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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, December 6, 2011

Fantasy football: Week 14 waiver-wire picks

If you have made it this far, you should be in your league's postseason.

If so, congrats. And I hope you don't have Matt Forte.

As always, the following list is comprised of players who are available in more than 50 percent of the leagues on This week's group is available in more than 61 percent of the ESPN formats.

1. Brad Smith, WR, Bills (owned in 0.2 percent of the ESPN leagues): He has quickly developed into the Bills' second-best receiver behind Stevie Johnson. Smith had four receptions for 77 yards and a TD in Week 12, and seven catches for 72 yards on Sunday. David Nelson, by comparison, has a combined nine receptions for 81 yards in his last three games.

Also in Smith's favor is Buffalo's schedule the next three weeks: at the Chargers (No. 6 vs. the pass), home against the Dolphins (No. 24) and vs. the Broncos (No. 23). The three teams have allowed a combined 62 TD passes in 36 games (22 each by the Chargers and Broncos). Smith is at best a No. 3 receiver in a deep point-per-reception league, but if you're desperate, he's a decent play this week.

2. Marion Barber, RB, Bears (17.3 percent): We're not high on him, as we explained Sunday night, but we understand the value of adding a starting running back this late in the season.

3. Ricky Williams, RB, Ravens (38.7 percent): He had 16 rushes for 76 yards and a TD on Sunday against the Browns. OK, everyone runs well against the Browns. The game was also Williams' first with more than nine carries since Oct. 2.

Well, consider this: In the next three weeks, the Ravens will play the Colts (Sunday) and Browns (Week 16) at home, along with a Week 15 matchup at San Diego. The Colts are the league's third-worst at stopping the run and have given up 17 rushing TDs, the Chargers rank 26th in rushing yards allowed (seven TDs) and the Browns are 31st (10 TDs).

That's great news for Ray Rice owners, and decent news if you need to take a flier on a back who might get 12 to 18 carries and score a TD in garbage time.

4. Davone Bess, WR, Dolphins (17.9 percent): He has scored a TD in two of his last three games, but has had 52 receiving yards or fewer in every game but Miami's opener. Bess was a decent PPR starter in 2009 and '10 (a combined 155 receptions), but he's been disappointing this season (40 catches for 441 yards and two TDs).

Don't expect him to continue his TD trend -- Bess had all of seven scores during his 155-catch stretch in 2009 and '10. But the schedule is favorable. Miami will play host to the Eagles in Week 14 (Philly ranks 13th vs. the pass, but has given up 22 TDs through the air), then play at Buffalo (No. 19, 21 TDs) and at New England (No. 32, 18 TDs).

5. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders (29.5 percent): He had three receptions for 23 yards and a TD last week, his first score since Week 5. In his last three games, Heyward-Bey has 11 receptions, but he was shut out in Weeks 9 and 10. In Weeks 4 through 7, he had a combined 22 catches for 385 yards.

Translation: You have no idea what he's going to give you. All I can help you with here is Oakland will play Sunday at Green Bay, which ranks 31st vs. the pass, has allowed 22 TDs through the air and will mean a lot of throwing for Carson Palmer and company after they trail by three scores.

Past waiver-wire picks who remain undervalued: Matt Moore, QB, Dolphins (owned in 5.4 percent of the ESPN leagues); Alex Smith, QB, 49ers (36.3); Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings (32.3); Donald Brown, RB, Colts (25.0); Dexter McCluster, RB, Chiefs (20.4); Nate Burleson, WR, Lions (19.6); Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles (1.1); Steve Breaston, WR, Chiefs (29.1); Damian Williams, WR, Titans (10.2); Greg Little, WR, Browns (10.2); Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos (1.8); Brent Celek, TE, Eagles (23.3); Jermaine Gresham, TE, Bengals (24.3); Jake Ballard, TE, Giants (29.5).

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