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Winning the Wire and Surviving the Bye: Week 12 Fantasy Sleepers

Minnesota's John Carlson will reach for paydirt again against the Packers this week.  (John Carlson/GameDay Gold)

The Week 12 byes for Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Seattle leave fantasy owners devoid of several key players and looking for depth options to round out their lineups.  This is the final bye week, so if you’re in the playoffs you can have a separate agenda from those needing to win this week.  Look for defenses with good matchups if you need one and handcuff options for your stud skill position players.  Here are some players to target if you need to look to the wire to win a week 12 matchup.

LAST WEEK

Bobby Rainey is a more powerful Darren Sproles that cannot be stopped and gets 20+ touches per game…at least for one week against the Falcons.  Rainey went for three touchdowns and is more than just a one week wonder with a monopoly on carries in Tampa Bay over the plodding Leonard.  Mike Glennon leaned on Vincent Jackson again en route to a nice game and is a viable Week 12 starting option for Wilson, Foles, or Dalton.  Case Keenum inspires less confidence this week after being yanked in favor of Matt Schaub by Gary Kubiak last week.  Kubiak has said Keenum will start this week, and I would be surprised if we saw Keenum pulled again absent a truly horrendous performance or injury.  It would be nice to start him with confidence against Jacksonville, but he did nothing last week to indicate that is an option on the table.

Donald Brown scored twice while Delanie Walker and Jerricho Cotchery each found paydirt (and Walker went over 100 yards).  I would flex them in that order this week, with Brown as a viable RB2.  Ben Tate doesn’t look healthy, but Johnson needs him to go down to be added.  Buffalo’s defense is benefiting from Kiko Alsonso’s dominating performance much like Carolina’s did last season when they drafted Luke Keuchly out of Boston College and subsequently moved him to middle linebacker.

QUARTERBACKS

Mike Glennon (TB @ DET)  Glennon and the Bucs face a Lion defense that has been vulnerable against opposing passing attacks.  The Lions are also prone to shootouts and Glennon has been decent without a No. 2 receiver.

Scott Tolzien (MIN @ GB)  Of the desperation QBs, Tolzien has by far the best matchup of the bunch as he will face Minnesota at Lambeau.  The Packers have enough weapons to support a 20+ point effort in standard leagues for Tolzien.

RUNNING BACKS

Bobby Rainey (TB) and Donald Brown (IND) far exceeded expectations from this spot last week, and if they happen to be available in your league they are both worth an add.

Montee Ball (DEN @ NE)  Ball has appeal in standard leagues because he is receiving 8-10 carries a game including some red zone work.  The Patriots defended Carolina’s running backs well, but Denver is likely to test them in a potential shootout Sunday night.

Daniel Thomas (CAR @ MIA)  Thomas faces a tough matchup and runs behind an offensive line that’s more welcoming than a Southern wedding reception.  He’s a decent wire option this week because as the Patriots showed, the Panthers can be run on; Miami is at home and wants to control the clock; he has been much more effective than Lamar Miller recently and will get goal line carries.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Ace Sanders (JAX @ HOU)  The rookie from South Carolina had a career high eight grabs last week and could see consistent targets this week as the Jags No. 2  if Mike Brown is out with a shoulder injury.

Rod Streater (TEN @ OAK)  Streater had a nice game in Houston scoring a touchdown on eight targets and getting the ball on a reverse showing that Oakland  likes his playmaking ability.  McGloin was surprisingly effective for the Raiders last week and showed good chemistry with Streater.  He’s worth a look in deep PPR formats.

TIGHT ENDS

Garrett Graham (JAX @ HOU)  Graham enters the second week of the greatest tight end matchup fortnight of the season.  He torched Oakland with two different quarterbacks only to get the lowly Jaguars this week.  Ride the wave while it lasts.

John Carlson (MIN @ GB)  Carlson has been steady since taking over at TE for the Vikes.  He will likely benefit from garbage time and a panicked Viking quarterback dumping the ball off frequently.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

New Orleans gets Atlanta in a great matchup Thursday night, while the Giants could be all or nothing at home against the Cowboys.

About Kevin O'Keefe - @KevinOKeefe14

I am an attorney practicing in New Hampshire.  Previously I practiced in Florida, and have a Massachusetts license I have never used.  I am contributing with fantasy football pieces now and hope to expand my contributions in the future.   I attended college at the University of New Hampshire and was captain of the tennis team.  I graduated law school in 2007.    I love to surf, hike, and travel all over especially to Central America. I started playing fantasy sports in 8th grade when my friend and I would mail in our newspaper fantasy baseball salary cap league.  I play fantasy football, hockey, baseball and NASCAR.  I am happy to expand my current audience of fantasy advice recipients beyond my friends and family.  If you have lineup or draft questions, find me on Twitter @KevinOKeefe14.

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