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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fantasy football: Week 13 waiver-wire picks

It's Week 13 -- the last of the regular season in most leagues -- and you're looking for help.

Judging by the ownership percentages in ESPN leagues, let's hope you don't need much, because the pickings are at their slimmest of the season.

As always, we select players who are available in more than half of the ESPN formats. This week's batch can be had in more than 71 percent of the ESPN leagues.

1. Jason Avant, WR, Eagles (owned in 4.7 percent of the ESPN leagues): He had eight receptions for 110 yards and a TD last week, and Philly's receiving situation, like its "Dream Team" status, is in shambles. DeSean Jackson was benched late in last week's loss to the Patriots, but is expected to start Thursday at Seattle. Jeremy Maclin likely will sit again because of hamstring and shoulder injuries, leaving Avant and Riley Cooper as Philly's top two receivers when Jackson isn't on the field.

Prior to Sunday, Maclin had a combined four receptions for 35 yards in his previous three games, and he hadn't scored a touchdown all year. So don't expect him to produce as a No. 3 fantasy receiver on a consistent basis. The Eagles' schedule, however, is favorable the next two weeks, making Maclin the most intriguing waiver-wire candidate. Seattle ranks 20th against the pass, and the Eagles' Week 14 opponents, the Dolphins, are 24th.

2. Damian Williams, WR, Titans (6.9 percent): He has three TDs in his last four games and 17 receptions for 250 yards and three scores in his last five. Considering how up-and-down Nate Washington tends to be, Williams might be Tennessee's most reliable target. The schedule is also promising. In the next four weeks, the Titans will play the Bills (No. 22 vs. the pass), Saints (No. 27), Colts (No. 18) and Jaguars (No. 4).

3. Scott Chandler, TE, Bills (27.7 percent): The only reason we didn't list Chandler -- who had five TDs in Buffalo's first seven games -- earlier is he tended to be an all-or-nothing target. Yes, he had the five TDs, but he also had only 21 receptions in his first nine contests. Lately, that has changed, as Chandler has a combined 11 receptions for 121 yards in his last two games. Consider him a low-level No. 1 tight end in a 14- or 16-team league. Buffalo's Week 13 and 14 opponents -- Tennessee and San Diego -- rank 13th and ninth against the pass, respectively, but the Titans and Chargers have combined to allow 36 TD tosses.

4. Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals (28.9 percent): As we wrote, the pickings are slim. Dalton appears to be a great draft selection by the Bengals, and his rookie numbers are impressive (2,509 yards, 16 TDs, 12 interceptions, 81.8 passer rating), but you don't want to start him in the fantasy postseason. Even worse is Cincy's schedule in Weeks 13 and 14 -- at Pittsburgh (No. 3 vs. the pass) and home vs. Houston (No. 2). Still, if you're desperate at QB because of injury, Dalton has thrown for a combined 643 yards the last two games, and he had seven TDs in three contests prior to that stretch.

5. Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles (0.5 percent): We prefer Avant over Cooper, but the latter, after not catching a pass in Philly's first nine games, has been productive with Vince Young behind center. Cooper has eight receptions for 146 yards and a TD the last two weeks. When Maclin returns, his value likely will be minimal.

Past waiver-wire picks who remain undervalued: Matt Moore, QB, Dolphins (owned in 3.7 percent of the ESPN leagues); Roy Helu, RB, Redskins (33.1 percent); Donald Brown, RB, Colts (11.8); Maurice Morris, RB, Lions (32.6); Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings (21.5); Greg Little, WR, Browns (11.1); Jabar Gaffney, WR, Redskins (44.7); David Nelson, WR, Bills (23.7); Nate Burleson, WR, Lions (16.8); Brent Celek, TE, Eagles (24.5); Jermaine Gresham, TE, Bengals (23.1).

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