This week’s waiver wire column is going to explore the returning player. The focus is on the players who are coming back off lengthy layoffs after injuries. Of course, we’ll still try to catch lightning in a bottle too and help your team that way. That said, let’s dive in.

First, let’s talk about Adrian Peterson. He’s not coming back from an injury, but from a suspension… or so we hope. There is going to be some legal wrangling this week over whether or not Peterson can come back to play this season or not, so it will need time to play out. Hopefully a decision gets made this week to give us some clarity. Even if he’s not 100% ready to go, you need to stash him on your roster. If nothing else, ensure that other owners don’t get their hands on him. With his talents and a plush schedule, Peterson could be the ultimate shot-in-the-arm add to any fantasy team. If he doesn’t pan out, you can toss him back and try again. If it does, you have fantasy gold. The thing to keep in mind is there is some internal strife within the Vikings front office about whether or not to bring him back. Minnesota is 4-5 and three games behind 7-2 Detroit for the top spot in the NFC North. Sure, there are other factors at play, but it is worth giving consideration to adding AP. I’ve been picking him up much as in the same way it’s time to get another guy in the same boat.

That other guy is Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon. It’s worth checking the wire to see if the dynamic wide receiver is there. He would make awesome trade bait if you can pick him up. Things set up nicely for Gordon with his schedule (HOU, ATL, BUF, IND, CIN, CAR, BAL) and that matchup against Carolina on championship week is inviting. We saw Mark Sanchez abuse the Carolina defense last night and Gordon could go nuts.

Realistically, it would be difficult to see either of them being available on the waiver wire but we mention them anyways. Take a second and scan anyways. Let’s go to reality now.

 

Quarterbacks

Arizona lost Carson Palmer for the season with a torn ACL and it leaves Drew Stanton to call the shots for the 8-1 Cardinals. Stanton is a serviceable quarterback but he is only worth rostering if you need to fill in for someone who is on a late bye. Arizona has a tough game with Detroit this week but they face a weak Falcons defense in Week 12. Stanton could be the guy to keep an eye on if you need a replacement for Ben Roethlisberger or Cam Newton.

Kyle Orton of the Bills is an intriguing option if you’re needing a boost at the position. Orton’s schedule has favorable games on it the rest of the way with Miami (Thursday), NY Jets, Cleveland and Denver. Green Bay and Oakland come in the playoff weeks and a finale with New England in case your league plays the full 17 weeks. (Yes, some do.)

Mark Sanchez of the Eagles looked good against Carolina with 332 yards and two touchdowns in the rout. There’s little doubt that Chip Kelly’s system is set up for virtually anyone to have success in it. Look at his next three games and Sanchez becomes the quarterback to pick up this week. The Eagles are at Green Bay, host the woeful Titans and head to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. Go ahead and file your claim now.

Derek Carr of Oakland is a super-deep option for those in larger leagues, multiple quarterback leagues or those who are just plain desperate.

 

Running Backs

This is where the look-who’s-back theme is going to take over. A couple of good backs come back this week from injuries and we’ll help you sift through them.

The first candidate is Ryan Mathews of the Chargers. He missed several weeks with a sprained knee ligament but is ready to go for San Diego against Oakland this week. But that’s where the enthusiasm should end for most people. After this week, the Chargers end their season with St. Louis, Baltimore, New England, Denver, San Francisco and Kansas City. Those matchups aren’t terribly easy and Mathews could be limited in his effectiveness. The other factor to think about with him is how the Chargers will balance out the touches between him, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown.

Speaking of muddled backfields, Pierre Thomas of the Saints is scheduled to be back this week. Thomas has more value in a PPR format but needs to find his place alongside Mark Ingram. The Saints’ schedule down the stretch does them a lot of favors and will add to Pierre’s value.

Their December looks like this: Carolina, Chicago, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. Those are the kind of matchups that will make fantasy fans drool. If you play PPR, Thomas is the guy you need to get.

