“Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down…
Chippin’ around, kick my brains across the floor
These are the days, when it rains it pours…
Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?”
“Under Pressure” Queen/David Bowie
It’s that time of year. It’s time for the annual white-knuckle ride to the playoffs. You have two, maybe three, games left and could very well be the make-or-break game for your team this season. If your team is around .500, you’re definitely feeling the pressure.
What a week we had in week 11. Backup quarterbacks everywhere and a pair of major injuries have really rattled up in fantasy football. Add to that it’s Thanksgiving week with THREE Thursday games and this becomes one of the more difficult weeks of the year.
Thankfully, I’ll help you get through it with this edition of the waiver wire. As always, percentages reflected availability on ESPN leagues and FAAB is based off of $100. The byes are finally done and over with so it’s full speed ahead from here on out.
Philadelphia RB LeSean McCoy suffered a concussion in the latter stages of the Eagles’ loss to Washington. He was quite woozy after the hit and didn’t return. Even though Philadelphia doesn’t play until Monday night, it looks highly unlikely that he will play this week. Both McCoy and Michael Vick are recovering from concussions and are just at the first step of the five-step process to get back on the field, according to Philly.com.
With McCoy’s mind being wobblier than Grandma’s Jell-O mold, it makes Bryce Brown (99.7%; $10) one of the adds of the week. Brown will get the call against a Carolina defense that hasn’t stopped much of anything this season. If McCoy is out for an extended period of time, the rookie from Kansas State would face the Cowboys and Bucs in the two games after.
Denver RB Ronnie Hillman (99%; $12) is the better choice to add at running back than Brown is. Hillman has popped up on the radar after Willis McGahee left the Broncos’ win over San Diego with a knee injury. It was diagnosed as a torn medial collateral ligament and he’s done for 6-8 weeks. That will make McGahee droppable in every league since he’s done for the balance of the NFL regular season.
Hillman also has more value in PPR leagues with his pass-catching abilities out of the backfield. Add to that an easy schedule the rest of way and he looks like a great pickup.
The other major injury of the weekend was New England TE Rob Gronkowski breaking his arm blocking on an extra point in a 59-24 game with four minutes left in the game. Yeah, it sucks that the Gronk is down for 4-6 weeks after having surgery yesterday but you’ll need some fill-ins. Aaron Hernandez is expected to be back this week but if for some reason he can’t play look for Visanthe Shiancoe (99.8%; $2) to get the call at tight end. You remember Shiancoe from one great season in Minnesota…and dropping his towel in the locker room.
There are going to be several options depending on your league, so take a deeper look through the waiver wire and see who you can pick up. Jermaine Gresham of the Bengals (26%) and Jermichael Finley (28%) might be available in your league. Deeper options include Dallas Clark of Tampa Bay (97%) and Tony Moeaki of the Chiefs (99%) and both have favorable matchups this week.
Jacksonville QB Chad Henne (98%; $5) is worth picking up if you need a backup quarterback for the stretch run. Henne was pressed into service and shined against Houston with 354 yards and 4 TD passes. Blaine Gabbert left the game with an elbow injury and is not likely to return. Not because of the injury but because of how well Henne did. You know Henne must be on to something when he makes Justin Blackmon (53%; $4) relevant with his 7-236-1 line in the loss. Blackmon gets the bump here with Henne under center; if Gabbert comes back, Blackmon’s value drops like a rock.
Also from the Jaguars, RB Jalen Parmele (99% $3) is available and is worth an add for the week or two until Maurice Jones-Drew returns from his foot injury. Parmele got the bulk of the work against Houston and has a juicy matchup with Tennessee next. Rashad Jennings has completely fallen off the radar after this week and is droppable.
The New England DST (43%; $4) is pumped up after shutting down Andrew Luck and the Colts on Sunday. The Pats D got a pair of touchdowns and had another solid game. They have the short week and are on the road but when they play the Jets, this has big points written all over it. If you can find them, snag them. That defense should be feasting on the Jets like you feasted on turkey earlier in the day.
Other players we’ve mentioned before that are still widely available are as follows: Oakland RB Marcel Reece, Jacksonville WR Cecil Shorts, San Diego WR Danario Alexander and Indianapolis WR T.Y. Hilton.
Leave your questions and comments below. Happy Thanksgiving and good luck this week!