Look, these pieces aren’t for everyone. If you play in a 20 team league, chances are some of these players are long gone. Maybe, maybe not. Based on owned-percentages, some research, with a smattering of common sense mixed in, these lists are born. Every league operates differently. Some run the FAAB process, while others run with waivers depending on reverse order of standings. Some allow for a free-for-all acquisition period, and some a one and done process. This makes true player availability sometimes hard to pinpoint. A player who is long-gone in one league may very well be available in another depending on the rules that define roster management and the player acquisition process.
Again, if you are in a league and the ownership encompasses a small town’s population, this list might not be for you. In that case, allow me to indulge your superior fantasy senses. Let the bidding begin for RB Kenjon Barner, WR Junior Hemmingway or maybe if you are lucky, the big kid fresh out of Elon, WR Aaron Mellette. Dare to dream, dare to dream.
Don’t even get me started on RB Jonas Gray. Hear that? Those are the roto-goose bumps exploding out of my arm.
Oh, that reminds me!! Before I delve into the cornucopia of offerings off the less than bountiful wire, if you are seeking out a quarterback at this stage of the game, go down to your basement, open your tool box, grab a ball-peen hammer and proceed to hit yourself over the head with it.
Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns – Really? This has become a maniacal game of musical chairs, and Weeden just seems to continually come to the fore front. Third string QB Jason Campbell was carted off the field Sunday (always an ominious sign) and Weeden was (again) called into action behind center. This week they line up against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who all of a sudden are inexplicably red hot. Ok, so maybe they are pinkish-warm, but hey…. Yes indeed, what a season.
Matt Flynn, Green Bay Packers – The return of QB Aaron Rodgers is approaching but I am not sure it is in time for the Thanksgiving Day contest against the Detroit Lions. That means that Flynn could get the call in what could be a decent turkey day match up.
Ryan Mallett, New England Patriots – Hell, QB Tom Brady fumbled, right?! Alright, maybe not. Moving along…
Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams – With a concussion cutting short what would have likely been a banner day for RB Zac Stacy, Cunningham came in and did yeoman’s work. The Bears run defense is nothing to write home about, but Cunningham was outstanding regardless. Keep an eye on updates concerning Stacy and if he can’t go, Cunningham is worth rostering despite some less than stellar match ups down the stretch.
Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots – Thanks to Pennzoil-Hands RB Stevan Ridley, Bolden is yet again relevant, for the time being at least. Last week’s fumble led to a brief benching of Ridley, but Sunday night’s repeat performance had his rear end permanently affixed to the bench for the rest of the game. It’s all about carries, and despite Ridley’s superior talent, if Bolden is getting the rock, he’s your man.
Dennis Johnson, Houston Texans - He’s likely been snapped up in a majority of leagues, but with the Texans all but done, RB Arian Foster out for the season and RB Ben Tate “meh” and oft-injured, Johnson will get plenty of opportunities.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets – It was only a matter of time that RB Chris Ivory was nursing yet another injury, and that again opens the door for Powell. Keep tabs on his status as the MRI was forthcoming. The schedule isn’t the greatest, but the Jets will pound the ball and a starting RB dangling on the wire in Week 13 is always worth considering.
Tiquan Underwood, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Don’t look now folks, but the Buccaneers are winning and looking pretty decent while at it. While most expected WR Vincent Jackson to flourish this week against the Lions, it was Underwood who delivered. With Jackson getting the lion’s share of attention down field and QB Mike Glennon settling in more and more, Underwood could continue to deliver.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans – He got his bell rung last week but showed no ill-effects this past Sunday against the Oakland Raiders eclipsing the 100-yard mark and grabbing six passes. Once these young guys learn that it’s much more fun in the end zone, the Titans will really have an exciting group of receivers moving forward. Remember, WR Nate Washington can’t play forever.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings – It is obvious that Patterson is the future of the position for the Vikings. WR Greg Jennings and WR Jerome Simpson are certainly not the answer down the road, and Patterson’s increased volume of work is evidence of that.
Darius Johnson, Atlanta Falcons – Granted, Johnson was featured heavily as the Falcons tried to exploit a mismatch, but I am not ready to write him off and move on based on that. WR Roddy White is there in name only and WR Drew Davis has been a non-factor as of late. Things could change in 2014 when WR Julio Jones returns and even down the stretch in 2013, but with the season all but lost, look for Atlanta to gauge what they have moving forward. Johnson is worth monitoring for sure.
Nick Kasa, Oakland Raiders – With starting TE Mychal Rivera exiting the game with a concussion and his status doubtful with the short week, questions abound for the Raiders. Enter rookie Nick Kasa. This is a perfect opportunity for Kasa to showcase himself to the coaching staff, especially since it is certainly not as though the position was set in stone with Rivera. Kasa is big kid (6’6” 268) with decent speed who could surprise. Mi Kasa, su Kasa!
Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos – You’ll want to monitor the status of TE Julius Thomas, and if he is unable to go, grabbing a face familiar to QB Peyton Manning is probably not a bad idea. Notice Manning looked Tamme’s way early and often late in the game, as the two had a decent rapport not only last season in Denver, but in Indianapolis when Tamme surfaced after the injury to TE Dallas Clark.
Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving
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