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Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Football: Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Fantasy Football: Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An annual headache for fantasy football owners will be over after Week 12, which is the final week of the season with bye weeks in play. But it does look to be a fairly impactful week, with four teams (Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills) idle and a lot of weekly fantasy starters unavailable to their owners for a critical week as the playoffs approach.

By this point most owners know if they have a realistic shot at making the playoffs in their league, or if the role of spoiler is something that should be relished now. Making good waiver wire additions still matters in either case, even if adding someone simply blocks a rival owner from being able to do so.

As always, I have attempted to narrow this week’s list of waiver wire recommendations to players who are available in over half of Yahoo! leagues right now. There are rare exceptions to that rule, and I have actually broken it in one case (by a slim margin, truthfully) this week. I’ve also tried to look beyond the coming week, into the final weeks of the regular season and toward the playoffs to find players who I think can have a real impact at the time of the season that matters most to fantasy owners.

My usual attempt to avoid players who have appeared on this list in recent weeks still holds true this week, though if someone were to look back to early in the season (and past the point of real relevance to right now) some repeats could be found.

With all of that in mind, here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” as we look toward Week 12.

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EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Manuel went 20-for-28 for 245 yards and two touchdowns without an interception against the New York Jets on Sunday, and he looked much better in his second game back after missing time with a knee injury. Buffalo has a bye in Week 12, but after that their next three opponents (Atlanta Falcons-Week 13, Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Week 14, Jacksonville Jaguars-Week 15) came into Week 11 in the bottom 10 of the league against opposing quarterbacks (ESPN scoring). The matchup against the Falcons is at home and brings the possibility of adverse weather, but Manuel proved he could handle the elements with success against the Jets. Owners in 12 and 14-team leagues looking for a QB2 with upside down the stretch can consider getting ahead of the curve and add Manuel this week

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Bobby Rainey, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rainey emerged as a quintessential “next man up” in Tampa Bay’s running back carousel on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, with 30 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns along with a receiving touchdown in the game. Each of the Buccaneers’ next three opponents entered Week 11 in the top half of the league against opposing running backs (ESPN scoring), but Brian Leonard does not look like a serious threat to Rainey’s role as a workhorse and that makes him a worthy addition in 12-team leagues.

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Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Brown had 14 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns along with one catch for 14 yards last Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans, and he had more touches than Trent Richardson (13) in the game. The Colts are unlikely to completely phase Richardson out of their running back mix, but Brown looks like the better player right now and should continue to see plenty of work. His ownership percentage is likely to rise this week, but Brown still fits the criteria for this list and looks like a valuable asset for fantasy owners as the season winds down. Just be aware of some difficult matchups over the next few weeks, with the Arizona Cardinals (Week 12), Cincinnati Bengals (Week 14) and Kansas City Chiefs (Week 16) on the slate.

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Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Wright had nine receptions for 80 yards against the Indianapolis Colts last Thursday night, and he now has at least five catches in eight of 10 games this season along with at least 69 receiving yards in six games in a row. Touchdowns remain elusive for Wright, with just one all season (back in Week 2), but four of Tennessee’s next five opponents entered Week 11 in the bottom half of the league against opposing wide receivers and he should continue to have success. Wright is a personal favorite of mine, and his value is clearly greatest in PPR leagues, but he surely should be owned in more than 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

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Nate Burleson, WR, Detroit Lions

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Burleson has missed the last seven games with a broken arm, but he appears on track to return in Week 12 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to being injured he had 19 receptions for 239 yards in three games, so owners in PPR leagues should have particular interest in adding Burleson this week as long as he remains on track to return soon.

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Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

An Achilles’ tear during OTAs derailed what was expected to be a possible breakout season for Crabtree, but he practiced on Friday and looks likely to make his 2013 debut soon. The 49ers still have to officially activate him from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, but fantasy owners in 12 and 14-team leagues that are looking to stash a wide receiver for playoff time can consider adding Crabtree now.

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Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Walker had 10 receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11, and he now has 14 catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns over the last two games with Ryan Fitzpatrick predominantly under center for the Titans. The next two matchups on the slate for Walker (Week 12 against the Oakland Raiders and a Week 13 rematch with the Colts) are fairly neutral when looking at the season as a whole, but all three of the Titans’ opponents from Week 14-16 entered Week 11 in the bottom 10 of the league against tight ends. Walker has a chance to be a difference maker at the most crucial time of the season for fantasy owners, and he is worth a look in 12 and 14-team leagues.