Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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2011 Waiver Awards

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


QUARTERBACKS

Kyle Orton, Chiefs - Orton has thrown for 299 and 300 yards in back-to-back starts. The Week 17 matchup is inviting against a Broncos defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Matt Flynn, Packers - Both Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy hinted that the Packers will rest key players in Week 17. “As a close friend of Matt, I wouldn’t mind seeing him get an opportunity to play,” said Rodgers, “but I’ll definitely do whatever Mike says.” Our early-week guess is that Green Bay will play its most valuable starters for roughly a quarter before giving way to the backups.

Joe Webb, Vikings - Coach Leslie Frazier raised a few eyebrows with his post-game suggestion that the Vikes will take a “real hard look” at Webb going forward. By Monday afternoon, though, he had backtracked, allowing that Christian Ponder remains the clear starter. The Vikings’ team trainer indicated that Ponder (concussion) is “doing excellent” and “really doesn’t have any symptoms.” Barring a setback, it will likely be Ponder under center in the finale.

RUNNING BACKS

Kahlil Bell, Bears - Starting his first game, Bell racked up 89 yards by halftime while finishing with 159 against the Packers. His fresh legs allowed for impressive burst and tackle-breaking ability after displaying excellent patience at the line of scrimmage. Bell should see every-down work again at Minnesota in the season finale.

Toby Gerhart, Vikings - Just after Adrian Peterson went down with a gruesome injury that will certainly alter his career, the former Heisman runner-up ripped off a 67-yard run on his way to 109 yards on just 11 carries. In three spot starts earlier this season, Gerhart averaged a cool 23.3 touches for 101.6 yards. He’s a top-20 option for Week 17.

Stevan Ridley, Patriots - It looks like a late-season changing of the guard in the Patriots’ backfield. After leading the team in carries in Week 15, Ridley took over the feature back role while playing more snaps than BenJarvus Green-Ellis for the first time all season. He’s even staying in at the goal-line and in passing situations. Averaging 5.0 YPC on the season compared to Law Firm’s 3.7, Ridley is easily the more explosive option as the Pats gear up for the playoffs.

Darren McFadden, Raiders - “Something tells” beat writer Steve Corkran that McFadden and Jacoby Ford will be healthy enough to play against the Chargers in the must-win finale. McFadden’s fantasy viability won’t be known until the Raiders begin practicing on Wednesday. My tentative expectation is that he will be merely a flex option after two months away from the field.

Joique Bell / Maurice Morris, Lions - Locked into a wild card berth, the Lions are expected to rest Kevin Smith’s ankle at Green Bay. Although Morris is the primary backup, Bell was signed off the Saints practice on a two-year deal. If Detroit wants to save the legs of its top two backs, this game would allow for a long look at Bell going into the 2012 season.

Dion Lewis / Ronnie Brown, Eagles - The latest news on LeSean McCoy’s ankle tweak is that coach Andy Reid expects him to play versus the Redskins in the finale. Lewis had passed Brown on the depth chart by the trade deadline only to fall back to third over the final month of the season. While Brown closed out the Week 16 victory with eight rushes for 33 yards, the meaningless finale would represent a prime opportunity for the rookie to showcase his playmaking ability for the 2012 season. I’d roll the dice on Lewis if forced to pick one of the two.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Denarius Moore, Raiders - In his second game back from an ankle injury, Moore racked up nine targets for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs. When healthy, he’s been a perfect fit for Carson Palmer’s loose-cannon playing style. Roll him out as a WR3 in a must-win game versus the Chargers.

Randall Cobb, Packers - With the No. 1 seed locked up, it’s fair to believe the snaps of Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, and Jermichael Finley will be limited in a meaningless Week 17 matchup with the Lions. Cobb and James Jones should be the primary beneficiaries, leaving both as boom-or-bust WR3 options.

Hines Ward, Steelers - This is purely a speculative move. Ward rejoined the starting lineup in Week 16 in an effort to spoonfeed his quest for 1,000 receptions by season’s end. The venerable veteran needs five more catches to reach the mark against the Browns in Week 17. You can bet it will be high on the list of Mike Tomlin’s priorities for the finale.

TIGHT ENDS

Jared Cook, Titans - The athletic tease finally came through with the 11th-most yards (169) by a tight end since the 1970 merger. He’s followed consecutive shutouts in Weeks 13 and 14 with back-to-back 100-yard performances the past two weeks, sitting at No. 3 among fantasy tight ends in the fantasy playoff weeks of 14-16. Keep him rolling in a must-win game at Houston.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Eagles - Juan Castillo’s crew has a league-leading 20 sacks over the past five weeks and 13 over the past three as a top-five fantasy defense. Only the Steelers have allowed fewer total points than the Eagles’ 36 over the past three weeks. Philly is peaking just in time to face turnover-prone Rex Grossman.

Titans - In a must-win game, the Titans travel to Houston to take on a Texans squad that is already locked into the No. 3 seed. It’s a meaningless game for T.J. Yates, Arian Foster, and Andre Johnson, so don’t expect to see that trio on the field for more than a series or so.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter.


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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