All five are the top free agents being checked out in CBSSports.com leagues, and all have the potential to be starters down the stretch, especially Rainey, Brown and Ball. But this week we're going to take a different approach with Playing the Waiver Wire.
We're getting close to the Fantasy playoffs, and it's time to get the players on your bench with the chance to make the most impact when it matters. So if you don't need a backup quarterback (anyone with Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Cam Newton would qualify) or you're waiting for that certain receiver to breakout (someone like DeAndre Hopkins) or rebound (someone like Steve Johnson) it's time to move on.
|1.||Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns||100|
|2.||Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders||99|
|3.||Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears||98|
|4.||Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals||97|
|5.||Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals||97|
|6.||DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers||89|
|7.||Steve Johnson, WR, Bills||87|
|8.||DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans||81|
|9.||BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals||75|
|10.||Jay Cutler, QB, Bears||69|
|11.||Nate Washington, WR, Titans||50|
|12.||Lance Moore, WR, Saints||50|
The running back position is the way you want to go. If you don't already have your top running back's handcuff then get him now. Or if you have the roster space to take another handcuff from someone else, do it.
Unfortunately, there will likely be one or two more season-ending injuries ahead along the lines of Arian Foster (back) or Doug Martin (shoulder), and you can plan ahead now to possibly land the next Ben Tate or Rainey. It could help you win your league, and go back to last year with the late-season impact Knowshon Moreno made as an example.
The Top 10 running backs in a standard league are Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Moreno, Frank Gore, Alfred Morris, Chris Johnson and Reggie Bush. Outside of Joique Bell for Bush, all these other handcuffs are available in the majority of leagues on CBSSports.com.
Here is the handcuff list to make it easier: Roy Helu, Redskins (51 percent), Montee Ball, Broncos (44 percent), Shonn Greene, Titans (37 percent), Kendall Hunter, 49ers (37 percent), Bryce Brown, Eagles (33 percent), Knile Davis, Chiefs (18 percent), Michael Bush, Bears (16 percent), Robert Turbin, Seahawks (10 percent) and Toby Gerhart, Vikings (8 percent).
Ball has established himself as a must-own option, but Helu, Hunter, Brown and Davis could be stars if they became starters. Greene, Bush and Gerhart would also be difference makers, and we expect Turbin would have more value than rookie Christine Michael should something happen to Lynch.
Don't just drop players who are impactful to add a handcuff. If your trade deadlines hasn't passed yet make a 2-for-1 deal and then add one of these running backs.
But if you have dead weight on your roster then drop a player or two for one of these running backs who could potentially win your league if they got a chance to be in a featured role.
Editor's note: Must add is for players worth adding in all leagues. Maybe add is for players worth adding in 14-team leagues or larger. Desperation add is for players worth adding only if you're, well, desperate. The ownership percentage listed is how many leagues that player was owned in the previous week for CBSSports.com.
Must add: None
Maybe add: Carson Palmer, Cardinals (49 percent), Josh McCown, Bears (34 percent), Mike Glennon, Buccaneers (33 percent), EJ Manuel, Bills (16 percent), Scott Tolzien, Packers (8 percent)
Desperation add: Matt Schaub, Texans (15 percent), Josh Freeman, Vikings (7 percent), Matthew McGloin, Raiders (1 percent)
The order for quarterbacks to add this week is Glennon, Palmer, McCown, Manuel and Tolzien. ... None of the free agent quarterbacks are must-start options this week, but with Russell Wilson and Nick Foles on a bye and Aaron Rodgers (shoulder) and Jay Cutler (ankle) hurt, some of these guys are needed. ... Glennon has his second favorable matchup in a row after he scored 21 Fantasy points against Atlanta. He faces Detroit this week, and the Lions have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in each of their past five games. ... Palmer is coming off his best game of the season with 28 Fantasy points at Jacksonville. He faces the Colts this week, and Indianapolis has allowed three of the past four quarterbacks to throw multiple touchdowns. ... McCown continues to play well in place of Cutler, and he faces a Rams defense that has allowed multiple touchdowns to six of 10 quarterbacks this season. ... Manuel isn't playing this week, but he looked great against the Jets in Week 11 with 21 Fantasy points. The Bills face Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville after the bye, and Manuel could be a sleeper in those matchups. ... Tolzien hasn't looked great in place of Rodgers, and this could be his last start. But it's a great matchup against the Vikings, who have allowed the past four opposing quarterbacks to score at least 22 Fantasy points.
