Waiver Wire - Week 12
By Matt Waldman
November 20th, 2012

Playoff Prep

With the bye weeks over, there are several players that I have been recommending as "adds" that will no longer be on this report. Some will remain due to the playoffs that begin for most leagues in Week 14 and these players will appear on the Upgrades and Downgrades report as "holds." Since this is a one-size-fits-all report and a preliminary report that feeds more nuanced decisions that our Footballguys staff will cover as the week progresses with updated information and analysis, I'm trying to cover a wide range of possibilities. Keep that in mind as you read this report during the final weeks before, and during, the playoff weeks.

Waiver Wire Adds

Note: All players are ranked in order of preference unless explicitly noted otherwise.

Quarterback Options

There are 3-4 solid bye-week options with relatively equal value as one- or two-week options and two players capable of starting if you need to make moves to shore up other positions by trading away a more established signal caller.

Starters in a Pinch

These players are worth bidding 5-10 percent of your money if you need a quarterback.

Matt Schaub, Texans: In a most unexpected contest where the Jaguars turned the contest into a shootout, Schaub went 43-of-55 for 527 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, throwing for the second-highest yardage total in history. Schaub's primary targets were Andre Johnson and backup tight end Garrett Graham. Schaub was accurate on just about every type of pass, hitting his receivers on short play action passes, screens, and deep posts. The Texans schedule includes the Lions, Titans, Patriots, and Colts, which gives Schaub a good series of matchups. He has thrown for at least 250 yards and 2 touchdowns in three of the past four contests, and that one subpar contest was in a soggy evening in Chicago where neither team's passing game was any good. Schaub makes a nice committee quarterback for those struggling to find a starter with upside.

Joe Flacco, Ravens: Flacco was considered droppable two weeks ago after failing to exceed a 250-yard game since Week 5. The Ravens starter then hit Torrey Smith for two touchdowns to Torrey Smith en route to a 341-yard, 3-score afternoon, including a 47-yard bomb up the right flat early in the third quarter to keep the lead above 17 points for the rest of the contest. This week against the Steelers, he returned to earth with a 20-of-32, 164-yard day that included 2 sacks and losing his tight end Dennis Pitta to a concussion in the first quarter. The Chargers, Steelers and Redskins are a decent schedule because two of the three are vulnerable to the pass. Flacco is a hit-or-miss type of committee starter who hits big when he's on.

Phillip Rivers, Chargers: Danario Alexander has given San Diego a fighting chance to produce through the air on a weekly basis, because of his deep speed, skill after the catch on short passes, and most of all, his hands. He isn't the drive-ender that Robert Meachem is. Rivers was 29-of-37 for 337 yards for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions last week. This week, he was 24-of-40 for 258 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. If you're in a shallow league and a team dropped Rivers, the Chargers quarterback is worth a look because the schedule includes two decent matchups among the Bengals, Steelers, Panthers, and Jets. There are several better options than Rivers, but in deeper leagues, he might be a reasonable speculative play.

Desperation Injury Subs

Bidding 2-3 percent on any of these passers should be enough.

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers: The second-year passer from Nevada looked like the model for what a year of development away from the starting lineup should be for a quarterback. Nice comeback for a first down off play action from a 21 personnel set to Manningham. Kaepernick consistently changed plays at the line of scrimmage to find more optimal plays. This isn't as difficult as it may appear in this contest, considering that the Bears tend to do little to disguise its defense. Still, for a player drawing his first start it was a great sign. What was more impressive was how he handled the Bears' terrific defense after the snap. Kaepernick did a strong job of driving the Bears down the field with first-down play action passes, hitting Vernon Davis early and often, including his first touchdown pass. He was accurate deep with deep corner routes to Davis and Kyle Williams. He also improvised well on his second touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree. Kaepernick did little as a runner, but his 18-of-23 for 243 yards for 2 scores without a turnover was a credit to how good he was against this Bears defense that thrives on turnovers. Alex Smith may return with his job intact, but Kaepernick made a statement in this game that he has a future as a starter in this league sooner than later. He's worth adding for the playoffs as a productive reserve. He could draw starts if the 49ers earn home field advantage in December. He's also worth adding in case Smith struggles or the 49ers like enough of what they saw to make a switch. Jim Harbaugh did say that he tends to go with the hot-hand, but claimed both quarterbacks have a hot hand. Stay tuned.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks: Wilson is 53-of-78 for 608 yards and 7 touchdowns during the past three weeks prior to the bye, including last week's 2-touchdown effort against the Jets. This was his fourth multiple-touchdown outing as a passer in five weeks. Wilson continues to look good as a scrambler, finding receivers down field after avoiding pressure that most quarterbacks could not. His 31-yard score to Sidney Rice was a great pass on the line up the right seam that was placed perfectly over the receiver's inside shoulder despite tight coverage from the defensive back. Although Wilson continues to produce well, he did take four sacks and lost the ball on one of those that led to a runback for a touchdown in the first quarter. Every week, Sidney Rice is looking healthier and Golden Tate is playing with more confidence. The Dolphins, Bears, Cardinals, and Bills are next. He's probably the best of the mid-to-low end QB2s and worth an addition to replace that second committee passer who has underwhelmed for your squad.

Brandon Weeden, Browns: Weeden satisfied incredibly desperate fantasy owners this weekend with a 20-of-35, 210-yard, 2-touchdown performance against a good Cowboys defense. He found Ben Watson twice in the end zone and probably should have had a third score on a fourth-down pass to Jordan Cameron that he threw out of bounds late in the game that could have given the Browns an earlier lead. The play call in this situation was just a poor choice and the execution didn't give Cameron a chance to make the play inbounds. Otherwise, Weeden continues to flash a strong arm, good accuracy, and an aggressiveness that helps his team compete. The Browns face Steelers, Raiders, Chiefs, and Redskins next. If you can find a more suitable quarterback for Week 12 but add Weeden for the next three weeks, he could make a reasonable start for a strong team lacking a quarterback after league trade deadlines have passed.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills: As mentioned for the past three weeks, Fitzpatrick gets the Colts, Jaguars, and Rams, and this makes him a worthwhile option for fantasy owners who might have gone all-in with Michael Vick or had to make trades and take chances on committee-type starters who haven't worked out. Buffalo is too inconsistent to count on Fitzpatrick for more than a speculative play with a decent schedule.

