There are names on this list that will make you cringe. But that’s just what time of year it is.
As I mentioned last week, I’m no longer doing the whole “buy” or “sell” thing. If your league’s trade deadline hasn’t passed – or if your league doesn’t have a trade deadline – perhaps it’s time to switch leagues. Joking aside, you just need a new commissioner.
Without further ado, here are 15 transactions (adds and drops) for Week 13.
Add Cordarrelle Patterson
The theme of the week – as well as upcoming weeks – is upside. Do you want someone like Greg Little sitting on your bench, or would you rather pick a player who has the potential to throw up a monster day?
Patterson could be that guy. The Vikings’ wideout has seen 20 targets over his last two games, and although he’s caught just 11 of them, he’s the type of player that can take anything to the house.
Half of Patterson’s remaining games are favorable, as the Vikings will face a struggling Chicago defense this week and a Philly team in Week 15 that ranks in the bottom 10 at stopping the pass. Don’t be afraid to stash the rookie in Minnesota.
Add Justin Hunter
Another rookie wideout – one whom I told you all to pick up before his big game this week – is seeing more action in his offense as well. Justin Hunter had six targets against the Raiders in Week 12, catching each one for 109 yards and a score.
Coming out party? Perhaps. If anything, this is the reason you need to be one step ahead with your waiver wire pickups. I know that, when I mentioned him a week ago, some of you rolled your eyes at the thought of having a one-target wideout on your squad. But now everyone knows who Justin Hunter is, and although he’s available in all but the deepest ESPN.com leagues, you’re going to be battling for him off the wire.
The Titans schedule, like I’ve mentioned with ma’ boy Ryan Fitzpatrick, is easy on the passing game moving forward. They’ll face Indy this week (28th-ranked pass defense according to our metrics), then Denver (21st), Arizona (8th) and Jacksonville (29th). Outside of Arizona, Hunter is a definite sleeper play each week.
Add Nate Burleson
I promise I’m not trying to pat myself on the back too hard here, but like Hunter, Burleson was in this column a week ago as well.
In his coming back party (it wasn’t a pizza party), the veteran wideout reaped the benefits of playing across from Calvin Johnson, and more importantly, Darrelle Revis. Burleson saw 11 targets and caught 7 of them for 77 yards and a score. In his four games this season, the Lions’ wideout has totaled 35 targets, and has yet to have a game with fewer than six receptions.
Burleson should be a top priority this week for wide receiver-needy teams. He’s available in the majority of ESPN.com leagues.
Hold the Chiefs defense
I recall perusing the Questions section here about four weeks ago, telling people that holding onto the Chiefs defense, before their bye, probably wasn’t the best idea. It had nothing to do with how well they were performing, but it had everything to do with the fact that their schedule was about to hit a bump. Defenses can always be found, and streaming them is always effective.
Of course Chiefs D/ST holders didn’t want to let them go, but here we were, three weeks later, and all they’ve gotten you is negative five fantasy points.
No, this isn’t a humble brag or me telling you that you were wrong. This is a learning lesson. Defenses rarely hold enough value to hold them for a long period of time without playing them, and we’re seeing that with the Chiefs.
Now, it's probably not worth dropping them, even though they suffered injuries to their front seven on Sunday. You won’t be playing them against Denver this week (Right? Right?), but they’ll face a struggling Washington offense in Week 14 and a Matt McGloin-led one in Week 15. You can’t ask for much better in the fantasy playoffs.
I know the horrible performance against the Chargers is going to make you want to drop them, but you’ve held onto them this long – you might as well benefit from the soft upcoming matchups.
Add Ryan Fitzpatrick
I’ve streamed quarterbacks in a couple of my leagues this year, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a late-season savior.
He’s scored 23.9, 15.5 and 23.4 fantasy points over his last three contests (he didn’t even play the whole game in one of them), and, as I’ve noted relentlessly on this site over the last few weeks, the Titans have a favorable passing schedule upcoming.
If you do plan on adding Fitzmagic for your playoff run, make sure you have another option for Week 15 when the Titans face the tough Cardinals defense. One name to think about for that week is Christian Ponder, as he’ll face Philadelphia.
Add Michael Crabtree
In his post-game presser, head coach Jim Harbaugh said that he thinks Michael Crabtree will play against the Rams this week.
If Crabtree’s available in your league, it’s time to snatch him up. According to ESPN.com leagues, which, yes, may be a little skewed due to “dead” leagues, Crabtree is rostered on just 12 percent of teams.
Crabtree can make a huge impact (or, in Al Michaels’ case, a “yooge” impact), as he finished last season with a Reception Net Expected Points total that was on par with Julio Jones. If he's at full health, he'll become a probable starter on your fake football squad.
Add Ladarius Green
Our own Phil Alexander wrote a piece on Ladarius Green two weeks ago, noting that his big-play ability has forced a high Reception NEP per Target.
