I had been trying my best to avoid the Browns backfield like the plague in recent weeks. Chris Ogbonnaya has his moments, but he clearly isn't the running back of the future. Monterio Hardesty had a chance to make a claim for the starting job going into Week 12's game against the Bengals, but wound up a quick inactive after his calf tightened up. Can he be "THE GUY" who leads the backfield in 2012? I doubt it. Hardesty can be a huge asset, but his health will always come into question. So it now appears we are right back to Peyton Hillis again. I can't imagine the Browns bringing him back after all the BS that went down regarding his contract and an illness that kept him out. If the Browns were smart, they would let Hillis walk after the season.
Anyway, here are my waiver-wire pickups for Week 13. We also did an aggregated waiver wire rankings for the home stretch over at fantasypros.com.
Caleb Hanie - CHI: Hanie's 2012 debut as the starter was so-so, passing for 254 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. The interceptions are what killed his fantasy value and killed the team's chance of winning against the Raiders. I had figured Hanie was nothing more than a desperation QB2 and this game shows that. The yardage and touchdowns were good to see, but I envision at least 1-2 interceptions every game for the rest of the year. I would think that by now, owners can do a little bit better.
TJ Yates, Kellen Clemens or free agent - HOU: The Texans seem to be having bad luck with the quarterbacks this year. First Matt Schaub gets knocked out with a Lisfranc injury. Now it appears Matt Leinart will be out for the year with a broken left collarbone. That leaves either Yates, who passed for a mere 70 yards against the Jaguars, Clemens, who has had a severely up-and-down career, or a free agent. Whichever one the Texans decide to go with, an owner in a 16-team league would have to be desperate to pick up any of these option. We will see a very healthy dose of Arian Foster going forward.
Roy Helu - WAS: If you were lucky enough to have started Helu in, what was supposed to be, a bad matchup against the Seahawks, Congrats. His 108 rushing yards was a season high, he scored his first rushing touchdown of the year and showed his ability to catch the ball with 7 receptions for 54 yards. Mike Shanahan revealed that Helu is "ready" to be a full-time back, but let's just hope he sticks to his word. Regardless, Helu is a must add in all league formats.
Peyton Hillis - CLE: You didn't think I was going to mention Hillis' name and not add him to the list did you? After a five-game statless drought, Hillis ran for 65 yards against the Bengals. He also chipped in 2 catches, but went a minus 4 yards. Not exactly great numbers, but better than I thought considering Hardesty was supposed to be in the mix for carries as well. If you are counting on Hillis as someone who can get you through the playoffs, good luck. He has two tough matchups against the Ravens and then the Steelers, before facing the Cardinals. And as of now, we don't even know if Hillis will be the lead back if Hardesty is healthy to play. So while Hillis could make a decent pickup....again....tread lightly.
Maurice Morris - DET: Kevin Smith owners caught a break when his ankle injury went from the high-ankle variety to a "mild" one, according to a source. The couple extra days will help. But in the meantime, Smith owners may want to pick Morris up as insurance just in case Smith does wind up missing the game against the Saints. He ran well against the Packers, averaging 5.6 yards a carry, and his 9 receptions for 81 yards helped his PPR value. Outside of insurance for Smith owners, however, Morris is more of a flex option at best.
CJ Spiller - BUF: Spiller wasn't great in his starting debut, but his 70 total yards wasn't shabby against a decent Jets run defense. A part of me had thought that maybe Tashard Choice would surprise, but his 2 touches quickly changed my mind. Spiller has an easier matchup against the Titans.
Johnny Knox - CHI: I've said it before. When there is a quarterback change, a guy who normally wouldn't have any value pops up on the free agent radar. That happened to Knox, who led the Bears with 4 catches for 145 yards, while adding a touchdown against the Raiders. The downside is that Knox doesn't start and will be hit-or-miss every week. So owners looking to add him will find that he isn't anything more than a flexer at best.
Harry Douglas - ATL: Even with Julio Jones back, Douglas still managed to put up WR3 stats after scoring for the first time this season against the Vikings. 16-team league owners should be the only ones who give Douglas a chance. As the 4th option behind Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, Douglas doesn't hold as much value in smaller leagues.