With the trading deadline passed in most leagues, the wire becomes that much more important. If you want to be a savvy owner, you won’t just fill your bench with the players you need; you will fill it with guys your competition needs! That way you strengthen your own bench while making sure your weak opponents stay weak. It sounds cruel, but aside from cheating and colluding, you should always try and get every advantage you can in fantasy.
Last week’s Pick Six was full of players who produced in the double-digits for fantasy owners, including last week’s No. 1 pick Julian Edelman. Let’s try to keep the momentum going with 2 RBs, 1 QB, 1 TE, and 2 WRs. But, before we do …
What Might Have Been
This… is just awful. Andre Brown of the New York Giants was locked and loaded as the #1 waiver claim this week, for so many reasons. I was going to tell you to skip everyone else, get him, and be the fantasy hero. Alas, a broken fibula has sidelined “Andre The Giant” for the rest of the season. A moment of silence for the fantasy gem that was the 57.1% available Andre Brown. Now on to the wire.
1. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos
Sure to be the waiver wire darling of Week 13, Knowshon Moreno is now the feature running back for the Denver Broncos. Moreno has officially replaced a badly injured Willis McGahee for the remainder of the season. Broncos coach John Fox shocked everyone when he handed “Know More” the starting role over the expected starter Ronnie Hillman. Not only did Hillman not start, he barely saw the field. Lance Ball was used even less than Hillman was. Moreno is the only fantasy back to own on the Denver squad from here out. He is available in 98.7% of all fantasy leagues, and he will probably be the No. 1 waiver claim in your league this week. Denver’s QB/offensive coordinator/WR coach Peyton Manning prefers plenty of runs to help set up the passing attack. Proof of this is Moreno’s 20 carries this Sunday. He didn’t get in to the end zone, but Moreno still earned double-digit fantasy production with 111 total yards from scrimmage (including rushing and receiving). There should be no hesitation to pick up a feature back in the league, especially if your league’s McGahee owner is asleep at the wheel. If you’ve got waiver priorities, use ‘em here.
2. Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers
If you were hurting at the QB position and didn’t pull the trigger on last week’s “Pick Six” suggestion, I forgive you. There was plenty of risk/reward with Colin Kaepernick last week because he wasn’t officially named the starter in San Francisco. But you know what? He’s practically no risk/all reward from here out. As I said last week, if you are stuck with a subpar QB go out and get Colin Kaepernick. He’s a dual-threat QB with poise in the pocket, accuracy in the pass, and a cannon for an arm. Oh, and he can also extend plays. I lost track of how many times he extended would-be-sack plays Sunday afternoon, and turned them into first-down completions. He fell just shy of 20 fantasy points Sunday against the Saints in New Orleans. In his first two starts, “Kaep-Attack” (as his teammates call him) threw for 474 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 37 yards and one TD. Those stats might not seem astronomical, but they are good enough for eighth overall among fantasy QBs both last week and over the span of the last two weeks. Kaepernick’s dual-threat capabilities give him plenty of upside. If you are in the middle of the pack and struggling at QB, this waiver wire pick-up could potentially save your fantasy season. I predict that he will be owned in nearly all leagues by season’s end, and that he’ll be an early-round fantasy draft pick in 2013 (making him especially valuable to all you keeper-league managers out there). Get ‘em.
3. Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars
This is a typical case of a guy who’s on a losing team but still has a lot of fantasy production. And that’s the only factor that can possibly explain why Cecil Shorts’ is still available in 76.2% of all fantasy leagues. Shorts’ athleticism has helped him earn double-digit production in five of his last six games, as well as a TD catch in each of his last three games. That type of consistency is something that fantasy owners just can’t afford to sleep on. Shorts has shown himself every bit a featured wide receiver in this league, and Jaguars QB Chad Henne has proven he’s able to spread the wealth between Cecil Shorts and rookie WR Justin Blackmon. The weak secondaries of the Bills (Week 13), Dolphins (Week 15), Patriots (Week 16) and Titans (Week 17) await the Jaguars, and make Shorts’ fantasy playoff value quite high. He is the WR to target this week for sure.
4. Bryce Brown, RB, Eagles
Because the game was on a Monday night, most LeSean McCoy owners didn’t run out and grab backup Bryce Brown this week. It’s understandable because McCoy wasn’t ruled out until Sunday morning. Not only that, but how much faith can you have in a guy who saw about four touches per week and is new to the Eagles roster as of training camp? Apparently, we could have a lot of faith in him! Alas, Brown did an amazing job filling in for McCoy, averaging an eye-popping 9.39 YPC. His 65-yard TD run was also an impressive highlight. But before we go overboard with the praise, let’s think twice about Bryce. After LeSean McCoy returns, Brown’s fantasy value drops sharply. The only value Brown has for fantasy owners is if McCoy is out for another game due to his concussion. It’s possible, but nobody knows at this point. Brown is the RB you pick up if Moreno is taken ahead of you in waiver claims, but like Colin Kaepernick last week, Brown is this week’s high risk/high reward waiver target. He’s available in 94.5% of all fantasy leagues.
5. Dallas Clark, TE, Buccaneers
Another one of last week’s “Honorable Mentions,” Dallas Clark is the waiver wire TE to go out and get this week. If you need a tight end, there are a few solid reasons why you should consider grabbing Clark. QB Josh Freeman is starting to realize what Peyton Manning knew for seven straight years in Indianapolis: he is a viable offensive weapon. Freeman has gotten Clark more and more involved in the passing attack as the season has progressed. Clark is a top-nine fantasy TE over the course of the last four weeks, and top-five over the last two weeks. On top of this, the Buccaneers’ final five regular season match-ups are against some teams that allow more points to TEs than most. Those match-ups include the Broncos (Week 13), Saints (Week 15) and Falcons (Week 17).
6. Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins
A fantasy wide receiver whose stock is on the rise, Davone Bess is owned in only 3.3% of all fantasy leagues. A definite PPR waiver target this week, Bess’s targets among all WRs in the NFL have been in the top 21 in five out of his last six games, and top 17 in four of the last six. His last two weeks of fantasy production in standard leagues have been 12.9 and 12.1, respectively. As teams game-plan for Brian Hartline, Bess has been reaping the rewards (think Andre Roberts in Arizona). There’s no reason to expect Bess’s production to stop in a pass-heavy Miami offense that plays the soft secondaries of the Patriots (Weeks 13 and 17), Jaguars (Week 15) and Bills (Week 16). Bess is a solid pickup at WR for the fantasy playoffs in all leagues, but especially in PPR leagues.
These are flyers for fantasy owners in deeper leagues and/or with low waiver priorities this week: TE Marcedes Lewis, JAX (3.4% owned); RB Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL (9.0% owned); WR Brandon Gibson, STL (1.5% owned); WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN (0.3% owned); QB Russell Wilson, SEA (1.9% owned); WR Chris Givens, STL (2.5% owned); RB Bilal Powell, NYJ (0.6% owned).
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