TSN.ca NFL Editor Justin Boone runs down the top waiver wire pickups with a focus on the coming week and the rest of the season.
Colin Kaepernick (at Saints)
Going against one of the league's best defences, Kaepernick looked calm and crisp as he threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns. After the game, head coach Jim Harbaugh left the door open for Kaepernick to remain the starter even when Alex Smith is cleared to play again. If he does get the nod for the second straight week, he will have a nice matchup with the Saints' secondary. New Orleans' defence has played better in the last couple weeks, but they are still vulnerable and if Kaepernick can slice through the Bears, it will be interesting to see how he takes advantage of the Saints.
Chad Henne (vs. Titans)
With the element of surprise working for him, Henne replaced Blaine Gabbert and threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns against the Texans. It was a shocking result and it may have helped save Justin Blackmon's rookie season, as the first round pick thrived with Henne under centre. Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, and Laurent Robinson make up a decent receiving corps for the veteran passer. Henne could be an option for Ben Roethlisberger owners who are desperate for a replacement, because he is in position to have another solid game with the Titans coming to town.
Ronnie Hillman (at Chiefs)
You have to feel bad for Willis McGahee owners, who lost their starting running back for the rest of the fantasy season. Where there is injury, there is also opportunity and with McGahee going down, the rookie Hillman is thrust into the starting lineup. There was plenty of buzz around Hillman in training camp, with some suggesting he would naturally overtake McGahee in the second half of the season. His role has increased recently as the coaching staff began to trust him more and now his first start will come against a Chiefs defence that is the seventh-most generous to fantasy backs. Lance Ball will steal some carries, but Hillman has a chance to be a difference-maker in fantasy down the stretch.
Beanie Wells (vs. Rams)
Wells has been in this space for the last few weeks, but if he is still on your waiver wire there is no excuse not to pick him up this week. Wells will returns from injury and by all accounts he is healthy and ready to take back the starting job. LaRod Stephens-Howling had 133 yards on 24 touches and a touchdown in Week 11, but he still isn't a full-time ball carrier. Stephens-Howling will get work on passing downs, while Wells returns as the first option on early downs.
Jalen Parmele (vs. Titans)
So much for Rashad Jennings being one of the top backup running backs in the NFL. With Jennings unable to provide a spark for the running game in Maurice Jones-Drew's absence, the Jaguars surprisingly turned to Jalen Parmele. He turned 27 touches into 83 yards against a tough Texans' defence. Head coach Mike Mularkey confirmed that Parmele will be the lead back going forward, until MJD returns. Parmele has a great matchup this week against the Titans' defence that has given up the second-most fantasy points to rushers this season.
Bryce Brown (vs. Panthers)
If you are looking for running back help this week, there are a variety of solid options for you. LeSean McCoy is going through concussion testing this week and may be forced to miss the Monday Nighter against Carolina. The Eagles' offence is a mess and Nick Foles proved he wasn't the solution last week. Assuming McCoy sits on Monday, Brown is the next man up and has the ability to have a big day against a weak Panthers run defence.
Others to consider - James Starks (at Giants), Bilal Powell (vs. Patriots), Mark Ingram (vs. 49ers)
TY Hilton (vs. Bills)
Donnie Avery appears to be in danger of missing Week 12 with a concussion. With Avery missing in action for part of last week's game, Hilton put up his best fantasy day of the year with six catches for 100 yards and two scores. That's Hilton's second 100-yard game in three weeks and his third this season. Hilton has developed a good rapport with fellow rookie Andrew Luck and the pair will be a threat to beat the Bills deep on Sunday.
Justin Blackmon (vs. Titans)
Either the light finally kicked on for Blackmon or his poor quarterback play was holding him down, because once Henne took over Blackmon blew up for seven receptions, 236 yards and a touchdown. The Titans have a much worse defence than the Texans and Blackmon is in position to have another strong outing, especially since Henne is starting again. Prior to last week, Blackmon looked like he couldn't create separation and was going to be a non-factor during his first season. Now, he might just be a major factor in the fantasy playoffs.
Jared Cook (vs. Jaguars)/Martellus Bennett (vs. Packers)
Replacement tight ends are tough to find this late in the season, bu these are two examples of players who may be available in your league. Cook and Bennett are coming off bye weeks and that may have prompted their owners to throw them back to the waiver wire. Neither has really excelled this season, but both are athletic pass catchers who are dangerous around the end zone. Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings is another name to target if he is a free agent in your league.