We've been spoiled the last couple of weeks as the waiver wire has had upwards of half a dozen players to be excited about. Players like Bryce Brown, Danario Alexander and Knowshon Moreno have appeared in this space in that time frame, and they have become fantasy stars. This week's list is lacking star power, but we do have a baker's dozen worth of players worth considering. We set aside the top category this week, but we do have a trio of tight ends that have emerged as consistent fantasy producers. The rest of the list is dominated by wideouts, but a pair of runners make the list, and we speculate on a signal caller as well. Something for everyone in this week's wonders!
TE Jared Cook, Tennessee
Cook's numbers in the last two weeks are on the rise - four catches for 51 yards against the Houston Texans this week and six catches for 47 yards the previous week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of more importance is a major bump in Cook's playing time. A change in the offensive coordinator for the Titans got Cook on the field for more than 80 percent of the offensive plays and saw him targeted a dozen times. We expect these targets to continue, with his catches rising to the level of between 8-10 per game. Those are solid numbers for a tight end.
WR Mike Thomas, Detroit
We listed Thomas in our 'Deep and/or Dynasty Only' category last week, speculating that he would get some time this week while Titus Young was pouting on the bench. This week he rises high enough to be listed here as a solid pickup. The Lions will be using him as the starter opposite Calvin Johnson. Ryan Broyles was injured last week, and reports are that he will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear. Thomas did not do well filling in for the injured Broyles last week, but the Lions have no other options as they are indicating that Young will not be a part of the offense. He is worth a look in all formats, especially as the starter opposite Johnson.
WR Chris Givens, St. Louis
Danny Amendola has been injury prone this season, and last week Givens took advantage of his absence. He caught a season-high 11 passes, which was good for 92 yards against San Francisco. Sam Bradford has been latching onto a single wideout during games, and with Amendola on the shelf, it is looking like Givens is going to be that player. He is worth a roster spot in all formats, and in Amendola's absence he is worth starting as a flex.
RB David Wilson, New York Giants
We had Wilson on the radar last week, since he is still available in about half of the online leagues, he gets another mention this week as a solid pickup. The Giants are a team that likes to spread out the carries between two players, so he and Ahmad Bradshaw are going to get enough opportunity during the game to be productive fantasy players.
RB James Starks, Green Bay
Coach Mike McCarthy keeps talking about a "hot hand" approach, but every week it seems that Starks and Alex Green end up with the same amount of touches. Starks is starting to pull in front, and to most watching the Packers games, we can see that he is the best player for the job in Green Bay. McCarthy will keep mixing and matching, but we see this as a situation where Starks gains a few extra touches week after week. Fifteen carries for 66 yards and a score against the Minnesota Vikings (to go along with a pair of catches) is a good start. Against the Detroit Lions three weeks ago it was Starks carrying the ball 25 times, and now look for him to begin to pull away from Green in terms of playing time in the Packers backfield.
On the Radar
WR Donte Stallworth, New England
Recent injuries at wide receiver and tight end have forced the Patriots to re-sign Stallworth, a player they released in August. Coach Bill Belichick's pet wideout, Julian Edelman, was hurt last week and initial reports are that he may be out for an extended period of time. With Rob Gronkowski on the shelf and Brandon Lloyd a complete non-factor in the passing attack, New England has a need for a short-yardage possession receiver. If Stallworth can re-learn the offense, he'll step in immediately as option No. 3 behind Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez. The return of Gronkowski will bump him down another notch, but he's worth a look in all formats.
TE Tony Moeaki, Kansas City
Very quietly, Moeaki has put together an impressive stretch of four games. He's only averaged three catches over that stretch, but he's used those catches well, averaging almost 50 yards over those four games. Not huge numbers, but above average and more importantly, consistent from game-to-game. With so many other tight ends getting hurt, Moeaki is worth a look as a backup or fill-in for your injured starter.
WR Donnie Avery, Indianapolis
The Colts passing game has been extremely hot of late, with Avery being the latest player to have a huge game. Though he could have had more, he ended up with five catches on the day, good for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Andrew Luck has been passing for more than 300 yards on a regular basis, which is allowing for plenty of production to be spread between Avery, Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton. Avery is worth a look, but we'd like to see some consistent production from him before we tag him with a high recommendation.
TE Ben Watson, Cleveland
Another tight end that is having a solid stretch of games is Watson. Over the last three weeks he is averaging just over four catches per game, good for a 50-yard per game average. The touchdown passes have not been there, though he did enjoy a two touchdown afternoon two weeks ago against Dallas. He is another guy worth a look as a backup tight end, or a fill-in for those that are waiting for Rob Gronkowski to return to the playing field.
Deep and/or Dynasty Only
WR Jason Avant, Philadelphia
With DeSean Jackson out for the remainder of the season, Avant will take on an expanded role in the Eagles offense. Against the Cowboys this week, his four catches were good for 79 yards. We list Avant so low on the list since we have no confidence in the Philadelphia offense, specifically, the passing game with Nick Foles at the helm. Only those in deep leagues need apply here as Avant will not be a consistent fantasy performer from one week to the next.
WR Jarius Wright, Minnesota
Wright was expected to have an expanded role for the Vikings this past week as they played without Percy Harvin. The final numbers were disappointing - just a single catch for 13 yards. Harvin is pushing to return this week, which would return Wright to fantasy purgatory. Only those desperate at the position need look in Wright's direction.
WR Eric Weems, Chicago
The Bears are another team struggling to keep pass catchers healthy, with Devin Hester out and Alshon Jeffery hurting. The Bears were expecting more from Weems in 2012, but at this point in time his role appears to be as a kick returner and sometimes wideout. Not worth a look except for those in deep leagues.
QB Tim Tebow, New York Jets
How unlucky is it that the week that the Jets finally decide to bench Mark Sanchez, which was a long time coming, Tebow is inactive and Greg McElroy got a chance to run the offense? To say that this has been a puzzling situation all season is really not saying enough. With only a few games left in what has been a lost season, the Jets have nothing to lose by putting Tebow on the field, and it would give the fans what they want. McElroy is not the answer, and based on the way Sanchez has played all season, he is not the answer, either. Of all the quarterbacks on the Jets roster, Tebow is the only one that, given some playing time, will be able to generate some fantasy numbers since he can score on the ground. This is an extremely speculative add, only for those extremely deep leagues that have to start two quarterbacks.
My starting line up....
Looking 4 my last player in .......
Chris Givens, Danario Alexander or Knowshon Moreno ?