By Jack Thomason-
(CBS) Bye weeks are over. It’s time to gear up for the playoffs or make your final push to get in.
As always, make sure you have your handcuffs to your stud running backs. I can’t stress that enough. Otherwise, let’s explore the options below.
Here are Week 12’s top 10 waiver adds, with an eye on 10- or 12- team leagues.
1. Dan Herron (RB, Indianapolis Colts, available in 63% of CBS leagues) – I had him listed as a sleeper last week, believing he would receive somewhere between eight and 11 touches. Well, he totaled 17 to Trent Richardson’s 13 and outperformed him, too. Herron averaged 5.4 yards per carry to Richardson’s 3.4 and chipped in 31 yards in the pass game. The Colts have faith in this young player. He fumbled early in the game in the red zone, and they continued to go to him throughout the remainder of the game. Plain and simple, he looked better than Richardson, and this is a top offense in the NFL.
2. Latavius Murray (RB, Oakland Raiders, 72%) – We saw some flashes from Murray two weeks ago, and we saw even more Thursday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. Murray became the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 110 yards on less than five carries (four for 112). On one hand, that’s amazing. On the other, it’s a small sample size. Murray ripped off runs of 11 and 90 yards for touchdowns and gave the anemic Raiders run game a boost it hadn’t seen all season. Be wary, though, as Murray and Oakland’s fantasy playoff schedule is brutal (vs. 49ers, at Chiefs, vs. Bills).
3. LaGarrette Blount (RB, New England Patriots, 54%) – What a headache. Jonas Gray owned the spot last week after a 200-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Colts. And this week, Blount takes over. There’s not much to say here other than you want to own the “big back” in New England. Blount rumbled his way to 78 yards and two scores on 12 carries. We can’t trust he will be the guy weekly, but he did it last year, and Gray is in the doghouse.
4. Jarvis Landry (WR, Miami Dolphins, 69%) – This kid has been on a tear of late. Landry has 19 receptions and three scores over his last three games. He led the team with 11 targets in Denver and converted seven for 50 yards and added two scores. The Dolphins found their No. 2 receiver behind Mike Wallace, and Landry’s doing plenty of damage underneath. Landry was overshadowed by former LSU teammate Odell Beckham Jr. in the draft process. It’s no different here, but he’s quietly emerging as a go-to option in Miami and being targeted in the red zone. He’s a top add in point-per-reception formats.
5. Kenny Stills (WR, New Orleans Saints, 39%) – Brandin Cooks was placed on the season-ending injured reserve with a broken thumb, which means more opportunities for Stills. He was second on the team in targets (nine) to only Jimmy Graham (10) on Monday night, but he led the Saints with eight receptions and 98 yards. Stills is an explosive playmaker, and the Saints will want to get him involved early and often as they did against the Ravens. The Saints defense can’t stop anyone, so that means they will need to score plenty of points to win games.
6. Charles Johnson (WR, Minnesota Vikings, 98%) – The metric folks love this guy. He is 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds and runs a 4.3 40-yard dash. For the second week in a row, Johnson was a focal point in the Vikings offense. He had a team-high 11 targets last game and has 18 over the last two. Johnson hauled in only three of his 11 targets, but that was good for 52 yards and a trip to paydirt. With Greg Jennings long in the tooth and Cordarrelle Patterson struggling, look for the Vikings offense to feature Johnson more.
7. Tim Wright, (TE, New England Patriots, 73%) – We all know about Rob Gronkowski, but what about that other tight end for the Patriots who has six touchdowns in his last seven games? We know the Patriots are fans of the two-tight end sets. Maybe Wright has earned his keep and learned the offense. Maybe the Patriots will use him more as their “move” tight end going forward. I will say this much: I don’t want to miss out on him the way this offense is playing if that is the case. If nothing more, Wright is a good bet to score a touchdown if you’re in need of a tight end. He did have six targets, five receptions and 36 yards this past week to go along with his two scores. He also played in a season-high 61 snaps.
8. John Brown (Arizona Cardinals, 37%) – With Larry Fitzgerald suffering from a Grade 2 MCL sprain, Brown should be in for a larger workload. He saw five targets Sunday and led the team with 61 yards. He’s a big play waiting to happen. He gets the Falcons next week, and they are statistically the worst pass defense in the NFL in yards per game allowed. The entire Arizona offense struggled this past week in Seattle, but look for the Cardinals to bounce back and Brown to be a bigger part of that moving forward.
9. Stedman Bailey (WR, St. Louis Rams, 100%) – Last week I wrote about Kenny Britt being the clear-cut No. 1 option. Well, maybe it’s Bailey now. The Rams are looking for someone to step up and emerge. In a tough matchup in which the Rams gave the Chargers all they could handle, Bailey tied for the team lead in targets with nine. He pulled down seven balls for 89 yards and a touchdown. Britt saw only six looks and caught two for 37 yards. This is something to monitor moving forward, but the Rams drafted Bailey in the third round of the 2013 draft, and perhaps it’s now his time to shine.
10. Kyle Rudolph (TE, Minnesota Vikings, 52%) – If you are in need of a tight end, Rudolph is back and in action for the Vikings. He played the majority of snaps last week and hauled in three receptions for 50 yards on five targets. Teddy Bridgewater is a rookie quarterback, and young quarterbacks generally lean heavily on their tight ends. That’s a good sign for Rudolph and fantasy owners alike. Despite an average day, Rudolph was still second on the team in receiving yards.
Just missed: Zach Mettenberger, Stepfan Taylor, Juwan Thompson, Theo Riddick, Marcel Reece, Jason Avant, Philly Brown, Louis Murphy and Niles Paul.
Jack Thomason is the winner of the 2014 Bud Light Fantasy Expert Contest, co-host of Fantasy Streamers and co-host of the Nerd Herd. You can listen to Fantasy Streamers every Sunday from 8-9 a.m. CT at 670thescore.com/listen. The Nerd Herd is on every Friday, starting at 11 p.m. and lasting until 1 a.m. on 670 The Score and online here. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.