Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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The Tight End Crapshoot

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Wide Receivers

Chris Givens, Rams - Givens entered Week 13 as a big-play artist, producing as many catches of 30+ yards as the entire team had on 513 targets in 2009. While Givens was unable to break a homerun, it was a promising sign for Givens’ route running progress to see the rookie leading the Rams with 14 targets and 11 receptions against an elite defense. Givens has averaged 103.5 yards the past two weeks with Danny Amendola injured. He’s a viable WR3 option against a Buffalo defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Josh Gordon, Browns - Gordon has gone from raw supplemental draft prospect to No. 1 receiver in 13 games, making strikes that QB Brandon Weeden has never seen “in any sport a player make so fast.” Gordon was good enough in producing a 6/116/1 stat line last week to get Raiders CB Ron Bartell benched. He has plus matchups versus the Chiefs and Redskins the next two weeks.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Donnie Avery, Colts - Good luck picking between Avery and T.Y. Hilton on a weekly basis. Avery entered last week’s game producing fewer points per target than any full-time receiver in the league. Only three receivers ended up with more points in Week 13 while only two saw more than his 14 targets. Avery is back on the WR3 radar against a Titans defense allowing the 16th-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Golden Tate, Seahawks - We’ve recommended Tate several times in this space, due in large part to his impressive run-after-catch ability. With Russell Wilson producing QB1 numbers, Tate has been fantasy’s No. 15 wide receiver over the past five weeks. Here’s the conundrum in a nutshell, however: Tate’s 19 targets are the lowest of any top-40 fantasy receiver during that span. He’s going to be a boom-or-bust fantasy play during the fantasy playoffs, with tough matchups versus the Cardinals and 49ers in Weeks 14 and 16.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Mike Thomas, Lions - Thomas is expected to take over as the starter by default opposite Calvin Johnson with Ryan Broyles out for the year and Titus Young out of commission. It’s a prime opportunity in a pass-heavy offense, but Thomas has been hard to trust as a drop-prone disappointment. Pick him up but make him prove it for a game before thinking about Thomas as a fantasy starter.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Kendall Wright, Titans - It’s noteworthy that Wright led Titans wideouts with 10 targets and six receptions in Dowell Loggains’ first game as play-caller, but keep expectations low. Tennessee’s spread-the-wealth passing game hasn’t produced a reliable fantasy starter all season. Wright is just a borderline WR3 option against a Colts defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Riley Cooper, Eagles - The Eagles moved Cooper from backup split end to starting flanker when DeSean Jackson went down for the season. Cooper ended up leading the receivers in snaps last week, but managed just two catches for 31 yards at Dallas. He’s on this list due to his attractive matchups versus the Bucs and Redskins in Weeks 14 and 16.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Andrew Hawkins, Bengals - With Mohamed Sanu out, Hawkins played 72 percent of the snaps in his return after missing two games with a knee injury. He finished second to A.J. Green in targets, catches and yards, suggesting he will be the second most reliable receiver in Cincinnati the rest of the way. Hawkins is purely a deep-league option.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Watch List: Marvin Jones, Rod Streater, Louis Murphy

Jones played 88.5 percent of the snaps with Mohamed Sanu out, but managed just two catches for 20 yards. Keep an eye on his progress in deeper leagues. … Streater’s production spiked with Denarius Moore in the doghouse, but he’s unreliable for Week 14. … Murphy should move into the starting lineup with Brandon LaFell sporting a walking boot this week.

Cut Bait: Ryan Broyles, Titus Young, Brandon LaFell, Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley, Santana Moss, Julian Edelman

Team Defense

Browns - Don’t look now, but the Browns are emerging as a top-10 defense. Cleveland is now 4-3 with CB Joe Haden in the lineup this season. For the first time since the 1989 season, they held the opponent under 65 yards in consecutive games during Weeks 11-12. Although the Chiefs exceeded expectations after their tragedy last weekend, they go on the road to play in the lake-effect elements this week.

Recommendation: Should be owned as a matchup play.

Bengals - Geno Atkins has emerged as the best defensive tackle in football, ranking first in pressure and sacks, second in hits, and fifth in tackles. Cincinnati now leads the NFL in sacks (39) while holding each of their last four opponents to 13 points or less. The Bengals are set to face a Cowboys offense that is starting to put it together, but a better matchup awaits versus rookie Nick Foles in Week 15.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Lions - You don’t want to use the Lions at Green Bay in Week 14, but there’s an enticing matchup versus the trainwreck Cardinals in Week 15.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play.

Jets - If Cecil Shorts doesn’t get clearance from his concussion, Chad Henne and Montell Owens will have trouble moving the ball versus the Jets this week. Rex Ryan’s crew has a decent matchup in Week 15 versus the Titans as well. You can turn this suggestion on its ear and start either the Jaguars or the Titans against Greg McElroy.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play.



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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