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Week 12 Waiver Wire: Top Pickups

Eric MackFantasy Football Lead WriterNovember 19, 2013

Week 12 Waiver Wire: Top Pickups

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    You might have missed the boat on Bobby Rainey a week ago, but you can't ignore him now.
    You might have missed the boat on Bobby Rainey a week ago, but you can't ignore him now.Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    There are just a couple of weeks left in the fantasy regular season, so you are running out of time to set your roster up for postseason dominance. There is still a full complement of fantasy folks competing for the waiver-wire commodities, so analyzing the true long-term potential of this week's options is more important than merely jumping on the hot hand.

    In the cases of Bobby Rainey and the upstart Cardinals like Carson Palmer, Michael Floyd and Rob Housler, they are hot in the short term and still worthy additions for the long haul.

    We break down the players to add, monitor and completely ignore position by position every Tuesday of the season in this six-part slideshow.

Quarterbacks: Carson Palmer Finally Making Good on His Potential in Arizona

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    For the second consecutive week, we feel inclined to say Carson Palmer can point you to a fantasy victory.
    For the second consecutive week, we feel inclined to say Carson Palmer can point you to a fantasy victory.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Quarterbacks to Add

    Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

    You had to love his matchup this past Sunday against the Jags, but you can still like the one on tap against the Colts, especially at home. We should expect Andrew Luck and the Colts to push the pace a bit and allow Palmer to have another 300- to 400-yard passing day with a pair of touchdowns or more. Palmer is an outstanding bye-week replacement if you have counted on Russell Wilson, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton or EJ Manuel.


    Josh McCown, Chicago Bears

    With news Jay Cutler (ankle) has serious damage to recover from, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune, McCown is going to get some games here to help out needy fantasy owners. The Bears have a potentially potent offense and enough targets to make McCown a serious consideration as a starter in deeper leagues.


    Quarterbacks to Monitor

    Case Keenum, Houston Texans

    Despite Keenum being benched in the third quarter Sunday, the Texans announced Monday via Twitter that he will be the starter against the lowly Jaguars. The problem is the potential for another hook again. The bet here is the Texans have officially written off their season now, though, and will be playing to evaluate Keenum for the future now. Matt Schaub is done in Houston and in fantasy terms.


    EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills

    He is going to be an interesting player to watch down the stretch, especially for fantasy 2014, but he is heading to his bye week finally. Manuel dissected a pretty good Jets defense, but he still doesn't figure to significantly impact fantasy outside of deeper leagues the rest of this season. His future clearly looks bright, though.


    Quarterbacks to Ignore

    Matthew McGloin, Oakland Raiders

    Before you go picking up McGloin for your fantasy owner, know that he went undrafted this April and had to walk on at Penn State. No one has liked this guy enough at every step of his career. Now, the Raiders do like him quite a bit, but this is the Raiders we are talking about here. The odds of McGloin proving to be as good as his Sunday form again is quite low. It still isn't out of the question the Raiders go back to Terrelle Pryor either.


    Scott Tolzien, Green Bay Packers

    Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweeted Monday night Tolzien will get another start in Week 12 in place of Aaron Rodgers (shoulder). His three-interception performance this past Sunday shouldn't excite you enough to trust him, even against the lowly Vikings.

Running Backs: Backups Are Becoming Sudden Fantasy Stars Here

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    Running Backs to Add

    Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    We blew it last week, suggesting Brian Leonard would be the new feature back for the Bucs. It was going to be a timeshare with the hot hand getting the bulk of the carries. Well, Rainey's hand wasn't just hot Sunday, it was scorching. He rushed for 163 yards and scored three touchdowns (one via the pass) to lead the scoring at the position. Available in almost 40 percent of CBS Sports leagues, he clearly is the must-add of the week.


    Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts

    Brown's ownership percentage is equal to that of Rainey, and his production almost was too. As we outlined in Bleacher Report's Top Takeaways from last week, Trent Richardson is still going to get his carries, but Brown has earned status as a starting option for fantasy owners. The Cardinals, Brown's Week 12 opponents, have the second-best run defense in football, but he is just too hot to ignore any longer, especially if you have been relying on Richardson and hoping for a turnaround.


    Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns

    Boy, do the Browns look misguided for letting Rainey walk earlier this season. Willis McGahee has proven incapable of being a feature back, and most of the Browns' production from the position is coming from Ogbonnaya now. Ogbonnaya is a solid addition in the 65 percent of CBS Sports leagues where he is available, especially with a matchup against the Steelers looming. Pittsburgh is in the bottom 10 of fantasy against running backs.


    Running Backs to Monitor

    Montee Ball, Denver Broncos

    The rookie nearly fumbled away his big opportunity to help fantasy owners down the stretch, but the Broncos stuck with him, and he came through with two touchdowns. Ball is available in over 55 percent of fantasy leagues, and it should only be a matter of time before the oft-hurt Knowshon Moreno comes down with an injury. Ball is an important handcuff for all Moreno owners and a potential flex option when the matchup is right—like Week 12 at New England.


    Antone Smith, Atlanta Falcons

    The seldom-used reserve will get more touches coming off his two carries for 88 yards and a touchdown in mop-up duty Sunday, but we still have to rate him as a fourth-best Falcons running back—a team that is not exactly a destination for reliable fantasy options. Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers and perhaps even Jason Snelling will get opportunities still, but Smith's big plays make him an intriguing option amid the struggles the Falcons have had running the ball this season.


    Running Backs to Ignore

    Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens

    So much for Pierce becoming a potential starter over Ray Rice in Baltimore. The Ravens got their star going and couldn't get Pierce started against the 31st-ranked Bears run defense. Pierce was going to be a sleeper, but now he's merely insurance for Rice owners. You absolutely cannot consider Pierce against the Jets' No. 1-ranked run defense next Sunday.


    Darrel Young, Washington Redskins

    He had disappeared after this three-touchdown performance two weeks ago, but he rose back onto the fantasy radar with a 62-yard touchdown reception. We will go back to saying the same thing with Young: He's behind Alfred Morris and Roy Helu in the pecking order, so not quite fantasy-worthy week to week.

Wide Receivers: Reserves Like Michael Floyd Have Emerged as Sought-After Options

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Wide Receivers to Add

    Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

    Available in 38 percent of CBS Sports leagues, Floyd has emerged as a viable second target for Carson Palmer when coverage is paying too much attention to Larry Fitzgerald. The second-year receiver enjoyed the best game of his career and has put a good distance between himself and Andre Roberts in the Cardinals pecking order. Floyd is a decent third receiver option in what could be a shootout against the Colts and Andrew Luck next week.


    Jerricho Cotchery, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Ben Roethlisberger is hot right now, and he has made Cotchery a consistent threat to score week to week. Cotchery has five touchdowns in the past three games and the Steelers are facing the Browns and Joe Haden in Week 12. We should expect Haden to be matched up with Antonio Brown, which can make Cotchery a favorite target of Big Ben next Sunday.


    Santonio Holmes, New York Jets

    That was a dreadful performance by the Jets in Buffalo, but Holmes has proven healthy and can be a productive target for Geno Smith down the stretch. It is rare to find a team's No. 1 receiver available in 70 percent of leagues like Holmes is in CBS Sports games.


    Rueben Randle, New York Giants

    Because he is technically the Giants' third receiver, Randle is still available in 20 percent of CBS Sports leagues. No one should feel confident in Hakeem Nicks at this point, though. Randle is Eli Manning's No. 2 in fantasy terms. You have to love the matchup in Week 12 against Dallas, which is dead last against the pass.


