If anything, fantasy owners should be thankful in Week 12 that there are no more bye weeks to deal with. All teams will be in action this week, including six on Thanksgiving Day. That doesn’t mean, however, that owners should completely ignore the waiver wire and/or free agent pool in their respective league. With more key injuries happening on Sunday and the fantasy playoff push in full effect, here are some possible options worth considering as you get ready for Week 12.
Week 11 Recap: Colin Kaepernick made it look relatively easy (243-2-0) in his first career start in the 49ers' convincing 32-7 win over Chicago. Sam Bradford had two touchdown passes against the Jets, but only 170 yards passing and two turnovers in the loss.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
Foles didn’t fare that well in his first career NFL start, throwing for 204 yards with two interceptions and fumbling three times (didn’t lose any of them), but it’s highly likely he will get another chance under center on Monday against Carolina. Michael Vick reportedly suffered a severe concussion and considering the Eagles are now 3-7 and a longshot to make the playoffs, it may be time to see if Foles is the team’s future quarterback or not. As far as fantasy value goes, Foles is a longshot in his own right, but the coaching staff did let him throw the ball 46 times against the Redskins, so if anything, there appears to be the potential to put up some decent numbers. It’s just a matter of executing the throws and taking care of the football.
Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars
Blaine Gabbert left in the first quarter against Houston with a bruised right elbow. Henne promptly came in and threw for 354 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes in the 43-37 overtime loss to the Texans. Henne and Justin Blackmon really had it going, as the rookie wide receiver exploded for 236 yards on seven receptions (33.7 ypc), including an 81-yard touchdown. The Jags have already announced Henne as their starter this week against Tennessee, giving him a shot at the Titans’ 27th-ranked pass defense.
Week 11 Recap: Marcel Reece led all running backs in fantasy scoring as he complied 193 total yards against New Orleans. James Starks got just about all of Green Bay’s carries (25 of 29 rushing attempts) and picked up 74 yards rushing in the win in Detroit. Kendall Hunter received only five carries, but did score a touchdown in the 49ers' dominating victory over the Bears on Monday night.
Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
LeSean McCoy left Sunday’s loss to Washington on a cart after sustaining a concussion with about two minutes left in a 31-6 game. While the severity of McCoy’s concussion has not been revealed, the circumstances in which he left the game and the fact that the Eagles are, for all intents and purposes, out of the playoff hunt, at the very least raise the possibility that he may miss some time. Should that occur, Brown, the Eagles’ seventh-round draft pick this year, appears to be next in line. Brown gained 35 yards against the Redskins on just five carries (7.0 ypc). For the season, he’s averaging just under four yards per carry and if he gets the start, it will be against Carolina on Monday night. The Panthers are 15th in the league against the rush. At minimum, Brown is a must-have handcuff for McCoy owners, if he’s still out there.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
Willis McGahee left the game against San Diego early with a right knee injury and did not return. Prior to getting hurt, he had 55 yards rushing on seven carries. Hillman took over after McGahee’s departure and he finished with 43 yards on 12 carries (3.6 ypc), including a long rush of 21 yards. Initial reports are McGahee suffered a torn MCL, so he will more than likely be sidelined for anywhere between six to eight weeks. If that is the case, Hillman could get the opportunity to carry the load, unless the coaching staff decides to go with a time-share between the rookie and Lance Ball. Hillman did rush for a season-high 86 yards on 14 carries in Week 8 against New Orleans, so the team is aware of what’s he capable of doing. The other thing going for Hillman is the matchup with the Chiefs, who are giving up more than 122 yards rushing per game.
Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
A funny thing happened after the Saints lost Darren Sproles to a hand injury. They discovered their rushing game behind Ingram, Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas. In the three games that Darren Sproles has missed, the Saints have averaged 147 yards rushing. In the nine games that Sproles has played, they have averaged only 58 yards on the ground. One of the big reasons for their rushing renaissance is Ingram, who himself is averaging about 60 yards per game and better than five yards per carry over the last three. He’s had 67 yards in each of the last two games and scored his second touchdown of the season in the win in Oakland. Even when Sproles returns, you have to figure that Ingram will still get his chances as the 2011 first-round pick is starting to show flashes of his Heisman Trophy-winning form.
