Fantasy moves to consider for Week 12
Bye weeks are over and fantasy playoffs will be here faster than Brett Favre can write "Leave me alone" one hundred times on a chalkboard. If you've been buried in the blogosphere, you know some have speculated that Favre could be a viable replacement for Curtis Painter, Matt Cassel, Matt Schaub and now Matt Hasselbeck and Jay Cutler. None of this will be happening, folks.
Moving on to this week, we're about to be treated to the best Thanksgiving Day slate in a decade. Can you remember a year more rife with injuries? I say it ever year, but this year's injury bug has to be the most widespread in recent memory. Other players just continue to disappoint. (One example rhymes with Chris Johnson. Oh, wait.)
I'm sure you're busy with packing, making sure your parents know how to find their HD channels or generally preparing to gorge yourself, so let's get right to this week's suggested pickups:
Kevin Smith, Detroit RB: The third time is the charm for Smith, who reemerged last week to carry the load for a team that had released him twice. Considered a backup to Maurice Morris who would predominantly be used in third-down situations, Smith wound up monopolizing the running back slot on his way to 201 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. With Jahvid Best's return this season questionable at best, expect Smith to get lots of carries going forward.
Harry Douglas, Atlanta WR: Douglas' production dropped last week; he had 51 yards after posting 133 the week before. But as long as Julio Jones is sidelined, Douglas should get plenty of looks as a starter. He has a particularly favorable matchup this week against the Vikings, who are tied with the Colts and Chargers for most passing touchdowns allowed, with 19.
Toby Gerhart, Minnesota RB: Gerhart had a disappointing performance against the Raiders as Adrian Peterson's injury replacement. But with Peterson likely out this week with a high ankle strain, Gerhart will be a starting running back on a run-heavy team.
Joe McKnight, New York Jets RB: Let me preface this by saying McKnight is valuable only if LaDainian Tomlinson (MCL) is out this week, given that Shonn Greene (ribs) has announced he plans to play. Last week McKnight broke out as a PPR darling with 16 carries for 59 yards rushing and six catches for 62 yards receiving. With the Jets facing an awful Bills run defense this week, McKnight would be poised to have a big game, even in a split-carry situation.
Matt Leinart, Houston QB: Leinart, greatly overestimated coming out of college, was ridiculed for failing to adequately replace Kurt Warner. But he is my favorite of the new wave of injury-replacement quarterbacks because a) he actually showed flashes of greatness in Arizona (they were infrequent, but they were there); b) Andre Johnson is likely to return this week; and c) Houston had a bye last week, allowing Leinart to get more acclimated to the playbook and the first-teamers.
C.J. Spiller, Buffalo RB: Fred Jackson hurt his calf in Sunday's loss to Miami and has been sitting out the earlier part of the week. If he ends up sitting out on Sunday, too, then Spiller becomes a decent pickup. Buffalo's offense is sputtering right now. Also, the Bills are facing the Jets, who have improved their run defense from the early season. But if he starts, Spiller could see some action in the passing game, making him more valuable for PPR leagues.
Kyle Williams, San Francisco WR: Williams is a guy on the rise in San Francisco. He is becoming the reliable target that Braylon Edwards has failed to be, all at a time when San Francisco is expanding its passing game. He had five catches for 54 yards and a score on Sunday.
If you have waiver questions or are seeking start/sit advice, please ask away. I'll be chatting on ESPN.com at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, a special day and time because of Thanksgiving.
Also, if you reside in the New York City area, please join Stephania Bell and me on Monday, Nov. 28, for espnW's Fantasy Football Forum for Women. We'll be sharing war stories and discussing the ways we all play fantasy. The event will be held at Southern Hospitality, at 45th Street and 9th Avenue, at 7 p.m. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.