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Kendall Wright is a vastly under-owned wide receiver who could be a difference-maker during the fantasy playoffs
With Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, one thing that fantasy owners have to be thankful for is the end of the bye weeks. All teams will be in action in Week 13, starting with a full plate of games on Thanksgiving Day, as we not only enter the stretch run of the NFL regular season, it’s also nearing fantasy playoffs time. Depending on your team’s needs, not to mention postseason standing, one of the players listed below may be just what you need to feast on your opponent this week, and perhaps beyond.
The players listed in Athlon Sports’ weekly fantasy football waiver wire may be one-week adds, some may be worth holding onto all season long and some are of the “sleeper” variety that you may want to keep an eye on. So without further ado, here are some players you may want to consider.
Week 12 Recap: Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes against Indianapolis and finished with 314 yards passing, continuing his strong second half. Ben Roethiisberger had more modest numbers (217-2-0) against Cleveland, but did help the Steelers pick up their third straight win.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
There’s no disputing that Flacco (above) has failed to play in accordance with the lucrative contract extension (six years, $120.6 million) he signed in March. He has as many touchdowns as interceptions (14) and is averaging less than 250 yards passing per game. However, what Flacco does have going for him is upcoming games against Minnesota and Detroit, two of the NFL’s worst passing defenses. It’s risky, but Flacco could (finally) pay off for someone willing to take a chance on him in Week 14 and/or 15.
Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers
Could it be? Is Flynn ready to pull off one of the most impressive comebacks in recent NFL history? Aaron Rodgers’ backup for four seasons, Flynn turned one record-setting home start (480 yards, 6 TDs vs. Detroit in Week 17 of the 2011 season) into a three-year, $20.5 million free agent deal with Seattle. Injured in the preseason before the start of the 2012 campaign, Flynn lost the starting job to rookie Russell Wilson and was eventually traded to Oakland in April. Given another chance at being a starter, Flynn lost the Raiders’ gig in the preseason to Terrelle Pryor. Released by Oakland in October, Flynn signed with Buffalo after rookie EJ Manuel was injured. Flynn never got into a game for the Bills, who released him three weeks ago. Flynn landed back with the Packers following injuries to Rodgers (broken collarbone) and backup Seneca Wallace (groin, placed on injured reserve), but was behind Scott Tolzien on the depth chart. On Sunday, Flynn replaced an ineffective Tolzien with the Packers trailing by 16 early in the fourth quarter. Flynn produced some more magic at Lambeau Field, leading the Packers to two touchdowns and the game-tying field goal with just 46 seconds left. The game ended up as a tie, but that doesn’t change the fact that Flynn (218 yards, TD) out-performed Tolzien. Head coach Mike McCarthy was non-committal after the game about the starter for the Thanksgiving Day matchup with Detroit, but there’s not a lot of time for Rodgers to get back to practice and get game-ready. Will Flynn get the call? It’s something worth watching, especially considering the Lions’ struggles in pass defense.
Week 12 Recap: Montee Ball posted 40 yards rushing (Knowshon Moreno led the team with 224) and added three receptions, but he also had a costly fumble that helped fuel the Patriots’ remarkable second-half comeback against the Broncos on Sunday night. Bobby Rainey finished up his 163-yard monster game with a total of 35 yards on 18 carries against Detroit. Rainey should continue to see the majority of the carries, but the schedule (Carolina, San Francisco still remaining) isn’t necessarily kind. Donald Brown finished with negative yardage (-1) on three total touches against Arizona. To be fair, no one on the Colts’ offense did much of anything against the Cardinals’ smothering defense, so hopefully Brown can get back on track at home against Tennessee.
Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams
Rookie Zac Stacy got knocked out of Sunday’s game against Chicago because of a concussion, so the Rams turned to Cunningham to carry the load. The second-year back from MTSU responded with 109 yards rushing on 13 carries and a touchdown. The Rams shredded the Bears for 258 yards on the ground, but the important thing to keep an eye on is Stacy’s availability for St. Louis’ next game. If Stacy isn’t cleared, Cunningham figures to get the starting nod ahead of the other backs (Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead) on the roster. It’s not an ideal matchup against San Francisco, but a starting running back in the NFL is a valuable commodity, especially with fantasy playoffs right around the corner.
