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Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
There are three things you can almost universally count on in fantasy football: Christian McCaffrey (when healthy), one crushing injury per season, and bye weeks coming at the most inconvenient times.
If you’ve rostered any players from the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense, the latter applies to you this week. Patrick Mahomes, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are each in the top-11 of their individual position rankings, and as the playoff push winds up in fantasy leagues, being without one of them—but especially if you have multiple rostered—could be a devastating blow. Also on a bye this week are the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, and Los Angeles Chargers, so say goodbye (for now) to Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Justin Herbert, and Keenan Allen. If we’re being honest, you won’t desperately miss anyone from the Cowboys roster this week.
Here are five players heating up at just the right time for your late-season run.
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John Bazemore/Associated Press
Very few quarterbacks have been as boom-or-bust as Drew Lock this season. In weeks 6 and 7, he didn’t record a passing touchdown and threw two interceptions in each contest. Over the past two weeks, he’s rolled up nearly 280 passing yards per game, thrown for five touchdowns, and run for another.
He does seem to be developing a nice connection with his skill group, hitting eight different receivers in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta. And he’ll get a favorable matchup week against Las Vegas’ mediocre pass defense. The Raiders have allowed the seventh-most passing yards in the league this season, and they rank in the bottom-five in interceptions. If Lock can avoid some of the bad throws that plagued him earlier this season, he could be a strong streaming option if your starter is out this week.
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Bill Kostroun/Associated Press
After posting a handful of decent games earlier this year, McKissic had his best performance of the season Sunday against the Giants. Despite a gruesome injury to quarterback Kyle Allen and a rather inept surrounding cast, McKissic became one of Alex’s Smith’s favorite targets and totaled as many targets (14) as Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas combined. Washington now faces a Detroit defense that has been among the league’s worst in yards allowed.
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Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press
Following an underwhelming performance in his NFL debut against the Rams two weeks ago, Tagovailoa might have just had his coming-out party in a win over the Cardinals. His 248 passing yards, two touchdowns, and 35 added rushing yards make him a really intriguing streaming option, especially against a Chargers defense that has struggled recently. Los Angeles’ defense has now given up an average of 30 points over its last four games, so if Tua can repeat this past week’s performance, he’s a possible fill-in.
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Brynn Anderson/Associated Press
After coming back from injury and finally breaking into the Broncos’ two-deep, Hamler has had two consecutive productive games, including Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, where he caught six passes for 75 yards and carried the ball once for another 15 yards. This week’s matchup pits Denver against an abysmal Raiders’ defense that has allowed 30 or more points five times this season and has recorded just two sacks since Week 5.
Hamler is a bit of a risky play not being a No. 1 or No. 2 option, but he has a high upside as his rapport with Drew Lock continues to develop.
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Orlin Wagner/Associated Press
After a slow start to the season—partly due to his lack of usage in the Panthers’ offense—Samuel has become a dominant fantasy force over the past few weeks. He’s racked up four touchdowns in Carolina’s past three games, and Christian McCaffrey’s return in Week 9 didn’t seem to have any negative impact on his production. If anything, defenses are likely to focus even more of their attention on McCaffrey now, which should open up potential big plays from Samuel and Teddy Bridgewater.