    Wide Receivers to Monitor

    Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

    Crabtree (Achilles) is "close" to playing, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, so you have to stash him in the near term. Like Percy Harvin and Mario Manningham before him, though, you shouldn't expect much in the way of immediate production. However, Crabtree's return could be enough to salvage Colin Kaepernick's season down the stretch.


    Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions

    A broken arm has ruined Burleson's season, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets it is possible he returns to action in Week 12. Matthew Stafford could use a reliable veteran alternative to the heavily targeted Calvin Johnson down the stretch, so Burleson could prove useful in deeper leagues. That is a pass-friendly offense.


    Rishard Matthews, Miami Dolphins

    His encore wasn't great, but Matthews has to be considered the closest thing Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins have to a go-to receiver. The problem is a tough Panthers defense is next up on the schedule.


    Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders

    With Denarius Moore (shoulder) not 100 percent and Matt McGloin showing a lot of juice even in a tough matchup, you have to like Streater's potential to help fantasy owners going forward. The Titans matchup in Week 12, though, is unfavorable. The Titans are the No. 1 team in fantasy against wide receivers.


    Wide Receivers to Ignore

    Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham, Buffalo Bills

    With Stevie Johnson (groin) and Robert Woods (ankle) out against the Jets, the rookie Goodwin and second-year man Graham stepped forward as EJ Manuel's go-to men. It sets them up for the future, perhaps, but their immediate fantasy values are low. First, the Bills are headed for their bye week. Second, Johnson and Woods are ahead of Goodwin and Graham when healthy. They are mere keeper-league options coming off their big games Sunday.


    Jarius Wright, Minnesota Vikings

    Wright got some more time and targets in place of Greg Jennings (Achilles), and he came through with a pair of touchdown receptions. You cannot bank on those in future weeks, regardless of what waiver-fodder quarterback the Vikings go with down the stretch. Jerome Simpson and Jennings owners know this firsthand.

Tight Ends: Rob Housler Yet Another Cards Sleeper to Consider off Waivers Here

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    Rob Housler's athleticism and the Cards' offensive punch make him an ideal fill-in if you need a tight end now.
    Rob Housler's athleticism and the Cards' offensive punch make him an ideal fill-in if you need a tight end now.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Tight Ends to Add

    Rob Housler, Arizona Cardinals

    There are more productive options available on the fantasy waiver wire than Housler, but the emerging threat has put together two solid games in a row and has his arrow definitively pointing up. The third-year tight end is a poor man's Coby Fleener and someone we expect to be considered a legit top-12 fantasy tight end before this season is through.


    Garrett Graham, Houston Texans

    He got off to a great start this season, stealing touchdowns and fantasy points from Owen Daniels (leg), but he really didn't score his own fantasy points as his team's clear No. 1 tight end until Week 11. His seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown set him up for a big finish in fantasy crunch time, though.


    Tight Ends to Monitor

    Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

    He has become a focal point of the Titans offense of late, reeling in 10 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Colts and scoring in back-to-back weeks. We still see him out of the top 12-15 tight ends in fantasy, so we will put him down as one to monitor in case you develop a need at the position. At this time of year, though, you should have decent options available to you, including those two above.


    Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins

    Here is another tight end in that Walker group. He has enjoyed some productive weeks in fantasy, but the consistency is not there, and the overall productivity of his team's offense isn't either. You can start Clay out of need in standard leagues, but you just cannot count on him for numbers like he posted in Week 11.


    Tight Ends to Ignore

    Mychal Rivera, Oakland Raiders

    The rookie has a decent future for fantasy owners, but like we said with Walker and Clay, his offense and quarterback play just aren't consistent enough to trust on a regular basis in fantasy. His five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown with Matt McGloin as the quarterback can make him intriguing going forward, though, especially if McGloin proves to be more than a one-week wonder and the Raiders stick with him.


    Danny Noble, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Here is this week's biggest "that helps no one." The Toledo product reeled in his first NFL catch, and it just happened to be a huge one—a 62-yard touchdown. The fantasy stretch run is not a time to be banking on a player making the first catch of his career, though.

