By Jack Thomason-
(CBS) The final two byes (Carolina, Pittsburgh) are here in Week 12. We obviously lose some important players this week, but the vast majority of bye-week headaches are over.
Players like Denver's C.J. Anderson and Philadelphia's Jordan Matthews aren't on this list because they are owned in more than than 82 percent of CBS leagues. If they are available, they should be at the top of this list with Jonas Gray and Tre Mason.
With the need for bye week fill-ins almost over, get rid of the WR5 or RB4/5 "stash" you have and back up your workhorse running back with their handcuff. Such players would be far more valuable to an owner given an injury than majority of the waiver stashes at this point in the season.
Now, on to Week 12's top 10 waiver adds, with an eye on 10- or 12- team leagues.
1. Jonas Gray (RB, New England Patriots, available in 67% of CBS leagues) -- He has been on the list on multiple occasions. He made the sleeper list as well, yet he is still only owned in only one-third of CBS leagues. He is the clear "big back" in the New England offense who is red hot. Gray just carved up the Colts run defense for 199 yards rushing and four touchdowns on a whopping 38 carries. We are entering that time of year where teams need to be able to run the ball as winter weather moves in. Well, the Patriots and Gray just showed they can. Add him, and ride him. Just one caution: New England coach Bill Belichick still plans game by game, so don't expect Gray to receive 20-25 carries weekly.
2. Tre Mason (RB, St. Louis Rams, 33%) -- On Sunday, Mason totaled 29 carries and 113 yards against one of the toughest run defenses (Denver) in football. It's clear that he's the lead back for the Rams and must be owned going forward. He added two targets in the passing game as well, so he hasn't been completely useless in that facet. St. Louis has some tough fantasy playoff matchups against Washington and Arizona, but hard to find better than a back who's averaged 18.8 touches over the last five contests.
3. Coby Fleener (TE, Indianapolis Colts, 37%) -- I wrote about Fleener in my sleeper column last week, and he didn't disappoint. Fleener was one of the few bright spots for the Colts in a 42-20 drubbing at the hands of the Patriots. He hauled in all seven targets and rumbled his way to 144 yards. With the news that Dwayne Allen has suffered a high-ankle sprain, Fleener is a must-add. He will be the primary tight end target for Andrew Luck during fantasy football's most important stretch.
4. Isaiah Crowell (RB, Cleveland Browns, 57%) -- I'm starting to have flashbacks to the Mike Shanahan days in which you could never figure out which tailback would be relevant. The same thing is happening here. We all thought Terrance West would be "the guy," then 30 minutes before kickoff, news breaks that Crowell will be starting. He had the best week of practice, and that seems to be a theme for coach Mike Pettine. This backfield is going to be tough to decipher, but you want to own a piece of it. I am sticking with Crowell, as I have said all along that I believe he's the most talented back in this backfield.
5. Bryce Brown (RB, Buffalo Bills, 48%) -- He had six carries for 14 yards last time out but added seven receptions for 57 yards. Even when Fred Jackson comes back, I believe Brown will fill the C.J. Spiller role. He's a big, explosive back and looks better than Anthony Dixon each time he touched the ball last Thursday. He has 13 catches for 122 yards over the last two weeks. That's nice production, especially in PPR leagues.
6. Alfred Blue (RB, Houston Texans, 34%) -- We don't know the extent of Arian Foster's groin injury or when he will be back. Blue, albeit on a soft matchup, just ran the ball 36 times for 156 yards against the Browns. He showed he can be a reliable workhorse if Foster is to continue to miss games, and that's all we as fantasy owners care about. Blue was given the volume and produced, so add him where you can, especially if you are a Foster owner.
7. Cecil Shorts (WR, Jacksonville Jaguars, 61%) -- Shorts is the No. 1 receiver for a team that's often paying from behind. He led the team before the bye with five receptions and 119 yards, and he will continue to soak up targets with fellow teammate Allen Robinson going on injured reserve. Over the last five weeks, Shorts has averaged 9.4 targets per game. That number could grow due to the Robinson injury, and it's more than enough to sustain WR3 numbers.
8. Kenny Stills (WR, New Orleans Saints, 69%) – Brandin Cooks is out for four to six weeks with a broken thumb. You never know how the target distribution will play out in New Orleans, but Stills should be the one to see his targets rise. He grabbed all four of his looks Sunday for 32 yards and a trip to paydirt. Moving forward, he will be the only quality, big-play deep threat the Saints have.
9. Kenny Britt (WR, St. Louis Rams, 88%) -- Britt is the clear-cut No. 1 option in the Rams' passing attack. He was targeted a team-high seven times Sunday and broke free for a 63-yard touchdown. He totaled four receptions, 128 yards and a score with new quarterback Shaun Hill running the show. He also has two touchdowns over his last three games. The run game is picking up, and the Rams have beaten both Super Bowl teams from last year, for what that's worth.
10. Latavius Murray (RB, Oakland Raiders, 99%) – This listing is indicative of my personal feeling of Murray and partially because of what transpired Sunday. Murray came in and gave the run game a spark. He received his first carry late in the third quarter but ripped off long gains and totaled four carries for 43 yards. He had seven touches for 59 yards Sunday, and it's possible we are seeing a changing of the guard. Let's see if he receives more touches Thursday night. He is a big, dual-threat back with power and speed. Oh, and let's not forget, Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew aren't very good.
Just missed: Josh McCown, Dan Herron, Charles Sims, Juwan Thompson, Theo Riddick, Jarvis Landry, Kyle Rudolph and Jacob Tamme.
Jack Thomason is the winner of the 2014 Bud Light Fantasy Expert Contest, co-host of Fantasy Streamers and co-host of the Nerd Herd. You can listen to Fantasy Streamers every Sunday from 8-9 a.m. CT at 670thescore.com/listen. The Nerd Herd is on every Friday, starting at 11 p.m. and lasting until 1 a.m. on 670 The Score and online here. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.
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