The situation in Denver at the running back position has gone sideways quickly. Ronnie Hillman was seen limping around the team facility and is listed as day-to-day. Montee Ball (groin) is back at practice but his availability for Sunday against the Rams is unknown. CJ Anderson had a monster game against the Raiders and Juwan Thompson is still around too.

There’s no indication how Denver will use its backs or who will be healthy for this week against the Rams. I’m shying away from this situation since the Rams took Arizona stud running back Andre Ellington and shut him down last week. The Rams defense is more vulnerable to the pass than the run so this could be a tough week for whoever carries the ball. I would add Anderson first, then Ball then Thompson as a rough estimation of what order I expect them in assuming Hillman is out of the picture.

Charles Sims of the Bucs got off to a rough start with 40 yards and a lost fumble but better days are ahead. The NFC South is a quagmire of poor teams that can’t play much defense so Sims will get his chance to shine down the stretch.

 

Wide Receivers

Two real solid options exist here in Odell Beckham Jr of the Giants and Martavis Bryant of the Steelers. Beckham went for 108 yards on seven catches in a loss at Seattle while Bryant rolled up 143 yards and an 80-yard touchdown catch on four receptions.

So if you have to pick one, who do you take? The answer is Beckham. The Giants set up very nicely with their schedule after this week’s game with San Francisco. The rest of the way they have Dallas, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Washington, St. Louis and Philadelphia in that order. The matchups are there and the Giants should be throwing plenty on those weak defenses.

Bryant is still a solid option and he has six touchdowns in his last four games. The Steelers offense cooled off this week and they lost to the Jets. (Damn you, Justin Bieber!) Bryant caught the only touchdown pass Roethlisberger threw so that helps his value.

They take on the Titans on Monday Night and then have a Week 12 bye, the last one in the league. Bryant should be able to take advantage of a Cincinnati secondary (twice) that isn’t very skilled. They’re going to have to step up to try and stop the running attack of Le’Veon Bell so Bryant could find himself outside in single coverage. The Steelers also take on Atlanta and Kansas City so there are chances for him to score in every game the rest of the season.

Bryant is starting to make a name for himself in the red zone as the Steelers take advantage of his 6-foot-4 frame to create mismatches. Basically, he’s the new Plaxico Burress without the weapons charge.

Jordan Matthews of the Eagles looked sharp last night and becomes another option. Matthews scored twice and rolled up 138 yards on seven catches. He’s only a rookie but looks like a seasoned veteran and is fitting in nicely as a compliment to Jeremy Maclin. Teams are so busy with Maclin that Matthews can find separation and take advantage of it in one-on-one matchups. The schedule sets up nicely for him and he can be a difference-maker as a flex player from week to week.

Cecil Shorts III and Allen Robinson of the Jaguars are both promising wide receivers to own. Allen Hurns left last week’s game with a concussion and will have to go through the protocol before getting back on the field. There’s little doubt Jacksonville will have to throw a ton this season and those two are the top receivers. We prefer Shorts over Robinson simply based on experience and track record.

John Brown of Arizona made a great catch to give the Cardinals the lead over the Rams with his 48-yard touchdown catch. The only thing better than the catch was his celebration dance afterwards. But we’re still not rostering Brown yet. Stanton under center is a concern and Brown is a feast-or-famine receiver. He could make a big play that makes the highlight reel or he could post two catches for nine yards; both are equally possible. Because of that reason, we’re not picking him up.

 

Tight Ends

This position is growing super thin in a super quick fashion. Delanie Walker of the Titans has a concussion and the big-name guys are the only ones producing consistently. We’ll need deep options to bridge the gap.

Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings is expected back this week after missing several weeks with hernia surgery. A healthy, big body and a matchup against a miserable Chicago defense look very promising. Chase Ford will get the call if Rudolph can’t go for some reason.

