Fantasy Football Week 12: Must Have Waiver Wire Pickups

Bobby Rainey, Donald Brown, and Michael Crabtree headline our Week 12 fantasy football waiver adds.

I'm going to vent a little bit.

Alex Smith, you need to grow a pair. You have a minute left, and you need two scores. You throw two dump offs and a screen pass instead. What the hell is that? Do you not understand how time works?

You are never going to win a Super Bowl. Not like that. Even that troglodyte Joe Flacco, he of the worst contract in NFL history, the one who is performing below replacement-level and hurting his team every single time he throws the ball, won a Super Bowl. And how did he do that? By not being afraid to throw the ball.

Sorry. I had to. It was like watching a cheerleader come into the game from the sidelines, like it's powder-puff football or something, and then proceed to short-arm a bunch of terrible reads at the most important time of the game. Repeatedly.

Bobby Rainey

Well, that performance certainly came out of nowhere, didn't it? He ran through, around, and upside-down the Falcons defense. Sure, the Falcons are beat up and far from a formidable defensive opponent, but you have to give credit where credit is due - the Bucs have unearthed not one, but two spectacular replacements for Doug Martin in Bobby Rainey and Mike James.

Since both James and Martin are out for the rest of the season, it's all Rainey the rest of the way - and the Lions next week sure looks like a juicy matchup. After that, he alternates tough (CAR, SF) with easier (BUF, STL), so you can feel free to ride him and play matchups. Either way, he's earned top waiver priority for this week, and I feel comfortable saying that if you're in a budget waiver league, it's fair to blow some serious dough because starters like him don't come around too often.

Rashad Jennings

Well, they did, actually - if you had listened to me, the last three weeks I told you to pick up Rashad Jennings!

It doesn't matter if they're facing J.J. Watt or if they're starting an undrafted, rookie QB - Jennings gets his, through the air and on the ground. Consistently. And thoroughly.

I'm not one to repeat myself, so here is what I said before, all of which remains true.

You just knew that Darren McFadden wasn't going to be able to stay healthy. He's the West Coast Danny Amendola, just running and getting injured all the live long day.

Enter our man Rashad Jennings! Jennings is just the kind of back who thrives in this situation, sort of like when you call in Jesse Eisenberg for a role when Michael Cera isn't available. Whether it was his spurts of competence in Jacksonville backing up MJD or the Week 4 performance where he ripped off eight receptions against the Redskins, Jennings is going to give you workman-like production for as long as he gets his opportunities. Or, more accurately, when someone more talented gets injured.

His comparables all point to competence: Duce Staley, Tim Hightower, and Thomas Jones all make an appearance in his top five. He's not going to win any games for you, but he'll get you 10 points for the one week you might need it and really, isn't that what this article is all about?

Listen to me already! Geez.

Donald Brown

This one is a little less cut and dry, since in theory he's in a timeshare with Trent Richardson. The thing about is, and I'm sure I'm the only noticing this...T-Rich has been playing kind of terrible. In fact, he's a net-negative whenever he touches the ball; he costs his team 0.03 points every time he's involved in a play.

Can you blame Indianapolis for mixing Brown in, especially in the passing game, where he's clearly more dynamic? I think not.

Still, given the timeshare, I don't think it's fair to expect more than 15-20 touches, and it's equally true that his schedule isn't great this week as he travels to the underrated Cardinals defense. After that, you've got the Titans and the Bengals, two decent matchups to ride through the playoffs. If you can't get Jennings, Ivory, or Rainey, Brown is a very nice pickup to give yourself matchup options for the playoffs.

Montee Ball

Not really a recommendation here, but something to keep an eye on. He vultured a goal-line TD from Knowshon Moreno, and strangely also picked up Moreno's slack in the passing game. It's hard to say that Moreno is ineffective because he's clearly not - he ranks #6 on our RB power-rankings, ranked by efficiency - but it's also clear that they're beginning to trust in Ball a little more, which is worth noting given some of the points Denver can put up.

Michael Crabtree

The 49ers need a WR2. Desperately. Anquan Boldin is dicey enough as a WR1 - not that he isn't a veteran route-runner, because he is, he's just, well, old - and Jonathan Baldwin, Mario Manningham, and the ghost of John Taylor aren't enough to scare any defenses.

From various reports out of the Bay and elsewhere, Crabtree is close enough to potentially play in Week 12, depending on how much he's needed. Much like Percy Harvin in Week 11, it's fair to temper expectations and give him a week to get his legs under him. Come fantasy football playoff time though, watch out - he's exactly the receiver Kaepernick needs, and he's coming at exactly the right time. You most likely have a backup TE or a 5th RB - drop him and sit on Crabtree.

Quick Hits

Garrett Graham's performance in Week 11 is unsustainable - don't chase it. Mike Glennon is strangely competent, so don't be afraid of him or Carson Palmer if you're in a serious bind. Rishard Matthews fell back to Earth as expected; the real value play in the deep WR pool is Nate Burleson, a target machine and a PPR monster who eats up all the space that Calvin Johnson clears out for him. Baltimore D/ST is the defense stream play of the week; you have to love a home matchup in winter against a rookie QB like Geno Smith.