When people ask The Fantasy Greek what the difference is between this season and last, the answer is that there have been a large number of injuries this year making it very difficult for fantasy footballers (novice and experienced alike) to select players from waivers with some forethought as to how they will play any given week. It’s even been a challenge just to keep a roster filled with quality reserves. Instead of one fantasy team hit by the injury bug, there are literally several.
Likewise, with the sudden rash of injuries to quarterbacks, fantasy footballers who had QB Matt Schaub or QB Matt Cassel, and now QB Jay Cutler, are left scrambling to fill their QB2 spot, and in some cases their QB1 spot too. This also has been a great challenge for fantasy footballers.
This same amount of unpredictability can be said about uninjured, position players. Take for example, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis. For most of the beginning of the season, BGE was a solid RB2 with upside. Now, with the Patriots passing the ball more often than not, Green-Ellis has become a shaky play even as a flex-play. Indeed, outside of the top-five players at each position, it gets awfully difficult trying to figure out which players are in the best position to do something significant in any given week. And, the injuries haven’t helped especially the first week good players get back onto the gridiron in trying to figure out whether they will be eased back into action or be a full go.
Still further troubling are the number of players that continue to go down to injury. This weekend, while the number of injuries was down, there were still enough injuries that it will have an impact this week on rosters, and on your league’s waivers. The list is distinguished. We will simply list all the most notable injuries as follows:
|RB Adrian Peterson||Vikings||Ankle Sprain||Expected to Miss 1-2 Weeks|
|RB Shonn Greene||Jets||Bruised Ribs||Expected to Play|
|RB James Starks||Packers||Knee/Ankle Sprain||Day to Day|
|RB Fred Jackson||Bills||Calf Injury||Day to Day|
|RB D.J. Ware||Giants||Concussion||Needs Medical Clearance|
|QB Jay Cutler||Bears||Fractured Thumb||Surgery; Out till Week 16 or 17|
|QB Matt Hasselbeck||Titans||Sprained Elbow||Unknown|
|QB Colt McCoy||Browns||Shoulder||Expected to Play|
|WR D. Heyward-Bey||Raiders||Head/Neck||Unknown|
|TE Jake Ballard||Giants||Elbow||Expected to Play|
|TE Jermichael Finley||Packers||Hyper-extended Elbow||Expected to Play|
|WR Greg Jennings||Packers||Knee Bruise||Expected to Play|
|WR Donald Jones||Bills||Ankle||3-6 Weeks|
* Note: The status of some of these players may not have been officially announced by their respective teams but is based on the best available information. Of course, a player’s status and availability could change. Check for the player’s news for any official update.
This doesn’t include players that are currently out, that fantasy footballers are patiently waiting to get back on the gridiron like RB Ahmad Bradshaw, RB Jahvid Best, RB Darren McFadden, WR Miles Austin, WR Julio Jones, WR A.J. Green, RB Peyton Hillis, WR Jeremy Maclin, and, TE Dallas Clark. Did we miss anyone? Plus, let’s not forget about players like RB Beanie Wells, who is banged up, still playing, but under-performing due to limited carries.
By the way, reports are that WR Andre Johnson will play in Week 12. Even though it remains to be seen how Johnson will play with QB Matt Leinhart under center, this is still a positive development for fantasy footballers missing such a talent from their rosters.
With past and current injuries, The Fantasy Greek will focus on those players fantasy footballers can target off waivers to fill in while some of these injured players try to make their way back onto the gridiron, hopefully sooner, rather than later. In Week 12, there are 3 games being played on Thursday: Packers v. Lions (12:30 p.m. EST); Dolphins v. Cowboys (4:15 p.m. EST); and, Forty-Niners v. Ravens (8:20 p.m. EST). Make sure to set your line-ups in advance and continue playing the match-ups.
Before getting to this week’s Waiver Targets, The Fantasy Greek shares the results of this week’s on-line poll, totaling the votes casted through Facebook and on www.thefantasygreek.com. This past week’s poll involved quarterbacks that fantasy footballers might have to choose from to play in Week 10.
