It's lucky Week 13 of the 2012 fantasy football campaign, and this weekend's full slate of action will bring with it the end of the regular season in many fantasy football leagues.
For a large number of fantasy squads, that makes this week's goal simple. Win, and it's on to the playoffs with a shot at your league's championship.
Lose, and at least you'll have additional free time to concentrate on that delightful Christmas shopping trip to the mall with the wife.
However, more than a few of those teams also face the unenviable task of trying to fight an uphill battle against an opponent that appears to have a decided advantage, whether that's due to injuries or just the luck of the draw.
For those players, it's essential that they find some under-the-radar Week 13 fantasy plays capable of posting big numbers, and here's a trio of players who may do just that.
Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (at BUF)
It says just about everything you need to know about a season when it's Week 12 and a team is still searching for their first home victory of the year, but that's exactly the situation the Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves in entering last week's matchup with the Tennessee Titans.
With that said, the Jaguars are searching no more.
Fifth-year pro Chad Henne, who came on in place of an injured Blaine Gabbert the week before, led the team to a 24-19 victory.
After the game, head coach Mike Mularkey was singing Henne's praises, according to Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union.
“I thought it was very gutsy the way he played with the number of sacks that he got,” Mularkey said of Henne. “He got hit on the first play when they jumped offsides and clearly was not a fair shot to hit an unprotected quarterback, and he stayed in the pocket, and he made some throws.”
Over the past two games, Henne has averaged over 300 yards a contest, with six touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of over 100.
Fantasy owners searching for a spark under center should strongly consider Henne, who's heading into a top 10 fantasy matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals (at NYJ)
In the midst of a seven-game losing streak in which very little has gone right, the Arizona Cardinals at least got a glimmer of good news last week.
Running back Beanie Wells returned to action after missing seven weeks with a toe injury.
Although he showed some rust, the fourth-year pro ran hard in a loss to the St. Louis Rams, gaining 48 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns.
Wells told Pat Marrujo of Arizona Sports afterward that it just felt good to get back on the field.
"I felt good. I don't think I was winded at all," Wells said. "It was just a matter of getting my football feet back underneath me. I haven't played in two months, so I was super excited to get back out there and sometimes I was going a little too quick,"
Most importantly, Wells made it through the game without experiencing a setback with his foot.
This should portend a full workload this week against a New York Jets team that's allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2012.
Ryan Broyles, WR, Detroit Lions (vs. IND)
As if the 4-7 Detroit Lions didn't have enough problems, a lack of discipline among the players has once again become an issue for the team.
Wide receiver Titus Young was benched in last week's matchup with the Houston Texans after Young was sent home from practice earlier in the week.
Young's absence thrust rookie Ryan Broyles into the starting lineup for the Lions, and after racking up six catches for 126 yards in the loss, fellow wideout Calvin Johnson gave the young Broyles some props, according to Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press.
"I'm not going to say it was due to Titus not being around, but it was nice to get some new playmakers in there and the guys made plays when they had the opportunity," receiver Calvin Johnson said. "Ryan kept stepping up, got Mike in there, so we're going to keep on progressing, put it like that, with the new guys we got out there at the receiver group and make plays for Matt and get some wins."
Given how well Broyles played, it's unlikely that the Detroit coaching staff is in any sort of hurry to put Young back on the field.
That should translate into additional targets and opportunities for fantasy production for Broyles in a very favorable Week 13 fantasy matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
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