It is do-or-die time for many fantasy football owners.
Unless your team has already locked up a playoff berth (and its seed), this is the final week of the fantasy football regular season in many leagues and your final chance to either make the postseason or earn a first-round bye.
One of the players on our waiver-wire list last week was Colts running back Donald Brown, who had a favorable matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
Although Joseph Addai returned and started for the first time since Week 7, it was Brown who was more productive and effective as a runner. Brown had twice as many carries (14) as Addai (seven) and finished the game with 80 rushing yards and a score.
Brown won't have as favorable of a matchup for any of the remaining games as the Panthers have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get more work than Addai as the winless Colts evaluate their players for the future.
Since being drafted in the first round by the Colts in 2009 (see Colts' draft history), Brown has been a disappointment. This year, however, Brown is averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
For a player to appear on our list, he needs to satisfy two criteria: (1) he is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues or less and (2) he was not on last week's waiver-wire list.
Here are some (new) players to consider adding to your roster this week:
QB - Vince Young, Eagles (owned in 23 percent of Yahoo! leagues): With their loss last week, the Eagles (4-7) saw their playoff aspirations go down the drain and they have to travel across the country for a Thursday Night Football matchup at Seattle this week. It's unclear whether Michael Vick will return from his broken ribs injury, but considering it's a short week and the Eagles have virtually no shot at the postseason, Young could get a third-straight start. Last week, Young threw for 400 yards against the Patriots and the Seahawks defense is much better against the run than they are against the pass.
RB - Roy Helu, Redskins (48 percent): With Helu getting benched the game after he set the franchise's single-game record for receptions, it's only natural to be a little skeptical when Shanahan says that Helu is "our starter, for sure." While his 23 carries in Week 12 was the first time he got more than 10 in a game, Helu has 400 yards of offense (225 rushing and 175 receiving) and 4.8 yards per carry in his past four games (against tough run defenses).
RB - Marion Barber, Bears (25 percent): If anything, the collective workload of the Bears running backs should only increase with Caleb Hanie under center and Barber is getting his fair share (perhaps at the expense of Matt Forte). In his past six games, Barber had 56 carries and four touchdowns. Not only will he get the goal-line work, but he has double-digit carries in three of his past six games.
WR - Johnny Knox, Bears (32 percent): While I expected Knox's breakout game to be somewhat of a fluke after Jay Cutler broke his thumb, Knox had an even better performance last week. While he's unlikely to post the kind of numbers he has had in back-to-back games, Knox should have an opportunity or two to make a big play as teams focus on shutting down the Bears' running game. Despite having only seven receptions combined in the past two weeks, Knox has 242 yards and two touchdowns.
WR - Damian Williams, Titans (23 percent): Williams has less than 35 receiving yards in three of four games, but he has also scored a touchdown in three of those four games. In the past four weeks, Williams has 13 receptions for 190 yards and three touchdowns. With Nate Washington getting more attention from opposing defenses including their top corner, Williams should have an opportunity to continue to produce for fantasy owners down the stretch.
WR - Greg Little, Browns (16 percent): For three straight games, Little has five-plus receptions and 50-plus receiving yards. More importantly, however, he did something last week that he had yet to do in an NFL game: score a touchdown. While you can't count on Little going on a scoring spree, he will get targets, receptions and yards and provide you with something consistent in the woeful Browns' offense.
WR - David Nelson, Bills (42 percent): As a 6-foot-5 receiver, Nelson is a big redzone target and has scored in three of four games. Excluding that one-reception performance against Miami a couple of weeks ago, Nelson has four-plus receptions in five of his past six games.
WR - Riley Cooper, Eagles (five percent): With the status of Jeremy Maclin in question and DeSean Jackson getting benched toward the end of last week's game, that could mean continued snaps and looks for Cooper. Cooper has had back-to-back games with 70-plus yards and has a total of 20 fantasy points in his two games with Young under center.
TE - Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (38 percent): Since returning from injury, Gresham has caught a touchdown pass in two of his three games. Then again, there was some controversy about his non-touchdown in the Baltimore game that would have given him a score in three straight games. In those three games, Gresham has 12 receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns. While Gresham might not be an elite tight end, he is solid if not spectacular.
FYI: Our full Week 13 rankings will be posted by Wednesday morning and can be accessed from our fantasy football home page.
Good luck in Week 13!
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!