Most Fantasy owners usually have their quarterback tandem established by Week 13. You have your starter, and in case of an injury or poor play, you have a reliable backup.
That might not be the case this season.
We had four quarterbacks show up on the injury report in Week 12. Kurt Warner (head, neck) and Ben Roethlisberger (head) were out, and Warner might miss another week. Matt Ryan (toe) left his game against Tampa Bay and will be out Week 13 against Philadelphia. And there is some concern about Eli Manning (stress reaction in his foot), which could put his status for the rest of the season in doubt.
We also have Kyle Orton (ankle) and Matthew Stafford (left shoulder) playing hurt, and there has been inconsistent play from Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Cassel and David Garrard in recent weeks. It could lead to Fantasy owners searching the waiver wire for help with the playoffs looming, and you should plan to cover yourself in case any more injuries occur. It's not bad to carry three quarterbacks at this time of year, especially if you have Warner, Roethlisberger or Ryan.
We saw some fantastic performances from several quarterbacks in Week 12, and they are all available in the majority of leagues, including Ryan Fitzpatrick, Vince Young, Jason Campbell, Josh Freeman, Chris Redman and Alex Smith. All six of them had at least 21 Fantasy points in a standard-scoring league.
The first quarterback to target is Smith, who is owned in 55 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com. He passed for 232 yards and two touchdowns against Jacksonville and has five touchdowns and one interception in his past two games.
Smith has a great matchup in Week 13 at Seattle and should be added in all leagues. He also has a great schedule remaining, including games against Detroit and St. Louis to close the season. If the Colts plan to rest Peyton Manning, for example, Smith could be a viable replacement.
After Smith, you should go after Young (46 percent ownership), who passed for a career-high 387 yards with one touchdown against Arizona. This was Young's first game with more than 20 Fantasy points since regaining his starting job, but he's averaged 16 Fantasy points in the past five games.
That's about what you can expect from him in Week 13 at Indianapolis. It's not a great matchup, but Young is a safe fallback option with the injuries.
Redman (0 percent) could be a decent sleeper with Ryan out. Redman finished the game against Tampa Bay with 243 passing yards and two touchdowns, and he played well as a starter at the end of 2007 with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions in the final five games of the year.
Redman doesn't have a great matchup against Philadelphia in Week 13, but the Eagles have allowed six touchdowns and three interceptions to opposing quarterbacks in their past three games against Philip Rivers, Cutler and Campbell. Redman is not a bad emergency replacement since he has viable targets in Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez.
After these three, there aren't great matchups in Week 13 for Campbell (31 percent) against New Orleans, Freeman (15 percent) at Carolina or Fitzpatrick (5 percent) at the Jets. Stafford (26 percent) at Cincinnati might be worth a gamble, but he's risky also.
If they are still out there, grab Orton (78 percent) or Garrard (77 percent) for this week. Orton has a great matchup at Kansas City, and Garrard should do well against Houston.
In case you haven't noticed ... It's time to add all these running backs if they are still available: Larry Johnson (74 percent), Fred Jackson (73 percent), Felix Jones (73 percent), Chester Taylor (67 percent) and Rock Cartwright (65 percent). All played a significant role in Week 12 and could be factors down the stretch. In order, you should add Jackson, Jones, Taylor, Cartwright and Johnson. The only reason Johnson would jump to the top of the list would be if Cedric Benson (hip) remains out, but he's expected to return this week. And every Adrian Peterson owner should own Taylor because if Peterson goes down, Taylor becomes a star.
Each Tuesday we will highlight players who might be available in your league and whether you should consider picking them up off waivers based on their recent performances. The players chosen are based on the percentage of ownership in CBSSports.com leagues.
Jason Avant, WR, Philadelphia
Owned: 23 percent of leagues
Week 12: Caught five passes for 94 yards against Washington.
Analysis: We've been talking about Avant for the past three weeks since he had eight catches for 156 yards at San Diego in Week 10. In his past three games, Avant has 17 catches for 276 yards and a touchdown, and his production could increase with DeSean Jackson leaving the Redskins game with a concussion and Brent Celek hurting his hand. Donovan McNabb will spread the ball around, which means Avant could see plenty of targets in Week 13 at Atlanta and for the rest of the year.
Chris Brown, RB, Houston
Owned: 11 percent of leagues
Week 12: Had 11 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 20 yards against Indianapolis.
Analysis: Brown continues to share carries with Steve Slaton, and it doesn't appear like he's going away anytime soon. He has 22 carries in the past two games, and he is worth stashing on your bench, especially if you own Slaton. You can cut Ryan Moats to make room for Brown since Moats hasn't done anything for the past two games. You probably won't have to start Brown since he has only one game with double digits in Fantasy points this year, but he's a good insurance policy for Slaton.