Mychal Rivera of the Raiders scored again and is becoming the best receiving threat in Oakland. It’s surprising that the Raiders have a couple of players with some fantasy value despite being 0-9.

Chares Clay of the Dolphins has seen 17 targets in the last two weeks and is becoming more and more involved in the Dolphins passing game each week.

 

Kickers

Same as last week, pick one.

 

Defense & Special Teams

Since we can’t pick on Jacksonville this week, we have to find someone else to make our whipping boy. The Cleveland DST is picking up a good number of points consistently and has a favorable matchup with Houston. The Texans are starting Ryan Mallett this week and Arian Foster could be limpy with a hamstring.

The San Diego DST takes on Oakland so they’re an option. The Pittsburgh DST should be a good choice against the Titans on Monday night as is both sides of the Miami-Buffalo matchup.

That should give you plenty of targets. Leave the comments below and we hope your teams are doing well as we come closer to the end of the season.

  1. Dom B says:
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    My roster I want to keep ravens D who to drop and for what d for week 11 browns, texans, chargers, bears, colts

    QB – Aaron Rodgers – Packers
    RB – LeSean McCoy – Eagles
    RB – Andre Ellington – Cardinals
    WR – T.Y. Hilton – Colts
    WR – Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers
    TE – Larry Donnell – Giants
    PK – Steven Hauschka – Seahawks
    DEF – Baltimore Ravens – Ravens

    Bench:
    QB – Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers
    RB – Fred Jackson – Bills
    RB – Charles Sims – Buccaneers
    WR – Odell Beckham – Giants
    WR – Percy Harvin – Jets
    WR – Roddy White – Falcons
    TE – Delanie Walker – Titans

    • Connor says:
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      @Dom B: Easy answer, just drop the Ravens d and stream.

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @Dom B: Dump the Ravens and grab the Bolts.

  2. Spring Blake says:
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    Would you trade Ryan Mathews for Cutler?

    Have Kaep and Palmer at QB, Jamaal Charles, Bradshaw, Mathews at RB (Only start 2)

    I could try to pick up Sanchez on waivers and not do the trade, or do the trade and claim one of Asiata, Sproles, Mckinnon, J stewart, Riddick, Jonas Gray etc as a bench back.

    Thanks as always

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @Spring Blake: Grab Sanchez since he has shown he can succeed in that Eagles’ system. And drop Palmer to do so since he is now on IR with a torn ACL.

      • Spring Blake says:
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        @Andrew Nordmeier: Thanks guys, Sanchize it is.

  3. Zandy says:
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    Robinson out for the year in jax. Stash hurns?

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @Zandy: I’d do that. We still need more data on his concussion suffered in London against Dallas but he has that potential.

  4. Robert says:
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    Better option: McKinnon or Vereen?

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @Robert: Vereen. He doesn’t have a potential all-Pro breathing down his neck in the near future.

  5. DiRo says:
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    Keep Sanu over Brown, then?

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @DiRo: Agreed. Brown is a flashy dancer but is too inconsistent. Sanu is locked in as a WR2 on the Bengals’ depth chart. Arizona wants to spread the ball around and that spells trouble for Brown’s value.

  6. Kyle says:
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    I get: Bradshaw
    Give: Lamar miller and Sanchez

    Dual QB league. My other qbs are stafford and Brady.

    RBs are forsett Ellington and miller. Forsett on bye in must win week so I fivured Bradshaw >> miller especially vs buffalo.

    What do you think?

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @Kyle: I like the concept but I feel like you’re overpaying for Bradshaw in a 2QB league. Sanchez should have more value as the season progresses and is a great insurance policy if Brady or Stafford falter

  7. TualatinTwoStep says:
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    Anyone want to chime in on this trade?

    Deep (12 team, 42 man in season roster) dynasty league, I have been offered a 1st round rookie pick in 2015 (which will likely be somewhere between 4 and 7 depending on how this guy finishes, so Gordon/Gurley will be gone for sure) for Adrian Peterson.