Jake Locker, Titans: The Jaguars, Texans, Colts, Jets, and Packers are the schedule after the Week 11 Bye. This is a decent enough schedule to consider Locker if desperate for a committee starter that could provide reasonably good production (low-end QB1 production) more weeks than not down the stretch.

Chad Henne, Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert suffered another boo-boo that took him out of the game. The ouch-ee that got Sunshine this weekend was a bruised throwing elbow and Mike Mularkey refused to kiss it and make the second-year quarterback feel better. The veteran Henne stepped in and made this a ball game, hitting Justin Blackmon on two deep passes. One was a deep cross that Blackmon took 63 yards and then a seam route between defenders where Blackmon bounced off a hit and got a mini-convoy of blocks up the left flat to slow roll his way to the end zone for an 81-yard score. He also found Cecil Shorts on a hook that the second-year wide out took for a 67-yard touchdown. Henne still had his share of tipped passes, throws behind receivers, and general miscommunications one should expect from a backup not used to getting reps with starters, but his 354 yards and 4 touchdowns on the big plays he did hit were enough to make fantasy owners consider hi against the Titans, Bills, Jets, Dolphins, and Patriots if he somehow earns the nod over Gabbert. Keep an eye on this situation.

Running Back Options

This is the time of year where one has to stay vigilant about running back depth due to injuries or teams shutting down its stars to give youth a chance to play. This means there will be talented players available on the waiver wire and they have the skills to establish themselves as handcuffs or committee backs down the stretch.

Priority Adds: 8-12 percent of blind bidding budget

Marcel Reece, Raiders: Neither Darren McFadden nor Mike Goodson were able to play this weekend and it's unlikely they'll be ready next week. With Taiwan Jones hurting his ankle this weekend, Reece got a feature back workload, carrying the ball 19 times for 103 yards and adding another 90 yards as a receiver on 4 catches. He and Carson Palmer are this offense. Reece led all Raiders receivers three weeks ago with 95 yards on 8 receptions, including a 13-yard pass up the right sideline to the end zone in the late fourth quarter. Last weekend he had 104 total yards on 20 touches with a near, 50-50 split in rushing and receiving yardage. Oakland faces the Bengals, Browns, and Broncos next, and it makes Reece a strong RB2 with RB1 upside due to the nature of this offense. If McFadden or Goodson return during this span of games, Reece still has a strong shot to provide low-end RB2 or strong, flex production.

Mark Ingram, Saints: Ingram's 16-carry, 62-yard outing was a nice display of yards after contact against the Falcons last week. This weekend he had 12 carries for 67 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown up the left flat against the Raiders. Combine those totals and you have an RB1 fantasy afternoon. However, Coach Joe Vitt has mandated the Saints offense run the ball more often and this did help the Saints passing game. Even if Darren Sproles returns next week, Ingram and Chris Ivory have earned more touches than Pierre Thomas during the past three weeks. Consider Ingram the hot hand with the opportunity to get hotter against the likes of the Falcons and Giants after a touch matchup with the 49ers.

Felix Jones, Cowboys: Jones has 19 carries for 153 yards and 10 catches for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns during the past three weeks. Starter Demarco Murray's return may be imminent, but no guarantee if he can stay healthy due to the nature of foot injuries and running backs. This means Jones remains a reasonable flex and remains a nice option to keep on your roster because the Redskins, Eagles, Bengals, Steelers, and Saints is a nice schedule for any running game.

Ronnie Hillman, Broncos: With McGahee out for several weeks with an MCL tear and a compression fracture Hillman is the top priority waiver addition. Hillman is looking better in pass protection and earning enough opportunities each week to illustrate that the Broncos are gaining confidence in the young runner. Although he may still wind up in a committee rotation with Lance Ball, his upside as a runner is good enough that he could generate big plays on fewer touches. With the Chiefs, Buccaneers, and Raiders next, Hillman has a strong opportunity to provide starter production. Even if Ball eats into his opportunities, Hillman still has upside as a quality flex-option.

Bryce Brown, Eagles: If LeSean McCoy's concussion forces him to miss a week or two, Brown has the talent to produce as a fantasy starter, especially if Michael Vick can return next weekend as some are speculating. The Panthers, Cowboys, Buccaneers, and Redskins are not an easy schedule against the run when looking at that four-week period as a whole. However, if McCoy only misses a week, Brown's matchup with the Panthers would make him prime material as a one-week sub. If the Eagles shut down McCoy for the final two weeks of the season and give Brown more chances against the Bengals and a rematch with the Redskins, fantasy owners should climb aboard the bandwagon. Only Trent Richardson was a more heralded back coming out of high school and Brown earned comparisons to Bo Jackson by some of his Eagles teammates. Hyperbole yes, but Brown has the athleticism, hands, running skill to develop into a top-15 fantasy starter sooner if given the opportunity.

Jalen Parmele, Jaguars: Parmele ran hard against the Texans, amassing 80 yards on 24 carries, including a 28-yarder late in the game. The Jaguars seem to be moving on from Rashad Jennings, who saw 3 carries for -1 yard. The Titans, Bills, and Jets are next, and this is a good enough schedule to consider Parmele if Maurice Jones-Drew cannot return. Considering that Jones-Drew doesn't have a specific date, consider Parmele a better option than Brown or Jones for the long-term unless additional news breaks that lengthens McCoy and Murray's timetables to return.

Andre Brown, Giants: Brown's role has been stable the past three weeks prior to the bye. He had 20 yards and a touchdown for two weeks as the short-yardage, red zone option and change-of-pace runner to Ahmad Bradshaw, and then increased that total with 65 yards and a score on 7 carries this weekend. Brown had 12 touches for 94 yards against the Bengals. Although David Wilson still lurks as a late-season option, Brown is the better short-term committee back for the Giants and is eating away at Wilson's late-season appeal. Of course, so are the Giants' losses. Brown is a worthwhile flex with potential RB2 upside if Ahmad Bradshaw loses time.

Cedric Benson, Packers: Benson could be back by Week 14 and this Packers running game isn't functioning at the same level without the veteran. He could be a nice playoff stash, especially for most championship weeks where Green Bay faces Tennessee.

Chris Wells, Cardinals: Wells, like Benson, is on track to return and he'll be the most talented of the healthy options on the Cardinals depth chart. The fact that the Cardinals receiving corps is developing at a nice rate could also help the running game. Truth be told, that's about as optimistic as I can get about the situation for Wells because Arizona schedule isn't favorable for fantasy running backs.