Zach Miller, TE, Oakland
Owned: 63 percent of leagues
Week 12: Caught five passes for 73 yards at Dallas.
Analysis: Bruce Gradkowski taking over for JaMarcus Russell has improved Miller's Fantasy value. In two games with Gradkowski as the starter, Miller has 10 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals and Cowboys. You can finally have confidence that Miller will touch the ball on a consistent basis, and he could be a good backup Fantasy option or spot starter based on the matchup. Now, in Week 13, Miller has a terrible matchup at Pittsburgh, but he is worth adding as a No. 2 tight end if you have the roster space.
Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta
Owned: 22 percent of leagues
Week 12: Had six carries for 22 yards and caught two passes for 28 yards and a touchdown against Tampa Bay.
Analysis: Norwood returned from a five-game absence with a hip injury against the Bucs and shared time with Michael Turner and Jason Snelling. Turner re-injured his ankle in the game and might be out again, which means Norwood and Snelling would share carries in Week 13 against Philadelphia. Norwood is worth adding in all leagues, especially in formats where you get points per reception because he is the Falcons' best receiver out of the backfield. Hopefully the Falcons will let Turner rest, which means increased touches for Norwood against the Eagles.
Kyle Boller, QB, St. Louis
Owned: 3 percent of leagues
Week 12: Completed 28 of 46 passes for 282 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions and had three carries for 26 yards against Seattle.
Analysis: We didn't mention Boller with the other quarterbacks because he's not worth adding, even in a dire situation. Boller has started three games this year with one touchdown, four interceptions and two fumbles. He doesn't have enough weapons to make him a viable Fantasy option so keep him on the waiver wire in all leagues even if he remains the starter in St. Louis for the rest of the season with Marc Bulger (leg) injured.
Jacoby Jones, WR, Houston
Owned: 12 percent of leagues
Week 12: Caught three passes for 27 yards and a touchdown against Indianapolis.
Analysis: Jones has done well as the No. 3 wide receiver for the Texans with four touchdowns on the year, but he only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points. He doesn't catch enough passes to make him a viable Fantasy option since his best game was Week 9 at the Colts with four catches, and his season-high for yards was Week 2 at Tennessee with 73. Jones might be useful in leagues where you get points for return yards, but keep him on the waiver wire in standard formats.
Willis McGahee, RB, Baltimore
Owned: 62 percent of leagues
Week 12: Had five carries for 18 yards and a touchdown against Pittsburgh.
Analysis: McGahee scored his sixth rushing touchdown on the season and his eighth overall, but this was the first time he's scored since Week 4. Since then he has combined for 12 Fantasy points in seven games as the Ravens have become Ray Rice's team. The only reason to own McGahee is in case Rice gets hurt, but McGahee isn't a vital part of the offense any more with the way Rice has played. He should only be considered an insurance policy in deep leagues heading into Week 13 at Green Bay.
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee
Owned: 20 percent of leagues
Week 12: Caught seven passes for 128 yards and a touchdown against Arizona.
Analysis: You can add Britt in deeper leagues based on his play the past two weeks, and he has developed a solid rapport with Vince Young. Britt has 11 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans and Cardinals. Now, on the other hand, Britt had three catches for 62 yards in Young's first three starts, so his play has been erratic, which is typical of a rookie wide receiver. Still, he could be hitting his stride as the Titans make a playoff push after starting the season 0-5. It's not like the Titans have a dominant wide receiver, and Britt could be the one to fill that role.
Antonio Bryant, WR, Tampa Bay
Owned: 46 percent of leagues
Week 12: Caught three passes for 91 yards and a touchdown at Atlanta.
Analysis: Bryant has been plagued by knee problems all season, but he might be turning the corner with his best performance of the season against the Falcons. He now has three touchdowns for the year, and hopefully the development of rookie quarterback Josh Freeman can help Bryant finish strong. If he can stay healthy -- he's missed three games with the knee injury -- then Bryant has plenty of value. Remember, he's still playing for a contract, and last year he closed the season with 26 catches for 512 yards and four touchdowns in the final four games of the year.
Eldra Buckley, RB, Philadelphia
Owned: 0 percent of leagues
Week 12: Had two carries for 1 yard and a touchdown against Washington.
Analysis: Buckley will probably never find his way on to any Fantasy roster this year, but he's worth keeping an eye on with Brian Westbrook (concussion) out for at least another two games. If something were to happen to rookie LeSean McCoy or fullback Leonard Weaver then Buckley could become the starter for the Eagles. If that were to happen, Buckley would become an instant add in all leagues, so plan accordingly if you have an empty roster spot now.
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