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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Free Agent Forecast: Week 13
Paul Sandy
November 29, 2011
 
SYMBOL LEGEND
Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Worth a Look Worth a Look
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Sleeper Sleeper
Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale
$ $0 - $5
$$ $6 - $15
$$$ $16 - $25
$$$$ $26 - $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

QUARTERBACKS

Commonly owned  QBs worth adding: Tim Tebow (88%), Andy Dalton (81%), Ryan Fitzpatrick (85%), Matt Hasselbeck (73%) and Alex Smith (72%)

Vince Young, Eagles
Rock StarStill available in close to 70% of fantasy leagues, Young has churned out two quality fantasy stat lines in a row while filling in for Michael Vick. He threw for 400 yards and a touchdown Sunday against New England, adding 40 yards rushing. Since Philadelphia is working on a condensed schedule with a Thursday game against the Seahawks, it is likely Young will get his third start while Michael Vick recovers from a rib injury. Keep an eye on the situation. Young is a viable QB1 for fantasy if he’s under center.

Availability: Owned in ~31% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Young has produced well enough to be used as a starter for as long as Michael Vick is out.

Matt Moore, Dolphins
1 Week Plug & PlayWorth a LookMoore registered a respectable 288 yards and a touchdown Thursday against the Cowboys. It was his third strong fantasy stat line in his last four games. None of Miami’s games between Weeks 13-16 should scare you from a QB perspective. The Dolphins will face the Raiders, Eagles, Bills and Patriots. With so many QBs going down with injuries, Moore can be a stabilizing force at the QB position for shorthanded fantasy owners. Look for him to average 220 yards and 1.5 touchdowns the rest of the way.

Availability: Owned in ~30% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Moore has established himself as a legitimate contributor off the bench for fantasy owners.

Rex Grossman, Redskins
Worth a LookGrossman, a top 10 fantasy QB in Week 12, passed for 314 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks. The return of Santana Moss in conjunction with a newfound running game opened things up for Grossman, who completed 74.3% of his passes. Although he isn’t a recommended option for this week’s game against the Jets, he is worth considering as a backup or committee QB. Washington’s schedule over the next four games includes: Jets, Patriots, Giants and Vikings. Grossman will be helpful in those last three matchups.

Availability: Owned in ~30% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: A favorable schedule to close out the season makes Grossman worthy of a roster spot.

Caleb Hanie, Bears
1 Week Plug & PlayHanie got his first NFL start on Sunday against the Raiders. He threw three interceptions and got the loss but the numbers were better from a fantasy point of view. Hanie posted 254 yards and two touchdowns, adding 50 yards rushing. With a home matchup this week against the Chiefs, Hanie is a useful plug-and-play option in deep leagues. His ability to pick up yards with his legs should cushion a serviceable effort through the air.

Availability: Owned in ~8% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Consider Hanie a passable fantasy option in Week 13 if you’re desperate.

Kyle Orton, Chiefs
SleeperThe Chiefs won a waiver claim for Orton, who was released by the Broncos. With the Tyler Palko experiment an utter failure, Orton will likely get the starting nod at some point in the next two games. Considering the level of talent Kansas City has in its receiving corps, Orton has the upside to post helpful fantasy numbers when he has a favorable matchup. That won’t be the case against the Bears and Jets in Weeks 13-14. However, Orton could be intriguing during the fantasy playoffs when the Chiefs face the Packers and Raiders.

Availability: Owned in ~23% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Stash Orton on your bench with an eye on his juicy schedule in Weeks 15-16.

RUNNING BACKS

Commonly owned RBs worth adding: Roy Helu (74%), DeAngelo Williams (86%), Peyton Hillis (89%), Mark Ingram (85%), Pierre Thomas (86%) and C.J. Spiller (87%)

Toby Gerhart, Vikings
Injury ReplacementGerhart chipped in 63 total yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s loss to the Falcons. Unfortunately, he didn’t bring any big-play capability to the table (his longest run was 12 yards). It looks like his best opportunity to contribute for fantasy squads will be to score touchdowns at the goal line. Minnesota faces Denver this week. The Broncos have been playing some inspired defense lately but they still are very average against the run. Check the status of Adrian Peterson and if he can’t go, give Gerhart a start as a RB2 or flex.

