Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Heeere's Johnny!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Watch out for tumbleweeds rolling through the waiver wire this week. It's ghost-town bleak out there. Lost in the rubble, though, is a receiver averaging 121 yards the past two weeks with a touchdown in each game.


After languishing behind Roy Williams, Devin Hester, and Earl Bennett all season, Johnny Knox emerged as the Bears' No. 1 receiver in Caleb Hanie's first career start. Since he's worked on the second team going back to training camp, Knox has built up an obvious rapport with the backup QB. A poor man's DeSean Jackson, Knox led the team with 10 targets while playing starter's snaps opposite Williams in Week 12.

Knox remains a WR3 gamble for Week 13 against the Chiefs, but there's potential for a jackpot against the Seahawks, Packers (second-most fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers), and Vikings (fourth-most) in Weeks 15-17.

On to the players. Here is how I rank the top players at each position as we head into Week 13. Full writeups of each player are below.

Editor’s Note: Join subscriber only chats, get weekly rankings before anyone else, plus exclusive weekly projections, stat tools, dynasty ranks, columns, and much more including the Rotoworld Oracle in our Season Pass.

Quarterbacks
Vince Young
Kyle Orton
Rex Grossman
Caleb Hanie
Matt Moore
Kevin Kolb

Running Backs
Donald Brown
Toby Gerhart
Maurice Morris
Kendall Hunter
Montario Hardesty
Marcel Reece
Johnny White
Shane Vereen

*Roy Helu (74 percent) and Peyton Hillis (89 percent) are already owned in the vast majority of CBSSports.com leagues. They would be Nos. 1 and 2 on this list if available.

Wide Receivers
Johnny Knox
Riley Cooper
Greg Little
Doug Baldwin
Malcom Floyd
Damian Williams
Chaz Schilens
Brad Smith

Tight Ends
Scott Chandler
Marcedes Lewis
Lance Kendricks
Kevin Boss

Defense/Special Teams
Falcons
Patriots 
Broncos

Quarterbacks
 
Vince Young, Eagles - Michael Vick has missed two weeks, yet Young is still owned in just a third of CBSSports.com leagues. That’s even more of a head-scratcher after VY threw up a career-high 400 passing yards on top of 40 rushing yards in Week 12. Vick has yet to practice this week with a Thursday game at Seattle, leaving Young as the likely starter for one more week. As he has been the past two games, Young will be a borderline QB1 again in this pass-heavy offense.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Kyle Orton, Chiefs - Tyler Palko is sporting a 0:6 TD-to-INT ratio in back-to-back losses. Coach Todd Haley refuses to anoint Orton the starter, but it’s coming. Once he takes over, Orton will have an above average wide receiver corps with Pro-Bowl caliber Dwayne Bowe flanked by Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin. Even better, there’s a fantasy-friendly schedule from Weeks 15-17 against the Packers, Raiders, and Broncos -- all of whom rank in the top-five in most points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Rex Grossman, Redskins - The Redskins’ passing offense has been downright frisky the past three weeks since Grossman regained his starting job from John Beck. He’s the No. 10 fantasy QB over that span while averaging close to 20 points per week. While a forbidding matchup against the Jets looms in Week 13, Grossman hits easy street the rest of the way with games against the Patriots, Giants, Vikings, and Eagles.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Matt Moore, Dolphins - Auditioning for the 2012 starting job, Moore is 12th in fantasy points over the past five weeks. His true value lies closer to his ranking of No. 18 in fantasy points per game over that stretch. With plus matchups against the Raiders, Eagles, Bills, and Patriots the next four weeks, Moore is a rock-solid QB2 for the fantasy playoffs.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Caleb Hanie, Bears - The results weren’t pretty for the Bears, but Hanie racked up 21 fantasy points (25 in leagues that don’t penalize for turnovers) in his first career start. With 50 yards on five rushes, Hanie also proved to be more of a scrambling threat than Jay Cutler while becoming the first QB since Rich Gannon in 1990 to throw for 250 yards and rush for 50 in his first start. Don’t expect more than QB2 value, but keep in mind that Hanie faces the Broncos, Packers, and Vikings -- all among the most generous to fantasy QBs -- in three of the final five games.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Kevin Kolb, Cardinals - Coach Ken Whisenhunt is optimistic that Kolb will return to start this week after John Skelton fell on his face in back-to-back starts. The Cardinals don’t have a single matchup against defenses in the top-half of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, so keep expectations low for December.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Watch List: Jake Locker, Jeff Garcia, Jake Delhomme, Kellen Clemens

Even though he’s struggling of late, Matt Hasselbeck will continue to start as long as the Titans are in the AFC South hunt. … Garcia and Delhomme are trying out for the Texans on Tuesday. Don’t expect even QB2 production if one of the veterans is signed.

Hold Off: Sam Bradford, T.J. Yates, Curtis Painter, Luke McCown

Bradford is averaging less than 220 yards and a touchdown per week. … Yates will spend Sunday’s game handing off to Arian Foster and Ben Tate. … McCown is expected to return to the bench for Week 13.

Cut Bait: Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart, John Skelton, Blaine Gabbert, Tyler Palko, Ricky Stanzi


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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