Jalen Parmele, Jacksonville Jaguars
Rashad Jennings managed -1 yard on three carries against Houston, so the Jaguars turned to Parmele, who finished with 80 on 24 carries. Maurice Jones-Drew is "very questionable" to play this coming Sunday, so head coach Mike Mularkey has decided to tab Parmele the starter and Jennings will be get some use on a rotational basis. Parmele is a four-year pro who spent 2008-10 with the Ravens before joining the Jags this season, and although he has no track record to speak of, he does have this going for him: Tennessee, this week's opponent, is No. 30 in the league in rush defense (132.8 ypg) and is giving up the most fantasy points to running backs.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets
Shonn Greene got more carries (18 to 11) and rushing yards (64 to 42), but it was Powell who finished with a better average (3.8 to 3.6 ypc) and more importantly, scored twice in the win over St. Louis. Powell was reportedly on the verge of splitting carries evenly with Greene before he got injured in Week 6. He’s back now and with the Jets needing every win they can get to keep their playoff hopes alive, Rex Ryan may have no choice but to go with Powell instead of Greene, especially if he continues to out-produce him.
Week 11 Recap: Brandon Stokley caught his fourth touchdown in six games and his second against San Diego in the Broncos’ win on Sunday. Darrius Heyward-Bey had 69 yards receiving and Harry Douglas 48, although Douglas’ role could be expanding as Julio Jones left the win against Arizona early with an ankle injury. Laurent Robinson, on the other hand, didn’t catch a single pass in the Jaguars’ overtime loss in Houston, as rookie Justin Blackmon (7-236-1) and Cecil Shorts (3-81-1) did most of the damage.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Donnie Avery got knocked out of the game against New England with a concussion, but Hilton stepped up big in his absence. After not catching a single pass in his last game against Miami, Hilton hauled in six for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 59-24 loss to the Patriots. Hilton will presumably get the start opposite Reggie Wayne if Avery can’t go this Sunday against Buffalo, who is 25th against the pass.
Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals
Sanu has touchdown receptions in each of the past two games as he got the start in Sunday’s win in Kansas City because Andrew Hawkins (knee) was inactive. After not catching a pass in his first four games, he has at least two receptions in his past four and seems to have decent chemistry with Andy Dalton. Fellow wideout A.J. Green is Dalton’s primary target, followed by tight end Jermaine Gresham, but the opportunity is there for Sanu, even if Hawkins doesn’t miss any more games.
Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
Tate has done a good job of making the most of his receptions. Even though he’s had three or fewer catches in seven of nine games, he has scored six touchdowns. Better still, he’s starting to show some signs of consistency as he has 13 receptions over his past three games and three scores in his last two contests. Russell Wilson is a rookie and probably won’t put up huge passing numbers, but he’s starting to show a little more consistency and has seven touchdown passes in his last three outings. Sidney Rice may be the Seahawks’ No. 1 wide receiver, but Tate appears to be right behind him. Tate is definitely a boom-or-bust type of player, but it’s hard to discount his knack for finding the end zone.
Jairus Wright, Minnesota Vikings
All Wright did in his first career NFL game was grab three passes for 65 yards (21.7 ypc) and a touchdown. That came in a Week 10 win against Detroit and he got the opportunity because Percy Harvin (ankle) missed the game. Coming off of the bye, Harvin should be back, but Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has been looking for a reliable second target at wide receiver all season. Wright certainly made a strong first impression and figures to get more chances moving forward.
Week 11 Recap: Dustin Keller and Lance Kendricks combined to catch four passes (two each) for 30 yards on Sunday.
Garrett Graham, Houston Texans
Owen Daniels is the Texans’ primary tight end, but he’s been dealing with a hip injury recently, which has presented Graham with more opportunities. Graham really cashed in on those on Sunday as he caught eight passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Daniels had six receptions for 57 yards of his own and isn’t in danger of being replaced by Graham, but many other teams have been productive with two tight ends, so there’s no reason to think Houston can’t do the same. Unless Daniels gets hurt or misses another game, Graham is probably too inconsistent to trust on an every-week basis, but he’s someone worth keeping an eye on.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars
Lewis has two or more receptions in each of his last seven games and has averaged more than 10 yards per catch in his last four. He also had his best game of the season on Sunday hauling in two touchdowns against Houston. Lewis Is awfully hard to trust, but he is the Jaguars’ undisputed No. 1 tight end and has seen more than five targets per game over his last four contests. I like Lewis’ chances more if Chad Henne (see above) remains the Jags’ starting quarterback.
Week 11 Recap: Cincinnati held the Chiefs to just six points and had three sacks and a fumble recovery (15 fantasy points) in its win on Sunday. Likewise, Washington also held the Eagles to just six points, but the Redskins’ DST produced even more points with four sacks and three takeaways (20 points).
The Panthers’ DST has posted double-digit efforts in three of its past four games, including 15 fantasy points on Sunday against Tampa Bay. In addition, the Panthers’ next two opponents are Philadelphia, who could very well have a rookie starting at both quarterback (Nick Foles) and running back (Bryce Brown, see above), and Kansas City, who leads the league with 31 turnovers. Bye weeks are done, but if you don’t like the DST you’ve been running out there or their matchup this week or next, it may be worth considering giving the Panthers a tryout.
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.