Week 12 Recap: Michael Floyd was at it again against Indianapolis, catching a team-high seven passes for 104 yards. Marquise Goodwin and the Bills were on bye and have Atlanta in Toronto this week. San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree didn’t return against Washington, but could be back in the lineup Sunday in a key divisional matchup with St. Louis.
Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions
In his first game back since breaking his forearm in a car accident in late September, Burleson caught seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Tampa Bay. Detroit’s No. 2 wide receiver, Burleson is the beneficiary of all the defensive attention Calvin Johnson demands and Matthew Stafford has no problem going to him (10 targets Sunday). Injuries have been an issue for Burleson the past two seasons, but when he’s been on the field he’s been productive. Locked into a starting spot in a pass-happy offense, Burleson could be a productive late-season addition to your wide receiving corps.
Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders
Denarius Moore was inactive because of a shoulder injury, allowing Streater the opportunity to emerge as the Raiders’ go-to option in the passing game. Streater and Matt McGloin hooked up for five receptions and 93 yards in the loss to Tennessee. Last week against Houston, Streater had six catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. In McGloin’s two starts, that’s 11 catches for 177 yards and a touchdown for Streater. In his nine other games he has a total of 29 receptions for 423 yards and a score. If McGloin retains the starting job over Terrelle Pryor, then Streater becomes more appealing. This is especially the case if Moore ends up missing more time because of his shoulder injury.
Tiquan Underwood, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vincent Jackson is the Bucs’ No. 1 target and tight end/wide receiver Timothy Wright has emerged this season, but Underwood has assumed the No. 2 wideout slot following Mike Williams’ season-ending hamstring injury. Underwood only had three catches on Sunday, but they went for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs’ 24-21 win over the Lions in Detroit. If quarterback Mike Glennon continues his steady (10 TD passes, 1 INT in his last six games) play, Underwood could develop into an option for those looking for wide receiver help during the fantasy playoffs.
Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
Wright is probably one of the most least-owned No. 1 wide receivers in the NFL, but maybe it’s time for that to change. Ryan Fitzpatrick is cemented as the starting quarterback the rest of the season and he and Wright are beginning to establish a good rapport. In his last three games, which go back to Week 10 when Jake Locker sustained a season-ending foot injury, Wright has averaged 9.3 targets and 87 yards per game. On Sunday, Wright went for a season-high 103 yards on six catches and the game-winning touchdown against Oakland. Wright and Fitzpatrick are really starting click, so now may be the perfect time to get on board with the Titans’ top target.
Week 12 Recap: Delanie Walker caught five passes for 46 yards in the Titans’ come-from-behind win in Oakland. He’s knocking on the door of the top 10 at his position.
Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
This falls into the deep flyer category, but based on the last few games, the future of the tight end position in San Diego looks pretty bright with Green. Antonio Gates is still the star, but Green has been playing the role of impressive understudy. Green has 80 or more receiving yards in each of his last two games, and helped the Chargers upset the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday with a 60-yard touchdown reception that featured an impressive show of speed from the 6-6, 240-pound target. His opportunities figure to be few, but it looks like the Chargers have a pretty good idea of what Green is capable of doing once Philip Rivers gets the ball into his hands. Remaining games with Denver (Week 15) and Oakland (Week 16) could end up being fairly high scoring, so perhaps Green could be a good color if you are unsure about your tight end situation in the playoffs.
Week 12 Recap: The Saints held the Falcons to just 13 points in their close NFC South win on Thursday night. New Orleans forced just one turnover, but sacked Matt Ryan five times and held Atlanta scoreless in the second half.
The Bills were on bye last week, which means the defense should be rested and raring to go for the stretch run. Buffalo’s DST has been somewhat sneaky this season, posting four games of 15 or more fantasy points. The Bills are tied for first in the NFL in both sacks (37) and interceptions (16) and have been pretty good against the pass (229 ypg). The other thing that makes the Bills appealing is their schedule. Starting with Atlanta in Toronto on Sunday, Buffalo’s final five games are all against teams ranked no lower than 19th in terms of fantasy points allowed to DSTs. Depending on your situation at DST, Buffalo may be the perfect candidate to (ahem) help beef up your lineup.
Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.