Shane Vereen, Patriots: Vereen had minimal opportunities the past three weeks but this weekend he had 11 carries for 40 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run against the Colts. He continues to look quick and demonstrates strong pad level when finishing runs. He also out-produced Stevan Ridley. Vereen might be a nice preemptive addition with the Jets and Dolphins ahead and Brandon Bolden suspended for a performance enhancing substance violation. He's a solid desperation bye-week start that should earn you some points in the red zone and possibly a lot more if Ridley were to get hurt or underperforms again.

Week-to-Week, Injury Desperation Plays: 5-7 percent of blind bidding budget

These are players with the skills to earning time in the starting lineup with potential for RB1 weeks under the right circumstance. The lower the player is on the list, the less likely they are to see lead-back opportunities unless the team shuts down its starting lineup during the final two weeks of the season.

James Starks, Packers: Starks did his usual thing the past two starts: averaging less than four yards per carry, but had a promising run or two in the process. The Packers don't have a run-favorable, fantasy schedule ahead and Cedric Benson has removed his walking boot with hopes of playing by Week 14. Consider Starks a low-end flex-play in the coming weeks against the Giants and, if Benson isn't ready, the Vikings.

DeAngelo Williams, Panthers: Williams is still a worthwhile handcuff with desperation flex appeal, but it's sad to see a player with this talent reduced to this workload and production. Pay attention to Jonathan Stewart's ankle injury that forced him to miss time during this weekend's game. If the swelling forces Stewart to miss time, Williams could make a reasonable flex-play with big-play upside as an injury sub.

Chris Ivory, Saints: Ivory runs like Adrian Peterson in the sense that he's big, physical, fast, and has moves to make defenders miss. More than anything, he runs with an aggressive nature. When putting together all of these facets of his game, Ivory has runs that look like something from the back whose home is where the Mississippi starts and not where it ends. Mark Ingram is playing better as he earns more opportunities and remains above Ivory on the depth chart. Even with Darren Sproles possibly returning next week ,Joe Vitt has made it clear that he wants to run the ball more. I think Ivory was out-playing Ingram until the Raiders game when Ingram got early looks and started hot. In terms of what I've seen on the field, I'll be surprised if Ivory returns to the bench when Sproles is ready. In terms of what I've seen in the NFL, you better be prepared that it might happen.

Daryl Richardson, Rams: The Cardinals, a rematch with the 49ers, and the Bills isn't a good schedule for fantasy opportunities, but Richardson continues to run hard as well as make plays after the catch. However, Steven Jackson is getting hot while Richardson is seeing half the touches and this week had half the output (26 yards) of what we've been seeing in prior weeks. He did have 18 yards as a receiver, but he's more of a desperation flex-play and injury substitute combo. Like Danny Woodhead he has become a steady option despite minimal upside as long Steven Jackson remains in the lineup.

LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals: Chris Wells is slated to return soon, but Stephens-Howling made the most of his chances this weekend, rushing for 127 yards and a score on 22 carries. About 70 percent of his totals came on two runs, both plays off right tackle that he bounced to the edge and made a move to reach the flat. His elusiveness is well-documented and he did a great job putting this on display in a game that the Cardinals should have won handily if it had a productive, experienced quarterback on the roster. The Rams, Jets, and Seahawks aren't a great schedule for the running game. With Wells returning, consider this game Stephens-Howling's season-best. If he starts next week, he'll be a solid flex-play with RB2 upside. Otherwise, he's a desperation flex paired with Wells.

Bilal Powell, Jets: Powell left last week's game in the second half due to a concussion. This weekend he scored twice on red zone touches on plays up the middle of the Rams defense. He's only been a third-down option in this offense and rarely earns the same quality of touches as Shonn Greene. If Powell's two fourth-quarter touchdowns are a sign of things to come, he could see an increase in carries. Don't count on it. But if you didn't drop him last week, you might as well hang onto him against the Patriots and Cardinals to see if he shows more signs of life. If so, the Jaguars, Titans, and Chargers are a nice schedule for any Jets runner.

Cedric Peerman, Bengals: Peerman is a forgotten talent in the Bengals backfield and his best chance of earning consistent carries will only come if Green-Ellis gets hurt. At the same time, his 8 touches for 75 yards included some nice runs up the middle on successful drives. His 32-yard gain to begin his day was an attempt on a fake punt. Peerman has more speed than Green-Ellis, and if given a chance to get into a rhythm he could surprise. He's worth an addition to very deep rosters or large leagues with the Raiders, Chargers, Cowboys, and Eagles next. Don't rely on anything more than desperation flex production.

Danny Woodhead, Patriots: Woodhead remains the quintessential desperation bye-week player. His opportunities come in the red zone and he's a fine runner and receiver in the spread. He's the Patriots' answer to Pierre Thomas but lacking the size and rugged style. Woodhead's upside is lacking due to a low carry count as a cog in the Patriots' offensive machine. However, he can provide 6 to 16 fantasy points depending on the frequency he's used. This weekend he wasn't used at all after a Week 10 output where he he had between one-to-four points more than that top-end projection, depending on the league. As I mentioned three weeks ago, I think Woodhead's value will remain the same while Vereen's has more potential to increase due to his big-play ability and physical dimensions. However, if I'm seeking a safe 40-70 yards from a bye-week option, Woodhead is probably the best of the options in this tier. Keep an eye on how this changes with Rob Gronkowski out for 4-6 weeks and Julian Edelman returning from a hand injury.

Donald Brown, Colts: Brown had 17 yards on 4 carries and another 6 on 2 receptions. The Bills, Lions, and Titans are an easier schedule ahead, but Vick Ballard is making the most of his opportunities as the lead back and Delone Carter is beginning to show the talent that made him a good prospect in his own right. Brown isn't a great runner, but he's an effective flex-player with some big-play upside when he finds a lane that he can bounce outside or a screen pass that he can take up the flat. Browns has flex-appeal in larger leagues.

Delone Carter, Colts: Carter is a strong runner with some acceleration and excellent balance. He needs to work harder at pass protection and ball security. He has made enough strides to continue to see increased reps while Donald Brown has missed time. Carter still saw two carries, gaining 20 on one and scoring a touchdown on a nice second effort run to left end with the other. Carter remains a promising player and one to consider in larger leagues as a handcuff to Ballard and/or Brown.

