DENVER (CBS4) – With three of the best Turkey Day match-ups in recent memory, make sure to set your Week 13 rosters early. The holiday kicks off early with the Chicago Bears at the Detroit Lions here on CBS4, followed by the Philadelphia Eagles at the Dallas Cowboys, and the Seattle Seahawks at the San Francisco 49ers.
Thursday games have been wildly unpredictable this year, but they can’t be avoided this week with so many big names in action.
Can’t Miss Waiver-Wire Pickups
Two players had breakout performances this week and are still available in a high percentage of leagues.
Odell Beckham, Jr. WR NYG – The often-injured New York Giants rookie had a breakout performance against Dallas going for 146 yards and 2 TDs. He’s quickly becoming Eli Manning’s favorite target and a must start. He made a one-handed snag so nice it made the CBS Evening News. Snag him. He’s still available in 25 percent of leagues.
C.J. Anderson RB DEN – The next man up philosophy in the Denver Broncos backfield has really paid off for Anderson. With Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman on the shelf, Anderson went for 195 yards and a TD against the Miami Dolphins. It’s Anderson’s third-straight solid performance and it would be hard to imagine the Broncos veering away from him against the Chiefs in Week 13.
RUNNING BACK: Time-Shares, Tough Decisions
If you have the option, it’s always good advice to stay away from the dreaded “backfield-by-committee.” But, there are some serious points to be had on some of the top offenses, if you choose correctly.
New England Patriots
Shane Vereen RB NE – Probably the most solid pick, Vereen won’t gobble up all the carries, but he is QB Tom Brady’s favorite check-down target in the passing game. In a battle of two high-powered offenses at Green Bay, Vereen should see plenty of touches.
LeGarrette Blount RB NE – Blount’s NFL career was in jeopardy after he walked off the field and was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a blink of an eye, he’s back piling up 78 yards and 2 TD as the Patriots short-yardage back. Look for more TDs from Blount moving forward.
Jonas Gray RB NE – After setting the world (and waiver wire) on fire with a 4 TD performance in week 11, Gray was benched after missing a team meeting. Can he get out of Belichick’s dog house?
This kind of unpredictability is what makes the Patriots so hard to game plan against, and so tough on fantasy owners.
Giovanni Bernard RB CIN – The Bengals offense is clicking on all cylinders again with the return of WR A.J. Green and now Gio Bernard. The Bengals started Gio in Week 12 out of deference to the veteran, but he split time with rookie RB Jeremy Hill.
Jeremy Hill RB CIN- Hill outplayed Bernard, racking up 87 rushing yards on 18 carries, scoring a TD. Hill also received the bulk of the goal line work. As the weather grows colder, Hill will become the banger the Bengals need in the AFC North.
Isaiah Crowell RB CLE- Three was a crowd in the Browns backfield, so they dumped RB Ben Tate and went to a two-man split. In week 12, Crowell bested RB Terrance West, scoring twice, although the carries were split equally. Crowell seems to be the fan favorite and coach Mike Pettine’s favorite as well.
Terrance West RB CLE- Don’t count West out. He received an equal number of touches in Week 12 and 62 yards on the ground. From here on out, the Browns will continue to ride the hot runner. The entire offense will benefit a great deal from the return of star WR Josh Gordon.
Trent Richardson RB IND – Even with Ahmad Bradshaw out for the season with a broken leg, the Colts passed over Richardson, starting RB Dan Herron instead. Richardson’s fantasy day was salvaged with a late TD. The Colts seem to be coming to the same conclusion the Browns did after drafting Richardson, he looks good on paper, but isn’t going to be reliable.
Dan Herron RB IND- Out of nowhere, Herron got the start and outplayed Trent Richardson, rushing for 65 yards and catching 5 passes for 31 yards. Look for Herron to get more touches as the season progresses.
Mark Sanchez QB PHI – The Eagles keep scoring points and this week Sanchez showed his season debut wasn’t a fluke. Sanchez threw for 300 yards, but threw two picks. Thanksgiving Day he should put up big numbers in a shootout with Dallas.
Matt Prater – In week 12, Prater scored 11 fantasy points against the stingy Patriots defense. He’s 11 for 13 over the past five games. If the Lions offense ever picks up, Prater’s leg could prove valuable. Plus, he won’t be impacted by weather. He has 3 home games in a row at Ford Field.
St. Louis Rams – The Rams defense has scored in double digits three out of the past four weeks and have a favorable matchup at home against the Raiders.
Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals shut down the Texans in Week 12 and play the turnover-prone Buccaneers this week.
New York Giants – Operating strictly on matchup, the defense facing the Jacksonville Jaguars rarely disappoints.
Denver Broncos Report
Heading into week 12, TE Julius Thomas and WR Emmanuel Sanders were both question marks because of injuries. Coming off a concussion, Sanders answered those questions in a big way with 125 receiving yards against Miami. Sanders was getting open at-will and could have had more if he wasn’t overthrown on consecutive deep balls.
After sitting out Week 12 with an ankle injury, Julius Thomas remains a concern for Week 13. He’s questionable now, so owners will have to keep an eye on him until Sunday. In his absence, backup TE Jacob Tamme had a very low impact, although he had a touchdown called back because of a penalty.
Kickers Jay Feely or Connor Barth should be on your radar, if they are signed to replace the struggling Brandon McManus. A veteran presence could give the coaching staff some confidence in the kicking game, which is likely to translate into points on this high-powered offense.
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– By Mark Ackerman, CBS4 Producer