Week 10 was rough on quarterbacks. Which of these quarterbacks would you have the most confidence playing in Week 11?
|How They Did:|
|QB Cam Newton (v. Lions)||26%||280 yds., 37 rush yds., 3 TDs, 4 INTs|
|QB Tony Romo (v. Redskins)||26%||292 yds., 3 TDs, 0 INTs|
|QB Carson Palmer (v. Vikings)||19%||164 yds., 1 pass TD, 1 rush TD|
|QB Matthew Stafford (v. Panthers)||19%||335 yds., 5 TDs, 2 INTs|
|QB Jay Cutler (v. Chargers)||6%||286 yds., 11 rush yds., 2 pass TDs, 1 rush TD, 1 INT|
|QB John Skelton (v. Forty-Niners)||4%||99 yds., 3 INTs|
For those of you who have a genuine opportunity to make your league’s fantasy playoffs, make sure you have your stud running back hand-cuffed with his back-up. If your stud running back runs well on his team’s offense, it is likely his back-up will too.
In this week’s waiver target report, besides noting players that you should consider picking up off the waivers if available in your league, The Fantasy Greek will try to highlight players (as a match-up based play for this week) that you may have to turn to due to injuries, as well as comment on their match-up for this weekend. This week, you may want to consider the following players (if available on your waivers), if you think you need the help, or if you have the room on your bench. Please, do not drop a good player for any of the waiver-adds.
In Week 12, there are numerous non-top-12 quarterbacks that would make viable options this week. Here are five quarterbacks that The Fantasy Greek likes that could be on your waiver wire that could help this week if you are forced to play the waiver wire to make it through all the injuries this week or quarterbacks that are viable QB2s if you need the help.
If Michael Vick misses another game, QB Vince Young, Eagles (v. Patriots) will get another start. Against the Giants, a team that has been better defending the pass, Young posted 258 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions. This week, Young would face a Patriots team that entered Week 11 allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. So, if you need a one week filler, Young can be your man.
QB Christian Ponder, Vikings has been doing some good things since given the start for the Vikings. In four complete games, Ponder has tossed for roughly 850 yards, 5 TDs, and 6 INTs. In Week 12, Ponder faces a Falcons pass defense that is ranked in the middle of all teams defending the pass entering Week 11. Without the best running back in the NFL, Ponder may have little choice but to pass, and pass often.
For anyone who saw any part of the Titans-Falcons game, where rookie QB Jake Locker, Titans played, we saw a young quarterback who looked poised, who displayed every bit of a veteran presence, and who fired the ball with a rocket arm. This week the Titans face a Buccaneers team that has had its share of problems defending the pass, as much as the Falcons. So again, if you need the help this week, Locker is indeed an option based on what we saw.
Rex Grossman, Redskins (v. Seahawks). The Redskins face a Seahawks team that has been better defending the rush than the pass. While no one is jumping up and down calling Grossman a must-add, it cannot be denied that he had a decent game against a better Cowboys pass defense. So, for fantasy footballers in need, Grossman is an option.
Speaking of Rex Grossman, Matt Moore, Dolphins (160 yds., 3 TDs, 0 INT) had another solid outing this week against the Bills. This week, Moore faces a Cowboys pass defense that while playing better than the Bills, still gave up 289 yards and 2 passing touchdowns to Rex Grossman. While Moore still carries some risk, he is passing to one of the best receivers in the league.
QB To Keep An Eye On: Caleb Hanie, Bears (v. Raiders). Now that we know QB Jay Cutler will be out until at least Week 16, fantasy footballers should keep an eye on QB Caleb Hanie. With Cutler out, nay-sayers are quick to criticize Hanie. Yet, consider what Hanie did last season when Cutler went down to injury in the NFC Championship Game. After Cutler went out after the first series in the third-quarter, and QB Todd Collins went 0-4 in passing, Hanie went 13-for-20 passing for 153 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Translate those numbers over the course of the game, and you get the picture. Plus, this was against a good Packers’ pass defense last season. The Raiders entered Week 11 allowing the seventh most fantasy points to the quarterback position. That said, Hanie has a genuine opportunity to do well in the game. Let’s see how Caleb does.
Another QB To Keep An Eye On: Matt Leinart, Texans (v. Jaguars). All eyes are on QB Matt Leinart this week as he takes over for Matt Schaub, who is done for the season. The Texans are not only contending for the AFC South division title, but their first-ever playoff birth. Among fantasy footballers, our greatest interest is how Leinart connects with WR Andre Johnson in the passing game. The Jaguars do boast the seventh best fantasy pass defense against quarterbacks and the third best fantasy pass defense against wide receivers, so the hope here is that it will be a decent game for Leinart, even though not the best. Also, monitor the fact that there have been reports that the Texans tried out, among others, former NFL QB Jeff Garcia.
