And while there are many more options on the wire, I’m not going to make a huge list of every single option out there who won’t give you true value going forward. Does anyone really think Colt McCoy is going to make their team better if Brandon Weeden is out with a concussion? These are the Creme de la Creme options that you need to keep an eye on.
Also, please keep in mind that this list is ongoing and won’t be final until Tuesday afternoon.
Colin Kaepernick – 49ers (ESPN Owned 27.6%)
While most had a feeling Jim Harbaugh was going to lean towards Kaepernick over Alex Smith against the Saints, it looks like there are still a majority of leagues where he is still sitting out there on the wire. With only 1 touchdown pass against the Saints, Kaepernick didn’t put up the big numbers we had expected against a horrid Saints Defense (231 passing yards). But Kaepernick has a stronger arm than Smith, an excellent accuracy percentage through 3 games (66.1%) and great running ability, which he showed Sunday after rushing for another score. Harbaugh may be noncommittal about who will start against the Rams, but fully expect it to be Kaepernick once again. Harbaugh is cleverly unrevealing towards the media to keep his opponents on edge, but don’t be fooled. Kaepernick should continue to be a low-end QB1 for the rest of the year, barring a major melt down.
Chad Henne – Jaguars (ESPN Owned 6.1%)
He may have been sacked 7 times and treated like a rag doll against a Titans Defense that didn’t let up, but Henne has now put up successful stats in 2-straight games, something Blaine Gabbert hadn’t been able to do all year. Not to mention Henne’s presence has been a huge reason for the recent success of Justin Blackmon and the continuing emergence of Cecil Shorts. In 2 starts, Henne has now averaged 307.5 passing yards with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception. Henne’s ability to take chances down field has paid dividends. With a Week 13 matchup coming up against the Bills, Henne should be in line for another QB1-type game.
Russell Wilson – Seattle (ESPN Owned 17.5%)
The last few weeks have been very kind to Wilson, who now has 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the last 3 games. Without much help from Marshawn Lynch and the running game, Wilson picked apart a battered Dolphins secondary and passed for 224 yards, his 4th 200+ yard outing of the year. Unfortunately, I still don’t trust Wilson as anything more than a QB2. His yardage totals, even on the ground, aren’t enough to warrant QB1 status. Not to mention he has the Bears coming up in Week 13 and the Cardinals highly-ranked secondary in Week 14.
Beanie Wells – Cardinals (ESPN Owned 58.7%)
While Wells’ return wasn’t pretty, with only 17 rushes for just 48 yards, his 2 rushing touchdowns made him a worthy option against the Rams. Lets face it: the Cardinals offense outside of Larry Fitzgerald is bad. But as Wells gains his pre-injury form, he is worthy of a roster spot. He won’t do much in the passing game since he was never much of a pass catcher, even in college. But as long as he’s healthy, he’ll get the rock double-digit times going forward. He’ll be a low-end RB2 against the Jets this upcoming week before a tough stretch against the Seahawks, Lions and the Bears.
Michael Bush – Bears (ESPN Owned 68.5%)
Matt Forte’s ankle injury is bad enough after it got caught underneath a pile of Vikings defenders in the third quarter. But the fact that it was an injury to the same ankle that got diagnosed as a high ankle sprain earlier in the year is cause for concern. Once Bush came in, it didn’t take him long to blow up his fantasy stats after rushing 21 times for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns. There is no official word on the extent of Forte’s injury, but Bush will be an every-down option if Forte does wind up missing Week 13 or longer.
Knowshon Moreno – Broncos (ESPN Owned 4.2%)
Did Moreno starting over Ronnie Hillman screw you royally to? Moreno went from an inactive in Week 11, to the surprised starter in Week 12. An announcement that came so late, many owners simply didn’t have a chance to make changes. Surprisingly, Moreno ran with determination, carrying the ball 20 times for 85 yards and catching 4 passes. Whether Moreno’s lead role will stick is anyone’s guess, but he didn’t do anything to make me think he will give up the job anytime soon. Hillman figures to get more work down the road, but Moreno is clearly the running back to own. Unfortunately, he has a rough matchup against a strong Bucs rushing defense this week.
Bryce Brown – Eagles (ESPN Owned 5%)
Owners going up against opponents who had Brown left going into Monday night thought they had a win sewn up. I am sure there are a lot of pissed owners this morning. In what was a team record for a rookie running back, Brown rushed for 178 yards and two scores against the Panthers. And if you throw in his 4 receptions, he accounted for 34 points PPR points. A couple points less if you subtract for fumbles, which Brown laid out 2. But for a rookie playing in his first NFL game, it’s still a great finish. There is no word yet on if LeSean McCoy will be ready to play against the Cowboys on Sunday night. He was still in the first stage of his concussion that last I heard. But despite the fumbles, the Eagles should feel comfortable enough in giving Brown another start. He would go up against a Dallas Defense that has been decimated by injuries at the linebacker position.
Jacquizz Rodgers – Falcons (ESPN Owned 12.4%)
Can someone please tell me what the Falcons see in Michael Turner? Is it the name factor? Is he that much better in pass protection? The Falcons went with a ground game early, but failed miserably with Turner in the backfield. Turner wound up rushing for 17 yards off 13 carries. His fantasy day was salvaged by a rushing touchdown, but this should be Rodger’s coming out party. Or one would think. He tied for a season-high 10 carries, rushed for 49 yards which was the most since Week 8 and scored a rushing touchdown of his own on a third-and-one play. Rodgers also notched 2 receptions. If the Falcons want to make it deep into the playoffs, something they have failed to do recently, they are going to have to get Rodgers more involved going forward. Turner is beyond “running on fumes” at this point. There is no better way to see what Rodgers can do than against the Saints in Week 13. He should be a quality flex option.
