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For a complete listing of targets and touches, check out our Statistics Analyzer and Utilizations pages.
Write-ups labeled with WW are waiver wire targets. Find more fantasy football risers in our Fantasy Football Waiver Wire.
Did Stevan Ridley fumble away control of the New England Patriots backfield? He didn't see the field after coughing it up early on Sunday Night Football. Bill Belichick must be running out of patience with Ridley's numerous mistakes. LeGarrette Blount probably let the small chance he had of establishing a grasp roll away, as well, after he also put the rock on the ground.
Soft-shoeing into the lead
Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden carried the mail in the second half, though Vereen's 24 utilizations comprised of 11 targets, his second straight week with that total. He was already in place to take over the majority game should Ridley drop the ball, merely because of his fit with their up-tempo system.
Though Bolden falls in line behind Vereen, he may have the inside track for between-the-tackles duties. He's a fine fantasy grab for the flex-desperate.
Vereen's heavy presence through the air also jeopardizes the rest of New England's catchers, but Julian Edelman was part of New England's second-half change of plans as he outplayed Danny Amendola. Aaron Dobson was also kept away, for so far unknown reasons, being replaced by Kenbrell Thompkins.
WW: If Zac Stacy (concussion) can't pass league tests to suit up this weekend, Benny Cunningham will carry the load for the St. Louis Rams. Isaiah Pead poses no threat for every-down work.
WW: The Houston Texans planned on involving Dennis Johnson a little more this past weekend, though Gary Kubiak insists Ben Tate (ribs) remains the starting back. Johnson, however, looks more effective for the immediate future and typically runs with a bit more giddy-up. That'll go a long way in helping Houston move the ball.
WW: Surprise! Chris Ivory (ankle) is hurt again. We'll know his status Wednesday, but Bilal Powell would shoulder the New York Jets' carry load and must be near the top of your pickup list.
Andre Johnson said the Texans' offense "suck[s]" after his six-target, two-grab day Sunday. Johnson totaled 42 looks before that stinker and should get the ball repeatedly this weekend, but will it be emerging lockdown CB Aqib Talib covering him?
On another sneaky play -- a handoff to a wideout -- the St. Louis Rams proved they're figuring out how to maximize Tavon Austin's dynamite game-changing abilities. His six utilizations still don't rank highly for a wideout, but his increasing efficiency and big-play prowess makes him a much more lineup-worthy asset now.
The Oakland Raiders' Rod Streater has reaped the benefits with the injury to Denarius Moore (shoulder). Streater had nine targets for the second straight week this past Sunday with Moore sidelined. He's snared 11 of them for 177 yards and a score to earn valid fantasy WR3 consideration.
Ted Ginn Jr. had 10 targets for the Carolina Panthers but only hauled in three and dropped a likely touchdown bomb. That sums up the speedster's fantasy value.
WW: Shifty undrafted rookie Darius Johnson (15 looks since Week 10) looks slightly more intriguing for late-season desperation than Roddy White (11). Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan has been forced to look to intermediate tosses more often without Julio Jones (foot), and Johnson's increased involvement isn't a fluke.
If Hakeem Nicks (abdomen) can't go once again, Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan (each seven looks) will continue to be involved for the New York Giants, but Randle is the only one with fantasy relevance.
Miles Austin played more often than Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, but none of these three did much. None are playable in most formats, though Austin has the best chance to be useful by season's end for the Dallas Cowboys.
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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