TOYOTA TUNDRA – PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
This week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brad Evans looks at eight intriguing fantasy football players, and a defense, likely to be available on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) Back in the saddle, Jake's a fantastic stream play
Jake Locker (QB) Tennessee Titans
Advertised as a late-round Rip Van Winkle back in August, Locker, who missed several games with an injured shoulder, has largely remained in a deep slumber. Only once in five games has he exceeded 20 fantasy points. But Week 12 presents a unique opportunity. Jacksonville continues to be one of the friendliest defenses in the league. Including Matt Schaub's historical stat line last week (527-5-2), six signal callers have found the end-zone multiple times against the Jags this season. Most interestingly, versatile quarterbacks have hurt Jacksonville this season, evident in Andrew Luck's pair of superb performances versus the Colts' division rival this year. Locker's vertical game is still rough around the edges, but given his plus speed and athleticism, he could inflict serious damage on the ground. Consider him a top-15 option in Week 12.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) Former special teamer now the bellcow in Jacksonville
Jalen Parmele (RB) Jacksonville Jaguars
In a surprising but completely justifiable move, Mike Mularkey pulled the plug on Rashad Jennings last week in Houston, elevating the little used backup into the RB pole position. The Toledo product was sparingly used in Baltimore from 2008-2010 (seven carries in 24 games), contributing almost exclusively on special teams. But fed the rock 27 times against the Texans, the previously unknown Parmele is now a main attraction in Fantasyland. Though he finished with an uneventful 83 total yards against Houston, he will continue to be the primary rusher until Maurice Jones-Drew is cleared to return, which could happen in 2-3 weeks. This week, matched against a Titans front that has surrendered 4.4 yards per carry to RBs, he's flexy sexy in deep leagues.
Strong Buy (10-teams plus) Sidelined Shady opens door for Brown
Bryce Brown (RB) Philadelphia Eagles
In a league where any player is one significant injury away from becoming fantasy relevant, new value sources are omnipresent. Philadelphia is a case in point. After LeSean McCoy was carted off with a head injury late against Washington, Brown's fantasy stock instantly spiked. Unless the incumbent passes post-concussion tests with flying colors, it's highly likely the No. 2 Brown will net the start. Without question, stubborn Andy Reid won't shy away from the pass no matter how atrocious Nick Foles plays. Still, Brown, who possesses excellent versatility, should log roughly 14-16 touches in Week 12. Philly's opponent, Carolina, isn't the stiffest defense in the trenches, allowing 4.4 yards per carry to RBs this year. If he's given first-team reps, weigh Brown at the flex, especially in PPR leagues.
Strong Buy (10-team leagues plus) Run, Ronnie, Run now playing in Denver
Ronnie Hillman (RB) Denver Broncos
Willis McGahee's knee buckle versus San Diego pushed open the door of opportunity for the rookie Hillman. And, for the most part, he took advantage. Against one of the stingier run defenses in the league, Hillman accounted for 59 yards on 13 touches, displaying considerable explosiveness on his game-best 16-yard scamper. As stated previously, Hillman was a favorite sleeper of mine entering this season. He's quick, shifty, ultra-versatile and could soon be the primary back in a highly productive offense. Though he will cede touches to Lance Ball and possibly Knowshon Moreno, particularly on third downs, expect him to record a sizable workload at KC and moving forward. The Chiefs have yielded a very generous 4.6 yards per carry to RBs this season. McGahee, who tore his MCL in Week 11, is likely done for the rest of the regular season. Slap down those dollar bills.
Solid Buy (12-team leagues plus) After the turkey, sink your fork into the Jets WR
Jeremy Kerley (WR) New York Jets
After a controversial week, the Jets hushed their critics with a 27-point performance in St. Louis. Offensively, the Puddle Jumpers remain mostly inept, but any team is one favorable matchup away from excelling. This week's tilt with New England is a prime example. No team has given up more pass plays of 20-plus yards than the Patriots. They've also allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs. In the first Jets/Pats tango back in Week 7, Kerley spanked the division rival, totaling 120 yards on seven receptions. If, and that's an enormous IF, Mark Sanchez can play competently, another triple-digit yardage day could be in store for the shifty target.
