This week was by far the least impactful week of the fantasy season. There were basically no injuries on Sunday which may have propelled a player into a role that would garner your attention. That said, I really hope your team is equipped for the stretch run and doesn't have any glaring holes. As I have really been saying for the past three weeks now, it's all about grabbing guys with potential upside. It was indicated in my Rest of the Season Rankings last week and I even touched on it for Week 12 Running Back Rankings (check those out) on guys that are essentially one injury away. For the remaining weeks of the season, Waiver Wire Scoops will focus more on guys with favorable matchups in conjunction with some players that could/have climbed up the depth charts a little bit.
One other thing I just wanted to point out is how Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are both accomplishing such amazing seasons and doing it with different styles. Last night Drew Brees was hitting wide-open guys all night. Brees doesn’t nearly have the velocity on his throws compared to Rodgers and his O-line has given him protection to do what he does best. Brees uses more of his skills at reading the defense and relying on his guys to come open. Sean Payton also deserves a lot of credit for the combination routes the Saints have been using for years.
On the other hand, we’ve never really seen anything like the way Aaron Rodgers is performing right now. As silly as it sounds, Rodgers’ game doesn’t even really require that his guys are open. He is such a gifted thrower of the football that he can just throw the ball into open spots in the coverage even while his target is in blanket coverage. We often use the term "indefensible", but there is absolutely no way one man stop the back-shoulder throw. A defender really can’t even jump the route because the amount of time for him to jump is much greater than the time it takes for the ball to be delivered by A-Rod.Which means if a defender was feeling saucy and jumped it, Rodgers wouldn't throw the back-shoulder and the receiver could adjust his route (or he'll just throw to someone else).
Roy Helu (1)
C.J. Spiller (2)
Peyton Hillis (3)
Toby Gerhart (4)
Maurice Morris (5)
Donald Brown (6)
Shane Vereen (14)
Greg Little (7)
Johnny Knox (8)
Riley Cooper (10)
Doug Baldwin (11)
Jason Avant (15)
Emmanuel Sanders (16)
Brandon LaFell (17)
Golden Tate (19)
Brad Smith (20)
Scott Chandler (21)
Marcedes Lewis (22)
Kevin Kolb- John Skelton has been worse than just about any person could have thought. In his last two games he has six turnovers and as many touchdowns as Kevin Kolb in that span (0). Kolb steps back in to his starting gig and will look to get back on the same page as all-world WR Larry Fitzgerald. His next two matchups are in domes against tough opponents (home vs. Dallas and San Fran), but his two games in the fantasy playoffs (W15 vs. Cleveland and W16 @ Cincy) could provide some dividends as long as he shows some flashes of brilliance in the next two weeks.
Bottom Line: There’s chance he could be like Matt Moore. A QB that has some upside and a nice schedule in the fantasy playoffs.
Vince Young- Young put up 400 yards against the Patriots to show that he has some value as long as he is starting at quarterback for the Eagles. Michael Vick didn’t practice on Tuesday and the Eagles are reportedly going to be cautious with him. They take on the Seahawks on Thursday and there’s a very good chance Young will be at the helm in that game. The Seahawks have big corners that make it tough to run fades and timing routes, but the Eagles O is predicated on long bombs and the speed of their receivers. Young is arguably a top-10 option (assuming Vick is ruled OUT and not as a backup).
Bottom Line: If you’re not confident in your QB, Young could be a nice spot-start. Plus since he plays on Thursday, there’s no risk in taking the wait-and-see approach.
Dan Orlovsky- He gets the Patriots. The Patriots are the worst in the league against the pass. The Colts will have to throw to keep pace. Orlovsky could hit 400 passing yards. Simple logic, right?
Bottom Line: You’d have to be in a two-QB pickle to consider him. It’s also worth noting he probably won’t get pulled in garbage time.
Roy Helu- Helu was ranked 66th for my Rest of the Season Rankings and the unsuspecting fantasy owner found out why. He has used extensively in the passing game and showed his one-cut-and-go style that has helped Denver running backs thrive for years. Looking like a RB2. Hel u.
Bottom Line: Even Roger Mason knows that Helu is a must-own guy (sorry to the non-NBA guys that don't get this reference).
C.J. Spiller- Spiller didn’t exactly put his best foot forward against Rex Ryan with an ugly game of 19 carries for 55 yards and three catches for 15 yards. The Jets did a great job on gap control and kept Spiller contained from breaking loose on the outside. This week he gets the Titans and they’re coming off two consecutive games of allowing 100-yard rushers (Turner and Blount). Spiller is also eligible at WR in some leagues which only adds to his value.
Bottom Line: He’s another must-own RB and don’t let the slow start convince you otherwise.
Peyton Hillis- There’s a good chance that Hillis was scooped up by a proactive owner on Sunday morning once it was announced that he was good to go for the game against the Bengals. He had 19 carries, so the possibility of him being featured is very real. He gets the tougher draws over the next two weeks by facing the Ravens and Steelers in back-to-back weeks. Things get brighter against the Cardinals in Week 15 though.
Bottom Line: Even with the Madden Curse, He’s definitely worth owning.
Toby Gerhart- Gerhart did hit paydirt on Sunday and got 17 carries for 44 yards. Yes, that’s a disgusting 2.6 YPC. He does get a bit of a reprieve since the Falcons are second against the run this year. The Vikings get much friendlier matchups against the Broncos and Suh-less Lions over the next two.
