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The Weekly Barometer – Week 12

Dear waiver wire studs, where have you gone? For whatever reason, it seems to me that the 2013 season has been lighter than most in regards to players who come out of nowhere and absolutely destroy the world. The only undrafted players who are presently worth using as starters in 12-man leagues are
Nick Foles

,
Zac Stacy

,
Riley Cooper

,
Jordan Reed

, and maybe Jerricho Cotchery, and out of them Stacy is the only one that I am fully confident in as a strong, every-week play for the rest of the season.

Stacy is a total stud and
Nick Foles

will carry more than a few teams to championships if he keeps this up, but I just feel this sense of slimmer pickings whenever I comb the waiver wire. Maybe I’m bitter and biased because I’m simply not scoring awesome pickups in my leagues like I have in seasons past, and maybe more awesome waiver grabs are on the way.
Bobby Rainey

certainly looks like the kind of player that can turn this trend around.

Don’t give up on grabbing as many lottery tickets as you can with your available bench space. Even if you’re discouraged by what you see, giving yourself as many opportunities as possible to get lucky is more important now than ever, as trade deadlines for most leagues approach this week. In keeping with this trend of the waiver wire not yielding much of value, Week 11 didn’t have a ton of outlier performances, but there were still a few big ones, as well as the welcome return of a few studs from seasons past. It’s barometer time!

Quarterbacks


Ben Roethlisberger

(Week 11 vs. Detroit: 367 yards, 4 TD, 12 yards rushing)

Ben bounced back, beating the beleaguered, battered backs of Detroit for a big breakout game, blasting two bombs to
Antonio Brown

. To be brutally blunt, the Barometer does not believe Ben will benefit owners with a consistent barrage of fantasy points. Big back, Le’Veon Bell, brings a balanced offense, and Ben is not a reliable start against the Browns unless your main QB has a broken bone or a bye.

Usable bye-week filler

Matthew McGloin (Week 11 at Houston: 197 yards, 3 TDs, -3 yards rushing)

You see what I was talking about when I said that Week 11 was low on Barometer-worthy performances? This week I’m reduced to profiling the rookie backup quarterback of the stinkin’ Oakland Raiders. Props to McGloin for a quality professional debut, but there’s no real fantasy consideration here. Interesting side note: Matthew McGloin was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania. If he’s anything like other Scranton products, he’ll be funny for three or four seasons and then stick around for way too long even after all of the good cast members have moved on with their lives.

Ignore

Running Backs


Bobby Rainey

(Week 11 vs. Atlanta: 163 yards, 2 TD, 2 receptions for 4 yards and 1 TD)

Let’s keep this one short and sweet. Rainey is better suited for a full rushing workload than
Brian Leonard

, who is more of a third down and change of pace guy. He led all of fantasy in standard league points in Week 11. Nothing is standing in the way of him getting a full workload against an average Lions defense. Start him.

Start With Confidence


Donald Brown

(Week 11 at Tennessee: 80 yards, 2 TD, 1 reception for 14 yards)

For weeks, the only nice thing I’ve had to say about Trent Richardson was that he’ll likely see a decent workload on account of the huge price tag he cost the Colts, but 7-3 Indianapolis might be beginning to understand that using the players that give them the best chance to win is more important than trying to save face and justify a trade. Unfortunately, even in light of this performance it’s hard to trust Brown as a fantasy starter. Richardson still received a maddening 13 touches at Tennessee, because for some reason, more than doubling his backfield mate’s yards per carry is only good enough to earn Brown an even workload split. By all means, hold onto Brown if you’ve got him and pull the trigger on a good offer if you get one before Wednesday, but he’s not an advisable start against a Cardinals defense that’s allowing the second-least fantasy points to RBs.

Bench


Montee Ball

(Week 11 vs. Kansas City: 25 yards, 2 TD, 3 receptions for 16 yards)

It’s going to be really interesting to see how Denver’s backfield shakes out going forward.
Peyton Manning

wants
Knowshon Moreno

out there as much as possible because he’s the best in pass protection, and Moreno still had 27 carries to Ball’s eight. The younger Ball might have earned himself a flex-worthy niche, including goal line work and he’s worth monitoring closely going forward, but I’m feeling like his greatest fantasy impact will have more to do with frustrating Moreno owners than scoring tons of points of his own.

Watch Closely


Ray Rice

(Week 11 at Chicago: 131 yards, 1 TD, 3 receptions for 17 yards)

This was a huge step in the right direction, but
Ray Rice

will need a half dozen more performances like this before his fantasy owners will forgive him. The good news is that he looked to have good burst, particularly on an early 47-yard scamper. The hip flexor strain sustained early in the season doesn’t appear to be bothering him any longer. More good news comes in the fact that
Bernard Pierce

had 18 yards on 10 carries, so Rice’s comparatively excellent performance can’t be attributed entirely to Chicago’s poor rush defense. The bad news is that the Ravens still sport a terrible offensive line and will meet the Jets’ elite rushing defense next week. It’s not ideal, but with the dearth of running backs that get 20 touches a week on a regular basis,
Ray Rice

is usable as a low-end No. 2 RB.

Start


Maurice Jones-Drew

(Week 11 vs. Arizona: 23 yards, 1 TD, 4 receptions for 12 yards)

MJD is a broken down running back on the worst offense in the league, his team frequently falls behind early and abandons the run, he’s averaged 1.82 yards per carry over the last two games, and he’s gaining at a rate of 2.9 yards per carry on the season. Despite all of that, I’m putting him down as a usable flex play. That’s how I roll. Despite facing solid defenses over the last two weeks, the Jags have scored 43 points, which is their best total over a two-game span all season. With a vague semblance of offensive competence come opportunities for short-yardage touchdowns. I’m not pitching him as a stud who has suddenly regained his form just because he’s scored two touchdowns in his last two games, but if your team is depleted by injuries, you could do worse than a guy who gets 18.1 touches a week and is facing a middling Texans defense.

Usable Flex Play

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