Late Season Lotto: 1 percent

These are players worth considering if you're seeking options that could reap dividends during the playoffs as teams shut down establish starters and give depth a chance. Only add if you're dropping a defense, a kicker, or untradeable depth at positions that lack the necessary productivity or talent to keep them.

David Wilson, Giants: Wilson continues to perform well on kick returns, but he hasn't seen touches as a running back for the past two weeks. Although Coach Tom Coughlin says that Wilson is making progress towards regaining the team's trust, Andre Brown is the change-of-pace option. Wilson remains a patience play for fantasy owners and he could work his way into a part-time role and eventually a lead back during the fantasy playoffs when teams rest its starters. If you have the luxury to add Wilson now, do it. If you're seeking an immediate help to your running back corps, Andre Brown is the better option. Brown might remain the better option the way that he's playing.

Bernard Pierce, Ravens: Pierce saw enough carries two weeks ago to score on a run he bounced to the left side for 12-yard gain untouched. He's Ray Rice's handcuff and if the Ravens can make the playoffs, Pierce might see more time down the stretch if Baltimore opts to rest Rice. Pierce is a powerful back with better speed than many realize.

Robert Turbin, Seahawks: The rookie running back for the Seahawks continues to play well. He has worked at his craft and taken to the coaching that he has needed to develop into a decisive, physical runner. The physical skill to plow through defenders and hit a hole swiftly has always been there, but the maturity to do it has not. If Marshawn Lynch were to miss time, Turbin has enough skill to earn no worse than RB2-caliber production behind a good, young offensive line and a run-based offense that complements a stingy defense that will help keep the run game a viable part of the game plan. Turbin is a perfect luxury stash for fantasy owners with the room to add a player poised to produce if called upon.

Players to Monitor, But Not to Add

Lamar Miller, Dolphins: If the Dolphins decide to limit Reggie Bush and see what they have with Miller, the rookie has the athleticism and natural skills as a runner to deliver against the likes of the Jaguars and Bills during weeks 15 and 16.

Daniel Thomas, Dolphins: He's the handcuff to Reggie Bush, but not doing much when he's on the field. He's worth considering for mid-to-late December matchups with the Bills and Jaguars if you own Reggie Bush.

Montario Hardesty, Browns: Hardesty is a talented runner stuck behind the most talented rookie runner in the league. Hardesty's knees make him a very risky addition, but he's still worth mentioning in some leagues as Richardson's handcuff.

Evan Royster, Redskins: Receiving skills make Royster an option if Morris misses time or his performance declines.

Jamie Harper, Titans: His goal line looks make him worth a shot as a deep league addition. He also appears to be the primary backup to Chris Johnson behind a Titans line that is improving its play. If you own Johnson, Harper is worth an addition as his handcuff.

Lance Dunbar, Cowboys: Dunbar is a short, shifty back with good quickness and creativity. He is beginning to see more favor as the No.2 back to Felix Jones. If Demarco Murray and Jones were to miss time, Dunbar would probably split opportunities with Phillip Tanner. Both of these reserves have the talent to produce as solid flex-options if called upon as a committee for the Cowboys.

Isaiah Pead, Rams: The rookie is an explosive runner with good receiving skills. He is agile and considered a potential starter within the next 2-3 seasons. If the Rams trade Steven Jackson prior to the league deadline, Pead could earn committee or change of pace looks to Daryl Richardson as the No.2 runner in St. Louis.

Johnny White, Packers: White is a hard runner with good receiving skills. If he gets a shot to play, he might surprise. However, he'll need to learn pass protection in Green Bay, which could take some time.

Michael Smith, Buccaneers: Smith has enough talent to develop into the No.2 option in Tampa. He was Robert Turbin's teammate at Utah State and many considered him a smarter runner. He's a smaller, explosive back than Turbin but he runs hard with excellent pad level. He's worth a handcuff to Doug Martin if Blount gets hurt or underwhelms.

LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers: Blount had borderline first-round talent at Oregon, but he had a high school player's attitude early in his career. If he can keep his job as the No.2 back he's a Doug Martin injury away from earning the starting job and offering fantasy RB2 production.

Wide Receiver Options

Like the quarterback position, there are receivers on this list that fantasy owners can use right away. Only a few have every-week upside and potential to grow into a larger role. The rest are the type of players a fantasy owner can add and drop as necessary.

Priority Additions: 15-25 percent of blind bidding budget

Danario Alexander, Chargers: Alexander remains among the most talented receivers on this weeks' waiver wire, as he has for the past two weeks. However he's among the most fragile. If he can stay healthy he's an upgrade in talent and consistency to major free agent acquisition Robert Meachem who has to do physics calculations to successfully catch the football. I'm beginning to think that Meachem will discover the equation for successful time travel before he pieces together a good fantasy season. Alexander is worth a boom-bust addition if you have the luxury because he's big, fast, catches the ball consistently, and is closer to Vincent Jackson than anything the Chargers front offense could assemble this offseason. His three catches for 61 yards against the Chiefs was a nice indication of what's to come if the Chargers continue to have the sense to use him and admit its massive mistake taking Meachem. Last weekend, Alexander had 136 yards on 5 catches, including a short slant in the first quarter that the big receiver turned into an 80-yard score when he spun through a hit and wrap about 10 to 15 yards down field and did a fantastic job maintaining his balance so he could outrun the defense the rest of the way. This weekend, Alexander had 7 catches for 96 yards, including a leaping, 21-yard catch on a flat route where he extended the ball with one hand over the goal line for the late score. When healthy, Alexander can actually do justice to a Vincent Jackson impression. His 11 targets this weekend was nearly twice as many as the next two skill players on the Chargers roster. Keep rolling with Alexander until the wheels get damaged.

Golden Tate, Seahawks: Tate's recent performance might be evidence that he's no longer an up-and-down performer. Tate followed up his 64-yard, 7-catch outing against the Lions with a two-touchdown effort against the Viking and now, he caught and threw a touchdown against the Jets last weekend despite only earning two targets. Tate's touchdown was a terrific grab over his coverage for a 38-yard score in the first quarter. He's a physical player who plays with abandon when the ball is in the air or if he has to vault into the air to earn extra yardage as a ball carrier. Tate's quarterback Russell Wilson is playing better football as the season progresses. Keep him in mind as a flex-play with Brandon Gibson or Davone Bess' floor, but a higher ceiling due to his vertical skill. The Dolphins, Bears, Cardinals, and Bills make him an up-and-down option, but still worth consideration.

