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Waiver Wire: Lions' Burleson leads decent WR waiver group

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Ben Fisher, TSN.ca
11/12/2013 10:10:36 AM
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Each week, we will run down the top waiver wire pickups with a focus on the coming week and rest of the season.

QUARTERBACKS

Jason Campbell (at Bengals)
Last week: Bye
The Browns enjoyed their bye last week so if you're lucky other QB-needy fantasy owners may have forgotten his rather impressive Week 9. Against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens Campbell threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns. His injured ribs should be fully healed for the Browns road game in Cincinnati.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs Colts)
Last week: 22/33, 264 yards, 2 TDs
Fitzpatrick finished with a strong stat line in Week 10 replacing the injured Jake Locker and playing catch up against the no longer winless Jacksonville Jaguars. The Titans are a hard team to figure out, but one constant in Tennessee this year has been the strong fantasy numbers their QBs are putting up. Locker's injury appears to be a season-ender so owners could be getting six good weeks from Fitzpatrick.

Josh McCown (vs Ravens)
Last week: 6/9, 62 yards, 1 TD
Jay Cutler was lost again to a groin injury in Week 10 and yet there wasn't panic in Chicago. That's a testament to McCown's play filling in this year. Cutler has been labeled as “week-to-week” which translates to at least a couple weeks so owners could get a couple starts out of McCown. The veteran is averaging more than a touchdown and nearly 200 yards per appearance this season.

Scott Tolzien (at Giants)
Last week: 24/39, 280 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Tolzien's decent numbers are made more impressive when you consider they were done in three quarters of action, and even more impressive when you consider the Packers current state of receivers. The Seneca Wallace era lasted only a quarter as Tolzien, fresh from the practice roster, looks to be the Packers QB until Aaron Rodgers returns from injury.

Others: Christian Ponder (at Seahawks), Kellen Clemens (Bye)

RUNNING BACKS

Andre Brown (vs Packers)
Last week: 30 carries, 115 yards, 1 TD
Brown shot out of the gate in his first game of the season with a higher workload than he expected, and a much higher point total than many fantasy owners expected. The latest in a long line of starting RBs for the Giants, Brown was the sixth-highest scoring back in his 2013 debut. Those numbers shouldn't last all season long but Brown looks like he could be the Giants' answer at tailback (finally!) and is worth at least an RB2 spot.

Rashad Jennings (at Texans)
Last week: 20 carries, 88 yards, 2 catches, 19 yards
Jennings was inches away on two separate occasions from having a monster game against the Giants in Week 10. As it stood the backup still managed a very serviceable 10+ points on the day. Jennings looked good running the ball and if he cashes in his goal line opportunities in the future, he would certainly be worth an RB2 spot. Expectations should be tempered however, as Oakland's offence has regressed lately leading to fewer scoring opportunities. Until Darren McFadden returns from injury (and maybe even after that) Jennings should be provided enough opportunities to warrant a start.

Brian Leonard (vs Falcons)
Last week: 20 carries, 57 yards, 2 catches, 16 yards
Next man up. Brian Leonard doesn't have the talent of Mike James, and certainly not of Doug Martin, but he'll be given first crack at replacing them in the Buccaneers backfield. His 57 yards on 20 carries against the Dolphins Monday night was far from inspiring but if you're desperate at the position, the former second-rounder offers you a starter's workload, at least for now.

Others: Rashard Mendenhall (at Jaguars)

WIDE RECEIVERS
Nate Burleson (at Steelers)
Last week: Injured
Burleson, who has been practicing with the Lions lately, should return from probably the coolest injury story ever for Detriot's Week 11 matchup against the Steelers. Burleson played three games this season, averaging 80 yards receiving, before crashing his car reaching for some dropped morning pizza. The 32-year-old should return to his starting spot opposite Calvin Johnson and see similar numbers to those he was putting up early in the season. If the veteran can find the end zone, he'll be well worth the pickup.

Kendall Wright (vs Colts)
Last week: 7 catches, 78 yards
Wright is owned by slightly more than half the fantasy leagues so it may be too late to grab him but if he's still available he's worth a grab. The sophomore receiver has emerged as the Titans' go-to pass catcher, regardless of who's behind centre, and led the team in receptions and targets in Week 10 against the Jaguars. Wright has just one touchdown on the season however, scored way back in Week 2, so he'll need to improve in the red zone to secure WR2 status.

Riley Cooper (vs Redskins)
Last week: 3 catches, 102 yards, 2 TDs
Cooper had his second straight big week, lending credit to the idea that his monstrous Week 9 – like QB Nick Foles – wasn't just a fluke. Cooper appears to have some chemistry with Foles although his targets per game are still on the low side. The speedy fourth-year receiver is a playmaker however, and seems to do a lot with his opportunities, no matter how limited.

Others: Tavon Austin (Bye), Marlon Brown (at Bears), Brandon LaFell (vs Patriots), Ted Ginn Jr. (vs Patriots)

TIGHT ENDS

John Carlson (at Seahawks)
Last week: 7 catches, 98 yards, 1 TD
Remember him? Carlson came out of nowhere starting for an injured Kyle Rudolph to put up a surprisingly strong fantasy line in an even more surprisingly good Thursday Nighter. Carlson's 100-yard, one touchdown performance will almost certainly not be repeated but the veteran led Minnesota in targets Thursday night, meaning he should have ample opportunity to put up some points for owners in need of a tight end.

Delanie Walker (vs Colts)
Last week: 4 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD
Walker has been a mainstay in the “Others” section of this article all year long nut after his best week of the year, graduates to a write-up for Week 11. You'd have to be desperate to grab Walker but should you need him, he'll give you a fairly consistent five points or so. It's when, and only when, he reaches the end zone that he's worth a start.

Brandon Bostick (at Giants)
Last week: 3 catches, 42 yards, 1 TD
Working with a second-string and then third-string QB, Bostick put up his first strong fantasy line since replacing the injured JerMichael Finley. Bostick will have to find the end zone to be worth a start and that's certainly no guarantee in the Scott Tolzien-led Packers offence. His prospects may spike a little when Rodgers returns behind centre but until know he's for desperate fantasy owners only.

Others: Heath Miller (vs Lions), Scott Chandler (vs Jets), Zach Ertz (vs Redskins)

Nate Burleson (Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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