If the running backs out there that could help owners was thin in previous weeks, got a little thicker this week because of all the injuries to the position. So, this week, here are several running backs that could either have a role this weekend, serve as viable flex-plays, or possibly carry their teams going forward.
While it was expected that RB Kevin Smith, Lions would get some carries in the Lions game against the Panthers this weekend, it was a complete surprise that Smith would post 201 all-purpose yards and score 3 touchdowns! While nothing is ever written in stone, it would be hard to believe that the Lions will not now turn to Smith as their lead back after this performance. Granted, it was against the worst fantasy rush defense in the league, but how does one deny Smith this opportunity? The Lions are sorely missing the services of a No. 1 running back with RB Jahvid Best still out. Smith is expected to be the top waiver add this week. In Week 12, the Lions face a Packers rush defense that has been struggling. Smith should make for a solid play in Week 12.
The Fantasy Greek mentioned RB Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns as a waiver add for the last three weeks. While he was a huge disappointment in Week 9, in Week 10, Ogbonnaya posted 109 all-purpose yards, and in Week 11, against a good Jaguars defense, OGB posted 134 all-purpose yards, and 1 touchdown! If he is still available on your waivers, he remains a good waiver wire add even with the Browns having a few difficult match-ups coming up and even when Montario Hardesty makes it back from injury. This week, the Browns face a Bengals rush defense that while good, can give up a decent amount of fantasy points to the position.
For owners of RB Adrian Peterson, who is expected to miss at least 1 week, up to 2 weeks, because of a high ankle sprain, RB Toby Gerhart is a must-add this week. The Vikings do play a tough Falcons’ rush defense, but with little options that may be available on your waivers, Gerhart needs to be added. In Week 13, the Vikings play the Broncos.
RB C.J. Spiller hasn’t been the fantasy stud that many fantasy footballers expected he would be when drafted just a few seasons ago. Still, the Bills will be without WR Donald Jones, giving Spiller the opportunity to line-up out in the slot. Should RB Fred Jackson also miss this weekend’s game, Spiller would then be expected to be involved in the rushing game. Whatever the case, all signs point to Spiller being a waiver wire add this week. In addition, the Bills play a Jets defense that Jackson previously torched on the ground and which has struggled to defend the rush this season.
If you are wondering why RB DeAngelo Williams is listed as a potential waiver add this week, it is because he could be available in your league. While Williams hasn’t had the greatest of fantasy seasons as many expected, he did post 108 all-purpose yards this week against a good Lions rush defense. This week, the Panthers face a Colts’ rush defense that has given up the third most fantasy points to the position.
RB To Keep An Eye On: RB Da’Rel Scott, Giants (v. Saints). It is starting to look like RB Ahmad Bradshaw could miss another game and RB Danny Ware, who sustained a concussion this past weekend, could miss Week 12. Should this happen, Scott becomes a fantasy option as a change of pace back for the Giants. The Giants face a Saints rush defense in the middle of all teams defending the position in fantasy.
Another RB To Keep An Eye On: RB Joe McKnight, Jets (v. Bills). RB LaDanian Tomlinson missed last week’s game and RB Shonn Greene sustained a rib injury. In relief, McKnight (121 APY, 1 FMBL) had a good game. If given the opportunity to play, McKnight would make for a good start against a Bills rush defense among the top-ten in fantasy points allowed.
WR Nate Washington may be available in your league, having been dropped due to his inconsistent play. But with QB Jake Locker under center, Washington made an immediate impact (115 yds., 2 TDs). If Locker gets the start again, Washington makes for a good play against the Buccaneers.
Similarly, with the pickings slim for wide receivers, WR Torrey Smith makes another appearance as a waiver wire add in case he was released to your league’s waiver due to his inconsistent play. Smith had another breakout performance (165 yds., 1 TD) in Week 11. The Ravens have been throwing the ball an awful lot lately and Smith has remained the team’s deep threat even with Lee Evans active again. Smith should make for good WR3 value going forward even though you will have to live with his inconsistent play. The Ravens play the Forty-Niners, a team that has had a tough time defending the pass.