Cecil Shorts, Jaguars: Shorts makes plays down field and with the return of Laurent Robinson to the Jaguars lineup, this offense could begin to make life easier for Blaine Gabbert. Shorts and Gabbert are developing strong down field rapport and he has 18 catches for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns during the past 14 quarters. His 67-yard score up the left flat was an intermediate hook that he took the rest of the way after making a nice inside out move on the defender in space to get free. He is worth adding as a flex-play with upside.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts: Hilton is considered a young player on the rise, but he's hit-or-miss, bye-week option with flex-play potential. Hilton had six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins that could have been 142 yards and 2 scores if not for a drop.This weekend he had a sliding catch in the back of the end zone against the Patriots and then a 47-yard score up the right flat on a streak to surpass 100 yards. With the Bills and Lions next, Hilton has a good chance to continue solid flex production with big-play upside. However, Avery will make Hilton a bigger boom-bust option.

Julian Edelman, Patriots: Edelman scored on a 68-yard punt return, a short pass, and added a 47-yard end-around up the right flat to the mix. He had 105 total fantasy yards in non-return yardage leagues. With Rob Gronkowski suffering a broken forearm that could cost Brady's best target 4-6 weeks, Edelman could pick up the slack as Aaron Hernandez tries to work back to health. The Jets, Dolphins, Texans, and 49ers, aren't a great schedule, but Edelman is the type of weapon that makes a good gamble as a flex play with WR2 upside.

Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers: Sanders had a couple of nice catches, including a deep cross for a 37-yard gain that accounted for nearly half of his three grabs for 82 yards with Byron Leftwich at the helm. Sanders is probably a reasonably good start regardless of which quarterback is playing for Pittsburgh. The Browns, Ravens, and Chargers are next and Sanders has the speed, skill after the catch, and hands to produce as a strong flex-play or low-end WR3 until Antonio Brown returns. Even then, he might still offer some flex-appeal.

Bench depth w/flex upside: 8-10 percent of blind bidding budget

Davone Bess, Dolphins: Bess has 36 catches for 470 yards and a touchdown during the last 7 weeks and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill appears to be developing a stronger rapport with the veteran. Bess scored on a two-yard pass late in the Bills game to cut Buffalo's lead to 5 in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's game and led Dolphins receivers with 6 catches for 50 yard and 11 targets. The problem with the Dolphins offense is its predictability. The team doesn't seem to be making adjustments to its game plan and opposing defenses are benefiting from the vanilla schemes. Bess should continue to have stable flex-production if not solid WR3 numbers against the Seahawks, Patriots, and 49ers, but his ceiling is very low.

Jeremy Kerley, Jets: The second-year receiver from TCU, who used to be Andy Dalton's favorite target, remains Mark Sanchez's most reliable option. Kerley has 13 catches for 143 yards during the past three weeks, which is little more than low-end flex production. The Patriots have upgraded its secondary with Aquib Talib, which doesn't make Kerley as good of an option next week. He's still worth a desperation play and hanging onto as depth for the playoff schedule of the Jaguars, Titans, and Chargers.

Brandon LaFell, Panthers: LaFell has 12 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown during the past four weeks despite missing Week 9 with a head injury. He still has flex appeal in larger leagues. The Eagles defense lacks discipline and smarts, which could spell good things for LaFell next week. With the Chiefs, Falcons, Chargers, and Raiders next, he's a solid keeper for a roster that might need a flex-play down the stretch.

Justin Blackmon, Jaguars: With Cecil Shorts and Laurent Robinson getting on track, Blackmon seemed to be the No.3 or No.4 option in the Jaguars passing game. Last week I said Blackmon was currently a dime-a-dozen, bye-week, injury sub that you can find in abundance on most waiver wires. Once Chad Henne entered the game against the Texans this week, that all changed. Blackmon had a career-high 7 catches for 236 yards and a touchdown, including an 81-yard play where he leaped over one defender and caught the ball just short of another over top, bounced off a hit and took the ball up the left flat for the score. Blackmon's strength and hands were evident all game long, but so was his lack of speed. Despite the long plays, he needed a lot of help from blockers and missed tackles to generate this yardage. He's essentially a bigger, stronger Michael Crabtree. Blackmon might be worth a look if Blaine Gabbert misses next week's gain against the Titans. Otherwise, expect this week's game a career high that might be three times higher than his best production for the rest of the year.

Mohamed Sanu, Bengals: Sanu has 6 catches for 69 yards and 2 touchdowns during the past two weeks. With Marvin Jones still working to return from a torn MCL, Sanu may continue to earn more opportunities but Jones is scheduled to practice this week. He's only worth a bye-week desperation call in deep leagues, but each week he's earning red zone looks, which is a good sign.

Brandon Gibson, Rams: The former Washington State star remains a reliable component of the passing game and as long as the Rams can generate production from a big-play threat like Chris Givens it helps Gibson remain a good possession receiver. He scored twice in this game on a one-yard throw in the first quarter and a two-yard gain in the fourth. Gibson is one of these fantasy players that may not be an exciting addition, but he's worth a one-week addition if in need of a short-term spare due to injury.

Darius Heyward-Bey, Raiders: Heyward-Bey has 14 catches for 215 yards and a touchdown during the past three weeks. The Raiders are in dire need of consistent receiving options and Heyward-Bey is not one of those players by classical definition, but he'll do in this situation. He's a reasonably good flex-play with the Bengals and Browns next.

Greg Little, Browns: Little's upside and second chances to contribute in the starting lineup remains good enough that he warrants a look as a flex-play or desperation WR3. Little and Josh Gordon are splitting the majority of the Browns targets in recent weeks. He's a risky bid, because his development remains erratic but he is still worth solid consideration because if the light comes on completely rather than flickers, he has starter talent.

Brandon Stokley, Broncos: When Manning and Stokley connect it's often in the red zone. Stokley scored on a 31-yard play this weekend on a busted coverage behind the secondary. His four catches for 55 yards led the Broncos receivers. With the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Raiders, Ravens, and Browns ahead, Stokley remains a good gamble as a desperation flex-play.

