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From Zac Stacy’s injury to Stevan Ridley’s fumbling problems to rookie breakouts, an action-packed Week 12 has generated more than a few targets on the deep league waiver wire. Now is the time to start focusing on the playoffs which means targeting players who are trending up of late. Early season production doesn’t count for much anymore and, after three months of football, many squads’ depth charts look very different than they did in September. Let’s take a look at the top running back and wide receiver options floating around on the waiver wire heading into Week 13.
Benny Cunningham (Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues): With Zac Stacy going down against the Bears on Sunday, Cunningham made the most of his extra touches with 13 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. In Week 10 against the Colts, Cunningham rushed seven times for 72 yards and caught an 18 yard pass. If Zac Stacy is forced to miss this week’s game with his concussion, Cunningham would certainly be startable against the 49ers and could see an increased workload moving forward after his impressive performance.
Dennis Johnson (11 percent): Ben Tate still figures to be the primary back but his seven carries for just one yard against a weak Jaguars defense last week left a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, Johnson used Tate’s ineffectiveness to his advantage, carrying the ball a season-high 13 times for 74 yards and catching two passes for 13 yards. With New England (who were savaged by Knowshon Moreno for 224 yards and a touchdown on Sunday), Jacksonville again, and an Indy defense that has allowed 20+ fantasy points to opposing running backs in three straight weeks coming up over their next three games, Johnson is worth taking a shot on.
Brandon Bolden (6 percent): This is a tough one since Bolden is theoretically the fourth string running back but was the lead back on Sunday after Stevan Ridley’s and LeGarrette Blount’s fumbles. He has also scored a touchdown in three of his last four games. It’s tough to trust him with Shane Vereen back but Ridley has a league-leading four fumbles this season and Bill Belichick has been quick to put him in the doghouse each time.
Marcel Reece (4 percent): Reece is only valuable in the unlikely event that he will start. Rashad Jennings left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury and Darren McFadden is still on the mend but both have a solid chance to play this week against the Cowboys. The one thing in Reece’s favor is the short week since the Raiders will play on Thursday afternoon. If Jennings and DMC are not able to heal up in time for Thursday’s game, Reece would see plenty of green against a Cowboys defense that has given up 20+ fantasy points to opposing running backs in four straight weeks.
Nate Burleson (25 percent): Burleson was strong in his first game back from a broken forearm, catching seven passes on 10 targets for 77 yards and a touchdown. Going back to before his injury, he has now been targeted 27 times over his last three games. The Lions have a favorable schedule with Green Bay (10th most fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers), Philly (first most fantasy points to opposing receivers), Baltimore (14th), and Minnesota (11th) coming up in four of their last five weeks so Burleson is a very good-looking pickup for the playoffs.
Cordarrelle Patterson (19 percent): The first-round pick is finally getting looks, seeing 20 targets over his last two games. Unfortunately, he only caught 11 of them for 82 yards and no touchdowns and is only targeted on short receiver screens. His weak effort against the Seahawks in Week 11 is understandable but he looked good catching eight passes against the Packers and could be a strong PPR play if this level of targets continues.
Rod Streater (14 percent): Just as we’ve Nick Foles turn Riley Cooper into a completely different receiver, Matt McGloin has made Rod Streater look like an elite wideout. With Denarius Moore out, and ineffective, Streater has been McGloin’s go-to guy, catching 11 passes on 17 targets for 177 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks. McGloin will get the start again on Thursday against a paltry Cowboys defense which means Streater is very, very startable in all leagues.
Justin Hunter (1 percent): Hunter showed promise in Week 10 against the Jags when he was targeted seven times and came away with 51 yards before suffering a concussion that caused him to miss Week 11’s game against the Colts. On Sunday, he picked up right where he left off, catching all six of his targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. The Titans have Indy and Denver coming up, both of who have given up a lot of points to opposing wide receivers so Hunter is worth taking a shot on in deeper leagues.