In one week’s time, WR Jabar Gaffney (115 yds., 1 TD) got back onto fantasy radars in a big way. He has actually been pretty involved in the passing game but not in a way that would turn fantasy footballers’ heads. Still, he has had two meaningful performances in the last three games. The Seahawks are a tough opponent, but Gaffney looked really good last week. If you need the help, Gaffney is an option (if dropped to your waivers) but just remember that eventually, Santana Moss will return to the gridiron.
It’s looking likely that WR Julio Jones will miss another week due to the hamstring injury he sustained two games ago. With Jones out, WR Harry Douglas didn’t have a great game (51 yds.). But, in Week 12, the Falcons face a Vikings pass defense that has allowed the fifth most fantasy points to the position through Week 10. This is a good match-up for Douglas.
With Jeremy Maclin out of the game this week, WR Riley Cooper drew the start and he cpaitlaized on the opportunity (75 yds., 1 TD). Now, Cooper’s value may be tied to whether Young gets another start. Still, as long as he is named the starter, he has a chance to do something against the Patriots pass defense that has been one of the worst in fantasy this season.
The Bengals appear to be playing the status of WR A.J. Green close to the vest. Should he miss this week’s game against the Browns, WR Jerome Simpson and probably more so, WR Andre Caldwell become viable fantasy option. The reason being is that the Bengals throw the ball on everyone. Caldwell could be the better option because Simpson would likely draw CB Joe Haden. Fantasy footballers should likely avoid the Bengals wide-outs this week, but if you have no other options, it’s worth the look.
WR To Keep An Eye On: WR Johnny Knox, Bears (v. Raiders). In one week’s time, Knox got back on fantasy radars with his 97 yard, 1 touchdown performance against the Chargers. Granted, fantasy footballers may be hesitant to add Knox with QB Caleb Hanie under center this weekend. Yet, as mentioned above, the match-up is right and Hanie and Knox could do well.
Even with the bye weeks over, there may be fantasy owners who need to play the match-ups at the position. In any case, while not a bye week, the pool of tight-ends is likely still thin. So, here are a few tight-ends that could help you in Week 12 who may or may not be on your roster.
TE Anthony Fasano has been playing well for several games in a row and has posted a combined 106 yards and 3 touchdowns in his last three games. Make that 5 touchdowns if you go back five games. In Week 12, the Dolphins play the Cowboys, a team that was giving up the second most fantasy points to the position entering Week 11.
TE Fred Davis has struggled the past four games and fantasy footballers aren’t very happy about it. In Week 12, the Redskins play a Seahawks teams that was the third-worst defending the tight-end position in fantasy.
This past weekend, the Buccaneers offense came alive against a Packers team that they had to throw against. In one game, TE Kellen Winslow posted more yards (132 yds.) than he had the previous four games. While anything can happen, fact is this week’s opponent, the Titans, allowed the sixth most fantasy points to the position entering Week 11.
With TE Dallas Clark having sustained what could be a significant leg injury, TE Jacob Tamme (75 yds. in his first start this season) made an immediate impact. While Tamme is not a necessary add, Tamme is an add for owners lacking a TE2 or owners who have the bench space to see if Tamme continues to perform this well. Tamme has a favorable match-up this week (v. Panthers) and next week (v. Patriots).
It’s another tough week for defensive match-ups besides the usual suspects. Nonetheless, there are a few defenses that fantasy owners could consider in Week 12 that could be available on your waivers:
Panthers (v. Colts). The Colts have become a punching bag for defenses playing them this season. With the Panthers pass defense already pretty good, the Colts will be forced to run the ball, something they have not been doing very well this season. Besides, the Panthers offense should be able to control the time of possession.
Seahawks (v. Redskins). The Seahawks have been playing real well the past few games. With the Redskins traveling to the West Coast, this could be a long day for the Redskins who were already giving up the seventh most fantasy points to opposing defenses entering Week 11.
Raiders (v. Bears). The Raiders have played better defensively as the season has progressed and they are playing at home this week. With QB Caleb Hanie getting the start, the Raiders are an option this week for those fantasy footballers playing the match-up. The Bears can still play well, but it will be a hard fought battle.
Broncos (v. Chargers). Believe it or not, the Chargers are top-ten in fantasy points allowed to opposing defenses, even giving up more points to opposing defenses than the Broncos as of Week 11. The Broncos have been pretty shut down as of late. So, if you feel that the Chargers are genuinely struggling, and the Broncos could handle them, the Broncos are a sleeper defense this week.
Good luck this week!