Riley Cooper, Eagles: Cooper's height, hands, build-up speed, and skill to adjust to the football makes him a viable desperation waiver wire option if Jason Avant misses more time. His eight targets was tied for the team lead this weekend and his 5 catches for 61 yards were only behind LeSean McCoy's 6-catch, 67-yard total. The Eagles face the Panthers, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Bengals, and Redskins in the coming weeks, which is a favorable schedule.

Juron Criner, Raiders: Criner saw as many targets (3) as Rod Streater last weekend, catching 2 for 26 yards. This weekend he had 6 targets, 23 yards, and a 3-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a corner fade where he made a great adjustment to catch the ball over his head in tight coverage and stay inbounds. He's a player that the Raiders want to get on the field and it's happening in fits and starts. He's probably worth adding in larger leagues because his 6 targets were second only to Brandon Myers. The Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Chiefs, and Panthers constitute a favorable schedule for Criner to continue to thrive in limited time or expand his role.

Marvin Jones, Bengals: Jones tore his MCL on a kickoff four weeks ago. Jones is scheduled to practice his week. If he can play, he has a decent matchup with the Raiders and Chargers to surprise. Jones is probably my favorite technician among the receivers in this 2012 NFL Draft class. He could offer some flex production at a low price. If he's truly at full health, he has the talent to earn the No.2 job.

Chris Givens, Rams: After getting benched last week for violating team rules, he was limited to 4 catches for 19 yards. Givens hasn't had a big play since Week 8, which ended a run of five weeks of big plays. Givens has earned enough looks to produce as a boom-bust, big-play option and remains a low-bid bargain as a desperation flex-play.

Only in Larger Leagues, Otherwise Monitor

Harry Douglas, Falcons: Julio Jones was clearly limited by a high ankle sprain against the Cardinals and missed much of the second half. Douglas lacks great deep speed, but he's quick and has good hands. He could benefit in Jones' absence if the receiver has to miss another week or remains limited against the Buccaneers subpar pass defense. He'll likely be the No.3 option in the Falcons passing attack, but with big-play upside in the intermediate and deep play-action game.

LaVon Brazil, Colts: Brazil made two big plays in this contest and got open for a third long target that was delivered under pressure and less than a foot over thrown. The Colts rookie continues to flash speed and open field skill. He's no better than a No.4 option in this passing game, but he's consistently seeing time on the field so don't discount him.

Santana Moss, Redskins: Moss is a smart receiver in an option-style offense capable of 3-5 catches per week. Consider the veteran fantasy duct-tape at best. His one catch was a play where he got behind the Eagle secondary and made a leaping grab between defenders for a 61-yard touchdown. It was his only target of the day. He's a reasonable gamble because he works his way open better than any receiver ont the Redskins' current roster.

Laurent Robinson, Jaguars: Robinson has 15 catches for 118 yards before the Texans game. With the Titans and Bills ahead, he has a good shot to produce as a low-end possession, flex. He did a nice job on back-shoulder throws with Blaine Gabbert under center two weeks ago. His 15 targets led the team in that contest, but he only saw 2 targets this weekend and was held without a catch. The Jaguars pecking order beyond Cecil Shorts is unpredictable due to the receivers and the health situation at quarterback.

Austin Pettis, Rams: Pettis had a nice catch on a deep seam route where he had to extend for the football over his head for a 36-yard gain. He was third on the team in targets with 6 and he is developing into a viable red zone threat. Stylistically speaking, his physical skill and hands make him a Marques Colston-Mohamed Sanu slot threat. He's just not nearly as polished as Colston or as dynamic as Sanu. Don't count on much against the Cardinals and 49ers during the next two weeks, but the Bills, Vikings, and Buccaneers make him a reasonable desperation flex during the playoffs.

Stephen Hill, Jets: The rookie continues to flash skills that should help him develop into a player the way fellow alum Demaryius Thomas grew into a quality fantasy starter. It won't be this year that Hill reaches that potential, but he will be a big-play upside investment along the lines of Chris Givens just in an offense that is slightly worse than the Rams, but arguably a more difficult schedule. His upside makes him reasonably strong fantasy duct-tape, at least next week versus the Patriots and then beginning Week 14 against the Jaguars, Titans, and Chargers.

Aldrick Robinson, Redskins: Robinson caught a long touchdown on a deep cross where the Eagles cornerback thought he had safety help and passed Robinson off to open space. Despite this being the story of the Eagles secondary this year, Robinson is very similar to Emmanuel Sanders in style, his former teammate at SMU. Keep an eye on Robinson because Pierre Garcon doesn't look healthy enough to be on the field.

Greg Salas, Patriots: Salas was placed on the Patriots active roster and Deion Branch was released. With Rob Gronkowski expected to miss 4-6 weeks, Salas might earn a role in the passing game. Even so, it's unlikely to be an extensive role. However, he's worth monitoring just in case because he has experience in Josh McDaniels' offense and he played well enough in the Rams training camp this summer to make St. Louis' decision to keep Jeff Fisher's draft picks more difficult.

Tight End Options

There aren't a lot of additions this week at the tight end position. Most of the players on the border between add and drop will be "holds" in this week's Upgrades-Downgrades report.

Priorities 8-12 Percent

Brandon Myers, Raiders: Myers has 31catches for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns during the past 5 weeks. He had his second one-yard in as many games. With a good-to-very-good schedule ahead, Myers is a reasonable committee tight end for a Raiders team lacking consistent options in the passing game. Think of him as a poor man's version of Kevin Boss when Boss was with the Giants some years ago.

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings: The Vikings said publicly that they wanted to get Rudolph more involved and last week they succeeded doing so, targeting the tight end 9 times for 7 catches, 64 yards, and touchdown on a flat route where he broke one tackle and turned up the left sideline for over half of the 20 yards gained on the play. Adrian Peterson is running so well that Rudolph should continue to earn nice looks against safeties or linebackers on play action passes. The schedule of the Bears (twice), Packers, and Rams isn't great, but still makes him a viable option after the Week 11 bye if he's still available.

Visanthe Shiancoe, Patriots: Shiancoe isn't that many years removed from being a low-end TE1 in his own right. He split time with Kyle Rudolph last year in Minnesota and had 36 catches for 409 yards and 3 touchdowns. He drops his share of passes despite the fact that he has offered productivity as seam stretcher and red zone threat over the years. Consider Shiancoe a boom-bust option that is worth preemptive consideration as a significant upgrade if Aaron Hernandez doesn't return next week. Keep in mind that Julian Edelman's return could also have influence on how the offense adjusts its game plan. While Shiancoe could approximate Gronkowski, that approximation could be TE1-worthy or low-end TE2. Stay tuned.