Bottom Line: AD might make it back, but Gerhart’s schedule makes him worth owning in just about all 12-team leagues.
Maurice Morris- Kevin Smith didn’t practice Tuesday and calling him a game-time decision is a bit optimistic given his injury history. Morris caught an incredible nine passes on Thanksgiving and also toted the rock seven times. The Lions will need a lot of offense on Sunday Night Football against the Saints and Morris has some nice upside this week considering the way the Lions used him in the passing game.
Bottom Line: He’s a guy worth grabbing and at least he’s playing much better than Keiland Williams now.
Donald Brown- One of the most interesting things I discovered was the distribution of the snap count of the Colt running backs: Brown had 44, Joe Addai had 11 and rookie Delone Carter had as many as Edgerrin James. Brown had 14 carries for 80 yards and a TD and is also used on some passing downs. He’s actually a nice flex play this week.
Bottom Line: He is now the starter and that’s something that has value in all leagues. Even if you can’t use him, don’t let his opponent have him.
Shane Vereen- You think there’s going to be garbage time on Sunday against the Colts? Umm, yeah. Vereen is the man when the game’s not on the line and got 15 carries in his last two games combined. You’d have to be really, really desperate to start him.
Bottom Line: The Pats have one of the cloudiest backfields in the league. He’s worth a shot in the dark in deep leagues.
Greg Little- Little had a case of the drop on Sunday, but he was targeted a whopping 13 times. Little has probably been in Waiver Wire Scoops just about every week because I refuse to believe he will not have a WR3-type finish. He and Colt McCoy are getting more into a rhythm and Little has emerged as the go-to guy. The Browns will likely be forced to throw the rock against the Ravens and Steelers.
Bottom Line: Little is the WR1 on a team that will need to pass, he’s getting targets and is on the upswing. He should be owned in most leagues.
Johnny Knox- All that Earl Bennett hype has completely transferred over to Knox. Knox was a yards-per-catch machine with four catches for 145 yards. Knox was also targeted 10 times in this game and many of them were of the bomb variety. He gets KC this week and he probably won’t be seeing too much of Brandon Flowers since he lines up all over the field.
Bottom Line: It could be something. It could be nothing. 10 targets and 145 yards should make you at least not what to see your opponent have him in the playoffs.
Doug Baldwin –Sidney Rice only saw 23 of the 62 snaps on offense. It’s not clear if it’s because of his knee, either way though he is not a big enough part of the offense to be a reliable fantasy option. Meanwhile, Doug Baldwin lead the receivers with 39 snaps and is starting to show he is better in run blocking. The Stanford alum also got a team-high 10 targets and brought in five of them. Baldwin was a hot acquisition earlier in the year and he could be on the road back to relevance.
Bottom Line: I’ll need another game where he’s targeted a bunch, but if you’re in a competitive league, next week might be too late to grab him.
UPDATE: Sidney Rice has been ruled out. This helps the case of Seattle wide receivers.
Jason Avant- Care to guess who led the league in targets last week? OK. Maybe writing that question in a section about Jason Avant makes it too easy. The U of M product was targeted 14 times in the loss to New England. Avant is used in the slot a ton and chances are the only games where he will be useful will be against the high-powered teams. He’s not a guy I would start in most leagues this week.
Bottom Line: Avant is really only a guy I would consider in deeper PPR leagues.
Riley Cooper – Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper had a big play to start the game on Sunday with a 58-yard bomb. He didn’t do much else though. Jeremy Maclin could be back as well for Thursday’s game, which will eliminate all of his value.
Bottom Line: Deep leagues need only apply.
Brandon LaFell- LaFell didn’t get a huge opportunity to show what he can do on Sunday since Legedu Naanee was active with his Achilles injury. However, there’s a good chance that Naanee’s injury acts up again and he could miss a game or two. LaFell did get six targets and I wouldn’t be too shocked if the Panthers announced that he is taking over as the starter next to Steve Smith.
Bottom Line: The Panthers can move the ball and pass a lot. There’s some upside here.
Golden Tate- Pete Carroll said he hopes to use more of Golden Tate. He scored on Sunday, so that’s enough reason to at least put him on your radar.
UPDATE: Sidney Rice has been ruled out. This helps the case of Seattle wide receivers.
Brad Smith- Smith found himself on the field quite a bit against the Jets. Was it because he knows them better than any other player on his team? Probably. However, the Bills are really depleted at receiver and their defense will force the Bills’ hand in going pass-heavy in the second half. You could do worse.
Scott Chandler- You might be surprised to know that Scott Chandler lead all of the offensive weapons in snaps for the Bills on Sunday. Chandler averaged under 35 snaps per game and saw 70 against the Jets. I didn’t like him earlier in the year, but I like him a bit now. Chandler also caught six of his seven targets for 50 yards and is a red-zone favorite of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Marcedes Lewis- The UCLA guy had a drop that was about as embarrassing as the loss the Bruins. He was wide open and dropped a soft pass from Blaine Gabbert. On the bright side, Lewis saw 12 targets and 65 snaps. The Jags are a joke on offense and Lewis is just a desperation attempt in two-TE leagues.
Thanks for reading and post your fantasy questions below or send them to me on Twitter.