Bilal Powell – Jets (ESPN Owned 1.4%)
I wasn’t considering adding Powell to the list, simply for the fact that the Jets offense is such a disgrace. But after Rex Ryan revealed he wanted a committee in his backfield, Powell might emerge as a desperation flex option. Against the Patriots on Thanksgiving night, Powell not only touched the ball 14 times compared to Shonn Greene’s 15, but he was also the running back of choice near the redzone. Powell is also a better pass catcher and has more zip than Greene does. Just be weary. This is still the Jets.
DeAngelo Williams – Panthers (ESPN Owned 69.8%)
With the news that Jonathan Stewart has been diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain, Williams takes over starting duties after getting bumped to full backup several weeks ago. I don’t have high hopes of Williams being anything more than a low-end flex option as the starter. He ran 11 times for a paltry 21 yards Monday night against the Eagles and is averaging a career low 3.2 yards per carry.
Shane Vereen – Patriots (ESPN Owned 56.7%)
Vereen has had a big 2 weeks, rushing for 82 total yards and a score, while also catching 3 passes for 102 yards and another score. But don’t think I’m listing him as a stand-alone fantasy option. Stevan Ridley is still the main guy. But on the off chance that Ridley goes down with an injury during your playoffs, Vereen is a must-have handcuff to solidify your RB2 spot going forward. The team clearly likes him over Danny Woodhead.
Justin Blackmon – Jaguars (ESPN Owned 69.2%)
I was surprisingly able to pick up Blackmon in my local league and plug him in as my WR3 this week. I’m glad I did. For the 2nd-straight week, Blackmon proved his worth with 6 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown against the Titans. It’s a far cry from his Week 11 numbers, but did anyone think he was really going to come close to those stats? Blackmon’s improvement comes from Chad Henne’s willingness to throw down field. As long as Henne is the starter, Blackmon will continue his rise to fantasy stardom. He is a WR3 for now, but can easily surpass those prediction against a very burnable Bills secondary in Week 13.
Pierre Garcon – Redskins (ESPN Owned 60.1%)
Garcon missed so much time with a foot injury, most owners almost had to drop him with the notion that he might never have played again this year. After the news that the Redskins were considering keeping Garcon out of the Cowboys game due to the field turf, Garcon played well beyond what I thought he could do considering he is still dealing with pain. His 5 catches for 93 yards and a score were the highest fantasy numbers he has put up since Week 1. And with the news that Garcon came out of the Redskins game with no setbacks, he’s back on the radar as a WR2/WR3 going forward.
Ryan Broyles – Lions (ESPN Owned 1.3%)
While some thought Mike Thomas would be the beneficiary of a suspended Titus Young, it was Broyles who was the star receiver against the Texans. His 6 catches (11 targets) for 126 yards were second only to Calvin Johnson, which should lead to more opportunities in the future. Megatron hinted to Detroit News that Young’s benching could be longer than just one game, which makes Broyles’ value that much higher. He clearly has the trust of Matthew Stafford and will see a lot of single coverage with CJ getting most of the attention.
Greg Jennings – Packers (ESPN Owned 85.4%)
While I know Jennings has a high percentage-owned number, we have gotten a lot of “Jennings is available on my wire” questions over the past week. Coming ever so close to playing against the Giants last night, Jennings is fully expected to participate in practice this week and play against the Vikings after missing weeks with a groin injury. That’s the good news. The bad news is we have no clue what Jennings’ role will be after having missed so much time. The emergence of Randall Cobb, who the Packers will continue to use heavily going forward, muddies up Jennings’ value even further. For now, Jennings is nothing more than a flex option. However, he is still a must grab in all leagues this week.
Mohammed Sanu – Bengals (ESPN Owned 1.1%)
After using a committee of receivers across from A.J. Green, it appears that Sanu has slowly pulled himself away from the pack. His catches and receiving yards are less than desirable, but he has racked up 4 scores in the last 3 games. I’m not sure how long this will continue, but he is worthy of a bench stash if you have a guy who is barely getting any looks. It’s clear Sanu has earned Andy Dalton’s trust as a redzone option.
Brandon Myers – Raiders (ESPN Owned 26%)
I’m going to have to go back to the archives and see how many weeks Myers has been added to the waiver wire, only to see his number barely reach 30% owned. So far this year, Myers has been averaging 5 catches and 55 receiving yards per game, with 3 touchdown catches. Are owners saying there are more worthy options on their roster than Myers? I don’t believe it. Well, with Myers’ value consistently being overlooked, it looks like my recommendations have fallen on deaf ears. Oh well. Your loss.
Marcedes Lewis – Jaguars (ESPN Owned 7%)
Much like Justin Blackmon, Lewis has reaped the benefits of Chad Henne under center. After a 2 touchdown game in Week 11, Lewis followed that up with a season-high 56 yards off 4 receptions against the Titans. While the lack of scoring might shy some owners away, the fact that Lewis is getting more involved in the passing game is pointing his arrow up. He should be heavily involved against the Bills in Week 13.
Dennis Pitta – Ravens (ESPN Owned 31.4%)
There aren’t many tight end options that are left on the wire that are also worthy of a pickup, so it’s sad that Pitta even gets to be listed at all. But I can’t overlook his 6 catches for 42 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. However, don’t think this is a start of me warming up to Pitta again. With his continuing inconsistencies, he’s still nothing more than a TE2.