Week-to-Week or Lotto Tix - 1-3 percent of blind bidding budget

Dwayne Allen, Colts: The Colts schedule of the Bills, Lions, and rematch with the Titans makes Allen a reasonable week-to-week flex-option for fantasy owners in larger leagues. He's still a hit-or-miss player, but I think he's one of the smarter gambles of this lot of tight ends beyond the top 12. His 14 catches for 175 yards continue to earn him recognition in the media among analysts for his strong play. Keep him in mind because he's the most talented tight end of the 2012 draft class.

Dallas Clark, Buccaneers: Clark remains a low-end desperation play in deep leagues because the Buccaneers are playing well, the running game is clicking, and Clark had 6 catches, 65 yards, and a touchdown during the past three weeks leading up to his weekend's 7-catch, 58-yard, 1-touchdown effort against the Panthers. His out-and-up in over time was the game winner for the Buccaneers and Josh Freeman rode Clark late in the game. The Falcons and Broncos are ahead so expect a mixed back of results until the Eagles, Saints, and Rams contests during the fantasy playoffs. He's a good bet for those in need of a replacement to Rob Gronkowski.

Scott Chandler, Bills: Chandler and the Bills have a good enough schedule moving forward that he's worth a bump back to high-end TE2 status with TE1 upside. He had eight targets, five catches, 65 yards, and a score on short post last weekend before coming down to earth against the Bills with two catches for 30 yards. With the Colts, Jaguars, and Rams next, he could help a team in need of tight end during a stretch run to make the playoffs. The running backs are healthy enough to keep safeties and linebackers honest, which only helps Chandler's routes break open a little easier.

Dustin Keller, Jets: Keller has been Mark Sanchez's favorite option and has the most rapport with the quarterback among the carousel of receivers passing through the Big Apple in recent years. He only had two catches for 16 yards this weekend, but with the Patriots, Cardinals, Jaguars, and Titans ahead, he has a decent schedule to consider if in need of a starter. He's a talented and inconsistent option and there's no reason to think that he can't provide low-end TE1 fantasy production for the Jets' weapon-depleted offense.

Zach Miller, Seahawks: Miller is earning a consistent amount of looks in the short game during recent weeks and looks good making catches in the flat or the sideline. He's not a down field option, but he is strong, fluid, and reliable for 3-5 catches and 20-40 yards with the potential for a touchdown.

Logan Paulsen, Redskins: Paulsen has 14 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown during the past 4 week, including a touchdown against the Eagles this week. The Cowboys and Giants defenses are a mixed bag of matchups, but Paulsen and Griffin have a rapport in this quick-passing offense that should limit Paulsen's down side.

Deeper League Options, Otherwise Monitor

Ben Watson, Browns: Watson had two touchdowns in the red zone against the Cowboys and he's always worth a monitor because he's a good athlete and has solid history as an occasional option due to his red zone prowess. The Browns get the Raiders, Chiefs, and Redskins in Weeks 13-15 so keep him in mind if in need.

Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars: Lewis scored twice, catching three passes for 40 yards with Chad Henne under center. If Henne starts next week against the Titans, Lewis is worth adding. Just be warned that he may submerge back into the swamp beneath the Jaguars' stadium.

Garrett Graham, Texans: Graham has 18 catches for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns during the past five weeks, including his 8-catch, 82-yard, 2-score weekend against the Jaguars. Graham is nearly as talented as Daniels and sees the field enough for 1-2 receptions per game. He scored last weekend against the Bills and is worth a desperation play if Rob Gronkowski owners in deep leagues run out of reasonable starters to consider because the Texans offense uses its two-tight ends almost as well as the Patriots.

Kicker Options

Blair Walsh, Vikings: Walsh was the No.4 fantasy kicker heading into Week 11, but wasn't earning a ton of respect because the Minnesota passing offense seemed to be falling apart at the seams. Even with Percy Harvin out last weekend, Walsh had four field goals (48, 23, 23, and 33). With the Bears (twice), and the Packers after the Week 11 bye, the Vikings have a rough schedule. However, they also have the best football player in the league running the football like he's actually Wolverine of the X-Men. Upgrade Walsh and count on him as a starter.

Matt Prater, Broncos: The Broncos have a great schedule, a strong passing offense, and a kicker with a strong leg. Prater is 5-of-7 on field goals (19, 30, 23, 53, and 27) and 7-of-7 on extra point attempts during the past two weeks. He's worth a low-end start if you don't have a kicker in the top 10.

Team Defense Options

Seattle Seahawks: If your leagues score generously for sacks and turnovers, the Seahawks are among the top five defenses in fantasy football. If not, Seattle is just below top-12 status and face the Dolphins, Bears, Cardinals, Bills, and 49ers next, which are all teams that aren't prolific point-scorers. If available, take a chance on this unit.

Waiver Wire Drops

The Bye Weeks Are Over, Back to the Pumpkin Patch

Quarterbacks

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins: The Dolphins rookie is37-of-67 for 358 yards with 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions during the past two weeks. Tannehill isn't changing plays at the line of scrimmage as much as he did earlier in the season and the Dolphins offense doesn't seem to be adding new wrinkles. Defenses are getting to play them straight-up and this vanilla offense is suffering. Tannehill gets the Seahawks, Patriots, and 49ers during the next three weeks. The bye weeks are over, and so is his viability as a fantasy starter.

Sam Bradford, Rams: Bradford is worth 150-200 yards and a score, which isn't enough to consider using him now that the bye weeks have ended.

John Skelton, Cardinals: The Cardinals intercepted Matt Ryan five times, three times in the first quarter alone and Skelton could not punch the ball in despite his defense setting him up in the red zone all three times. Thanks to LaRod Stephens-Howling, the Cardinals offense did manage one touchdown. However, Skelton was so wide of Larry Fitzgerald on a perfectly executed post corner in the end zone, the Cardinals opted two switch to rookie Ryan Lindley for the rest of the game. Skelton has the weapons to make this passing offense productive, but don't count on it happening for your fantasy needs.

