With your fantasy playoffs likely either on tap or already in progress, the waiver wire this week is probably pretty slim. Gems like Nick Foles, Rashad Jennings, Ben Tate and Zac Stacy have long been scooped up, while far more mediocre options are gone, too.
But a good fantasy owner is never complacent, so you'll likely be scouring the wire this week. For the intrepid among you, I've provided my weekly slider on the waiver period to help you find the few remaining studs in the talent pool.
Yes, the pool is shallower than in weekends past, but there are still solid players to be found for your playoff run.
Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Percent Owned: 39.8 percent
Analysis: With 12 or more fantasy points in three of the past four weeks, it's a bit surprising Brown is still available in 60.2 percent of ESPN leagues. Perhaps people are wary of his inconsistent past. Maybe some folks are still holding out hope that Trent Richardson will live up to the hype this season.
Whatever the case may be, Brown should absolutely be rostered in all leagues at this point. If he's still available in yours, make him your top priority.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans
Percent Owned: 41.1 percent
Analysis: Amazingly, Kendall Wright is still available in nearly 60 percent of ESPN leagues. If you've followed this article in the past, you know I've long been a fan of the Tennessee receiver, if only because he's so darn consistent.
He's scored seven or more fantasy points eight times this season, has done so four weeks in a row and leads the Titans in receptions (71), yards (840) and targets (102). He'll be one of my major sleepers to monitor next season, but he's still a decent flex option this year.
Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Percent Owned: 13.4 percent
Analysis: OK, Doug Baldwin, I believe. I've long doubted your fantasy relevance, but in the past month you've proven me wrong.
In his past four games, Baldwin has accumulated 45 fantasy points—and hasn't dipped lower than seven points in any one week—catching 17 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns in that time. With Percy Harvin possibly out until the playoffs, Baldwin is a nice option for owners desperate for help at receiver.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers
Percent Owned: 0.9 percent
Analysis: While Ladarius Green is my top contender to be next season's Julius Thomas—i.e. a tight end who comes out of nowhere and blows up for fantasy owners—he's proven to have a bit of value toward the end of this season as well.
Green now has 32 fantasy points in the past three weeks, though 12 of those points have come from touchdowns. Still, when you consider that Antonio Gates has just 15 fantasy points in that time—and Green has 16 targets to Gates' 24 in the past three weeks, meaning he is becoming a bigger part of that offense—it isn't hard to see that Green is trending upward.
If you are a Thomas owner and the market is pretty bare for replacements while he returns from injury, take a flier on Green.
Case Keenum, QB, Houston Texans
Percent Owned: 21.2 percent
Analysis: You probably have to be pretty desperate at quarterback if you are even looking for options on waivers at this point in the season, but if that's the case, Keenum is worth consideration. Yes, he's struggled of late, but he still has scored 13 or more fantasy points in four of his six starts.
Plus, he has a solid matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, though he did manage just four fantasy points against them in his first meeting. Still, it's hard to see him replicating that abysmal effort again.
Keenum is only an option in really deep or two-quarterback leagues, but of the remaining options likely available in your league, he's the best.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Percent Owned: 5.5 percent
Analysis: This is a speculative grab, sure, and is probably best left to keeper or dynasty leagues, but it's clear the Minnesota Vikings are trying to get Cordarrelle Patterson more involved in the offense.
In Week 10, he caught his first touchdown pass of the season. In Week 12, he had eight receptions, albeit for just 54 yards. Last week, he was utilized in the backfield, running for a 33-yard score.
Yes, starting him is a huge risk—and he's probably best thought of as a sleeper for next season—but in really deep leagues, Patterson is worth a look.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
Percent Owned: 30.2 percent
Analysis: In the past two weeks, Edelman has 18 receptions for 211 yards and two touchdowns. While players like Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola, in theory, should all be the bigger weapons in the passing game, Edelman has managed to remain an important part of the game plan.
It seems Edelman and Amendola trade off fantasy relevance from week to week, so if you are willing to gamble that you've nabbed Edelman in the week he'll be the bigger part of the game plan, he's certainly worth owning.
Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins
Percent Owned: 34.5 percent
Analysis: You know what you'll get when you own Brian Hartline. A steady stream of catches, a decent amount of yardage and, every once in a while, a touchdown that makes him worth starting.
Hartline is the type of player that will give you an output of about six fantasy points per week, but if you happen to be flexing him when he blows up like he did last week (nine receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown), you'll enjoy the spoils of the surprise.
He should only be owned in really deep leagues, but at least you know exactly what he brings to the table.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Percent Owned: 0.9 percent
Analysis: Has Zach Ertz finally become a bigger part of the Philadelphia Eagles' game plan? Or did he simply take advantage of a great matchup against an Arizona Cardinals defense that is atrocious against tight ends?
Can the answer be both? Like Green, Ertz is probably going to be much more fantasy-relevant next season, but his five receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns certainly turned some heads on Sunday. He now has posted double-digit fantasy points in two of the past four games and is flashing the potential that made him worthy of a second-round pick.
Again, he's a better option in keeper or dynasty leagues, but deep-league owners should keep an eye on him as well.
LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots
Percent Owned: 4.8 percent
Analysis: Stevan Ridley was benched after fumbling in three straight weeks, leaving the door open for LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden to take advantage of an increased workload.
This week it was Blount who responded, rushing 12 times for 44 yards and a touchdown. The week before it was Bolden who stepped up, rushing 13 times for 58 yards and a score. So which one should you own?
If pressed to choose, I'd rather have Blount. He's the player more likely to be utilized near the goal line, and he's looked pretty good in a limited role with the New England Patriots. Shane Vereen is obviously the running back most worth owning, but if Ridley's place remains on the bench, the next back I would want to own is Blount.
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