The Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups are filled to the brim with several players compared to past weeks. Not only did a few major players go down with an injury Sunday, but others saw their fantasy football value spring to life after a mediocre start.
Chad Henne - Jaguars (ESPN Owned .5%)
Blaine Gabbert last about a series and a half before getting knocked out with an elbow injury. It paved the way for what was a spectacular outing for Henne, who threw for 354 yards and 4 touchdowns in an overtime loss to the Texans. It's not known if Gabbert will miss Week 12 against the Titans. But if the team is smart, they'll stick with Henne in what figures to be a juicy matchup against the Titans. The Florida Times Union reports Mike Mularkey doesn't know who will start if Gabbert is cleared. UPDATE: Chad Henne will start against the Titans. Depending on his performance, he could keep the job for the rest of the season. With this news, check out where Phil has Henne ranked on his Week 12 QB Fantasy Football Rankings.
Colin Kaepernick - 49ers (ESPN Owned 1.6%)
Many speculated the Bears Defense throttling Kaepernick as the starter over Alex Smith (concussion) Monday night. There was a throttling, but it was Kaepernick doing the damage, throwing for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns in a blowout win by a score of 32-7. Kaepernick, in his first NFL start, helped the offense score on the team's first 4 possessions, with no change in the offensive gameplan. Kaepernick showed a strong arm, zip in his passes and looked extremely comfortable in the pocket. He also got Vernon Davis back in the good graces of fantasy owners by throwing to him 6 times for 83 yards and a score. Kaepernick was one of my first sleeper options for 2012. And I strongly believe that he would have challenged Alex Smith for the starting job last year if it hadn't been for the lockout. After such a big performance against a dominating defense, the 49ers have to make a decision on whether Kaepernick deserves to start again. There is definitely upside here.
Charlie Batch - Steelers (ESPN Owned .1%)
It's not a real surprise that Byron Leftwich looked ineffective in his start against the Ravens. The man with the 5 second windup completed less than 50% of his passes and threw 1 interception. To add onto that, he suffered both a rib and shoulder injury. But Leftwich insisted after the game that he was "OK." Still, it would make sense for the team to look at Batch since he does give the team a better chance against the Browns in Week 12. Ben Roethlisberger doesn't appear to be cleared anytime soon from his multiple injuries.
Brandon Weeden - Browns (ESPN Owned 7.8%)
I was surprised to see Weeden owned in only less than 8% of ESPN leagues so far. While he will never be a QB1 this year, he still has decent value as a QB2 and someone to play as a spot starter if the matchup is right. His 2 touchdowns against the Cowboys was his fifth double-digit game of the season. He won't be an option against the Steelers, but I'd still pick him up as a backup. His schedule after Pittsburgh is very passer-friendly, with Oakland, Kansas City and Washington coming up.
Ronnie Hillman - Broncos (ESPN Owned .9%)
Willis McGahee is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday to check the extent of the knee injury he suffered against the Chargers. If McGahee misses anytime, the Broncos are expected to go with the tandem of Hillman and Lance Ball. But in my opinion, Hillman is the "more upside" option of the two. Hillman ran 12 times for 43 yards and caught 2 passes Sunday, but figures to see a prominent role in an excellent matchup against a Chiefs Defense that gave up over 100 rushing yards and a score to Bengals' BenJarvus Green-Ellis. UPDATE: Willis McGahee has been diagnosed with a torn MCL and will be out for the next 6-8 weeks. I expect Hillman, not Ball, to be the guy to grab this week.
Marcel Reece - Raiders (ESPN Owned 32.8%)
Reece followed up his 104 total yard outing against the Ravens by putting up his first 100-yard game (103) and catching 4 passed for a whopping 90 yards. While he has yet to score a touchdown in 2 weeks, his yardage totals is likely going to earn him more work going forward. It's not yet known if either Darren McFadden or Mike Goodson will be ready for Week 12, but Reece is worth holding onto in a superb matchup against the Bengals.
Beanie Wells - Cardinals (ESPN Owned 47.9%)
LeRod Stephens-Howling 127 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons was impressive, but 92 of those yards came when no Falcon defender was defending the middle of the field. Wells figures to get his job back and start against the Rams, with LSH coming in as a change-of-pace option and on passing downs. Wells goes up against a Rams Defense that has allowed 19 fantasy points a game to running backs this year, so he has RB2/flex value right out of the gate.
Bryce Brown - Eagles (ESPN Owned .3%)
While I would love to tear Andy Reid a new one for even having LeSean McCoy (concussion) on the field when the game against the Redskins was out of reach, I'll leave the shredding to my social media outlets. McCoy had to be taken out on a stretcher and was said to feel "alert," but "foggy and tired." With absolutely nothing on the line at 3-7, there is no reason the Eagles should rush McCoy back against the Panthers. Brown should be a waiver option for those owner who are in desperation mode. He ran 5 times for 35 yards against the Redskins and has averaged 4.4 yards of 32 total carries in 2012.
James Starks - Packers (ESPN Owned 7%)
Starks ran for 74 yards against the Lions, but it took him 25 carries (3ypc) to get there. Still that's a lot better than anything Alex Green had been able to do prior. Starks started the game and took a majority of the touches, with Green going statless. We've seen Starks do this before. He starts off slow, only to come up big near the end of the fantasy season. If Starks is still there on your wire, he's a recommended pickup until Cedric Benson comes back in either Week 14 or 15.
