'The NFL Beat': Week 13

Waiver-wire pickups and more

'The NFL Beat': Week 13

We live in interesting times. I am a musician, and I live in Austin. I have joined forces with an overqualified swindling paper salesman and a PhD candidate/freegan jazz drummer called the Trashman. We have created a Fantasy Football Monster.

This is Week 13. Many reading this are likely in a win-to-get-in situation for their fantasy playoffs. Others may be trying for a bye. Regardless, this is the final week of most leagues’ regular season, and playoff implications loom large. Larger than that nasty-ass garage you really need to clean up, for sure. So, put that off like you always do and read on …

Eagles (4-7) @ Seahawks (4-7)
Eagles QB Mike Vick and WR Jeremy Maclin have again been ruled out and will be unavailable for Week 13’s Thursday Night Game. This means an alien spaceship will be dropping off a parcel named VY in Seattle to play an earthly game of football with his fragile, mortal friends.
On the Waiver Wire:
Eagles WR Riley Cooper. Vince loves him. Cooper has averaged more than six targets per game since VY came in, and has benefited greatly from Maclin’s absence. Plus, you always love connections between guys who have chemistry from taking second-team reps together.

Raiders (7-4) @ Dolphins (3-7)
Raiders RB Darren McFadden and WR Jacoby Ford will not go. WR Denarius Moore has returned to practice and seems probable. Dolphins RB Reggie Bush has recently decided he would like to be a professional football player. He has been going bananas, and this week faces a Top 5 fantasy RB matchup in Oakland at home. I consider him a strong RB2 play with huge upside.
On the Waiver Wire:
Dolphins WR Davone Bess. The WR situation in Miami is like most Miami nightclubs. One rich weirdo in the VIP booth and then just a bunch of creeps at the bar. The Dolphins’ rich VIP weirdo is generally Brandon Marshall, but Bess, in two career games vs. Oakland has caught nine balls at a sick average of 17.9 yards per catch.

Jets (6-5) @ Redskins (4-7)
If you look at the matchup, you’ll see why I am not too high on any skill player from either of these teams other than both TEs, Fred Davis and Dustin Keller.
On the Waiver Wire:
Redskins RB Evan Royster. Let me warn you. Redskins HC Mike Shanahan hates you. He is fueled by your fantasy misery, especially at the RB position. I am not completely sold on emerging rookie RB Roy Helu and fellow rookie Royster was activated from the practice squad last week. The Redskins have nothing to play for, and will test out Royster – Penn State’s all-time leading rusher – down the stretch.

Falcons (7-4) @ Texans (8-3)
The Texans are a virtual lock for the playoffs, but things are tough because QB Matt Leinart is injured. Just like we all thought would be the case before the season started.
On the Waiver Wire:
I can’t recommend anyone in this game and sleep well at night. The matchups are brutal across the board for both teams. Anyone worth starting is owned.

Chiefs (4-7) @ Bears (7-4)
An exhibition of middle-school quarterbacking skills has been scheduled for Sunday, and pits Bears QB Caleb Hanie against Chiefs QB Tyler Palko.
On the Waiver Wire:
Bears RB Marion Barber. How is Barber not owned in all leagues? In the last five weeks, he has had three times as many touchdowns than starting RB Matt Forte and Bears HC Lovie Smith said at the media portion of Tuesday’s practice Barber would be getting even more involved.

Broncos (6-5) @ Vikings (2-9)
Broncos QB Tim Tebow takes his circus sideshow offense to Minneapolis to face the NFL’s best QB matchup in the Vikings. I expect a big fantasy game and many PG-rated post game sound bytes from the nice young man.
On the Waiver Wire:
Broncos TE Daniel Fells. We’re scraping the bottom of the trash heap here, but Tebow does consistently target Fells and Minnesota has been the third-most-friendly matchup for opposing TEs over the past five weeks.

Titans (6-5) @ Bills (5-6)
I predicted breakout games against Carolina and Tampa Bay for Titans RB Chris Johnson, as well as the stinker against Atlanta. While I like Johnson this week to crack double-fantasy-digits, don’t expect another 190-yard explosion against a Bills defense that has showed much recent improvement against the run.
On the Waiver Wire:
Bills WR Brad Smith. The Trashman called it last week when it was a much more novel idea, but he was right.

Bengals (7-4) @ Steelers (8-3)
The Bengals prove week after week that while young and inexperienced, they are a force to reckon with in the AFC North. I would typically hate a rookie QB/WR combo flanked by RB Cedric Benson going into Pittsburgh, especially late in the season in a must-win division matchup. I simply can’t discount what the Bengals offense has become. They are 100% legitimate.
On the Waiver Wire:
Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham. Gresham has finally returned from injury and is re-emerging as a true threat for QB Andy Dalton. The Steelers are a Top 12 fantasy TE matchup over the last five weeks.

Colts (0-11) @ Patriots (8-3)
This is kind of like David vs. Goliath, except it will be David’s little brother showing up to face the giant and he doesn’t have a slingshot.
On the Waiver Wire:
Patriots RB Shane Vereen. Vereen has seemingly taken over the valuable second RB duties in New England from fellow talented rookie RB Stevan Ridley. No lead will make HC Bill Belichick take his foot off the gas pedal, and I think Vereen produces in garbage time once this game gets out of hand.

Panthers (3-8) @ Bucs (4-7)
Dream matchups abound here, and I love Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount and Panthers QB Cam Newton in this meaningless NFC South cream-of-the-crap bowl.
On the Waiver Wire:
Panthers WR Brandon Lafell. Lafell has been targeted 11 times by Newton over the last two games, and talented Buc corner Aqib Talib will be on Steve Smith. I like Lafell to get lots of action as a second-read against a garbage defense that will allow Newton to utilize his passing tree.

Ravens (8-3) @ Browns (4-7)
Ravens RB Ray Rice has had the fourth most fantasy points and the most pass-targets of any RB in fantasy over the last five weeks. He has done this against the hardest five-week RB schedule of anyone in the league. This week, he faces the third-best matchup for opposing runners. Rice will go absolutely bananas.
On the Waiver Wire:
Ravens RB Ricky Williams. Something tells me Rice makes one big run that stops him a yard or two short and williams will get a few shots to vulture a TD while Rice catches his breath. On the Browns side, I like WR Jordan Norwood as a sneaky flex-play.

Packers (11-0) @ Giants (6-5)
The Giants’ backs are against the wall and they face the league’s best team at home in an awesome matchup. I love both QBs in this game and expect a high-scoring fantasy affair for both teams’ WRs.
On the Waiver Wire:
Giants RB Danny Ware. With Ahmad Bradshaw likely out, and Brandon Jacobs looking like a tip-toeing circus bear who wandered onto the football field, Ware has been getting consistently involved. If the Giants get down in this game like they did against New Orleans, we should see Jacobs relegated to the sideline in favor of their passing-down back in Ware.

Cowboys (7-4) @ Cardinals (4-7)
Cowboys WR Miles Austin may be in doubt to make his return heading for the desert. That means more Laurent Robinson. They've literally been making Dez Bryant watch film of Robinson's routes, and Robinson does not give up on plays when Tony Romo scrambles. He has become a must-start.
On the Waiver Wire:
While I love certain matchups in this game, all players who will produce are already owned in the vast majority of leagues. Look elsewhere for waiver-wire help.

Rams (2-9) @ 49ers (9-2)
An NFC West snoozer on the surface that I believe may actually turn into an unexpectedly competitive game.
On the Waiver Wire:
Rams WR Danario Alexander. Alexander has been sidelined since week seven, but makes his return against the 49ers. The talented wideout was averaging more than seven targets per game prior to his absence, and should pick up any scraps left over from Spider-Man, who has been dressing up recently as WR Brandon Lloyd on Sundays.

Lions (7-4) @ Saints (8-3)
The man who put a High School State Championship ring on my finger will continue his quest to put another Super Bowl ring on his this week in a sick Sunday night matchup vs. the Lions.
On the Waiver Wire:
Lions WR Titus Young. WR/robot Calvin Johnson will be drawing the majority of the attention, and the Saints are the sixth-best matchup for opposing WRs. They are most vulnerable to fast, shifty WRs such as Young due to the physical yet slow play of their safeties.

Chargers (4-7) @ Jaguars (3-8)
Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew will be the face of the Jaguars Monday night in a week where HC Jack Del Rio was fired on the same day the team was sold. I expect a monster night.
On the Waiver Wire:
Chargers WR Vincent Brown. How Brown is still available in a majority of leagues still baffles me. The Jags are a tough matchup against opposing WRs, but I see this effecting WR Vincent Jackson more than Brown. He is a stud and should be picked up.

[Alex Dunlap is the host of RosterWatch on 104.9FM ESPN Radio Austin, founder of Rosterwatch.com, and a featured expert contributor to the FantasyPros.com network.]

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