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Owen Daniels, Austin Collie, Pierre Thomas Are Strong Fantasy Pickups

We haven’t done our usual working the waiver wire fantasy column the last two weeks because bye weeks are over and most people are in fantasy playoffs. Still, that won’t keep us from providing recommendations throughout the week when they arise, and it shouldn’t prevent you from contacting your expert (larry at larrybrownsports dot com) for personal advice. Not only does LB kill it with Doc Brown’s picks each week, but LB’s fantasy teams are first in each of their leagues and his advice has been spot on each week. Anyway, here are some recommended pickups if these guys are available in your league.

Hopefully someone dropped Texans tight end Owen Daniels in your league. Daniels has been bothered by a hamstring injury and missed five weeks. He returned to catch 5 passes for 91 yards Monday night against the Ravens, and that was despite some brutal drops. His hands might be rusty, but his body isn’t. If you need a fill-in tight end for the playoffs, grab Daniels if he’s available. The bonus is he has great matchups ahead (at Ten, at Den, Jax).

Colts wide receiver Austin Collie has missed nearly half the season because of concussions. Before the concussions, he was becoming one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets, and now that he’s back he should resume that role. Expect a monster week from Collie against the Jags at home in his first week back.

Lastly, hopefully Pierre Thomas was dropped in your league like the two aforementioned people because of injuries. The Saints running back missed nine games because of an ankle injury and finally returned on Sunday and led the team with 12 carries. With Chris Ivory battling a hamstring injury, Pierre could lead the team in carries again. Though the Ravens are a tough matchup, Pierre’s contributions in the passing game keep him valuable against any opponent.

Vikings Quarterback Joe Webb Could Become Intriguing Fantasy Play

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback situation has become an utter mess and situation to avoid in fantasy. You have Brett Favre whose consecutive game streak was snapped on Monday night at 297 because of multiple injuries. Backup Tarvaris Jackson looked like his typical awful self and only produced three points. On top of banging knees with Adrian Peterson early in the game, T-Jack also suffered turf toe.

The combination of injuries to Minnesota’s top two quarterbacks has led to the team signing Patrick Ramsey this week. It also means rookie 6th round pick Joe Webb could get the start according to reporter Judd Zulgad.

Webb played quarterback at UAB and was a wide receiver prospect coming out of the draft. Because of that reason, he is listed as both a quarterback and wide receiver in some fantasy leagues, including Yahoo! leagues, as our wise friends at Rotoworld pointed out.

Though Minnesota’s Monday night clash against Chicago will be played outdoors in poor conditions, Webb can likely put up more points than most receivers if he starts at quarterback. He’s a running QB, so if he gets 30-40 yards on the ground with 120 passing yards and a touchdown, he could produce more fantasy points than your typical fourth or fifth receiving option. Being a rookie and facing a darn good defense in adverse conditions does not add up to an enticing matchup, but Webb sure as heck is intriguing.

Aaron Rodgers’ Concussion Kills Fantasy Football Owners

If you’re a fantasy football owner that started round one of the playoffs this week and Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback, you have some serious adversity to overcome.  Rodgers’ fantasy owners were likely already cursing in the first half against the Lions when Greg Jennings let a 60-yard touchdown pass tip off his hands and get picked off.  A few series later, Rodgers suffered a concussion while running the ball and had to leave the game.  He won’t return.

Considering he was facing the Lions, most fantasy owners were probably thinking anything less than a 20-point game from Rodgers would be a disappointment (in standard scoring leagues).  Instead, the Packers quarterback finished the game with 46 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, and an interception.  That likely resulted in around a 3-point fantasy game.

Rodgers is normally a fantasy monster so the injury will be a huge concern heading forward as well.  If Rodgers is your quarterback and you happen to pull out a win today, the question then becomes will he be able to go next weekend. What’s particularly concerning is that the concussion is his second of the season.  It would certainly be tough to survive without him for an extended period of time.

James Starks Is a Decent Fantasy Addition But Don’t Get Carried Away

With most leagues heading into the playoffs this week, we didn’t do our typical weekly fantasy waiver wire column; those of you who have made the postseason probably have a good idea of what you’re doing. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t provide some valuable fantasy advice when it comes up. Enter James Starks.

Brandon Jackson owners know quite well that Starks led the Packers in carries Sunday against the 49ers. The rookie 6th round pick from Buffalo made his season debut racking up 73 yards on 18 carries. John Kuhn was next on the team with six carries while quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran it four times and running back Brandon Jackson also had four carries. Though several backs got into the act, Starks clearly separated himself in terms of workload.

Though Starks seems promising, I have my reservations about his potential productivity. Green Bay has become a pass-heavy team putting the ball in the hand of Aaron Rodgers for the most part. They have a dome game in Detroit this weekend meaning they’ll probably throw it plenty. After Detroit, it’s at New England and then home against the Bears and Giants to finish up the year — both good teams against the run. Maybe the Packers haven’t been good running the ball because they haven’t had a good running back, but I just don’t see this team suddenly giving Starks 20 carries a game leading to 100 yards. Additionally, Jackson is a good pass catcher out of the backfield and will still be a big part of the offense.

Starks may get 15 carries a game the rest of the way, but without rushing touchdowns he won’t be too valuable. He’s a decent player to watch but don’t get carried away.

Working the Waiver Wire: Week 13 Free Agent Pickup Advice

Here is some advice on working the waiver wire in your fantasy league (for personal advice email larry at larrybrownsports.com):

Matchups to Avoid (at your discretion): Packers, Bears, and Steelers defenses are not impenetrable, but they’re good. Avoid Saints, Chargers, Giants, and Bears pass defense. Still avoid Steelers, Bears, Chargers, Jets run defense.

Matchups to Exploit (at your discretion): Houston, Buffalo, Seattle, Jacksonville, New England and Oakland’s secondary (Asomugha is out). Buffalo, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Denver, and Indy’s run defense.

The waiver wire has been thinner and thinner the past few weeks because players have been able to stay healthy for the most part. An injury to Frank Gore made Brian Westbrook the top target, but outside of that we’re just picking at players who are likely available. Take a look at our thorough guide of working the waiver wire for advice on how to manage your fantasy football roster:


MUST-HAVE

Brian Westbrook, RB, 49ers – Westbrook looked great on Monday night, running for 136 yards and a touchdown. With Frank Gore out for the season, Westbrook will be their feature back.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings – Gerhart’s no Adrian Peterson (who is?), but he is a physical runner that would stand to get a lot of carries if an ankle injury keeps Peterson out.
Ben Obomanu, WR, Seahawks – Now the top receiver in Seattle, he hauled in an 87-yard score on Sunday and has scored in three of the last four games.
Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs – We’ve frequently advised picking up Cassel as a one-week monster play, but now we’re just recommending picking him up. He’s a safe play most weeks because he doesn’t make mistakes. The connection with Dwayne Bowe, while likely to slow down, has helped his stats tremendously.
*Make sure they’re not still available: Todd Heap

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Frank Gore Hip Injury Makes Brian Westbrook Top Fantasy Pickup

What started off as a promising night for Frank Gore fantasy football owners swiftly turned into a Derek Anderson-like tirade. Gore had a 25-yard run to open up the game and he went ahead for another 19 on his next two. After losing a yard on his fourth carry, Gore left the game but later returned on the team’s second drive.

Frank was hurt during his first carry back and did not see action after that. Reports on Monday night were that Gore was out for the season with a fractured hip, an injury that seemingly came out of nowhere. Anthony Dixon became San Francisco’s short-yardage and goal-line back while Brian Westbrook quickly emerged as the team’s feature back.

Westbrook, who previously only had nine yards on five carries for San Francisco, carried the ball 23 times for 136 yards and a touchdown. The 23 carries were the most Westbrook had since week 14 in 2008, and the 31-year-old looked more like the stud we saw for six years in Philly rather than the concussion case he became last year.

The year off of action has left Westbrook with fresh legs and he still appears to have the strong speed and good moves. Playing for a team that likes to employ a conservative ball control offense like San Francisco, Brian Westbrook will become an excellent fantasy addition.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Working the Waiver Wire: Week 12 Free Agent Pickup Advice

Here is some advice on working the waiver wire in your fantasy league (for personal advice email larry at larrybrownsports.com):

Matchups to Avoid (at your discretion): Packers defense has been awesome, plus Chicago and Pittsburgh’s D have been good too. Avoid Saints, Chargers, and Bears pass defense. Still avoid Steelers, Bears, Giants, Jets run defense. Green Bay’s defense is the best in the league, and Pittsburgh and Chicago are not too far behind.

Matchups to Exploit (at your discretion): Houston, Buffalo, Jacksonville, New England and Dallas’ secondary. Buffalo, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Denver, and Indy’s run defense. Start a defense playing Carolina and Tennessee as long as Rusty Smith is starting.

Last week’s must-have gang featured the likes of Santonio Holmes, James Jones, and Brandon Pettigrew, all of whom had huge receiving games. We also recommended Mark Sanchez (315yds, 3TDs), Matt Cassel (192yds, 2TDs, no turnovers), KC (13 points allowed), and Baltimore (two defensive touchdowns) as our monster plays. That should be reason enough to trust our judgment. Here’s our advice for picking up free agents off the waiver wire in week 12:


MUST-HAVE

Mike Tolbert, RB, Chargers – Unlikely to be available in your league once it was revealed Ryan Mathews wouldn’t play last week, Tolbert is a great pickup if he is available. Mathews is probably out on Sunday, making Tolbert a good bet for a score.
Maurice Morris, RB, Lions – Jahvid Best is bothered by turf toe making Morris the likely beneficiary. He can run and receive and should total 100 yards on Thursday.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers – Likely available on your waiver wire, he’s back from his holdout this week. He’ll see even more targets with Crayton and Floyd hurt.
Keiland Williams, RB, Redskins – I wasn’t big on Keiland after his Monday night game, but with Clinton Portis hurt he should have the starting job until Ryan Torain is healthy. Starting running backs on decent offenses have value.
Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins – We’ve recommended him before as a nice addition, but with Brandon Marshall out he should see more targets. Of course, that means he’ll get more attention from defenses too.
Sidney Rice, WR, Vikings – The big Minnesota target looked good hauling in three passes in his season debut last week. He won’t be the monster he was last year, but he still can do plenty.
*Make sure they’re not still available: James Jones

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