Nick Foles, Eagles: The Eagles benched Michael Vick due to a concussion last week and Foles drew the start. There was talk about shutting Vick down for the rest of the year, but after Foles demonstrated the same problems against the Redskins that he had at the University of Arizona, expect Vick to be back next week. With a good schedule down the stretch that includes the Redskins rematch, the Panthers, Buccaneers, and Bengals, Foles probably lost his chance to continue starting. Drop him.

Running Backs

Alex Green, Packers: With Cedric Benson ditching his walking boot and working towards a Week 14 return, Green's fantasy playoff future might be relegated to the bench.

Travaris Cadet, Saints: Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram, and Pierre Thomas have earned the Saints workload. Cadet is returning kicks and earning spot-time as a space player on a limited basis. He's not worth keeping in re-draft leagues.

Taiwan Jones, Raiders: Jones hurt his ankle and Marcel Reece is holding it down well enough that the second-year back from Eastern Washington wasn't much of an option anyhow.

Mike Goodson, Raiders: Monitor Goodson's health, because he's talented enough to produce as strong RB2 and the Raiders are low on healthy runners. If you need room for healthy bodies, drop him until there's good news about his health.

Ronnie Brown, Chargers: After just earning 5 touches this weekend for 24 hours against the Buccaneers he followed up with a 6-touch 15-yard effort against the Broncos. He's safety to drop now that the bye weeks are over and Ryan Mathews is healthy.

Peyton Hillis, Chiefs: Hillis is healthy enough to split carries with Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs have a nice late-season stretch run that includes the Panthers, Browns, Raiders, and Colts. If you can deal with the Broncos next, Hillis might be worth an addition as a desperation flex with upside as a handcuff to Charles in larger leagues. However in most formats, he's droppable.

Phillip Tanner, Cowboys: Felix Jones is the ultimate underachiever and a history of fragility and inconsistency. Tanner could become a viable player if Demarco Murray isn't ready to return soon. Here's a scouting report on the former star from Middle Tennessee State for more information about his explosiveness, agility, and urgent running style. With the nature of Murray's injury and Jones' health history, keep Tanner in mind. Just understand that this Cowboys line is banged up and you're hoping for a long run every week to earn Tanner or Jones starter points. Lance Dunbar has overtaken Tanner on the depth chart.

Wide Receivers

Rod Streater, Raiders: Streater's continued spate of drops combined with Juron Criner's continued emergence makes the rookie droppable for fantasy owners.

Michael Spurlock, Jaguars: The former Ole Miss star and Bucs special team weapon has 13 catches for 114 yards and a score during the past three weeks, but all but 2 of those receptions and 18 of those yards were with Blaine Gabbert, who missed most of the game this weekend. He's droppable because only Cecil Shorts seems like a consistent option regardless of the quarterback or the week.

Josh Morgan, Redskins: Morgan might be the No.1 receiver in Washington, but his 3 catches for 25 yards is not worth having on a roster especially when a good week is 6 catches for less than 50 yards. Morgan is an inconsistent fantasy receiver due to opportunities and skill set. He drops his share of passes and has issues getting open against quality cornerbacks.

Donald Jones, Bills: Jones had 16 catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns during the past three weeks leading to a Miami game where he had 2 catches for 11 yards. With the Colts, Jaguars, and Rams next, Jones is a desperation flex-play in larger leagues, but that's all. He's generally the No.3 or No.4 option most weeks for his own team.

Jerome Simpson, Vikings: Even with Percy Harvin out, Simpson did very little. The Bears (twice), Packers, Rams, and Texans aren't an easy schedule Wait for him to do something good before adding him.

Andrew Hawkins, Bengals: Hawkins missed this weekend's game due to a knee injury he suffered during practice. With Marvin Jones likely to practice this week and Mohamed Sanu performing well, Hawkins is worth remembering but not necessarily owning.

Ryan Broyles, Lions: Broyles is still more of a flex play for the Lions offense, splitting opportunities for targets with tight end Tony Scheffler. This means he's not much of a fantasy option. He has 3 catches for 41 yards during the past two weeks and just 9 catches for 93 yards the past three. Sadly, his 35 yards against the Packers was second to Calvin Johnson this weekend. Consider Broyles a worthwhile investment as a boom-bust option with starter upside down the stretch. The long-term upside is as big as any of the players listed above him this week. However, he's probably the greatest boom-bust option as a rookie just a year removed from an ACL tear. It makes him droppable.

Titus Young, Lions: Young is proving an inconsistent fantasy option with high upside, but swings that could make fantasy owners seasick. He's droppable if you can find a better option.

Michael Floyd, Cardinals: Floyd continues to see more time in the Cardinals offense, but if Ryan Lindley continues to start it will depress the rookie's value this year. He and Lindley were not quite on the same page this week due to lack of practice reps. Floyd got open on a hook that Lindley placed to an area where Floyd wasn't breaking and it was just a small enough discrepancy to realize it had to do with lack of rapport. Drop Floyd if you need someone to step up now. Otherwise, keep him in deep leagues and hope Skelton gets it together.

Tight Ends

Jermichael Finley, Packers: I say drop him in shallow leagues and I'd advocate a similar move in many medium and large leagues. I understand keeping Finley if you believe his struggles are due to a shoulder injury. However, I believe Finley has proven that he has lapses in concentration, doesn't play to his potential, and then uses his agent to criticize his quarterback. If you can get someone to give some value in a trade, do it. I just doubt you will in a re-draft league. His touchdown off a fake screen was a nice catch and run for a 40-yard gain. He finished with 3 catches for 66 yards. If you believe this is a start of a trend add him. Otherwise, this production will be repeated sometime next year.

Brandon Pettigrew, Lions: Pettigrew is a low-end TE1 in terms of ability and possibly even better when he and Matt Stafford are clicking. However, Stafford s accuracy has suffered. Despite seven targets, Pettigrew caught just four passes for 22 yards. He hasn't seen northwards of 40 yards receiving in 4 of 5 games and he only has 1 touchdown during that span.

Kickers

Justin Tucker, Ravens: Tucker missed his second field goal this year but worse yet is the Ravens offense that is grinding to a crawl both on the ground and through the air. One of phase of this game has to be working for Tucker to earn more opportunities. With the Chargers, Steelers, and Redskins next, don't count on Tucker for starter production if the offense doesn't improve.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to waldman@footballguys.com.

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