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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 20, 2012

Fantasy football: Week 12 waiver-wire picks

At this point in the season, some of us will take any running back we can get.

Two starting running backs available in almost any league that has fewer than 16 teams?

It's like Christmas in November!

Now that we've got your hopes a little too high, this week's top picks are ...

Ronnie Hillman and Jalen Parmele.

What, you were expecting a healthy Maurice Jones-Drew and the fantasy stud formerly known as Steven Jackson?

All sarcasm aside, the Broncos' Hillman is a decent choice with running back Willis McGahee out 4 to 8 weeks with a torn right MCL and a fractured bone in his leg.

Hillman had 12 carries for 43 yards and two receptions for 16 yards last week, and the 2012 third-round pick is averaging 3.8 yards per carry and has 10 catches on the year.

That won't wow you, but the Broncos' upcoming schedule might. In the next five weeks (the last five weeks of most fantasy seasons), Denver will face four defenses ranked 23rd or worse against the run -- Kansas City (No. 25, this week), Oakland (No. 23, Week 14), Baltimore (No. 27, Week 15) and the Browns (No. 24, Week 16).

If you're making a playoff push and need a second running back or, better yet, hope to acquire depth to go with two solid starters in the backfied, Hillman is an intriguing choice.

He might split some carries with Lance Ball, but I'd give the former a big edge on the latter, who has one rushing touchdown in 37 career games.

Another name to watch is Parmele, who has taken over as the Jaguars' featured back after Jacksonville grew tired of Rashad Jennings and his 2.9 yards per carry.

Parmele didn't exactly race past Jennings' season average last week against the Texans (24 carries for 80 yards, 3.3 yards per carry, three receptions for 3 yards), but keep in mind Houston is second in the league against the run and is allowing only 85.6 rushing yards per contest.

Jones-Drew is expected to miss at least another week with a foot injury, giving Parmele the start this week against the Titans, who rank 28th vs. the run with an average of 132.8 rushing yards allowed per game. Tennessee has given up nine rushing TDs.

Before we get to this week's rankings, two more quick thoughts:

-- Eagles running back Bryce Brown, a seventh-round draft choice in 2012, would get the start Monday night against Carolina (No. 20 vs. the run) if LeSean McCoy is sidelined with a concussion. The early indications are McCoy will play this week, which makes Brown an ideal add for owners of the player Andy Reid seems to enjoy underutilizing.

-- If you are among the many who lost Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to a broken forearm, we have two names for you: Brandon Myers and Dwayne Allen. Somehow, Myers is available in more than 85 percent of the ESPN leagues, though he has been long gone in every 12-team league in which I compete. Allen, meanwhile, has been very good for the Colts in place of the injured Coby Fleener.

As always, we rank players who are available in more than half of the ESPN leagues, and we usually aim for 40 percent ownership or lower.

On to the rankings ...

1. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (owned in 1.6 percent of the ESPN leagues)
2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (16.8)
3. Christian Ponder, Vikings (22.0)
4. Chad Henne, Jaguars (0.5)
5. Sam Bradford, Rams (40.4)
Dropped out: Tim Tebow, Jets
Just missed the cut: Mark Sanchez, Jets (16.7 percent); Nick Foles, Eagles (8.5); Brandon Weeden, Browns (7.8)

1. Marcel Reece, Raiders (32.8 percent)
2. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (0.9)
3. Jalen Parmele, Jaguars (0.1)
4. Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (38.2)
5. James Starks, Packers (7.0)
Dropped out: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals; Joique Bell, Lions
Just missed the cut: Stephens-Howling (30 percent); Bryce Brown, Eagles (0.3); Chris Ivory, Saints (13.1); Jacquizz Rogers, Falcons (13.4); Bilal Powell, Jets (1.2)

1. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars (27.5 percent)
2. Danario Alexander, Chargers (4.5)
3. T.Y. Hilton, Colts (3.3)
4. Davone Bess, Dolphins (17.0)
5. Golden Tate, Seahawks (8.8)
Dropped out: Donald Jones, Bills; Donnie Avery, Colts; Kendall Wright, Titans
Just missed the cut: Ryan Broyles, Lions (1.1 percent); Jones (2.5); Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (4.8); Josh Gordon, Browns (27.5); Wright (14.9); Brandon Stokley, Broncos (12.3); Brandon Gibson, Rams (16.4); Santana Moss, Redskins (30.3); Greg Little, Browns (14.1)

1. Brandon Myers, Raiders (14.5 percent)
2. Dwayne Allen, Colts (2.6)
3. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (5.7)
4. Dallas Clark, Buccaneers (3.8)
5. Joel Dreessen, Broncos (10.7)
Dropped out: Dennis Pitta, Ravens; Dustin Keller, Jets
Just missed the cut: Keller (31 percent); Benjamin Watson, Browns (1.6); Tony Moeaki, Chiefs (0.8); Garrett Graham, Texans (0.3)

Past waiver-wire picks: Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 10, Week 11

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