We are officially heading down the stretch of the 2012 fantasy football season. Injuries are piling up and rosters are getting changed all over the place, so every fantasy owner will be looking for that dark horse who will be able to lead the team to a title.
The playoff picture is beginning to form, and there are a ton of teams hovering around .500 that are still very much in the running. With injuries and other complications that always start to occur around this time, some less-heralded players are seeing doors open for them.
It's hard to tell which players will take full advantage of opportunities, but that's what I'm going to look at here. These are five dark-horse candidates you want on your fantasy football roster for the rest of the season.
Alexander is another must-add for all leagues. The 6'5" wideout is finally hitting his stride in San Diego, and should continue getting better as he settles in with the Chargers.
He had knee surgery prior to the 2010 NFL draft, which is likely what caused him to go undrafted. He signed with the St. Louis Rams after the draft and played very sparingly, and then effectively disappeared until signing with the Chargers last month.
In Week 10, Alexander had five catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. It could have easily been dismissed as a fluke, until Alexander came back the next game and pulled in seven catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
This kid is the real deal, and could be a huge boost over the rest of the season.
With Maurice Jones-Drew battling a foot injury, Rashad Jennings stood in as the primary backup. But after consecutive games of poor play, Jalen Parmele got his chance last Sunday against the Texans, and made it count.
Parmele took 24 carries and turned it into 80 yards against a very tough Houston defense. The third-year back is relatively unknown, but shows a knack for finding the hole and exploding into the secondary with an impressive tenacity.
With running backs getting banged up more and more over the season, some fantasy owners will be scrambling for a replacement, and Parmele could help you out over the next couple of weeks.
With so much attention on quarterbacks in today's NFL, Andy Dalton still manages to get forgotten. With all the hype surrounding young guys like Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, Dalton slides under the radar.
But there's no denying Dalton's production as of late. He has seven total touchdowns over the past two weeks, and 20 passing touchdowns on the season.
Dalton also has a very favorable schedule remaining. His next four opponents are the Raiders, Chargers, Cowboys and Eagles, so if you're not happy with your current starter, Dalton would be a great substitute.
Edelman is not some new revelation, but it looks like he's finally getting a bigger role in New England's unstoppable offense.
With Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski injured, there's less talent for Tom Brady to spread the ball around for. Wes Welker will continue to see the majority of targets, but Edelman has emerged as the second option for Brady.
Brandon Lloyd hasn't caught on like many thought he would, and Edelman has been getting a lot more snaps than Lloyd. Last week, Edelman had five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown, had one run for 47 yards and also took a punt back for a score.
There's no reason to think Edelman will regress, and as long as the Patriots offense keeps rolling, so will Edelman.
The Broncos starting running back, Willis McGahee, is out for the rest of the regular season after a knee injury he suffered in Week 11.
That opens the door for Ronnie Hillman, who has emerged out of Denver's backups as the go-to guy. The rookie has a lot more speed and quickness than McGahee, and will bring a whole new element to the offense.
He will obviously have a few roadblocks as a rookie, but should also learn and get better over the next few weeks as he gets more experience. Hillman is a must-add if nobody has picked him up already.