Fantasy Football waiver wire pickups for standard scoring leagues:
Patriots running back Brandon Bolden (owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Brandon Bolden currently sits at fourth on the New England running back depth chart. In Sunday’s game of the year against Denver, Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount each lost fumbles in the first quarter. That opened the door for the second-year back to step up and get his carries. Bolden led the Patriots in all rushing categories with 13 rushes for 58 yards and a touchdown. Should head coach Bill Belichick decide to limit the playing time of Ridley or Blount, Bolden could continue being productive.
Broncos running back Montee Ball (owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Denver’s starting running back Knowshon Moreno had his best game of the season in New England, rushing 37 times for 224 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and a score. Not only was that his best game of 2013, it was his career best, eclipsing his previous mark of 161 yards from 2010. In fact, that was only the fifth time that the five-year veteran was able to break 100. After the game, Moreno was spotted with crutches and a walking boot, leaving much to speculate about the future. Ball is the second man on the totem pole, and rushed seven times for 40 yards in Sunday’s loss. Denver’s record-paced offense will need a strong runner in the coming weeks, and Ball set many NCAA records with his wealth of talent.
Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (owned in 59 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Pittsburgh starting wideout Emmanuel Sanders had a bit of a scare after suffering a foot injury against the Lions in week 11. Not the worse for wear, he was able to avoid missing a single start. Sanders made six receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win at Cleveland. Ben Roethlisberger seems to have this team rolling, having won three straight while throwing seven touchdowns and one interception. Sanders is on pace to make 69.8 catches for 816 yards and 4.4 trips to the end zone.
Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues)
In the past six games, Tampa Bay starting passer Mike Glennon has thrown 10 touchdowns and only one pick. The team has won its last three games after starting 0-8. During these six games, Glennon has completed 64.5 percent of his passes for an average of 219.3 yards, 1.7 scores and 0.2 interceptions. Though receiver Mike Williams is out for the season, Tim Wright and Vincent Jackson have stepped up. Glennon has a couple easy matchups during the fantasy playoffs, facing Buffalo’s 21st ranked scoring defense and St. Louis, who is 22nd against the pass.
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Santonio Holmes has returned, and has been disappointing so far. He has been targeted 12 times, but made only three receptions for 83 yards. It seems largely the fault of a slumping quarterback, though, as Geno Smith has made only 25 completions in the last three weeks combined. During that stretch, he has thrown for 345 yards and completed only 39.1 percent of his passes. The matchups will improve over the next five weeks, however. The Jets have two games remaining against Miami’s 20th ranked defense, and one versus Oakland’s 25th ranked passing defense.
Rams running back Benny Cunningham (owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Rookie rusher Benny Cunningham came into week 12 with 27 career rushes for 129 yards. Zac Stacy left Sunday’s game with a concussion, and the backup shined in relief. Cunningham ran 13 times for 109 yards and scored his first career touchdown. The 5-foot-10 back is averaging 6.0 yards per carry this year. In two years of NCAA football at Middle Tennessee State, Cunningham earned 1,397 yards of offense and 16 total touchdowns. Should Stacy miss any time, Cunningham could be leaned on quite heavily with Kellen Clemens under center.
Vikings running back Toby Gerhart (owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Through the first ten weeks of the season, Toby Gerhart had rushed four times for 28 yards and a touchdown. In the last two games, the fourth-year veteran has made 15 carries for 158 yards (10.5 yards per attempt). Adrian Peterson has been listed with a groin injury in recent weeks, so it’s possible that head coach Leslie Frazier is trying to lessen the load on the best player in football. Next on the schedule is Chicago’s 32nd ranked rush defense.
49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Michael Crabtree has not played since San Francisco’s Super Bowl loss to the Ravens. He tore his Achilles during last May’s organized team activities. It was certainly unfortunate news for a team with a shiny new quarterback and lots of promise. Crabtree was coming off his fourth and best year by far, catching 85 passes for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns. The 6-foot-2 receiver should make his season debut in week 13’s divisional match against St. Louis and their 22nd ranked pass defense.
Raiders running back Marcel Reece (owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Oakland’s Marcel Reece has rushed 22 times for 77 yards (3.5 yards per attempt) and a touchdown this season. He has added 21 receptions for 199 yards and two more scores. In Sunday’s loss to Tennessee, starting back Rashad Jennings suffered a minor shoulder stinger. It’s possible Darren McFadden could return for the Thanksgiving game in Dallas, but that remains unknown. Reece would be the third man to eat, should either player be forced to miss any action. The fifth-year veteran has a career average of 4.5 yards per carry. 2012 was his best year, when he rushed for 271 yards and earned another 496 yards on 52 grabs as a receiver.
Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme (owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues)
Any part of this may seem like a misprint, but Jacob Tamme led all Broncos receivers Sunday night with five receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. Yes, the 6-foot-4 tight end was the team best in all three of those categories. It was more than the worst night of the year for Peyton Manning, who threw for 150 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Manning had not been held under 200 yards since week 16 of 2010, before his four neck surgeries. Tamme is a six-year veteran who has never worn a jersey different from Manning’s. Last year, Tamme was the team’s best tight end and third best receiver, with 52 receptions for 555 yards and two scores. Julius Thomas has emerged in 2013, rendering Tamme irrelevant. Thomas missed Week 12’s game in New England because of a knee injury. Follow this situation closely, as Tamme may earn some plug-and-play value as a starter.
Players still relevant from previous weeks include Matt McGloin, Dennis Johnson, Michael Floyd, Delanie Walker, Andre Brown, Keenan Allen, Nick Foles, Case Keenum, Shane Vereen, Percy Harvin, Andre Ellington, Tim Wright, and Jordan Reed. Catch some waives from past weeks (week 12, week 11, week 10, week 9, week 8, week 7, week 6, and week 5).
Stats and data courtesy of pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, and wikipedia.org.