One of the toughest tasks fantasy football owners face on a weekly basis is determining which players on the waiver wire deserve serious consideration and which are a flash in the pan. Making the right calls is the only way to build the strongest roster possible.
Of course, with the fantasy playoffs right around the corner the challenge is even more important. At this stage, the number of breakout players on a weekly basis is far lower than in the early weeks, so it comes down to targeting the right players who can actually provide a boost moving forward.
Knowing that, let's check out some of the players likely being considered by fantasy owners after their strong showings in Week 12 and examine why they don't deserve a valuable roster spot as the race to the postseason nears it conclusion.
Brandon Bolden (RB—New England Patriots)
Bolden took on his heaviest workload of the season on Sunday night after his New England backfield mates had trouble holding onto the ball in the frigid conditions. He responded by posting his best fantasy performance of the season with 69 total yards and a touchdown for 12 points.
Unfortunately for Bolden, the Patriots' running back situation remains extremely crowded. Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount are both getting touches and the versatile Shane Vereen continues to get used in different roles. All three limit Bolden's upside.
Even though he showed he's capable of handling the load when called upon against a solid Denver Broncos rush defense, there just isn't enough certainty to count on him as a fantasy option. He's best left on the waiver wire unless something happens to open up more consistent carries.
Tiquan Underwood (WR—Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Heading into Week 12, Underwood had racked up a grand total of 20 fantasy points. Against the Detroit Lions, he tallied 108 yards and a pair of touches to post 23 points, more than doubling his season total and catching the eye of fantasy owners.
Although the Tampa Bay wideout does possess intriguing big-play ability, his lack of involvement in the offense means he's unlikely to become a major factor. Even in his breakout game, he only made three catches—he just happened to turn two of them into touchdowns.
Underwood might have another big performance before season's end, but it's a guessing game as to when he'll find the end zone. And ultimately, fantasy owners can't afford to take chances on long shots at this stage of the season.
Jacob Tamme (TE—Denver Broncos)
Tamme rose to fantasy prominence while playing with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. He followed the legendary quarterback to Denver but had found himself behind Julius Thomas on the depth chart for most of the season before Sunday night.
With Thomas out while recovering from a knee injury, Tamme stepped into a large role and rediscovered chemistry with Manning en route to five catches, 47 yards and a touchdown. Several of those grabs were tough ones made in traffic.
As a starter, he would clearly have solid fantasy value. It doesn't look like his stint is going to last long, however. Mike Klis of the Denver Post expects Thomas to return for Week 13. That will reduce Tamme to a secondary role in the offense, taking away any short-term fantasy value he had.