Week 12 brings us the final byes of the 2013 NFL season, and with four teams getting a late-season break, this week’s waiver wire pickups could play a pivotal role in the outcome of many fantasy leagues with the playoffs starting in two weeks for most owners.
There were a number of impressive performances this past week, including players who filled in for an injured starter and have a good chance to remain in that role going forward.
Let’s take a look at the best players likely to be sitting on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues.
Matt McGloin, QB: Terrelle Pryor‘s injury allowed McGloin to fill in as the Oakland Raiders’ starting quarterback, and it’s a role that he could remain in for at least another week after giving an impressive performance against the league’s No. 1-ranked passing defense on Sunday.
McGloin completed 18 of his 32 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions against the Texans. The former Penn State star is a good bye week replacement for fantasy owners who have Nick Foles, Russell Wilson, E.J. Manuel and/or Andy Dalton.
Josh McCown, QB: The Sam Houston St. product got another start on Sunday for the injured Jay Cutler and led the Chicago Bears to victory with 216 yards passing, one touchdown pass and zero interceptions.
In 101 pass attempts this season, McCown has not thrown an interception, and his ability to protect the football may give him a chance to keep the starting job when Cutler is finally healthy enough to play.
Given the amount of quality pass-catchers he’s able to target in the passing game, including Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte, McCown is worthy of a pick up in leagues of 10 teams or more and a solid bye week replacement.
Bobby Rainey, RB: The 26-year-old running back started for the Buccaneers on Sunday and performed at a high level, making him the top waiver wire pickup for Week 12.
Rainey ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries, so not only is he capable of being productive, he’s getting the overwhelming majority of the carries in the Tampa Bay running game. Without a dominant passing game, expect Rainey to get plenty of work in the remaining weeks of the season, especially since he’s averaging an impressive 4.7 yards per carry and is capable of pass blocking.
Rainey is a high-end RB2 going into next week and a tremendous flex option as well.
Rashad Jennings, RB: After three weeks of quality performances, it’s time to believe in Jennings as a RB2 and a player who should be owned in all fantasy leagues. He’s rushed for 88-plus yards in three straight games, including a pair of 100-yard performances.
He ran for a season-high 150 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries in Week 11, highlighted by a spectacular 80-yard run in which 73 of those yards were after contact. Even if Darren McFadden is able to get back on the field, Jennings should still get plenty of carries and snaps, especially since he’s also a good option in the passing game as a receiver. With a 5.2 yards per carry average and the ability to create big plays with his speed, Jennings doesn’t need a lot of carries to be fantasy relevant.
Garrett Graham, TE: The Texans passing game now revolves around elite wide receiver Andre Johnson and young tight end Garrett Graham. The 27-year-old veteran caught seven passes for 136 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Raiders. His 13 targets were a season-high, and he’s received at least five or more targets in five of the last seven games.
Graham should be a low-end TE1 for the rest of the season, regardless of who starts at quarterback in Houston. With two matchups against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars and one against a Denver Broncos defense that ranks 28th against the pass, there will be plenty of opportunities for Graham to put up impressive fantasy numbers through Week 16.
Thumbnail photo via @HoustonTexans