Fantasy Football 2013: The Waiver Wire; Edition 11

By Adam Pfeifer

In six games this season, running back Doug Martin posted 62.20 fantasy points. Of course, an injury ended his season early, but he clearly struggled to get going this year. In just his first start of the season for the Buccaneers, rookie Bobby Rainey eclipsed 34 fantasy points.

One was drafted inside the top-10 in fantasy drafts, while the other wasn’t even heard of until Sunday.

Rainey is obviously going to be featured in this waiver wire column, but there are some other worthy adds from Week 11 to help fantasy owners make that crucial playoff push.

Note: Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo! leagues.

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24%): Rainey produced numbers that Doug Martin owners were dreaming of heading into the season. With Martin on IR and Mike James out with a foot injury, Rainey was signed by the Bucs, but no one expected a debut like this. While the Buccaneers originally planned on a committee approach between Rainey and Brian Leonard, those talks were quickly silenced early on during Sunday’s game. Rainey exploded for 30 carries (Leonard had four) for 163 yards and two scores, while also hauling in a touchdown pass. He looked terrific, showing good balance of speed and toughness, making good cuts, seeing the holes, as well as holding onto the ball with two hands, something often overlooked from rookies. Going forward, Rainey should be the guy in this backfield, as he offers much more upside, without being a liability in pass protection. Granted, the Falcons defense is terrible, but Rainey still looked very impressive. Hurry up and get him, as over 50,000 people have already claimed him in Yahoo! leagues.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers (28%): Crabtree isn’t quite ready to return to action, but he’s close, and similar to the situation with Percy Harvin, fantasy owners need to prepare. Owned in less than 30 percent of leagues, Crabtree is a guy who can change the outcome of your fantasy team down the stretch. Will he be 100 percent healthy upon return? Who knows, but if he and quarterback Colin Kaepernick can get together like they did last season, he’ll be very, very effective. Last season, Kaepernick completed 68.5 percent of his passes to Crabtree, resulting in eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Crabtree will instantly become Kaepernick’s favorite target in the passing game, and after taking a huge step forward last season, Crabtree can impact millions of fantasy teams. Don’t be afraid to grab him and stash him, as he is targeting a Week 13 return.

Jericho Cotchery, Pittsburgh Steelers (21%): I never wanted to feature Cotchery in this article, seeing as he is a 31-year old receiver who is catching a ton of touchdowns, something that doesn’t seem very sustainable. However, here we are in Week 11, and Cotchery scored again, giving him seven touchdowns on the season. Number two wideout Emmanuel Sanders exited this game early with a foot injury, and if he is forced to miss any period of time, Cotchery will see his value increase. The Steelers are no longer a ground and pound team, as Ben Roethlisberger has attempted 42 passes per game over his last four, and Cotchery has seen a healthy 19 targets during that span.

Scott Tolzien, Green Bay Packers (3%): I’m not jumping on board with Tolzien because of the talent. He’s shown flashes, but not enough to warrant a ton of fantasy attention. However, his upcoming schedule is mouth-watering, and if you are in a two-quarterback league or are in need of a streaming option for the coming weeks, Tolzien may be your guy. With strong weapons around him, Tolzien could be a top-15 guy a few times down the stretch. He gets the Vikings next week, who coming into Week 11 were allowing 25.11 fantasy points per game to signal callers (2nd-most), Detroit, Atlanta and Dallas in the following weeks, two of which are inside the top-five in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Of course, you need to monitor the recovery of Aaron Rodgers, who stated that he is trying to return in Week 12. That may be a bit of a stretch, so you could get one or two good matchups from Tolzien before Rodgers returns.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

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