Jalen Parmele - Jaguars (ESPN Owned .1%)
Starting in the place of a mediocre Rashad Jennings, Parmele gave the Jaguars a running game they haven't seen since MJD went down, rushing for 80 yards in the overtime loss to the Texans. With MJD (foot) looking "very questionable" against the Titans, Parmele figures to get at least one more start. But he's nothing more than a very low-end RB2/flex, despite the good matchup against a leaky Titans run defense.
Justin Blackmon (ESPN Owned 44.6%)
Blackmon came into Week 11 with 250 total yards since Week One. But one quarterback change later, and Blackmon saw his fantasy value skyrocket. His 236 yards came off a team-high 13 targets, but what will happen to Blackmon for Week 12 is anyone's guess. Blackmon benefited from Chad Henne replacing Blaine Gabbert. And for those who have, or are thinking of picking up Blackmon, most of his value hinges on Henne getting the starting job going forward. Even so, I'd pick him up regardless in the hopes the team can figure out a way to get him the ball with no matter who starts against the Titans. UPDATE: Blackmon's value goes up now that Henne has been named the starter for Week 12 and, possibly, the rest of the year.
TY Hilton (ESPN Owned 3.3%)
Hilton has now racked up 100-yards twice in the last 3 games. He also has 3 scores in the same span. Much of Hilton's value depends on Donnie Avery, who suffered a concussion against the Patriots after taking a helmet-to-helmet shot in the first half. If you have room, Hilton is worthy of a pickup should Avery miss Week 12 against the Bills.
Brandon LaFell (ESPN Owned 15.6%)
LaFell is one of those guys who I hate listing, but I know I will have to for fear of being chastised for not adding him. After catching a mere 29 yards in Week 10 against the Broncos, LaFell went off with 5 catches for 93 yards and a score. This seems to be the pattern for LaFell this year. He'll put up big numbers only to come down and not be heard from again for several weeks. Proceed with caution if you plan on using him against the Eagles.
Davone Bess- Dolphins (ESPN Owned 17%)
As a strict PPR option only, Bess has been one of the more consistent WR3's over the last 5 games. In that span, he's flip-flopped between 4-6 catches and averaged 48 yards receiving per contest. It will be rough going against the Seahawks, however.
Ryan Broyles - Lions (ESPN Owned 1.1%)
After getting benched late in Week 11, Jim Schwartz announced Monday that the team is suspending Young for the Thanksgiving day game against the Texans for "whining, pouting, sulking" about not getting more passes thrown his way. This isn't the first time Broyles has shown his bratty side, but this gives Broyles a clear cut role in the passing game. Broyles has been up-and-down since his debut back in Week 7. But against a Texans Defense that got manhandled by Chad Henne and Justin Blackmon, Broyles can be considered a low-tier Wr3 for those owners who are desperate for receiver help.
Mike Thomas - Lions (ESPN Owned .2%)
Thomas, not Broyles, has been announced as the No. 2 receiver in place of Young for Week 12. Despite the Texans getting throttled by the Jaguars and Justin Blackmon last week, they still have a strong secondary. Plus, I don't see Thomas being that much of a fantasy asset with most of the targets expected to go to Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew. Thomas is even more of a desperation option than Broyles.
Julian Edelman - Patriots (ESPN Owned .7%)
I wasn't going to list Edelman for the sheer fact that he had 2 moderately successful games this year, with a huge amount of stat-less games in between. But now that Rob Gronkowski is out for the time being, the Patriots could mix Edelman in a bit more than usual to make up for the loss. It should also be told that Brandon Lloyd seems to have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff recently. Edelman may have looked good Week 11, nabbing his 2nd touchdown of the season, but he's fairly low on the waiver-wire list with so many other options for Tom Brady to throw to.
Brandon Myers - Raiders (ESPN Owned 14.5%)
Either people aren't reading my waiver-wire articles, or people who use ESPN simply don't know how to play fantasy football. Coming off the second head injury of the year, Myers still had a field day against the Saints Defense, catching a team-high six receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown. I understand Myers doesn't have the same kind of talent as an Owen Daniels or a Vernon Davis, but Carson Palmer has major trust in his tight end. And what Myers lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in a high percentage of his targets caught.3 simple words: GRAB MYERS NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Marcedes Lewis - Jaguars (ESPN Owned 5.7%)
Just like Blackmon, Lewis made some noise with Chad Henne at quarterback, catching 3 passes for 40 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Texans. The yardage total was the most since Week 9 and this was Lewis' first double-digit touchdown game so far in 2012. For everyone's sake, I hope Henne gets the nod again because the team's passing weapons reaped the rewards.
Dwayne Allen - Colts (ESPN Owned 2.6%)
After a quiet Week 10, Allen came back to life against the Patriots, reeling in 6 catches off 11 targets for 69 yard. Allen now has 4 catches and 56 yards or more in 3 out of the last 4 games. With Coby Fleeners likely to sit again against the Bills, Allen could be a borderline TE1 depending on league size.