Before the season began, the New England Patriots made a highly questionable trade that sent veteran offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for little known tight end Tim Wright.
Quarterback Tom Brady was reportedly upset with the deal, and it started a storyline that surmised the end of the former MVP’s Hall of Fame run with New England. On paper, the deal made some sense. The Patriots lacked targets for Brady, and they needed another tight end to pair with Rob Gronkowski.
Well, 12 weeks later it looks like the Pats made one of the bigger steals of the year. Mankins has been bothered by a knee injury all season, and Wright has emerged as a deadly threat for Brady in the red zone.
In Sunday’s victory over Detroit, two of Wright’s five catches were for touchdowns, and he’s now totaled six on the season, with four in the last four games.
For fantasy owners looking for another option at tight end with the regular season winding down, Wright is an excellent and available option. He’s owned in 15 percent of Yahoo! and 4.3 percent of ESPN leagues, but there’s sure to be a run on him before the start of Week 13 on Thanksgiving.
In their last five games of the season, Wright and New England play some tough opponents who have largely held tight ends in check like Green Bay, San Diego and Miami. But Wright could benefit from whatever attention Gronkowski draws, much like he did against Detroit’s top defense this week.
As for the early batch of games, overall, several players stood out as worthy waiver claims for Week 13. Remember, always drop and add at your own discretion.
Daniel Herron, RB, Indianapolis Colts
There was a bit of a rush on Herron before Sunday’s games as most owners rightly have little faith in Trent Richardson filling in well for Ahmad Bradshaw, but some held back (Herron’s owned in 21 percent of Yahoo! and 12.2 percent of ESPN leagues). Herron got one less touch than Richardson but led the team with 65 rushing yards. He also still caught five balls for 31 yards and in PPR leagues he’ll be a worthy RB3 or flex. With Bradshaw now done, Herron could be a difference maker the rest of the season.
Charles Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
With Cordarrelle Patterson struggling, the Vikings needed a lot more from the receiving corps, and Johnson answered the call against Green Bay. Last week Johnson totaled six catches for 87 yards off seven targets, and that afforded him more chances in Week 12. With three catches for 52 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion from 11 targets, Johnson’s slowly making a name for himself in Minnesota. Some might be rightfully skeptical, but Teddy Bridgewater needs a reliable No. 2 receiver and Johnson’s responding to the extra reps. If owners are in need of a WR3 or more depth, pick up Johnson.
Andrew Quarless, TE, Green Bay Packers
Quarless has never gotten more than five targets in a game this season, but he typically catches whatever comes his way. Before Week 12 he caught 19 of 29 targets for 180 yards and three touchdowns, a very solid rate for a big red zone target. He caught another two passes for 50 yards and a touchdown off three targets against Minnesota. For any owner looking for another TE1 or a deep flex play, Quarless could be a smart move.
Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland Browns
The return of Josh Gordon got all the attention, but Hawkins led the team in receiving for most of the Week 12 win over Atlanta. Gordon is certainly Cleveland’s No. 1 receiver, but Hawkins could easily vulture touchdowns with defenses so focused on Gordon. When Hawkins was Brian Hoyer’s No. 1 option he averaged 9.2 targets and pulled in five catches for 66.7 yards per game, a nice haul for any owner’s WR2 or WR3 in a PPR league. Think of Hawkins as a lesser Golden Tate after Calvin Johnson’s return. Hawkins is owned in 37 percent of Yahoo! and 44.5 percent of ESPN leagues, so he is available.
Others to watch: LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots; Justin Hunter, WR, Titans; Louis Murphy, WR, Buccaneers; Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars; Toby Gerhart, RB, Jaguars; Brent Celek, TE, Eagles