Availability: Owned in ~47% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Gerhart won’t carry your fantasy squad but as long as Adrian Peterson remains out , he can be used in a pinch.

Donald Brown, Colts
Worth a LookAlthough Joseph Addai returned to action on Sunday and got the start, Brown remained the team’s top RB. He posted 97 yards and a touchdown against a weak Panthers run defense. Brown has quietly put up more than 70 yards or a touchdown in four of his last six games. The outlook gets a little murkier over the next two games with matchups against the Patriots and Ravens. Use Brown only in an emergency. Week 15 against Tennessee is perhaps the only remaining game you could make a strong case for starting Brown.

Availability: Owned in ~42% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Donald Brown merits a roster spot based on his recent production but is at best a low-end RB2.

Maurice Morris, Lions
1 Week Plug & PlayInjury ReplacementWeek 11 breakout RB Kevin Smith sprained his ankle on a noncontact play against the Packers. Although the sprain is mild, Smith’s status for Week 13 against the Saints is unclear. If he fails to practice this week, fantasy owners could look to Maurice Morris as a fallback plan. Morris isn’t anything special but he managed to post 120 all-purpose yards on Thanksgiving—most of the production coming on his nine receptions. If Smith sits, look for Morris to get double-digit touches against New Orleans and produce at least 70 yards

Availability: Owned in ~54% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Consider plugging  Morris into your lineup as a stopgap if Kevin Smith’s ankle keeps him out.

Marion Barber, Bears
1 Week Plug & PlayWorth a LookBarber has been profiled here on several occasions. From Weeks 6-11, he scored in four out of five games. In Week 12, he failed to score a touchdown but he still made his presence known, rushing for 62 yards on ten carries. He seems to have rediscovered that violent, angry running style that was absent in his last two years in Dallas. If you’re shorthanded at RB, you could do worse than to press Barber into action against the Chiefs.

Availability: Owned in ~60% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Barber’s steady production makes him a viable backup RB or spot starter in any league.

Johnny White, Bills
SleeperAs Buffalo’s playoff dreams evaporate, the team is going to start looking ahead to 2012. The team already knows what it has in C.J. Spiller. At some point, they might be inclined to see what they have in rookie Johnny White. The fifth-round draft pick was viewed by some experts as a draft-day steal. He has the quickness and explosiveness to give Buffalo a spark. Plus he is said to possess excellent pass-catching skills. If you’re in a deep league, stash him on your bench as a prospect who could blow up during the final month of the season. 

Availability: Owned in ~7% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Take a flier on White in anticipation of him seeing an increased workload over the final month of the season.

Shane Vereen, Patriots
1 Week Plug & PlayOn Sunday, Vereen was called upon to handle the fourth quarter carries as the Patriots tried to bleed the clock against the Eagles in a blowout. His contribution was limited, posting just 18 yards on seven carries. Although it wasn’t a noteworthy effort, the fact that he handled the mop-up role could foreshadow a useful effort this week against the Colts. Indianapolis ranks second to last in run defense, allowing 150 yards per game on the ground. Should New England build up an early lead, Vereen might get 10 touches. Ten touches against Indy could easily yield 70 yards and a score. Push Vereen into action if your club is playing the role of spoiler this week and you’re seeking a boom-or-bust RB.

Availability: Owned in ~3% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Vereen is this week’s lottery ticket pickup; he could be a winner against the Colts.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Commonly owned WRs worth adding: Reggie Wayne (80%), Deion Branch (90%) and Eric Decker (89%)

Johnny Knox, Bears
Rock StarKnox was Caleb Hanie’s preferred option in the passing game Sunday against the Raiders. He tallied a healthy 145 yards and a touchdown on four receptions and was targeted a team-high ten times. Although many NFL experts anticipated the Bears shifting to a run-heavy attack, Hanie was more than willing to spray the ball around the field, attempting 36 passes. With upcoming games against the Chiefs, Broncos, Seahawks and Packers, Knox is an excellent late-season addition to any fantasy squad.

