Simpson, Spiller must-adds for Week 12
Week 11 marked disappointments from a variety of players who had proven extremely reliable for fantasy owners. Injury scares to Fred Jackson and Greg Jennings limited their usual stellar production while Brandon Marshall had a poor day that included an overturned touchdown. The durable Adrian Peterson showed he was human, suffering a high ankle sprain that's likely to keep him out for Week 12. Looking like Oakland's No. 1 wide receiver the last couple of games, Danarius Moore was given some extra defensive attention leading to a one-point fantasy day. Who should you look at for this week? Let's see.
Kevin Smith, RB, DET - Without a doubt Smith will be the top waiver priority this week after his breakout performance against the Panthers. Smith finished with 140 rushing yards, 61 receiving yards and three touchdowns. While this game seems very promising for Smith's future in Detroit, there are both pros and cons for the player out of Central Florida. Let's start with the bad. Smith was just signed last week by the Lions and tried out for six teams earlier this season without being offered a contract. His big game was against Carolina, which has allowed the second-most points and the third-most rushing yards per game this season. It was more than a favorable matchup for the Lions and Smith. Most of the game, Carolina doubled Calvin Johnson, essentially making it 10-on-9 for the rest of the Lions offense, which is why Titus Young, Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson all found the end zone. Finally, Smith hasn't stayed healthy since becoming a pro, something that could obviously become an issue. Now let's look at the pros for Smith. First, he's only 24, as he left school a year early after being named an All-American as a junior. Jim Schwartz seems like a sensible coach who will ride the hot hand and not go back to Maurice Morris or Keiland Williams (whose early fumble likely led to Smith getting a shot). Teams likely will continue to double Johnson and respect the passing game in general, which should lead to more holes for the running attack. If you have the first waiver option this week, definitely grab Smith; just don't think of him as a top-10 back quite yet.
Jerome Simpson, WR, CIN - A perfect fit for the Bengals given his off-field issues, Simpson made the most of his opportunity Sunday with A.J. Green sidelined, posting a eight-catch, 152-yard receiving day. To put that in perspective, that's almost triple the receiving yards Simpson had over his last three games with Green on the field. His value is completely connected with the health status of Green, who was almost a go Sunday. Grab Simpson if you have an available bench spot and plan to deploy him as a No. 3 wide receiver or even a flex play if the Bengals decide to sit Green for Week 12.
Chaz Schilens, WR, OAK - While Oakland has one of the league's best group of young receivers, they're dropping like flies lately. Denarius Moore garnered a lot of attention after his breakout performance against the Chargers, requiring Carson Palmer to turn his attention to Darrius Heyward-Bey on Sunday only to see him leave the game after suffering a spine injury. With Jacoby Ford likely out this week as well with an ankle sprain, Schilens (one catch for a touchdown) has a good chance to start opposite Moore in Week 12. Schilens has stuck with the Raiders despite having a checkered injury history and has shown promise when on the field. He'll be a No. 3 WR play at best only if Ford and Heyward-Bey are ruled out for this week's game.
C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF - Fred Jackson's status up in the air for Week 12, the Bills could have to turn to Spiller as their starter if Jackson isn't ready to go. Getting a better-rested Jets team at home won't be an easy task, but the Bills offensive line has helped Fred Jackson to a career-high 5.5 YPC. While they once had an elite run defense, the Jets have given up a solid 4.0 YPC and also allowed 10 rushing touchdowns. Spiller would be especially valuable in PPR leagues given his ability as a receiver. Of course, thinking of playing him should not be considered until Fred Jackson is ruled out, something that has not happened yet.
Toby Gerhart, RB, MIN - As mentioned, Adrian Peterson suffered a high ankle sprain that likely will keep him sidelined for the immediate future given Minnesota's playoff aspirations, or lack thereof. Percy Harvin should see an uptick in carries, but it's probably Gerhart who will benefit the most from the Peterson injury. A big load to bring down at almost 240 pounds, Gerhart averages 4.9 YPC in limited play. It would make sense given his size vs. Harvin that he would get any goal-line work while AP is out, increasing his potential value as well. Christian Ponder has played well for a rookie, which means teams aren't going to stack the box to force him to throw. Keep an eye on Peterson's status, but he should be out at least this week.
Seattle D - Each week there's a mention of a defense in this column for those who like to pick a defense each week based on matchups and trends. Normally, you would look at who is playing Indianapolis or Kansas City. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be surprising if Indy, coming off its bye, actually did something offensively against a bad Carolina defense, and Kansas City has Pittsburgh, a defense owned in most formats. That leads us to Seattle, which has shown some spark defensively the last couple of games. The team in general plays better at home (2-2 this season, beat New Orleans in the playoffs last year) and has put up some solid defensive stats lately. The Seahawks three takeaways in each of the last two games and have totaled six sacks, as well. Perhaps a bit of a long shot, Leon Washington had three touchdowns in the return game last season, which is also something to consider. If you're scrambling for a defense and don't trust Rex Grossman on the road, take a gander at the Seahawks against the Redskins this week.
Donald Brown, RB, IND - Let's continue to beat the dead horse that is the Carolina defense. This week Brown gets his crack at the Panthers and appears to be the feature back for the Colts after getting 30 carries to teammate Delone Carter's 10 over the last two games. Indy should be well-rested coming off its bye, and Carolina has been a sieve on defense, allowing a league-high 14 rushing touchdowns. Given their recent passing woes, Indy should be relying on the running attack if it wants to get its first win, which makes Brown a sneaky play in deeper leagues.
Kyle Williams, WR, SF - This speaks more to the lack of any emerging wide receivers from Week 11 than anything else. I don't know that Williams has overtaken Braylon Edwards as far as targets are concerned, or on the 49ers depth chart, but the second-year pro out of Arizona State looked good Sunday. The son of Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, Kyle had a season-high five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. He's still at least third fiddle behind Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis but could carve out a nice role for himself if Alex Smith keeps looking his way.
Joe McKnight, RB, NYJ - This isn't the first time you've seen McKnight's name mentioned in this space, and last Thursday he showed his upside if given the chance. While 16 carries for 59 yards (3.7 YPC) is nothing spectacular, those in PPR leagues should note the six catches for 62 yards. Shonn Greene should be fine for this week, but McKnight likely would handle third-down duties if LaDainian Tomlinson is ruled out for another week. Think of him as a "stash on your bench" type in case Greene aggravates his rib injury, or if you're in a PPR league should LT miss significant time with his knee injury.
Follow @KCPayne26 on Twitter.
Get a FREE RotoWire 10-day trial (no credit card required) at RotoWire.com.