Strong Buy (10-teams plus) Blackmon blow-up in Houston is only the beginning
Justin Blackmon (WR) Jacksonville Jaguars
Most, including yours truly, expected the wideout to be at least serviceable in his inaugural campaign. However, Blackmon's development has come along very slowly, primarily due to route-running miscues and the anemic play of Blaine Gabbert. But when Chad Henne entered last week's game in the first quarter, the light turned on in the rookie's head. Targeted 13 times, he exploded for 236 yards (on seven catches) and a TD, nearly matching his yardage total from his previous nine games (250). Provided Henne remains in the lineup, which he better, another superb effort could be on tap for the WR this week against Tennessee. Nine wideouts have eclipsed the 10-point threshold against the Titans this year. Slap the wallet.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) Logan's run of viability should continue on Turkey Day
Logan Paulsen (TE) Washington Redskins
Continuously overlooked by the common fantasy player, Paulsen, who's nicely filled the void left by IR'ed Fred Davis, demands your attention. Targeted over six times per game since overtaking the starting role, he's emerged as one of RGIII's most trusted weapons. The tight end would likely lose a footrace against a three-toed sloth, but his soft hands, punishing size and route savvy make him difficult to contain. Slated to face the 'Boys on Thanksgiving, he could reward buyers with a turkey leg. Dallas has defended TEs fairly well this season, but because of it's unyielding secondary and Washington's host of unreliable downfield weapons, Paulsen could be a point of emphasis. Show him some love.
Moderate Buy (12-teams plus) Doomsday scenario for Gronk boosts Shank
Visanthe Shiancoe (TE) New England Patriots
Remember this guy? Three years ago Shiancoe was a certified TE1. Then with Minnesota, he was a favorite target of Brett Farve near the goal-line. That season he totaled 11 touchdowns averaging 7.7 points per week the fifth-best tally among TEs. Now with New England, the veteran has a second lease on life. Though Aaron Hernandez stands to benefit most from Rob Gronkowski's 4-6 week absence once healthy, Shank should see a steady dose of snaps. Keep in mind the Pats are rather fond of two TE sets. Similar to Paulsen, he's an appropriate add for those in dire straits.
Strong Buy (12-teams plus) Week 12 QB Plug n' Play
Chad Henne (QB) Jacksonville Jaguars
Normally, recommending a Jaguars quarterback is an exercise in futility. But against one of the league's stingiest defenses, Houston, the veteran performed brilliantly. After replacing Blaine Gabbert in the first quarter, he torched the Texans for 354 yards and four touchdowns, highlighted by an 81-yard scoring strike to Blackmon. More importantly, he didn't commit a single turnover. With the generous Titans coming to town, the veteran is a viable option in deeper leagues. In Tennessee's past six contests, five quarterbacks have tallied at least 21 fantasy points against it, including the mediocre likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jay Cutler. Overall, the Titans have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to QBs. Hunt for the Jag in challenging formats.
Strong Buy (all leagues) Week 12 DEF Plug n' Play
St. Louis Rams Defense/Special Teams
Once a laughing stock defensively, the Rams have undergone quite the makeover on Jeff Fisher's watch. The coach's marvelous cookie duster must possess magical powers. Last year, St. Louis checked in at No. 22 in total defense. This year, they've improved that standing substantially, currently ranking No. 15 in the category. That number could rise after Week 12. This week, the Rams travel to the desert to face rookie Ryan Lindley and the Cardinals. Lindley, who was pressed into action after John Skelton was yanked early last week, was a deer in headlights against the Falcons. Behind Arizona's rickety offensive line, he coughed it up once and was sacked three times. Bookends Chris Long and Robert Quinn, who've accounted 15.5 sacks, should have a field day. Ram it.
Other Week 12 Pickups: Jay Cutler, Chi, QB, James Starks, GB, RB, Beanie Wells, Ari, RB, Knowshon Moreno, Den, RB, Lance Ball, Den, RB, Danario Alexander, SD, WR, TY Hilton, Ind, WR, Emmanuel Sanders, Pit, WR, Alshon Jeffery, Chi, WR, Julian Edelman, NE, WR, Brandon Myers, Oak, TE, Marcedes Lewis, Jax, TE