We’ve been spoiled the last couple of weeks as the waiver wire has had upwards of half a dozen players to be excited about. Players like Bryce Brown, Danario Alexander and Knowshon Moreno have appeared in this space in that time frame, and they have become fantasy stars. This week’s list is lacking star power, but we do have a baker’s dozen worth of players worth considering. We set aside the top category this week, but we do have a trio of tight ends that have emerged as consistent fantasy producers. The rest of the list is dominated by wideouts, but a pair of runners make the list, and we speculate on a signal caller as well. Something for everyone in this week’s wonders!
TE Jared Cook, Tennessee
Cook’s numbers in the last two weeks are on the rise – four catches for 51 yards against the Houston Texans this week and six catches for 47 yards the previous week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of more importance is a major bump in Cook’s playing time. A change in the offensive coordinator for the Titans got Cook on the field for more than 80 percent of the offensive plays and saw him targeted a dozen times. We expect these targets to continue, with his catches rising to the level of between 8-10 per game. Those are solid numbers for a tight end.
WR Mike Thomas, Detroit
We listed Thomas in our ‘Deep and/or Dynasty Only’ category last week, speculating that he would get some time this week while Titus Young was pouting on the bench. This week he rises high enough to be listed here as a solid pickup. The Lions will be using him as the starter opposite Calvin Johnson. Ryan Broyles was injured last week, and reports are that he will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear. Thomas did not do well filling in for the injured Broyles last week, but the Lions have no other options as they are indicating that Young will not be a part of the offense. He is worth a look in all formats, especially as the starter opposite Johnson.
WR Chris Givens, St. Louis
Danny Amendola has been injury prone this season, and last week Givens took advantage of his absence. He caught a season-high 11 passes, which was good for 92 yards against San Francisco. Sam Bradford has been latching onto a single wideout during games, and with Amendola on the shelf, it is looking like Givens is going to be that player. He is worth a roster spot in all formats, and in Amendola’s absence he is worth starting as a flex. Our friends at fleaflicker.com have him as one of the top overall adds so far this week, so act sooner rather than later to build some depth on your team.
RB David Wilson, New York Giants
We had Wilson on the radar last week, since he is still available in about half of the online leagues, he gets another mention this week as a solid pickup. The Giants are a team that likes to spread out the carries between two players, so he and Ahmad Bradshaw are going to get enough opportunity during the game to be productive fantasy players.
RB James Starks, Green Bay
Coach Mike McCarthy keeps talking about a “hot hand” approach, but every week it seems that Starks and Alex Green end up with the same amount of touches. Starks is starting to pull in front, and to most watching the Packers games, we can see that he is the best player for the job in Green Bay. McCarthy will keep mixing and matching, but we see this as a situation where Starks gains a few extra touches week after week. Fifteen carries for 66 yards and a score against the Minnesota Vikings (to go along with a pair of catches) is a good start. Against the Detroit Lions three weeks ago it was Starks carrying the ball 25 times, and now look for him to begin to pull away from Green in terms of playing time in the Packers backfield.
** Update, 12/5/12 **
Reports coming out of Green Bay are indicating that James Starks is hurt and likely to miss the rest of the season. We’re going to slide this recommendation for pickup over to Alex Green, who has been splitting time with Starks just about right down the middle. Aside of goal line specialist John Kuhn, Green Bay has no one else they can trust to carry the ball. Look for Green to see the ball 20 times per game, including several passes out of the backfield, with the potential for him to accumulate 75 yards in total offense with a touchdown per game also likely.