Must add: Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers (62 percent), Donald Brown, Colts (61 percent), Montee Ball, Broncos (44 percent)
Maybe add: Rashard Mendenhall, Cardinals (64 percent), Brian Leonard, Buccaneers (46 percent), Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (34 percent), Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns (34 percent)
Desperation add: Fozzy Whittaker, Browns (1 percent), Darrel Young, Redskins (1 percent), Antone Smith, Falcons (0 percent), Frank Summers, Bills (0 percent)
The order for running backs to add this week is Rainey, Brown, Ball, Ogbonnaya, Mendenhall, Leonard and Thomas. ... It's awesome what Rainey has done since taking over for the injured Mike James (ankle), who took over for Martin. In two games, Rainey has 38 carries for 208 yards and three touchdowns and three catches for 15 yards and a touchdown. He has the chance to be at least a flex option moving forward, but his schedule is brutal, which we outlined here in Instant Reactions from Week 11. Still, put him on your team because he's a starting running back who has shown some sizzle. ... Brown is the Colts running back to own over Trent Richardson because he's out-produced him since Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) went down in Week 4. The last two games were the biggest indication Brown is better with 33 Fantasy points against St. Louis and Tennessee compared to eight for Richardson. ... Ball was getting meaningful carries in a crucial game against the Chiefs in Week 11, and he finished with eight carries for 25 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 16 yards. Moreno remains the starter, but the Broncos are working in Ball to make him a factor down the stretch. If Moreno gets hurt then Ball could shine, but he's carving out a niche now if you need a flex option in deeper leagues. ... Ogbonnaya is the running back to own in Cleveland. He was expected to get an extended look in Week 11, and he responded with eight carries for 69 yards and six catches for 30 yards on 12 targets. He's a potential flex option in PPR leagues in Week 12 against the Steelers. ... Mendenhall could be used as a one-week flier against the Colts, who have allowed a running back to score at least eight Fantasy points in six straight games. He's doing enough to hold off Andre Ellington, including scoring a touchdown in Week 11 at Jacksonville. ... Leonard might be behind Rainey on the depth chart, but he's still valuable in PPR leagues. He has 16 catches in his past four games, and the Lions have allowed six opposing running backs to catch at least four passes this season. ... The Dolphins are a mess running the ball the past two games with their offensive line in shambles, but Thomas just reached double digits in Fantasy points for the second time in his past four games. With Lamar Miller struggling, keep an eye on Thomas and his workload moving forward.
