Until Colin Kaepernick’s Monday night performance, it had been a while since we’ve seen a quarterback break out with promise to provide start-worthy production for fantasy owners.
While Kaepernick has a matchup that suggests he should be a top-12 option this week in New Orleans, we still have to find out if Alex Smith will keep his starting job upon gaining clearance (if that happens this week at all) from his concussion symptoms later in the week.
Along with Kaepernick, here's my list of waiver-wire pickups for Week 12.
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
We may not know if Kaepernick will get the official start against the Saints until the weekend, but I have to imagine the 49ers will stick with Alex Smith when healthy. However, with the way concussions are handled today, it could be a few more weeks before Smith gets his job back, and that would mean Kaepernick would make for an attractive play against the Saints.
If anything, Kaepernick has proven to be worthy of stashing on your bench. If he should win a starting job or if Smith goes down with another injury, he could be a weekly play down the stretch.
The second-year quarterback gives the 49ers the ability to use all parts of the field, and his ability in the running game is attractive for fantasy leagues as well.
Jaguars QB Chad Henne
I have a feeling the Jaguars' high-flying act won’t be going away anytime soon. Don’t expect the type of production we saw from Henne in Houston on a weekly basis, but Jacksonville has little to lose.
The book on Jacksonville is to focus on the running and short-passing games, but with Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts emerging as big-play threats, the Jaguars could have themselves a prosperous second half of the season through the air.
With the bye weeks out of the way, Henne is nothing more than a backup on your bench or an emergency pickup off the waiver wire. Still, he’s worth paying attention to after his impressive performance in Week 11.
Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman
Both Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno will chip in for the Broncos ground game, but expect Ronnie Hillman to see the majority of the work. After a successful conversion inside the 5-yard line for a score a few weeks ago, let’s cross our fingers that Hillman takes over as the red-zone back.
Not the biggest runner, Hillman may always have an uphill battle winning short-yardage duties, but he has the skills to take the job over the talent he has around him. His big-play ability makes him a weekly RB2 or at least a solid flex play down the stretch.
Eagles RB Bryce Brown
There’s a reason LeSean McCoy was losing snaps to Brown over the past three weeks. That reason is because Brown is playing well and has earned more time on the field.
The rookie can provide fantasy owners with RB2 fantasy value if McCoy should miss time as he recovers from a concussion.
If I were a betting man, I would bank on McCoy missing time this week, as the Eagles are 3-7 with little to play for and with a coaching staff on the way out.
McCoy is a big part of the Eagles future, and this is a perfect time to get a close look at what Brown can do to determine if he should be the No. 2 back on the Eagles depth chart in the future.
Jaguars RB Jalen Parmele
With all the talk about the Jaguars' high-flying act last week, Jalen Parmele’s promotion to the starting lineup may be overlooked by many fantasy owners. With the ineffective play of Rashad Jennings over the past month, Jacksonville made a change to Parmele, and the veteran carried the football 24 times for 80 yards against the Texans defense.
That may not seem like a big deal to get excited about, but anytime we have a running back taking on a feature role in the NFL today, we need to pay attention. When you also factor in the fact that Houston is one of the better run defenses in football, totaling 80 yards isn’t all that bad.
Expect bigger numbers from Parmele this week as the Jaguars return home and play against the Titans' suspect run defense.
Cardinals RB Beanie Wells
The veteran is expected back this week, and we should anticipate Wells taking on a full load despite the production of LaRod Stephens-Howling last week. Stephens-Howling will get some work, but the Cardinals need Wells to lead the running game down the stretch.
Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon
Blackmon was active in the Jaguars offense for a few weeks heading up to his explosion against the Texans. It was an impressive game that put the former first-round pick from last spring's draft on fantasy managers' radars.
As I wrote above regarding Chad Henne, don’t be surprised if the Jaguars continue to put the football up throughout the second half.
This team has a few talented young receivers, and they desperately need to develop the passing game and allow these receivers to spread their wings. Blackmon should be a WR3 this coming week and is worth rostering the rest of the way.
Colts WR T.Y. Hilton
We should expect up-and-down numbers form Hilton going forward, but in deeper leagues, he’s probably worth the gamble of putting in your lineup weekly.
Veteran Reggie Wayne will remain as the top possession receiver and should lead the team in targets most weeks.
Patriots WR Julian Edelman
Edelman took over for Brandon Lloyd in two-receiver sets last week, but I want to see him hold onto that job on Thursday before I’m convinced that he’s essentially won a starting job.
Because Lloyd has been listed as questionable heading into recent games, the devil's advocate in me seems to think Bill Belichick was limiting Lloyd’s snap count on Sunday to get him ready for a normal workload against the Patriots' division rivals (Jets) on Thanksgiving.
Time will tell, but Edelman is worth adding to your roster at this point.