Availability: Owned in ~24% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Knox might be lightning in a bottle over the last month of the season with Caleb Hanie under center.

Santana Moss, Redskins
Worth a LookMoss returned to the field after missing more than a month with a broken hand. He managed to post just four catches for 29 yards but was targeted seven times. He nearly hooked up with Rex Grossman for a 30+ yard reception but the ball was tipped away at the last minute. If Moss is available in your league, you will want to take a hard look at your lineup to see if you can find room for him. After Washington gets by the Jets this week, Moss closes out the fantasy season with three straight favorable matchups (NE, NYG, MIN). He could be a top 20 WR over that stretch. Also consider Jabbar Gaffney, who was recommended here last week alongside Moss.

Availability: Owned in ~61% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Moss has the upside to be a WR2 for the rest of the season.

Lance Moore, Saints
Rock StarMoore sliced and diced his way through the Giants defense on Monday night, posting over 50 yards and two touchdowns. He has now scored four touchdowns in his last four games. In general, trying to figure out which New Orleans receiver will go off each week is a risky proposition but Moore seems to have carved out fairly prominent role in the offense. He’s definitely a preferred red zone target. Consider using him as a WR3 or flex option going forward.

Availability: Owned in ~61% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Moore is starting to heat up and merits a roster spot in all leagues.

Riley Cooper and Jason Avant, Eagles
1 Week Plug & PlayWith Jeremy Maclin ailing and DeSean Jackson suffering a chronic case of alligator arms, the Eagles are leaning heavily on Riley Cooper and Jason Avant. One week after logging 75 yards and a touchdown, Cooper again made a boxscore splash with three catches for 71 yards. Playing opposite Cooper, Jason Avant busted loose for 110 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots. He caught eight passes and was targeted 14 times. If Maclin remains out and Jackson remains in the doghouse, Cooper and Avant will be lineup-worthy against Seattle.

Availability: Owned in ~7% and ~19 of leagues, respectively.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Don’t hesitate to deploy Cooper or Avant for this week’s matchup against the Seahawks.

Damian Williams, Titans
1 Week Plug & PlayWorth a LookWilliams has scored in three of his last four games. The only dud was the week in which QB Matt Hasselbeck got hurt and sat out most of the game. If you’re light in the WR department, Williams is a smart pickup. The Titans have one of the most favorable schedules from a passing perspective with matchups against the Bills, Saints, Colts and Jaguars. Look for Williams to post useful WR3 numbers for the rest of the year. He’s worth starting against a Buffalo defense that has been toasted by No. 2 receivers for four touchdowns in the last three games.

Availability: Owned in ~45% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Exploit this week’s favorable matchup against the Bills by starting Williams.

James Jones, Packers
Worth a LookAfter being a nonfactor for two straight games, Jones returned to relevance in Week 12, posting 94 yards and a touchdown on Turkey Day. With so many weapons in Green Bay’s offense, Jones gets lost every once in awhile. If you can stomach the occasional disappointing effort, you will be rewarded twice-over a week or two down the road. That’s life with Jones. Consider starting him as a boom-or-bust WR3 over the next few games (NYG, OAK and KC).

Availability: Owned in ~67% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Use Jones as a high-risk, high-reward WR3 any week you’re shorthanded at the position.

Malcom Floyd, Chargers
SleeperEarly indications are that Floyd will be ready to return to the field this week against the Jaguars. He has missed the last three games with a nagging hip injury. Prior to getting hurt Floyd had put up two 100-yard stat lines over a three-game stretch. The rangy receiver provides Philip Rivers with a downfield target he can rely on. While rookie Vincent Brown has been productive, he and Rivers have not been on the same page on several occasions. Stash Floyd and see if he can resurface as a useful fantasy wideout.

