Week 12: Pickups of the Week
It was Kevin Smith and not Maurice Morris who stepped up in Jahvid Best's absence last week. This was only Smith's second week of healthy football activity, but he looked strong, ripping off 140 rushing yards, two rushing scores and a TD catch. With Best's eventual return date up in the air (and his health a general, lasting question mark), Smith stands to take over the starting RB duties going forward. The Lions don't face another top run-stopping defense all season long, so Smith has every opportunity to produce big fantasy points down the stretch.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
Little's role in the Browns offense continues to increase. He leads the team in catches and receiving yards and has kept up steady production all season long. Of course, the albatross around his neck and the reason he remains unowned in a majority of fantasy leagues is the fact that Little has yet to score his first touchdown as a pro. Since Cleveland's Week 5 bye, Little has seen an average of nearly nine targets a game. It's absurd that he hasn't yet managed to turn one of those opportunities into a score, but we consider this a statistical anomaly. In deep leagues Little is already a reasonable PPR play; once he can start finding the end zone, he'll be a fantasy regular.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
He may still be a week or two away, but it's never too early to start planning for the fantasy playoffs. Santana Moss was mass-dropped after he broke his hand in Week 7 and has been on the shelf though four of his team's six-game losing streak. In a best case scenario he'd return this week to face the Seahawks, who haven't been able to cover anyone since having to place Marcus Trufant on IR. The following week would be a nightmare match-up against the Jets, putting the Week 14 match-up against the Patriots as the game for Moss and prospective Moss owners to target. New England is giving up the most passing yards per game of any NFL team this season.MyFantasyLeague availability: 25%
Still no love for Miller who, going into the bye, had rattled off eight straight weeks with at least three catches. He still sits tenth among TEs in reception yards and catches and would become even more valuable to his team if Ben Roethlisberger's broken thumb bumps Charlie Batch into the starting lineup. Conventional wisdom tells you to downgrade all receivers when a backup QB steps into the picture, and it's true defenses will blitz the new pivot, making it harder to push the ball downfield. But a reliable tight end like Miller would be Batch's safety valve and go-to guy.MyFantasyLeague availability: 19%
The Patriots defense has been a bitter disappointment to those who had them highly ranked in the preseason. Rightfully maligned over much of the season for fielding the league's most porous pass defense, they've righted the ship somewhat lately. Three sacks, three interceptions, only three points allowed last week; five sacks, two interceptions, 16 points allowed the week before. Now they face a laughable lineup of losers that includes the 0-10 Colts, the 3-7 Redskins, the 5-5 Broncos, the 3-7 Dolphins and the 5-5 Bills. If that's not a recipe for success down the stretch, I don't know what is.