|Saints DST||at ATL||64|
|Steelers DST||at CLE||36|
|Lions DST||vs. TB||25|
|Justin Tucker, K, BAL||vs. NYJ||56|
|Graham Gano, K, CAR||at MIA||39|
|Rian Lindell, K, Buccaneers||at DET||5|
Must add: Michael Floyd, Cardinals (62 percent), Michael Crabtree, 49ers (55 percent), Nate Burleson, Lions (18 percent)
Maybe add: Tavon Austin, Rams (65 percent), Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers (51 percent), Brandon LaFell, Panthers (36 percent), Miles Austin, Cowboys (31 percent), Santonio Holmes, Jets (30 percent), Ted Ginn, Panthers (22 percent), Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings (14 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (11 percent), Jarius Wright, Vikings (0 percent)
Desperation add: Marquise Goodwin, Bills (3 percent), Robert Meachem, Saints (2 percent), Ace Sanders, Jaguars (1 percent), T.J. Graham, Bills (0 percent), Aldrick Robinson, Redskins (0 percent)
The order for wide receivers to add this week is Floyd, Crabtree, Burleson, (Miles) Austin, Cotchery, Holmes, Streater, LaFell, Ginn, (Tavon) Austin, Wright and Patterson. ... Based on the opening of this column, the only receivers you really want to add are the top three in Floyd, Crabtree and Burleson, who is more valuable in PPR formats. ... Floyd just had a monster game against the Jaguars with six catches for 193 yards and a touchdown, and he has the potential to finish the season strong. He also has a favorable matchup in Week 12 against the Colts. ... Crabtree (Achilles) could make his season debut against the Redskins this week, and we hope he can return at 100 percent. ... Burleson could return from his broken arm sustained in Week 4, and he would be the starter opposite Calvin Johnson in a high-volume passing attack. ... Austin has the chance to be a difference maker down the stretch if he can regain his role from promising rookie Terrance Williams. That's a big if, but Austin is worth the gamble in deeper leagues, especially if he can stay healthy. ... Cotchery could have an extended role with Emmanuel Sanders (foot) banged up, and he has five touchdowns in his past three games. We know the No. 2 receiver against the Browns has a chance to succeed, and that's his matchup this week. ... Holmes should re-establish himself as the No. 1 option for the Jets after being out five games with a hamstring injury, and he led the team in targets in Week 11 at Buffalo with eight, coming down with two catches for 71 yards. ... Streater led the Raiders in targets at Houston in Week 11 in McGloin's first start with eight, and he finished with six catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. He's too inconsistent to trust, but he would benefit if Denarius Moore (shoulder) had to miss any time. ... The Panthers' secondary receivers in LaFell and Ginn are inconsistent, but both scored in Week 11 against the Patriots. They have a tougher matchup in Week 12 at Miami, so don't get overly excited. ... Austin had a bye in Week 11, but don't forget his monster performance in Week 10 at the Colts with 25 Fantasy points. He's worth keeping an eye on. ... The same goes for Wright and Patterson to see if the Vikings will develop their young talent, possibly in favor of veteran Greg Jennings, who missed Week 11 with an Achilles injury. Wright just scored two touchdowns at Seattle with three catches for 69 yards, and Patterson led the Vikings in targets with nine and finished with three catches for 28 yards.
Must add: Delanie Walker, Titans (40 percent), Garrett Graham, Texans (36 percent)
Maybe add: Heath Miller, Steelers (63 percent), Rob Housler, Cardinals (41 percent), John Carlson, Vikings (24 percent)
Desperation add: Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (21 percent), Zach Miller, Seahawks (18 percent), Jeff Cumberland, Jets (7 percent), Ladarius Green, Chargers (1 percent), Danny Noble, Jaguars (0 percent), Mychal Rivera, Raiders (0 percent)
The order for tight ends to add this week is Walker, Graham, Miller, Housler and Carlson. ... Walker has three touchdowns in his past four games and has established himself as the No. 2 receiver for the Titans behind Kendall Wright. He has 18 targets the past two games, and we like his matchup this week against the Raiders, who have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends in the past three games. ... Graham was one of those tight ends against Oakland with seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets, and he has an amazing matchup against the Jaguars, who have allowed three touchdowns to tight ends in their past three games. ... Miller re-emerged against the Lions with eight catches for 67 yards on 10 targets. The catches and targets were a season high, and like Cotchery, he would benefit if Sanders is out. The Browns also allowed two tight ends to score last week with Gresham and Alex Smith. ... Housler has come alive the past two games with 10 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown against Houston and Jacksonville. He faces the Colts this week, and Walker just abused them for 10 catches, 91 yards and a touchdown in Week 11. ... If Christian Ponder remains the starter for the Vikings in Week 12 then look for Carlson to be heavily involved. He has 14 targets the past two games in place of the injured Kyle Rudolph (foot), and Carlson has responded with 12 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown.