With the Fantasy playoffs quickly approaching, the time has come for owners whose hopes are still alive to re-evaluate their rosters. With the exception of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers, the bye weeks are over, making it very unlikely owners will be starting their WR6 unless stricken by an insane string of injuries. Don’t release your handcuff running backs, but now is a great time to unload other backups you will never use.
Take the extra roster spot or spots to stream a defense a few weeks in advance (like the Green Bay Packers, who will face the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Weeks 14 through 16) or a quarterback to fill in if your starter has a tough upcoming matchup (do you want your success to rely on Jay Cutler having big games against the Detroit Lions in Weeks 13 and 16?). There is no reason to still hang onto a guy like Pierre Garçon (who shouldn’t be anywhere near a Fantasy starting lineup) when someone else can actually contribute to a victory in these important upcoming weeks.
Plan ahead now and reap the rewards later. Now without further delay, we present the Week 12 Wire Troll.
Bye Weeks: Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns: Over the last three weeks, Hoyer has quietly had a pair of 300-yard performances while working with one of the league’s least impressive receiving corps. Now, enter Josh Gordon. The immensely talented Gordon led the NFL in receiving yardage in 2013 while only playing in 14 games, so provided he has stayed in shape, he should provide an immediate upgrade to the Cleveland offense. Hoyer will be the main benefactor from Gordon’s presence (along with Fantasy owners who held on to him), although defenses focusing their attention on Gordon could also help free up fellow wideout Andrew Hawkins. Consider us bullish on the whole Cleveland passing attack moving forward.
Drew Stanton, Arizona Cardinals: Stanton nearly made our list last week following the untimely injury to starter Carson Palmer, but we were cautious of the Cardinals matchup with the stingy Detroit Lions defense, which had given up 300 yards through the air only twice this year. While not entirely rust-free, Stanton did put up 306 yards and two scores against the vaunted Lions defense. Hoyer has a friendlier remaining schedule than does Stanton, but with a nice stable of weapons to work with, Stanton should be start-worthy more often than not as the Cardinals pursue home-field advantage for the postseason. Now, can ‘Zona win the Super Bowl being led by Stanton? See the video below for analysis of that topic.
Juwan Thompson, Denver Broncos: The previously cloudy backfield situation in Denver suddenly looks much clearer. Montee Ball aggravated his sore groin and Ronnie Hillman’s foot injury looks to be more serious than initially thought, leaving C.J. Anderson alone on top of the depth chart. Thompson could also hold value though, especially as a touchdown vulture. As of now, Thompson will only be a starting option in deeper Fantasy leagues, but he should still be added in most leagues. If he can somehow wrestle away anywhere near half the carries from Anderson, then Thompson would be a valid starting option in all formats, especially considering how weak the running back position has been in 2014.
Kenny Britt, St. Louis Rams: The perennially under-achieving Britt had his best game in years over the weekend, racking up 128 yards and finding the endzone on a deep ball from newly promoted Shaun Hill. Given Britt’s mercurial past he is far from the most trustworthy of options, however the talent has always been there and now he has a chance to prove that he can handle being a team’s No. 1 option. While we may not be convinced that Britt will continue to rise to the occasion, sometimes all it takes is an opportunity to present itself for things to finally fall into place later in a player’s career.
Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos: Tamme makes our list based on the assumption that the ankle injury that knocked Julius Thomas out of Sunday’s game will force him to miss time; if Thomas is able to play Tamme would not be recommended. As a starter, Tamme would likely be even more touchdown-dependent than Thomas (who hasn’t gone over 100 yards since Week One). With Peyton Manning at the helm that shouldn’t be a problem though, so Tamme would be a lock as a Fantasy starter for as long as Thomas is out.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy football waiver wire pickup of the week is.
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