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Fantasy Football: Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Fantasy Football 2012: Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups


Thanksgiving week, and the start of Week 12 on the NFL schedule, signals the start of the most critical time for fantasy football owners. The playoffs are getting closer, with plenty of movement for playoff seeds over the next few weeks serving to separate the cream of the crop from the rest in all leagues.

As always, injuries have altered the plans of fantasy owners in recent weeks and broadened the pool of players that can be relevant to fantasy owners depending on league format. At this point carrying any player that is not likely to contribute down the stretch is detrimental to any fantasy roster, and it’s even more important to not overlook players who are not notable names but can help bolster a playoff run.

Being able to recognize trends in player performance that are not necessarily injury-related is also important, as those type of players can be key factors for fantasy owners and may be still be available in the majority of leagues.

This week, as always, I have recommended players that are available in over half of Yahoo! leagues and should be widely available in most leagues regardless of your league host. I have also tried to focus on players, or team defenses where applicable, that I feel can make the biggest long-term impact for fantasy owners. Obviously there are only a few weeks left in the season, so those that have favorable circumstances for the fantasy playoffs move toward the front of the line for me.

With that, here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” for Week 12.

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Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets


Sanchez had an efficient performance in Week 11 against the St. Louis Rams, going 15-for-20 for 178 yards with one touchdown in the game. He now has at least 11 fantasy points (ESPN scoring) in four of his last five games heading into a favorable matchup on Thanksgiving night against the New England Patriots. New England has allowed at least 293 passing yards in seven of their last eight games as well as multiple passing touchdowns in six of those games. Week 14 and Week 15 also look favorable against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, and since both are road games the possibility for bad weather is reduced. There’s always the possibility Tim Tebow will see more playing time as the season winds down, but for now Sanchez is worth a look as a QB2 for fantasy owners who have been hit by injuries.

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Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Henne stepped in for an injured Blaine Gabbert (elbow) on Sunday against the Houston Texans, and went 16-for-33 for 354 yards and four touchdowns. Gabbert’s status going forward is unclear, but Henne will start against the Tennessee Titans in Week 12 with a favorable matchup coming. The Titans entered their Week 11 bye allowing the eighth-most fantasy points (17.6 per game, ESPN scoring), including the most passing touchdowns (20) to the position. After that another favorable matchup would come in Week 13 against the Buffalo Bills, who entered Week 11 allowing the second-most fantasy points (19.2 per game, ESPN scoring) to opposing quarterbacks. Looking ahead a little further shows another favorable matchup in Week 16 against the New England Patriots in Week 16 before a rematch with the Titans in Week 17. Henne has a chance to start the rest of the season regardless of Gabbert’s health, and those looking for a QB2 in deep leagues can consider him a worthwhile addition.

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Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos


Hillman had 12 carries for 43 yards and two catches for 16 yards against theSan Diego Chargers on Sunday, as he saw increased action with Willis McGahee (right knee) out of the game. McGahee is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a torn MCL in his knee, setting Hillman up to take advantage of a favorable stretch starting in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs entered Week 11 in the bottom 10 of the league (18.0 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring) against opposing running backs, and Hillman’s role as a pass catcher makes it even more likely he’ll have a productive game. All six of Denver’s remaining opponents, including two games against the Chiefs, came into Week 11 in the bottom half of the league against opposing running backs (ESPN scoring). So with McGahee out Hillman has a good chance to impact playoff results in a lot of fantasy leagues. The rookie out of San Diego State is likely to be one of the most added players in fantasy football this week.

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James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers


Starks had 25 carries for 74 yards and one reception for six yards on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, giving him 42 carries over the last two games as an early season turf toe issue looks to finally be behind him. No other Packers’ running back had more than one carry in the game, so Starks looks likely to be the team’s primary ball carrier just in time for the stretch run in fantasy leagues. Green Bay’s Week 12 opponent, the New York Giants, has only allowed four rushing touchdowns to opposing running backs this season but they have been vulnerable in terms of yardage allowed to the position at times this season. It’s easy to overlook any running back in the Green Bay backfield given how pass-oriented their offense can be, but Starks is a worthy addition for any owner looking to add running back depth.

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Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Blackmon had seven receptions for 236 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans in Week 11, giving him 19 catches over his last four games after a slow start to the season. Jacksonville’s quarterback situation is a little uncertain with Blaine Gabbert (elbow) banged up, but Chad Henne played well on Sunday and Gabbert’s absence may be good news for the Jaguars’ pass catchers. Five of Jacksonville’s final six opponents, including two games against the Tennessee Titans, entered Week 11 in the bottom half of the league against opposing wide receivers (ESPN scoring), so Blackmon has a great chance to keep up his recent momentum. Any one that adds him should not expect more 200-yard games, but Blackmon is definitely back on the fantasy radar and is well worth adding in all league formats.

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T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts


Hilton had six receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns in Week 11 against the New England Patriots, and now has 100 yards in two of his last three games and at least five catches in three of his last four contests. With Donnie Avery leaving Sunday’s game with a concussion, the rookie out of Florida International looks to be in for an expanded role in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills and perhaps beyond. The Bills came into Week 11 allowing 23.2 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (ESPN scoring, ninth-most), and after that favorable matchups are coming in Week 14 (Tennessee Titans) and Week 16 (Kansas City Chiefs). Hilton is at least a solid matchup play as a WR3 for Week 12, and those looking for wide receiver depth should have him high on their list this week.

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Brandon Myers, TE, Oakland Raiders


Myers had six receptions (on 10 targets) for 55 yards and a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, and now as at least five catches in five of his last six games. Despite that solid production fantasy owners have been slow to add him, but another strong performance in Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals may change that. The Bengals came into Week 11 allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends (8.7 per game, ESPN scoring) and allowed 73 yards to Tony Moeaki of the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. After that there are no clear-cut favorable matchups on Oakland’s schedule, but as a primary target for quarterback Carson Palmer Myers should be a serviceable fantasy option over the rest of the season. Owners that have lost Rob Gronkowski or have dealt with an underachieving tight end should absolutely consider adding him.

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Alex Henery, K, Philadelphia Eagles


Things clearly are not going very well for the Eagles these days, but Henery has not missed a field goal since Week 1 and his last three makes over the last two games have been from 40 or more yards out. Quarterback Michael Vick (concussion) may be able to return for Week 12, which would be good news for the Philadelphia offense and Henery as well with a favorable slate of games coming. Starting with Week 12 against the Carolina Panthers, five of the Eagles’ remaining six opponents entered Week 11 in the bottom half of the league against opposing kickers (ESPN scoring). So Henery has a chance to be a difference maker for fantasy owners down the stretch, and one that may fall far under the radar with the mess that things are in Philadelphia.

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Arizona Cardinals, Team Defense

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona had an excellent defensive performance against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11, as they intercepted quarterback Matt Ryan five times and allowing 16 offensive points in the game. Now a favorable stretch of games is coming from Week 12-Week 14 (St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks), as all three of those teams entered Week 11 24th or worse in the league in total offense. Even Week 15-Week 17 does not look at all that bad, with the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers on the slate, particularly if the Bears and 49ers are still forced to use their backup quarterbacks at that point. Fantasy owners may have dropped this unit in droves due to a six-game stretch of single-digit fantasy points (ESPN scoring) leading into the Cardinals’ Week 10 bye, but those that are looking for a solid option they won’t have to worry about for at least a few weeks may not find many better choices.