    I have Ellington, J Hill, Denard, McKinnon, McFadden, and Cadet (its PPR so he’s decent) at RB. This league has been around since 2005, and I’ve made the mistake in the past of holding on to Portis and SJax one year too long…….Peterson is a freak, but I am considering the deal.

    Thoughts?

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @TualatinTwoStep: No. Keep AP since you know what he is capable of whereas an unproven rookie could flame out in three years. There’s going to be some risk involved since we don’t know what will happen this offseason but I wouldn’t give away a potential HOFer (debatable) for a first-rounder in a league where you have 484 guys on rosters.

  8. Andre says:
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    Are you dropping Oliver for Anderson? Which runningback do you think will provide the most value for the playoffs?

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @Andre: Andreson should and I would drop Oliver. That backfield is going to get crowded and I was checking out of Oliver last week to beat the rush.

  9. Connor says:
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    I own the seahawks d but am getting ready to drop, picked up chargers for the next two weeks. Any thoughts on the Giants d? Looks like an awesome playoff schedule

    • Andrew Nordmeier

      Andrew Nordmeier says:
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      @Connor: They have the schedule but the results don’t match. They have allowed at least 20 points in each of their last five games and are 1-4 in those games. Hopefully, they can pull it together but losing Prince to a torn bicep (DFS) hurts their cause.

  10. HowdyDo says:
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    Hoping you can get to this before the evening. I’m in a very competitive/deep 12 team PPR league. with 2 WR 2 RB and 2 TE/WR/RB flexes. My backs are Forte, Lynch, Bush, Vereen, McKinnon, and Sims.

    Should I burn my super valuable #1 waiver priority on CJ Anderson to try to get a possible playoff winning stud/depth, or hold on to it in case there are any more big injuries the next few weeks and/or during playoffs? I’m feeling pretty good about making the playoffs.

    On one hand that Ace in the hole waiver wire priority is super valuable, on the other hand I’ve had my eye on CJ for a couple years and it wouldn’t shock me if he takes over and becomes a transformative player in 2K14

  11. Dom B says:
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    Should I drop Charles Sims for cj Anderson

  12. Fantasy Newb says:
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    My RBs this week are Rashad and Hill with Joique on the bench. My WRs are VJax and Boldin with Sanu/Britt on the bench. Would you trade Jennings for Hopkins? How should I manage my lineup? Thanks!

  13. Luis says:
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    Speaking of the DEN RB situation, would you drop one of these guys to pick him up? Pick one from:

    McKinnon, Sankey or Sims

    I don’t know who to drop. I also have Hyde, but we count return yards in my league and he might be the kick returner now.

  14. Nick says:
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    Struggling with my core lineup this week Sky, in a 10-team non-ppr I have the following roster set;

    QB-Rodgers
    RB- Ingram & McKinnon
    WR- Cobb, K Allen, ODB
    Flex-M Bryant
    bench: R Jennings, R Matthews, Sanu & A Johnson

    I know it comes down to how Jennings & Matthews return from injury, but if either are 100%, they might be better options than McK at RB2 or Bryant at flex, right?

    • Nick says:
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      @Nick: meant to say Andrew, not Sky! Sorry!

  15. Bob says:
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    10 Team League with Standard Scoring. Have an empty roster spot. Trying to decide how to use. Current Roster Below. With that last roster spot would you take the plunge with CJ Anderson or Jordan Matthews? Or go ahead and pick up Kyle Rudolph to prepare for Greg’s Bye? Or Grab Houston Texan Defense?

