A significantly smaller portion of the fantasy community is tuning in on Week 14. That’s because this week signifies the first week of the fantasy playoffs for a vast majority of leagues. And unless your league offers a consolation prize up for grabs among the teams that didn’t make the dance (and if it doesn’t, why not?), half of your league, or more, is probably checked out until 2013.
But not you. You’ve worked the waiver wire all season long en route to a playoff berth. Whether you’re locked in a loser-goes-home battle in Week 14 or not playing again till Week 15, you need to explore every potential pickup in an attempt to make your team better. The competition will be doing the same. Now is not the time to celebrate, even if you landed a bye. We have a championship to win.
1. Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
If you have to lean on a waiver QB during the playoffs, you definitely want to grab the guy that’s hot. Russell “Hustle and Bustle Man Muscle” Wilson (hat tip, Cousin Sal) is hot. He’s averaging 235 yards and two TDs over the last four weeks, with no interceptions, while chipping in nearly 50 rushing yards a game. In my format, that’s good enough to outpace Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and a host of others. Matchups against the Cardinals (Week 14) and the 49ers (Week 16) scare me less in Seattle, and Wilson has a nice matchup with the Bills in Week 15. His receiving corps is getting better, and he’s growing as a passer each week. Again, if you absolutely need to make a change at QB, Wilson is your guy.
2. James Starks, RB, Packers
2. Alex Green, RB, Packers
Starks, Green Bay’s No. 1 back rushed for 66 yards and a TD on 15 carries in Week 13 while chipping in 16 yards on two receptions. He’s averaging 17 touches over the past four weeks, and that kind of workload makes anyone worth grabbing in fantasy football at this late stage, even if it comes attached to an ugly 3.6 yards-per-carry figure. I like him to have a nice game against the Lions this week.
Update: Just saw Starks is likely out for the year with the knee injury, so we’ll go ahead and slot Alex Green into his waiver spot.
3. Chris Givens, WR, Rams
Givens spent the first part of the season building himself up as a lethal down-field threat, posting a 50-yard reception in an incredible five straight games before the Rams’ Week 9 bye. And while the fireworks didn’t last — that kind of streak doesn’t last for anyone — Givens played an even better fantasy role in Week 13: Danny Amendola, the Sequel. Givens caught 11 of his 14 targets for 92 yards, showing range as a receiver that one couldn’t have known he had. Grab him whether he’s a reliable PPR guy or a deep threat.
4. Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks
It took a while, but Tate is finally reprising his role at the University of Notre Dame: TD monster. He posted another score on Sunday, his fourth in fourth games and his seventh on the season. It came attached to his best yardage total of the year (96 yards). Tate hasn’t been a consistent source of targets this year, but it looks like he and Russell Wilson are getting more comfortable with each other, and that could lead to a nice performance down the stretch.
5. Montell Owens, RB, Jaguars
Maurice Jones-Drew? Out. Rashad Jennings? Done. Jalen Parmele? It was fun while it lasted. The Jaguars’ last man standing at running back is Montell Owens, a guy who doesn’t profile as a weapon out of the backfield, but one who is forced into touches with all the injuries the Jaguars are dealing with. Opportunity often trumps talent in fantasy leagues, and Owens is worth a spin just because he’s expected to start. Until MJD comes back, Owens profiles as a decent flex play.
6. Dallas Clark, TE, Buccaneers
People are finally buying stock in Brandon Myers, so I can’t go back to the well on Myers for my TE pick this week. Instead, I’ll throw Clark at you. He’s caught TDs in three of his last four games, and although that production hasn’t come with many targets — aside from an 11-target game in Week 11 that saw Clark catch seven passes — sometimes all you need from the TE is a TD. I picked him up last week and was rewarded with a score, and matchups looming against the Eagles and Saints look tasty.
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to CBSSports.com's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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