The fantasy football playoffs are right around the corner, which means fantasy owners are going to spend a lot of time in the coming weeks dissecting every possible lineup option. In turn, building a strong bench is a key part of the equation.
As always, scouring the waiver wire is important to identify and target players who should provide value in the weeks ahead. Even if there's not an immediate spot for them in the starting lineup, they could prove helpful in clinching a postseason berth and beyond.
With that in mind, let's check out some of the players worth going after ahead of Week 13 after they had strong showings in Week 12.
Benny Cunningham (RB—St. Louis Rams)
Cunningham impressed in relief of Zac Stacy for the second straight game. He averaged more than 10 yards per carry after the Rams built a healthy lead over the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago and, following a bye, rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown after Stacy left due to injury Sunday.
St. Louis' starter was forced to leave the game just before halftime due to concussionlike symptoms and didn't return to action. Nick Wagoner of ESPN reports the team didn't shed much light on his status after the game. But head injuries are always a tricky situation and every player reacts differently.
Given Cunningham's success in recent weeks, he was likely due to assume a large role within the Rams offense. If Stacy is sidelined and he moves into a starting role, he immediately holds high-end No. 2 running back value in St. Louis' balanced attack.
Julian Edelman (WR—New England Patriots)
It seemed like the Patriots' passing game finally found a comfort zone against the Denver Broncos. Tom Brady had healthy targets and good protection, allowing him to stand tall in the pocket and deliver strikes, nine of which ended up in the hands of Edelman.
Which of these players carries the most fantasy value?
The wideout finished the game with 110 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets. The 23 fantasy points were his best showing of the season and make him an intriguing No. 3 wide receiver or flex option moving forward in New England's high-powered offense.
With Rob Gronkowski attracting so much attention over the middle, it opens up the field for Edelman to work underneath. In turn, he's slowly starting to carve out a niche for himself in the passing game and his breakout performance shows fantasy owners what he's capable of down the stretch.
Ladarius Green (TE—San Diego Chargers)
Tight end is a weak fantasy position. Outside of Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas and the aforementioned Gronkowski, there's a lot of volatility. It opens the door for options that would otherwise be ignored, like Green, to carry some sleeper value.
While Antonio Gates remains the top tight end in San Diego, the 33-year-old veteran isn't playing at the same level he did during his prime. And when you look at Green run routes, he reminds you of a young Gates, a pass-catcher with good size who can make plays down the field.
The second-year player has received more opportunities over the past two weeks and has managed to rack up 160 yards and a touchdown. He's not going to put up elite numbers, but for fantasy teams weak at tight end looking to take a chance on a player with upside, Green is a sneaky option.