Two weeks later, and we saw that ability. In a close game against the Chiefs, Green took a pass 60 yards into the end zone, finishing his day with three catches for 80 yards and a score.
Antonio Gates is old, boring and slow, and Green is gradually becoming a bigger part of the passing game for San Diego, seeing five targets in each of his last two games. He’s definitely worth in add for those needing a tight end.
Add Benny Cunningham
To show you all how good a matchup is for a running back against the Chicago Bears, take a look at their Week 12 tilt against the Rams. Zac Stacy carried the ball 12 times for 87 yards and a score, and left the game with a concussion. Benny Cunningham then replaced him, and ran the ball 13 times for 109 yards and a touchdown of his own.
It was against Chicago, so temper your expectations if Cunningham does take the place for Stacy this week, which is a possibility. He’s worth an add just in case that happens, even if the matchup doesn’t have boatloads of opportunity.
Drop Mike Tolbert
This is painful for me, guys. I loved Tolbert as a value pick entering the year, and he’s certainly produced at times in 2013. But now? Now he’s just a wasted spot on your bench with Jonathan Stewart back in the lineup.
He certainly can produce moving forward, especially considering he’s the king of touchdown stealing. But to predict that week in and week out is going to be difficult.
Tolbert’s scored no more than 3.3 half-point PPR points over his last three weeks, and doesn’t have the upside you need from a bench player moving into the playoffs. Guys like him can be found off the wire each week.
Bench Tavon Austin
I know, I know – Tavon Austin has over 50 half-point PPR fantasy points over his last two games. And, to my surprise, he was targeted six times against Chicago this past week, two more than he was against Indianapolis.
But you can’t rely on Austin right now, especially as the Rams schedule starts to get tough. In Week 13 they’ll face San Fran, a team looking hot defensively. In Week 14 they’ll see another division rival playing good defense in Arizona. Then, in Week 15, Tavon’s squad will face New Orleans, the fourth-best pass defense in the league according to our metrics.
While he’s always able to go off, and should certainly be rostered given his upside, it’s not time to plug him into your lineup.
Add Montee Ball or C.J. Anderson
Knowshon Moreno has a bad bone bruise in his ankle, and could miss the Broncos’ contest against the Chiefs this week.
Enter Montee Ball, who’s seen an uptick in touches since Week 8. Though Ball may not be available in your specific league, he should be in about a quarter of them.
Another guy to watch is C.J. Anderson. Who? He saw three attempts against New England on Sunday night, and could be part of a timeshare if Knowshon does, indeed, miss time.
Keep in mind that the Chiefs can be beat on the ground. They rank 20th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP, a metric that looks at rush defense fixed for strength of schedule. Against the pass, Kansas City ranks second.
Pile on the Houston and Hali injuries on the KC defense, and there’s even more reason to believe Knowshon’s backups can still produce against the Chiefs.
Add Bilal Powell
Evidently Chris Ivory ran on an upper and lower ankle injury against the Ravens on Sunday. Whether true or not, there’s a chance he misses time, making Bilal Powell fantasy relevant once again.
Powell’s definitely attractive in PPR leagues, and would be a very interesting play this week against a Miami rush defense that ranks in the bottom three in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP. As with Knowshon, keep an eye on Ivory’s situation.
Add Chris Ogbonnaya
Silent G had a nice matchup against the Steelers this week, but fumbled away his opportunity early. He saw just four carries for 26 yards, and caught two passes for another 15.
However, he still is the most efficient runner on a per run basis among the 30-plus attempt rushers in the league according to our metrics, making him the clear upside choice in Cleveland. He’s also a pass-catcher, which helps in PPR leagues.
Ogbonnaya is owned in just 15 percent of ESPN.com leagues, so he could be available in yours. He’s worth a pickup, especially if the Browns continue to lose and want to see what he’s made of.
Add Brandon Bolden
Stevan Ridley woke up this morning, walked downstairs, went to heat up his bagel, but dropped the bagel on the ground. He then went to grab milk out of the fridge, and dropped that, too.
Stevan Ridley can’t hold onto anything.
Who knows how Belichick will treat this running back situation moving forward, but he certainly didn’t give Ridley a shot after an early fumble against the Broncos on Sunday night. Ridley saw just four carries, while Brandon Bolden, who entered the game after backup LeGarrette Blount fumbled, saw 13.
You can’t fumble the ball if you’re a Patriots’ running back.
Bolden’s worth a flier, though we all should prefer Shane Vereen out of the group of backs in New England right now.
Add Miami’s Defense
When a defense faces Geno Smith, you have to stream them. He’s a turnover machine, and easily the worst quarterback in the NFL this year. Get this: If the Jets had placed an average signal-caller in his position this season – someone like Kellen Clemens – they would’ve seen about an 80-point swing in their favor. That’s over a touchdown per game!
Gaining experience is one thing. Throwing a quarterback under center who’s forcing the ball and generating turnovers consistently is another. Start Miami’s defense, and smile as they rack up the interceptions.