Defense/Special Teams: Rams Are Streaming Play of the Week Coming off a Bye

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    Playmakers and sack masters like Chris Long make the Rams defense an undervalued commodity in fantasy.
    Playmakers and sack masters like Chris Long make the Rams defense an undervalued commodity in fantasy.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Defense/Special Teams to Add

    St. Louis Rams

    This didn't do a thing for fantasy owners last week, but the Rams have shown a lot more juice from midseason on defensively. They can get after the quarterback and create turnovers, and they draw the Bears at home with Josh McCown still under center with Jay Cutler (ankle/groin) out. The Rams are the streaming play of the week.


    Houston Texans

    A once proud defense was ripped by the Raiders at home last week, but there is still hope for J.J. Watt and company. The lowly Jaguars come to town, and they have been the fourth-worst team in fantasy against defenses this season. Give the Texans one last chance here.


    Defense/Special Teams to Monitor

    Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks

    They are not available in your league going into waivers, but there is a small chance they are available coming out of them. These two stout units are heading for their bye, so some desperate teams struggling to get into the fantasy postseason might be inclined to cut them for Week 12 help. You have to pick them up in that event.


    New York Giants

    Riddle us still skeptical of this four-game Giants win streak, but it has coincided with an offensive turnaround and the addition of middle linebacker Jon Beason. It sets this unit up to potentially help fantasy owners down the stretch, but we would not consider it a choice unit this week against the Cowboys. Dallas is the No. 1 team in fantasy against opposing defenses.


    Defense/Special Teams to Ignore

    Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles

    We admit we blew it on not advising you to use the Bills against the Jets in Week 11, but now the Bills (and Eagles) head to a bye, and there is no reason to burn a reserve spot on your fantasy roster for fringe units such as these.


    San Diego Chargers

    They were one of fantasy's most productive units a year ago, and they scored in double digits in standard leagues in Week 11, but the Chiefs are up next. Not only is Kansas City coming off a loss, but it also has been the third-toughest team in fantasy against defenses. 

Kickers: Dan Bailey and Greg Zuerlein Are Worthy Adds Coming Off Their Bye

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    Dan Bailey was one of fantasy's most productive kickers in the first half and he might be available off bye now.
    Dan Bailey was one of fantasy's most productive kickers in the first half and he might be available off bye now.Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Kickers to Add

    Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys

    He is coming off his bye, so one of fantasy's most productive kickers is likely available to you off waivers. The Cowboys have a potent offense, and Bailey is one of the kickers you can trust down the stretch regardless of the matchup.


    Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams

    If you like kickers who kick in domes with strong legs and a shaky quarterback in the red zone, you have to like Zuerlein. While his second season has been less impressive than his first, he can finish strong for fantasy owners. It certainly helps that the Bears, the Rams' Week 12 opponent, are the seventh-worst team in fantasy against kickers this season.


    Kickers to Monitor

    Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks

    He has the most points among kickers this season, but he stands to be cut in leagues while he is on his bye this week. If you like following the minutiae of the position, Hauschka will be a must-start kicker in all leagues regardless of the matchup after Week 12. Watch him for potentially getting cut.


    Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals

    He has toiled mostly at the fringe or below of the top fantasy options at the position, but you have to like the Bengals offense and defense getting Nugent in position to score down the stretch. Don't bother with him while on his Week 12 bye, though.


    Kickers to Ignore

    Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles

    He has been useful in spurts in fantasy, but the Eagles are on bye in Week 12, and Henery hasn't been consistently among the top 10 to worry about stashing him.


    Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins

    We are changing our tune on the rookie kicker. He has missed five field goals now, and the Dolphins offense hasn't quite continued the improvement it was showing in the early part of the season. There are just too many more productive options out there for fantasy owners.



    Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.

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