Floyd moves up WR ranks
Lucky number Week 13 helped shape the playoff picture a little better in both divisions. Atlanta moved closer to clinching a first-round bye after avenging their only loss of the season. Indianapolis helped their wild card aspirations with a last-second win over the Lions. Outside of Baltimore, all three teams in the AFC North won putting Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in better positions for a playoff spot. Led by Russell Wilson, an upset win in Chicago put Seattle in charge of their own destiny for both a wild card spot as well as an outside chance at the division considering they play San Francisco one more time. This week, the waiver wire has some players who should be given a second look as well as some longshots for deeper formats.
Montell Owens, JAC - It hasn't been a good season for the Jacksonville running backs in general, losing Maurice Jones-Drew, Jalen Parmele and now Rashad Jennings. That should leave Owens the de facto starter if Jennings misses any time. It's hard to imagine that the Jaguars will push franchise player MJD back, so there's a good chance that Owens picks up a few starts. Considered one of the better special teams players in the league, Owens made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and scored two touchdowns in that game. As a running back Owens has limited upside as his No. 4 spot on the depth chart shows, though Jacksonville hasn't been shy about giving one running back a heavy workload. In his seventh NFL season Owens has a whopping 21 carries so keep in mind it's hard to know what to expect from him. Look for Jacksonville to bring in another running back off the street to add some depth this week as well.
Jeremy Stewart, OAK - With all of the talk about Darren McFadden possibly returning for the Browns game, the running back surprise for the Raiders was that Jeremy Stewart was involved in the running game. Stewart finished the game with nine carries for 46 yards and one catch for two yards. While those numbers don't jump off the page, they could be an indication that Stewart might be in line for an audition while the running backs ahead of him are on the mend. An undrafted free agent out of Stanford, Stewart was activated off the practice squad in early November.
Josh Gordon, CLE - I talked about Gordon toward the beginning of the season, and I'm guessing he's shown enough since to make the Browns forget he cost them their second-round pick next season. Gordon had an outstanding game Sunday, albeit against Oakland, finishing with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Weeden looks like he's over his concussion and has hit Gordon for five touchdowns. Gordon has had a couple of drops too, so that number could be even higher. Gordon has a nice schedule over the next two weeks, playing Kansas City and then Washington at home.
Brian Hartline, MIA - The emergence of Devone Bess coupled with a couple of quiet games in a row from Hartline has landed him on the waiver wire in most leagues. Hartline was much more involved against the Patriots, finishing the game with five catches for 84 yards. His final line would have been much better had Ryan Tannehill not overthrown him after Hartline got behind the secondary. For the game, Hartline was targeted 10 times after getting only 12 targets over his previous two games. He's worth a look in PPR formats since he's not a big red-zone threat (the Dolphins usually run) as his one receiving touchdown this season indicates.
Louis Murphy, CAR - Murphy could move into Brandon LaFell's starting spot after he suffered a foot injury and had to leave the game Sunday. Murphy caught an eight-yard touchdown pass, only a week after snagging two balls for 65 yards. LaFell came into Sunday's game on a two-game streak with at least seven targets, 70 receiving yards and a touchdown. Part of those targets should head to Murphy who should see softer coverage playing opposite of Steve Smith.
Jason Avant, PHI - Avant turned in the most receiving yards for the Eagles on Sunday night, catching four balls for 79 on five targets. With the loss of DeSean Jackson, Avant should see plenty of snaps especially with the Eagles running a lot of three-wide-receiver sets and the Philadelphia defense giving up plenty of points these days. Nick Foles looked more competent against the Cowboys, and Bryce Brown will help keep opposing defenses honest. Avant is only worth a look in deeper leagues if you're desperate for wide receiver help.
Michael Floyd, ARI - Floyd has moved up and down the Cardinals' wide receiver depth chart in what has to be considered a disappointing rookie season. With Andre Roberts inactive, Floyd was given a surprise start but was able to do little with it as Ryan Lindley struggled yet again. Despite getting 10 targets, Floyd finished with only two catches for 22 yards. While it's hard to get excited about Floyd with Lindley under center, it's hard to find receivers on the waiver wire who get targeted that much. Floyd's value will be linked to Roberts' health but Lindley did throw for 312 yards Week 12.
Eric Weems, CHI - It's kind of odd to see Weems in anything other than an Atlanta Falcons uniform. After catching a touchdown pass from Jay Cutler, Earl Bennett left the game with a concussion, leaving Weems as the second receiving option to Brandon Marshall. Devin Hester is out with a concussion as well and could miss this week's game. If that happens, Weems would have even more value in leagues that count return yards as he would return kickoffs and punts in addition to a bigger role in the passing game. Keep an eye on Alshon Jeffery's status as he could return to the lineup this week which would impact Weems' value.
Tony Scheffler, DET - A week after suspending Titus Young for what can be nicely labeled as "erratic behavior" during a football game, the Lions lost Ryan Broyles to a torn ACL during Sunday's game. As a result, it will likely be Scheffler who gains more targets and snaps with Broyles out, and Mike Thomas getting more work as well. Scheffler finished with only three catches for 55 yards but one was a brilliant catch in that he was able to barely get both feet in bounds on the sideline. Calvin Johnson will draw a lot of attention given that he's on pace to break the single-season receiving record, and Brandon Pettigrew has shown little return considering he was a first round pick. In a season in which tight ends have been disappointing, Scheffler is worth taking a gamble on.
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