Fantasy Football: Holiday Bargains Heading into Week 12
With fantasy leagues approaching the playoffs in the next few weeks, fantasy owners need to start adding depth to their squads.
This list looks at low-stock players who will be very good in the long haul. Eleven weeks of battling, injuries and player performance have altered depth charts heading into Week 12.
The players on this list have a holiday bargain as their production is bound to improve. Follow this list closely and these players might be the difference in your fantasy playoff run.
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Danario Alexander gets lost in the name game for fantasy owners. Malcom Floyd is the No. 1 receiver. Robert Meachem signed a hefty contract with the San Diego Chargers this past offseason. Even Antonio Gates would get looks before Alexander, if the name game is played.
However, you are a smarter fantasy owner than those who get lured into familiar faces. The desperate Chargers are in playoff mode now. They need to win games, they need to score points. This will lead to San Diego and Philip Rivers airing it out to score points and win games, and their most productive weapon is relatively unknown.
In his past three games, he has recorded 15 receptions for 291 yards and three touchdowns. He has only played in one other game for the Chargers, recording no stats, after being signed mid-season. He followed up a Week 9 five-catch, 134 yard and one touchdown game with a seven catch, 96 yard and two score performance in Week 10.
With more passes bound to be thrown in San Diego, Alexander is a must-add. He followed up a solid game with another strong performance, proving he will play a big role in the Chargers' offense. Add him now before his stock goes through the roof.
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With Cedric Benson out and Alex Green rather unproductive, running back James Starks is starting to look like the player that was a major factor in Green Bay's 2010 Super Bowl run.
Starks has only one career touchdown in the regular season, 20 games in all, and has never been as productive as fantasy owners have expected. However, his role has grown in recent weeks and the injuries to the Packers' receiving core makes Starks an attractive option down the stretch.
In Week 9, Starks carried the ball 17 times for 61 yards. In Week 11, after Green Bay's bye, Starks had 26 touches for 80 yards. While his production hasn't exactly been electric, the fact is that he is getting a fair share of touches.
The Packers figure to keep Aaron Rodgers healthy as the season winds down, resulting in Starks seeing a decent workload. All of his touches will eventually result in some nice stat lines, so add Starks now before his production is too significant for him to go unnoticed.
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Riley Cooper is a tough football player who makes catches in traffic and scores in critical situations. Though he is out-shadowed by the likes of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, Cooper is deserving of a roster look heading into Week 12.
Over the past two weeks, Cooper has a combined seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. He plays physical football and has seen more snaps, which will lead to more production.
The Eagles are a complete mess right now and LeSean McCoy is currently concussed. The Eagles want to see what they have in Nick Foles, making the passing game likely to dominate in Week 12. While Cooper isn't guaranteed to have a fantastic week, chances are he will continue to see an increasing number of footballs thrown his way.
Take a chance on Cooper and his increasing production might put your fantasy team over the edge heading down the stretch.
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The Denver Broncos made Ronnie Hillman the 67th pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, snagging him in the 3rd round of April's draft. He wasn't drafted that high to sit, and with Willis McGahee's injury, Hillman has a perfect opportunity to prove his worth.
Over the course of this season, Hillman has played in eight games. His stat line has looked rather average, with 49 carries for 188 yards and a touchdown. Now that he is in a larger role with more carries inevitably on the way, his production is quickly on the rise.
Peyton Manning has always had quality running backs throughout his career. The transition to Hillman should be painless for Manning and Hillman will prove his worth as a legitimate NFL starter. Grab him now before he explodes and when his stock is relatively low.
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Ryan Broyles has a prime opportunity to be a threat in the Detroit Lions' offense.
Nate Burleson is injured and out for the season. Calvin Johnson attracts a lot of double teams and a lot of coverage. Titus Young is back in the doghouse and grinding the nerves of Lion coaches. All of this adds up to a bigger role for the rookie Broyles in an offense that loves to air-it-out.
On the season, Broyles has only 15 receptions for 181 yards and two scores. However, his path to the top of the depth chart got a lot easier with an injury and a distraction, and Broyles should be ready to go.
The Lions need to win the majority of their games to stay in the playoff hunt, meaning Matthew Stafford will be throwing a lot. Broyles will be starting in Week 12 and will be one of the few targets for Stafford. Add him now before his stat line makes him a must-add for everyone else.
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Cecil Shorts will be overlooked again heading into Week 12. Teammate Justin Blackmon went off for a seven catch, 236 yard and one touchdown performance in Week 11. However, Shorts is the Jacksonville receiver you want to add heading into Week 12.
In Weeks 9 and 10, Blackmon had a combined eight catches for 57 yards. In that same three week span, Shorts recorded 12 catches for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Subtract last week's game and Shorts had nine catches for 161 yards and a score in Weeks 9 and 10.
Blackmon finally had one good week, a great week, but Shorts has been consistent all year long. With Maurice Jones-Drew's absence and the emergence of Chad Henne, the passing game will continue to be a factor in Jacksonville.
Let the other fantasy owners drool over Blackmon's potential and let them fall in love with his one-week-wonder. Shorts has been making plays week in and week out and is deserving of a fantasy spot as Henne heats up.