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Fantasy football: Bolster your roster for playoffs with these pick-ups

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilshas thrown least two touchdown passes five consecutive games with one interception. | AP

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown at least two touchdown passes in five consecutive games with one interception. | AP

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Updated: January 6, 2013 9:50AM



It’s playoff time, the time of year when fantasy legends are made. It’s also the time of year when my audience fragments, so you still must be playing if you’re still reading. Well done.

To reward you, I went searching for players to bolster your roster. The trade deadline has passed, so you’re left with waiver claims to improve your team. These players have high availability in ESPN.com leagues, so they might be around in your league.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (82.2 percent availability): We all saw what the rookie did against the Bears, but people apparently weren’t paying much attention before Sunday. He has thrown at least two touchdown passes in five consecutive games with one interception. And after rushing for 71 yards against the Bears, Wilson has 170 rushing yards in his last four games. His schedule is no cake-walk the rest of the way, but three of the Seahawks’ final four games are at home. He’s a good insurance policy.

Colts RB Vick Ballard (39): He has been sharing time with Donald Brown, and Delone Carter has stolen some carries, too. But only Ballard has had double-digit touches in eight consecutive games. He found the end zone for the first time this season Sunday against the Lions, and he might find it again this week against the Titans’ 27th-ranked run defense. He’ll face the Chiefs’ 26th-ranked unit in Week 16. Ballard also could see his playing time increase if Brown’s ankle injury keeps him out.

Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer (58.8): He started Sunday against the Ravens and scored his first touchdown of the season, but he averaged only 3.1 yards on 16 carries, and coach Mike Tomlin easily could turn to Isaac Redman or Rashard Mendenhall. But after every Steelers back fumbled in Week 12, Tomlin went with Dwyer. If he sticks with him, there’s a tasty matchup in Week 15 against the Cowboys, who have allowed an average of 106.5 rushing yards to feature backs in the last six games.

Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (66.4): In his last five games, he has three 100-yard games and four touchdown catches. On Sunday, Andrew Luck targeted him 12 times. Granted, Donnie Avery was targeted 14 times and caught two touchdown passes, but Hilton has been the more consistent threat lately. With Luck averaging 41.9 passes, Hilton will get his chances.

Raiders TE Brandon Myers (77.9): No one caught more passes in Week 13 than Myers, who hauled in 14 for 130 yards and a touchdown. He leads the Raiders with 69 catches for 721 yards. Denarius Moore is next with 38 for 635. On Thursday, Myers will face a Broncos defense that has allowed the fifth-most yards to tight ends and the most touchdowns (tied with nine).

WEEK 14 OUTLOOK

GAME OF THE WEEK

Saints at Giants: These teams rank in the top 10 in offense, and they’re desperate for a victory.

GAME OF THE MEEK

Jets at Jaguars: The Jets rank 29th in offense, the Jaguars 31st. The best (the only?) play is Shonn Greene.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman: The Eagles have allowed 300-yard passers in the last two games and 16 touchdown passes in the last six.

Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: He has broken 100 yards three games in a row. The Cowboys have given up 100 yards to three rushers in the last five games.

Packers WR Randall Cobb: After two quiet games, look for him to break out against the Lions, who have allowed 509 yards to wide receivers in the last two games.

PLAYERS OF THE MEEK

Raiders QB Carson Palmer: Be wary of him against the Broncos’ sixth-ranked pass defense. His second-lowest point total this season came at Denver in Week 4.

Patriots RB Stevan Ridley: He keeps scoring, but the big yardage hasn’t been there. Both will be hard to come by against the Texans’ No. 2 run defense.

Chargers WR Danario Alexander: His surprise run to the top of the Chargers’ depth chart will be slowed by the Steelers’ No. 1 pass defense.

LAST WEEK’S PICKS

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

QB Eli Manning: 280 yards, TD

RB Jamaal Charles: 127 yards rushing, 11 receiving

WR Davone Bess: 13 yards

PLAYERS OF THE MEEK

QB Philip Rivers: 280 yards, INT

RB Steven Jackson: 48 yards rushing, 69 receiving

WR Mike Williams: 93 yards, TD



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