Week 13 is nearing its completion, meaning most leagues have playoff brackets set in preparation for Week 14. If your team was one of the last teams to make the playoffs, you most likely have a very important game this coming week. Below are five players I’d consider adding to teams for first-round fantasy football playoff matchups.

QB Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers

Gabbert, the former 2011 first-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars who never really lived up to the hype and expectations, has now taken over the starting job in San Francisco after the 49ers lost Colin Kaepernick for the season due to injury. It’s quite ironic, since Gabbert was selected 26 picks ahead of Kaepernick in the 2011 draft. Since taking over the starting job in Week 9, Gabbert has been a pleasant surprise. Overall, he has completed 63% of his passes, and thrown for five touchdowns and only three interceptions. In an impressive Week 13 overtime win in Chicago, in which Gabbert threw a game-winning 71-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith, Gabbert threw for 196 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, he rushed for 75 yards on six carries, which also included a 44-yard rushing touchdown. The 49ers have a favorable matchup next week in Cleveland.

RB Chris Polk, Houston Texans

With star running back Arian Foster out for the remainder of the season, the Texans may turn to Polk to lead the charge in their running game due to the inconsistency of Alfred Blue. Polk received 12 carries during the Texans’ Week 13 loss to the Bills, which was by far the most carries received by any Texans running back in the game. The 12 carries was Polk’s second largest workload of the season. Moving forward, I also expect Polk to get some looks in the passing game. The Texans are still in the playoff hunt in the AFC, and definitely will look to rely on Polk moving forward. Polk ran for 61 yards on his 12 carries on Sunday, with a long run of 20 yards, and caught one pass for 11 yards, which resulted in a touchdown, his first receiving touchdown of the season.

RB John Crockett, Green Bay Packers

There were very few cheeseheads in the state of Wisconsin that had heard of John Crockett until the second half of this past Thursday’s miraculous come-from-behind victory against the Lions. Crockett, an undrafted rookie out of North Dakota State, was added to the active roster from the practice squad before Thursday’s game after the Packers released Alonzo Harris, who missed curfew on Wednesday night with Eddie Lacy. The Packers are obviously short on reliable receivers this season, which would lead many to think that they should lean more heavily on the running game. But, Lacy has been an absolute disaster this season, battling weight issues, injuries, and now curfew, and backup James Starks has flashed promising signs, but is far too inconsistent. Crockett only rushed for 22 yards in Thursday’s victory, but he sparked a couple of Packer scoring drives early in the third quarter, and may continue to get some looks over the next couple games as the Packers attempt to establish anything on the ground.

WR Cecil Shorts, Houston Texans

Shorts, the former Jaguars receiver, had a big game on Sunday for the Texans, catching six passes for 91 yards. He received ten targets on the afternoon, one more target than stud receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Shorts has battled injuries throughout his entire career, but he looks healthy and has seemed to solidify the #2 or #3 receiver spot on a Texans team that is right in the middle of playoff contention. Brian Hoyer has looked better as of late, and the running game is inexperienced, which means that Shorts, Hopkins, and the rest of the Texans’ receiving corps may get increased targets over the next few weeks. As the targets keep coming in the direction of Shorts, he should have chances at finding the end zone on some long touchdowns moving forward.

WR Dorial Green-Beckham, Tennessee Titans

Green-Beckham, the Titans’ second round pick in this past year’s draft out of Oklahoma, has suddenly become a favorite of Marcus Mariota’s. An injury to top receiver Kendall Wright a few weeks back has led to an increase of targets for Green-Beckham. Now, with Wright having returned from injury, he’s still getting lots of targets, especially seeing as he only caught 14 passes in his first five NFL games. At 6’5”, he is a constant deep-ball threat. In a Week 13 victory against the Jaguars, Green-Beckham recorded his first career 100-yard game, catching five passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was his third of the season. I expect Green-Beckham to be heavily involved in the Titans offense moving forward.


Photo taken by Ben Margot / Associated Press.