Fantasy Football 2013: The Waiver Wire; Edition 12
I like pizza, I like fantasy football.
Hey, I like Nate Burleson.
Week 12 was crazy. Tons of close games, crazy finishes and odd fantasy outings. However, before you go out and place a waiver claim on Tiquan Underwood and his glorious hair, make sure you are aware of which guys can provide you with legitimate fantasy production, and which guys are frauds.
Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo! leagues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans (9%): Oh, oh, oh Fitz-Magic. The Amish Rifle came to play on Sunday afternoon, throwing for his first 300-yard game in his last 14 contests, while also adding two touchdown strikes. One of which came with 10 seconds left to win the game. Fitz has played well as of late, and has the weapons to continue putting up serviceable fantasy numbers, especially when the matchup is favorable. Speaking of matchups, he still gets to face a Colts defense that has been gashed by quarterbacks lately, a Broncos defense that should allow him to see plenty of volume and a Jaguars defense that was allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to signal callers heading into Week 12. Fitzpatrick certainly isn’t afraid to run the ball either, so he provides you with that extra dimension. There are far, far worse options out there, folks.
Dennis Johnson, Houston Texans (11%): A pure speculation add here, but in a disastrous game for Houston, Johnson was the lone bright spot. While Ben Tate immensely struggled (seven carries for one yard), it was Johnson, a skilled 23-year old, that carried the load. Johnson rushed an impressive 13 times for 74 yards, and took over for Tate after he was incredibly ineffective in a dream matchup. Perhaps the Texans roll with Johnson to see what they have in the kid. Head coach Gary Kubiak is high on him, despite some ball security issues in the past. In a lost season, the Texans could give Johnson plenty of work the rest of the way. At least grab him if you own Tate.
Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions (15%): Burleson was vastly underrated even before he broke his arm. In his first game back, Burleson wasted no time making an impact, catching seven balls for 77 yards and a touchdown. He looked strong in this outing, as Tampa Bay continues to struggle against number two receivers. Burleson is often overlooked, especially in PPR leagues. In four games this season, Burleson has caught 6, 7, 6 and 7 balls, respectively. If that’s not consistency, I don’t know what is. He immediately returned to his number two role, as Kris Durham was an afterthought. Part of one of the league’s most pass-heavy offenses, Burleson still has upside for fantasy owners who need help at the receiver position. And as long as he is playing opposite the likes of Calvin Jonhson, he should see soft coverage the rest of the way. And oh, by the way. He gets the Packers, Eagles, Cowboys and Steelers in the coming weeks. Cake.
Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers (1%): Immense talent, explosiveness and upside. Those are the words to summarize the young tight end. He’s not as reliable as the likes of veteran Antonio Gates, but his time may be coming in this San Diego offense. In Week 9, he saw just four total snap counts, but in Week 10, that number climbed to 22, and this week, Green saw an uptick in snaps, targets and production. He made an incredibly athletic play on his 60-yard touchdown catch and run where he showcased his incredible speed. Green also had a 35-yard score called back due to a penalty. Dynasty owners need to keep their eye on Green, as he is getting more playing time seemingly every week, and Gates isn’t getting any younger. This dude is a freak of an athlete, and his time is coming.
Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills (7%): Woods has fallen off since his strong start to the season, but if you are desperate at the receiver position, now may be the best time to use him. Quarterback EJ Manuel is beginning to play better since returning from injury, and Woods appears to be his favorite option in the passing game. The two developed chemistry early on in the year, and it’s still there. In fact, 40 of Wood’s 61 targets have come from Manuel. Week 13′s matchup is outstanding, as the Falcons are currently allowing 34.02 fantasy points per game to wideouts, the fourth-most in football. Atlanta has allowed six opposing number two wideouts to find the end zone against them, and Woods may very well be number seven.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.