As we hit Week 12 in the fantasy season, the playoffs, nay LIVES, are at stake. You're probably doing everything you can to salvage your roster and hang on until the playoffs. Hopefully, you've been working the wire like a savage all season long but if not, now's the time. A rock-solid pickup or two late in the season can mean the difference between a strong finish and a spot in the playoffs and a weak-ass showing in the middle of the pack and nothing but your shame and a lukewarm beer to keep you company during the playoffs. So let's saddle up, hit the wire, and get this thing done. Consider a few of these under-the-radar gems worthy of a roster spot with just a few weeks to go. Every move matters, so let's make 'em count.
With all the controversy, awful play, and losses, you'd be right to be wary given how the season has been going for the Niners, but Kaepernick has quietly been producing solid numbers since he got the start a few weeks ago. Currently available in nearly 75% of leagues, Kaep has scored two touchdowns in every game he has started this year and in a QB run-heavy Chip Kelly offense he's putting up rushing numbers as well. With as much as he's running the ball, all you really need out of him each week is one touchdown in order to make him a more than viable starter. He's on track to easily be a top 10 fantasy QB the rest of the season, regardless of how well (or terribly) the Niners play.
Wendell Smallwood - Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles backfield has pretty much been a dumpster fire for fantasy owners all season with Ryan Matthews erratic play and vulturing from Sproles and Smallwood. But, with Matthews and Sproles now battling nagging injuries the path is clear for Smallwood to elevate to a consistent impact Flex or RB2 option.
Tim Hightower - New Orleans Saints
With Ingram's decent into mediocrity the second half of the season (again, dammit!), Hightower has emerged as a legit fantasy option. You're probably going to have to deal with the heartburn that comes from somewhat of a running back-by-committee situation, but Payton loves Hightower and his potential ceiling the rest of the season only gets better each week. He's currently only owned in about 50% of leagues.
Tyler Boyd - Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green going down was a swift and violent kick straight to the balls of a great many owners (this writer included) and it leaves a gaping hole for targets from an ascendent Red Rifle. While LaFell is there and will garner some looks Boyd already showed he’s got the skills to become a legit WR2 or flex play for the remainder of the season, especially in PPR formats.
Corey Coleman - Cleveland Browns
As ridiculous as it sounds, McCown coming back to QB for the Browns is good for everyone on the offense. Pryor will see the majority of the tough coverage so Coleman could scoop up plenty of looks.
CJ Fiedorowicz - Houston Texans
Despite the dumpster fire that is Brock Osweiler, Fiedorowicz is quietly having a Top 10 TE season thanks to Osweiler’s curious unwillingness to throw the ball to one of the league’s best receivers in Nuk Hopkins. Still available in nearly 50% of leagues, he’s a solid pick up if you're streaming the match up plays or just looking for a fill in for any number of injuries.
Cameron Brate - Tampa Bay Bucs
While bigger names like Julius Thomas, Coby Fleener, and Gary Barnidge continue to disappoint like a non-alcoholic beer, guys like Brate just keep on producing. Slightly more erratic of a play thank Fiedorowicz due to Winston’s somewhat unsteady play and the rise of Mike Evans, Brate is still a consistent TE pick up with good upside based on match ups.
With their team in the hunt for the playoffs and juicy end-of-season matchups with disaster offenses like Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Miami, the Bills are a sneaky defense that’s poised to put of solid numbers at the end of the year.
Only owned in roughly 50% of leagues, the Ravens have been low-key awesome and are trending to a top 10 finish as they just keep getting better every week. When you’re pushing towards a playoff run, something as small as the right defense can win you a spot in the big dance.