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Lions' Thomas looks like a solid stretch-run addition

Pro Football Weekly
Lions' Thomas looks like a solid stretch-run addition

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Lions' Thomas looks like a solid stretch-run addition

Updated Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 12:22 p.m. ET

With the fantasy playoff season upon us, here's a comprehensive list of players worth considering at the following positions: QB, RB, WR, TE and D/ST. Players are in order of how I would prioritize them on the waiver wire, and they are ranked by position, not relative to all players on the list.

As a general rule, I focus only upon players available in more than 50 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.

The suggestions below are a function of matchups, expected opportunities and other factors:


1. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (owned in 22 percent of Yahoo! leagues) — Has now thrown multiple TD passes in five consecutive games, and he gets favorable matchups in the next two weeks (vs. Arizona, at Buffalo). Simply one of the best players available in the bulk of fantasy leagues.

2. Eagles QB Nick Foles (six percent) — He merits another look from fantasy owners. He comes off his best game of the season, and he’s the Eagles’ starter for the balance of the season. What’s more, the Eagles face the NFL’s worst pass defense Sunday at Tampa Bay. For those taking a longer view, Foles also draws the Redskins’ No. 31-ranked pass defense in Week 16. In short, there’s a lot to like here.

3. Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (43 percent) — He’s a reasonable pickup, but Buffalo’s next two opponents (St. Louis, Seattle) can be tough vs. the pass. I prefer the rookies ahead of him on this list.

4. Rams QB Sam Bradford (21 percent) — I like his matchups in the next three weeks (at Buffalo, vs. Minnesota, at Tampa Bay). Sleeper.

5. Titans QB Jake Locker (17 percent) — Talented, but a hit-and-miss fantasy proposition.

Running backs

1. Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer (46 percent) — Will get another start Sunday vs. San Diego. I have to think he’s not available in many big leagues, but if you need a flex play in a 10-team format, he’s a plug-and-play proposition.

2. Packers RB Alex Green (18 percent) — The Packers’ running game has picked it up of late, giving Green a little more upside. Also, with RB James Starks (knee) reportedly in danger of missing some time, Green could see an uptick in carries in Week 14 and beyond.

3. Jaguars RB Montell Owens (two percent) — With Rashad Jennings (concussion) likely out for Week 14, Owens, most known for his special-teams coverage prowess, will likely start at tailback Sunday vs. the Jets, who are allowing the fourth-most rushing yards in the league. Owens has attempted just 21 rushes in seven NFL seasons, with his first seven carries of 2012 coming Sunday at Buffalo. Fun fact: Owens has more career special-teams tackles (119) than rushing yards (112).

4. Jets RB Bilal Powell (nine percent) — Good news: He started in Week 13. Bad news: Shonn Greene had twice as many carries (24, compared to 12 for Powell). That said, I still like Powell as a flex play in Week 14 at Jacksonville. Would it be a surprise in the least if the Jets went to a ground-and-pound attack? In that case, there will be plenty of work for Powell and Greene. Also, don’t forget that Powell had a combined three TDs in Weeks 11 and 12 before being held off the scoreboard Sunday vs. Arizona.

5. Colts RB Vick Ballard (37 percent) — Has racked up more rushing yards than Donald Brown in each of the last four games, and he’s had more carries in the last three contests. Not an unreasonable flex play against Tennessee (No. 27 vs. run) in Week 14.

6. Lions RB Joique Bell (26 percent) — Bell, who’s scored double-digit fantasy points in the last two games, is a nice stretch-run addition to bolster your RB depth. However, I still don’t believe he’s an every-week flex option by any means. He’s not the Lions’ starting tailback, and the Lions are very much a pass-happy team.

7. Saints RB Mark Ingram (29 percent) — Scored a TD in Week 13, but he received just six carries as Pierre Thomas got the majority of the rushes (14). I wouldn’t want to be depending upon any of the Saints’ running backs down the stretch.

8. Texans RB Justin Forsett (two percent) — Received a season-high 14 carries in the Texans’ Week 13 win at Tennessee. The bigger news, though, is that he had far more work than Ben Tate, who returned after missing four games. Tate had just three carries. If you have Arian Foster and Tate, you might want to pick up Forsett just to be safe.

9. Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (26 percent) — Value is highest to fantasy owners who are now depending upon Knowshon Moreno. This is a weird game, isn’t it?

10. Packers RB Ryan Grant (one percent) — He reportedly will re-sign with Green Bay, but Green is the preferred waiver-wire addition. Regarding James Starks: Owners depending upon him will want clarity on his status before moving him off the roster, but multiple reports have his season perhaps in jeopardy. In the last three games, Starks has received 65 carries, compared to 33 for Green, so if there's any chance Starks remains on the roster in the regular season, he might have some fantasy value in big leagues. However, picking up other RB help as insurance is a wise move.

Wide receivers

1. Chargers WR Danario Alexander (48 percent) — A must-add if available in leagues of all sizes, period. Has reached 96 receiving yards in three of his last four games.

2. Colts WR Donnie Avery (21 percent) — Set season-highs in targets (14) and TD catches (two) in the Colts’ comeback win at Detroit on Sunday. Has been targeted on about 20 percent of Andrew Luck’s passes this season (100-of-503).

3. Browns WR Josh Gordon (34 percent) — Racked up a season-best 116 receiving yards and caught his fifth TD of an impressive rookie season Sunday at Oakland. Needs 354 receiving yards in his final four games to reach 1,000 on the season.

4. Seahawks WR Golden Tate (29 percent) — Has been a surprising TD threat all season, and he racked up a season-high 96 receiving yards in the Week 13 win at Chicago.

5. Titans WR Kenny Britt (47 percent) — Two positive signs: He has caught a TD in two straight games, and he was targeted eight times in Week 13.

6. Lions WR Mike Thomas (one percent) — With WR Ryan Broyles (knee) out for the season and Titus Young persona non grata, Thomas is likely to have a key role in the Lions’ passing game down the stretch.

7. Rams WR Chris Givens (14 percent) — Big-play threat has some favorable matchups upcoming, with the Week 16 game at Tampa Bay a real chance for him to help owners in three-WR formats.

8. Panthers WR Brandon LaFell (22 percent) — Has flashed some big-play potential this season, but he was held without a catch in the Panthers’ first game vs. Atlanta.

9. Texans WR Kevin Walter (four percent) — Might be a decent play in deep three-WR formats against a generally shaky New England pass defense on Monday night.

10. Bengals WR Marvin Jones (zero percent) — Now a starter with Mohamed Sanu (foot) out for the season. Merits a look in bigger leagues.

Tight ends

1. Broncos TE Jacob Tamme (34 percent) — Set season-highs in targets (13), catches (nine) and receiving yards (89) in Denver’s Week 13 win vs. Tampa Bay. In Week 14, the Broncos draw a weak Oakland defense. What’s not to like?

2. Buccaneers TE Dallas Clark (23 percent) — If you’re looking for a tight end on the waiver wire, you are hoping for a handful of catches per game and a reasonable shot at the occasional TD reception. With Clark, you can make tick marks in both boxes. He’s caught a TD in 3-of-4 games in Tampa Bay’s strong offense.

3. Colts TE Dwayne Allen (14 percent) — Played 56-of-77 snaps in Week 13, compared to 23-of-77 for teammate Coby Fleener. While Fleener’s TD catch could make him a popular claim, I prefer Allen, who had more targets (5-2) and receiving yards (50-26) than his rookie teammate.

4. Titans TE Jared Cook (39 percent) — Cook, who was targeted a season-high 12 times in Week 13, has very good deep speed, and his best games a season ago were late in the campaign.

5. Bills TE Scott Chandler (36 percent) — Leads the Bills in TD receptions (six).

6. Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis (18 percent) — Averaging four catches, 62 yards and 6.5 targets in the last two games. 

7. Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (26 percent) — Third on the Ravens in targets (71).

8. Colts TE Coby Fleener (11 percent) — Could be worth a flier.


1. Minnesota (24 percent) — The Vikings’ pass rush (two sacks or fewer in five straight games) could perk up at home against a vulnerable Chicago offensive line.

2. Cleveland (27 percent) — Not a marquee defense from a fantasy perspective, but a reasonable pickup-and-start option in bigger leagues. 

3. Tampa Bay (28 percent) — The Eagles haven’t exactly taken care of the ball this season.

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