Colts opt to run the ball a ton on Monday. Saturday announced earlier in the week the Nick Foles will be the starting quarterback. Reports out of Indy state that Moss and Jackson will be deployed in a rotation. Based on last week’s snap count and rushing attempts, Moss has the slight edge over Jackson going into this week’s matchup. It remains to be seen if Moss can match or improve on the 24-81-0 line he set last week.
Evan Engram- TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
Evan Engram is that present under the tree that your parents tortured you with by putting it under the tree a full two weeks away from Christmas. You just know that there’s something good in there, the potential is great! Thanks to Trevor Lawrence shining in Doug Pederson’s offense, we’re finally seeing Engram for what he really is. My man is out there running good routes, gaining yards after the catch, after contact, and my favorite, he’s been displaying great hands this season. In the last four games Evan Engram has been on absolute fire, right alongside his quarterback. In that time period, Engram has 40 targets, 31 receptions, 367 yards, and 3 touchdowns. If you picked Engram up as he was trending up, odds are that you were able to ride his performances into your league’s postseason. His output on Thursday night put managers who played him in a great position to win their matchup this week.
New York Giants fans obsessed about every drop Evan Engram had in Jaguars training camp. All he's done since then is make clutch plays and look like the toughest ass-kicker they have in the skill room pic.twitter.com/cCXCDa55fL
— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) December 19, 2022
Dawson Knox- TE, Buffalo Bills
I’ll be the first to admit it. I had all but completely given up on Dawson Knox, he was featured in the trending down section of a couple of these articles this season. I say “all but completely given up” because through his struggles, I did mention him as a Week 14 sleeper, and to his credit, Knox came through with a 4-41-1 stat line. Dawson was able to find the painted area once again last week. He went off for six catches and 98 receiving yards. As Allen has struggled lately to find a consistently reliable receiving option outside of Stefon Diggs, it has been Knox who has to step up. The Bills are in position to claim the one seed. They have the ability to control their destiny. I won’t get into all the scenarios. However, the Bills will be doing what they can to get a win this week and possibly going full force again next week. If the past couple games are any indicator, Knox is trending up and should continue to be leaned on going forward.
Zonovan Knight- RB, New York Jets
The obligatory coal in the stocking this article. With respect to the Christmas spirit, Bam Knight is the only player that I’ll mention who is trending down. It has been an up and down year for the rookie. For starters, hardly a soul knew who he was. Not until lead rookie running back Breece Hall went down. It actually took more than just Hall’s injury. The team opted to trade for James Robinson, started him for about a week, and then put him on ice like a shot of cheap bourbon. Knight’s first three appearances went extremely well. He was given 14 carries in his first career game, which he took for 69 yards. The next week he was given one more and took those 15 carries for 90 yards. Knight finally found the end zone in Week 14, adding 71 yards on 17 carries. But it has been downhill from there.
Anybody who had the stomach to play Knight on TNF after his 13-23-0 dud against Detroit, God bless you. Had I owned Knight, I probably would have done the same thing. His matchup against Jacksonville was great on paper, as the team normally struggles to stop the rush. It must be the Zach Wilson effect because the offense as a whole takes a step back when he is under center. Fortunately, after the offense finally got moving behind Chris Streveler, I doubt we ever see Zach Wilson suit up for the Jets again this season.