Availability: Owned in ~44% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Stick Floyd deep on your bench and look for him to re-emerge as a contributor before the season is over.

TIGHT ENDS

Commonly owned TEs worth adding: Dustin Keller (75%)

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
Rock StarThe Forecast has been singing Gresham’s praise for weeks now. Not much else needs to be said at this point but we’ll say it anyway. Gresham has posted a touchdown in four of the last six games he’s played. He also had a TD catch pulled off the books last week on a highly-questionable instant replay. The bottom line is Andy Dalton looks his way in the redzone more than any other target on the team. If you’ve been disappointed by your TE play, Gresham is a free agent worth pursuing. Consider him a mid-level TE1 for the rest of the year.

Availability: Owned in ~58% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Consider Gresham a mid-level TE1 for the rest of the year.

Brent Celek, Eagles
1 Week Plug & PlayWorth a LookSince Philly’s Week 7 bye, Celek has averaged six receptions and 68.4 yards per game. Regardless of who is under center, Celek has proven to be a stable option for fantasy owners. Exploit a favorable Week 13 matchup against the Seahawks by starting him. Seattle has allowed four TE touchdowns in their last four games. Sixty yards with a handful of receptions is a safe expectation for Celek, who can be viewed as an every-week TE1.

Availability: Owned in ~67% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Celek is a steady producer who should hit his average or better in Week 13.

Scott Chandler, Bills
1 Week Plug & PlayChandler has registered 11 receptions in the last two games. The early-season waiver wire wonder has re-emerged as a viable fantasy TE. He caught a season-high six passes in Week 12. With an upcoming game against the Titans, Chandler is a savvy plug-and-play option. Tennessee has been vulnerable to opposing TEs. They’ve allowed the second-most points to the position this year. With Fred Jackson out for the season, Chandler’s role as a safety outlet for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick should continue.

Availability: Owned in ~45% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Use Chandler this week against the Titans, who have been picked apart by TEs this season.

KICKERS

Commonly owned PKs worth adding: N/A

Olindo Mare, Panthers
1 Week Plug & PlayLast week’s plug-and-play recommendation drilled two field goals and three extra points against the Colts. Mare draws another favorable matchup this Sunday against the Buccaneers. Tampa’s hard-luck defense has yielded 31.7 points per game over their last three contests. The Bucs rank 28th against the pass and 30th against the run. Cam Newton and company should have little difficulty moving the ball into Mare’s range. Look for at least nine points.

Availability: Owned in ~16% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Mare should get plenty of kicking opportunities this week against Tampa.

DEFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS

Commonly owned DSTs worth adding: New England Patriots (78%)

New Orleans Saints
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Saints defense has posted multiple turnovers in five straight games. Although their sack numbers are down from previous years, they still have the ability to pressure the quarterback. Consider activating them for their Week 13 tilt against the Lions. Since Matthew Stafford debuted the throwing glove three games ago to protect a broken finger, Detroit has given up 12 turnovers, five sacks and four DST touchdowns. Look for the Saints opportunistic defense to capitalize on Stafford’s inaccuracy. 

Availability: Owned in ~55% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Show some faith in the Saints who will produce turnovers and sacks against the Lions.

Atlanta Falcons
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Falcons rank near the bottom or middle of every major fantasy DST category. In a word, they’re mediocre. However with a favorable matchup this week against rookie third-string QB T.J. Yates, Atlanta could make some noise as a matchup-based starter for fantasy. Yates only attempted 15 passes in Sunday’s win over the Jaguars and most of those were short, low-risk attempts. He’ll be called upon to do more in Week 13, especially if Atlanta manages to get an early lead. Take a chance on the Falcons and hope they can get in the head of the young QB.

Availability: Owned in ~53% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Roll the dice with Atlanta and see what they can do against an inexperienced QB.


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