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The Feeding Frenzy: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

The 2012 fantasy season has come to an end for me. I’ll be traveling next week for the holidays, so this is my final column of the year. I want to thank all of you who stopped by and read my advice on trading players this season. I hope you found some of my inane babbling useful.

In the final edition of
The Feeding Frenzy, I will take a look back and a look ahead to 2013. First, I will look at the players I think were the Top 5 waiver wire pickups of the season. Now I know in some leagues a couple of these players may have been drafted, but the fact is if you go back to August and look at the information available, they weren’t being selected in a majority of drafts.

Finally, I’ll look ahead to next season and five players I’m high on for 2013. Obviously things change, but these are five guys that as of right now are high on my fantasy radar for next year.

So if you’re still playing in your fantasy championship games, I wish you luck. I also hope everyone has a great holiday season. As for me, if this is the end of the line, I’ll see you all in the funny papers.

Here are my five top waiver wire pickups from the 2012 season:

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle – Wilson was expected to be a game manager in his first year as a starter in the NFL. He was anything but that as Wilson has eclipsed 20 fantasy points in seven of 14 fantasy starts this season. Wilson has gotten better as the year has gone on too, averaging 25 fantasy points since Week 8. Through 14 games, Wilson has outscored bigger name quarterbacks such as Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers. For those who believe you shouldn’t use a high draft pick on a quarterback, Wilson adds more fodder to their argument.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver – Moreno was a late addition to fantasy teams, but if you were fortunate enough to get him, it has paid off. Since Moreno started against Kansas City four weeks ago, he has averaged 19 points in points per reception formats. Even more importantly, Moreno has done most of his damage during fantasy playoffs, rushing for 237 yards and two scores over the last two weeks. Moreno may not be done yet. He gets the Cleveland Browns and their 18th ranked rush defense in Week 16. I said to sell Moreno after his first start. I was dead wrong. Peyton Manning got me again. First Joseph Addai, now Moreno.

James Jones, WR, Green Bay – There were talks of Jones being traded during the summer, but, rather than leaving Green Bay, Jones became one of the Packers top receivers. With both Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson battling injuries all year, Jones stepped up and leads the NFL with 12 receiving touchdowns through 14 games. He has scored double-digit fantasy points 10 times this year, so owners who snagged Jones off the waiver wire certainly got their money’s worth.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville – On draft day, the names of other Jacksonville receivers Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson were called, but Shorts came off the waiver wire to easily outproduce both of them. Shorts has topped 15 fantasy points in points per reception leagues nine times this year, including in each of the last five games he’s played. With 925 yards and seven scores in 13 games, Shorts was easily one of the top waiver wire pickups of the year. The fact that Shorts has put up those numbers in Jacksonville makes his breakout season all the more impressive.

Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh – Miller wasn’t drafted in a majority of leagues but he’s going to finish the year as a Top 10 fantasy tight end, despite Ben Roethlisberger missing three games. Miller was a revelation in points per reception formats, scoring double-digit fantasy points 10 times so far in 2012. Miller also emerged as one of Roethlisberger’s favorite red zone targets, scoring eight touchdowns in 14 games. After years of being known as a blocker, Miller finally broke out as a top-flight fantasy tight end.

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