    QB-Aaron Rodger
    RB-Leveon Bell
    RB-Matt Forte
    WR-Demaryus Thomas
    WR-Julio Jones
    WR-Sammy Watkins
    Flex-Kennan Allen
    TE-Greg Olson
    K-Gostowski
    DEF-Broncos
    Bench-Josh Gordon
    Bench-Fred Jackson
    Bench-Denard Robinson
    Bench-Martavis Bryant
    Bench-
    Bench-Ronnie Hillman

    • Nick says:
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      @Bob: safe bet is Rudolph for your bye week fill-in, especially since I think your roster is fine without Matthews or Anderson.. (Matthews might be upgrade over K Allen if he continues this thrashing with Sanchez, but with Gordon on bench & D Robinson/M Bryant as potential flexes going forward I think your fine)…

      BTW, I have M Bryant and K Allen…at my flex, I can’t see benching Bryant over K Allen, with how well Bryant has been doing & I just got K Allen in a trade for Edelman..

      • Bob says:
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        @Nick: Thanks for the reply. And yeah I traded for Allen when he was doing even worse than he is now….And it is tough to start him… Rivers is spreading the ball around alot. I just worry about Bryant as a rookie. I do think he is in an enviable position like Evans. In that the best corner will always be on the Brown.

  16. Dom B says:
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    Would trade odell Beckham Jr. for Lamar Miller and Golden Tate in a league with 1 flex two WR two rb

    My roster

    QB – Aaron Rodgers – Packers
    RB – LeSean McCoy – Eagles
    RB – Andre Ellington – Cardinals
    WR – T.Y. Hilton – Colts
    WR – Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers
    TE – Larry Donnell – Giants
    PK – Steven Hauschka – Seahawks
    DEF – Baltimore Ravens – Ravens

    Bench:
    QB – Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers
    RB – Fred Jackson – Bills
    RB – Charles Sims – Buccaneers
    WR – Odell Beckham – Giants
    WR – Percy Harvin – Jets
    WR – Roddy White – Falcons
    TE – Delanie Walker – Titans

  17. Blake says:
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    For DEF I have cinncinati but they have horrible recently. do u think they bounce back? other options are:

    philly
    NE
    SD
    MInn
    CHI
    CLE

    • Nick says:
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      @Blake: SD or Cleveland…I’m going with SD & hoping that a few starters returning on defense might help!

  18. TobiasFunkeAnalRapist says:
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    I’ve got Rainey and Bush, thinking about dropping one? Who should it be? Some of my options for this bye week are Rivera, Kyle Rudolph and Robert Woods. What do you think? Thanks I appreciate any input.

  19. Dom B says:
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    My roster would you trade Odell Beckham for Golden Tate and Rashad Jennings and who to drop if accepted

    QB – Aaron Rodgers – Packers
    RB – LeSean McCoy – Eagles
    RB – Andre Ellington – Cardinals
    WR – T.Y. Hilton – Colts
    WR – Kelvin Benjamin – Panthers
    TE – Larry Donnell – Giants
    PK – Steven Hauschka – Seahawks
    DEF – Baltimore Ravens – Ravens

    Bench:
    QB – Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers
    RB – Fred Jackson – Bills
    RB – Charles Sims – Buccaneers
    WR – Odell Beckham – Giants
    WR – Percy Harvin – Jets
    WR – Roddy White – Falcons
    TE – Delanie Walker – Titans

  20. jmc94 says:
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    12 team yahoo head to head. 4-6, in 6th place. Top 8 make playoffs. There are 3 other teams at 4-6, one at 5-5, and two more at 3-7. So 7 teams fighting for 3 spots. There are 3 weeks of regular season left.
    Would you trade Josh Gordon for Martellus Bennett, keeping in mind that I play the team who I would be trading Gordon to next week (he’s one of the 3-7 teams but seems primed for a late season run).
    So, is upgrading from Reed to Bennett at TE for the last 3 weeks and beyond more beneficial than being able to slot Gordon into the flex spot rather than CJ Anderson/E Decker/B Rainey/J Gray for the last 2 weeks and beyond? Thanks.

    qb Stafford
    wr J jones
    wr M Evans
    wr M Bryant
    rb Forte
    rb Morris
    TE J Reed
    Flex CJ Anderson/Decker/Rainey/Gray

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