Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 12

Matthew Stafford has a tough home matchup this week versus the Bears, but he could be involved in a shootout in Week 13 against the Rams.

This weekly series will attempt to help you in two ways. First, we are going to be examining players who may not be the hot waiver pickups of the week. This will save you Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) or waiver priority for when you need it most. Second, we will be diving into stats and trends that point to players improving their fantasy scores next week, not this current week.

The goal is to sift through the rough to find those diamonds who emerge every single year, except you won't be sweating over whether or not you claimed them on waivers, because you will already own them. At least that's the goal.

Here's the transparency report of the season. Before Week 10, I told you to grab these guys for a Week 11 start. Here's how they did:

PlayerPositional RankingHalf-PPR Points
Dak Prescott16th14.8
Willie Snead35th7.6
Demarcus Robinson61st1.9
Ricky Seals-Jones35th1.0
Cardinals D/ST11th4.0

Sort of a disappointing week. At least Dak Prescott didn't completely ruin your week if you started him (like I did). Chris Conley ended up getting more of the work than Demarcus Robinson. I'm going to avoid the tight end position from now on because the position is too volatile week to week.

Now, on to next week! Here are some guys who may not be startable for Week 12 but could be valuable for Week 13 and the playoffs. So if you have space, add them now or hope that they fall through waivers after this week. I will be selecting guys who are more "sure things" than usual going forward, since we are aiming at playoff potential starts in the coming weeks.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions

Yahoo ownership: 73%

Matthew Stafford has been having a somewhat lackluster season, considering he was drafted as a low-end QB1. He currently sits at QB17 in standard scoring. Early on in the year, Stafford was actually doing quite well -- in his first four games, he was averaging 300.5 passing yards per game and threw 8 touchdown passes to just 5 interceptions.

That streak has cooled off considerably as he jumped into a tough stretch of opponents, including a handful of divisional games. The Detroit Lions' offense has been looking to get back into stride after trading away receiver Golden Tate. With Marvin Jones also being banged up recently, the Lions have relied on Kenny Golladay, who has certainly stepped up this season. It's also notable that rookie running back Kerryon Johnson is week-to-week with a knee injury, so the Lions may soon go back to a pass-happy attack. If Stafford can get Jones back into the lineup soon, better days could be ahead for him.

But not this week.

Stafford will be playing on Thanksgiving, as he always does, against the ferocious Chicago Bears' defense. Not much else to say there.

In Week 13, Stafford and the Lions will be playing at home against the Los Angeles Rams. We just saw the Rams and the Chiefs pass all over each other in what was probably the game of the year. We shouldn't expect Stafford to turn into Patrick Mahomes, but with the Rams likely being heavy favorites in this game, Detroit should need to pass early and often. The Rams are allowing the sixth-most points to the quarterback position this season and have allowed a whopping 25 passing touchdowns. Stafford will have an opportunity to sling the ball around next week.

Doug Martin, RB, Raiders

Yahoo ownership: 57%

I'm not sure if I want to call Doug Martin a sure thing, but when he's been healthy this year, he kinda has been. Martin was pulled from his most recent matchup against the Arizona Cardinals due to an ankle injury, but coach Jon Gruden has already told media he doesn't believe the injury to be serious. Up until this injury, Martin had been faring quite well since Marshawn Lynch hit the shelf. Through four games as the co-starter next to Jalen Richard, Martin rushed 49 times for 234 yards. That's good for 4.78 yards per carry and is good enough to be the 10th-best running back in that period. He also gets a few targets per game, so he's still useful in PPR leagues.

This week, Martin and the Oakland Raiders will play the Ravens in Baltimore, so there's not much appeal to starting Martin even if he is active and starting for this game.

Next week, he gets the other half of the Monday Night heavyweights, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are currently allowing the most points to the running back position and have allowed more than 100 yards on the ground to opposing teams in 7 out of 11 games so far this year. KC has also allowed 772 yards receiving and 9.9 yards per reception to running backs this season, so those targets Martin sees could be more valuable than usual.

Royce Freeman, RB, Broncos

Yahoo ownership: 52%

Yes, Royce Freeman is still the "second-string" running back in Denver. Phillip Lindsay has been quite impressive for an undrafted free agent, and the Denver Broncos may have found a gem in him. However, there is still fantasy value in Freeman for the rest of this season. Many people having given up on him and dropped him to waivers, so that's why his ownership percentage is way down at 52%.

So far this season, Lindsay has out-touched and out-produced Freeman, and that can't be understated. With that being said, Freeman does have 14 red-zone rushing attempts to Lindsay's 16 despite Freeman playing two fewer games. Just this last week, against the Los Angeles Chargers, Freeman saw five red-zone rushes and hit pay-dirt once . His stature and power will likely keep him in short-yardage consideration for the Broncos.

In Week 12, the Broncos face the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. Looking ahead of that, the Broncos have a cake schedule from Week 13 on. In Week 13, the Broncos will square off with the Cincinnati Bengals, who give up the third-most points to the position. Last week the Ravens, led inexplicably by Gus Edwards, gashed the Bengals for 265 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. The week before that, the New Orleans Saints ran all over the Bengals for 244 yards and 3 touchdowns by running backs.

If there is ever a time for Freeman to go off, it's Week 13. After that he gets the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and Raiders. Stash him now if you can.

D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers

Yahoo ownership: 53%

The ownership number jolted up following D.J. Moore's 7-catch, 157-yard performance that included a touchdown against the Lions in Week 11. If you still have an opportunity to pick him up, you better act quickly, because he will be a hot commodity for the rest of this season.

The rookie wideout was eased into this offense slowly over the year, but it's clear now that they intend to feature him as their top receiver. Over the last four weeks, he's played 70% of his teams snaps or better in each game. In those games, he's seen 21 targets, 17 receptions, 283 yards, and a touchdown. He's also had four rushing attempts for 76 yards in that period. The coaching staff is trying to find ways to get Moore the ball.

For this week, the Carolina Panthers will play the Seattle Seahawks, and Moore will probably be more of a WR3 this week. But starting in Week 13, the Panthers' schedule gets pretty nice.

Next week, the Panthers head to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers. While the Bucs' defense has been better against the pass recently -- they have allowed an average of just 208.8 passing yards per game in their last five contests -- they have still been bleeding points to opposing teams. In those last five games, the Bucs have allowed an average of 31.2 points per game. That's worst in the league. Then Moore's playoff schedule is the Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, and Atlanta Falcons -- teams we've been exploiting all season.

Chiefs D/ST

Yahoo ownership: 41%

The Kansas City D/ST are on bye this week. And while they had 42 points scored on them last week against the Los Angeles Rams, they still scored 7.0 fantasy points thanks to two fumble recoveries, one of which was returned for a touchdown. In fact, over the last five weeks, the Chiefs have gotten 5 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 19 sacks, and 2 defensive touchdowns. Their hot streak on sacks has boosted them to second in the league with 36 sacks on the season.

In Week 13, the Chiefs will be playing against the Raiders. With Derek Carr struggling and their wide receivers getting injured (Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant banged up and Brandon LaFell to injured reserve), Oakland will likely struggle to pass in this game, but it's safe to assume the Raiders will have to throw to keep up with the high-octane KC attack. The Chiefs could find their way to a few more sacks and turnovers against this struggling Raiders offense.