Deep dive: Target Jared Cook, Alex Collins on waivers

Each week, I'm tasked with picking the top waiver-wire targets for fantasy. That article is a more cursory glance at the waiver wire, helping the countless fantasy players in more casual leagues on NFL.com figure out who is worth adding to their roster.

However, for those of you in more intense or competitive leagues, this is the column for you. As the season progresses, this is where I'll highlight the players you want to be a week early on, as opposed to trying to win them in a waiver-wire bidding war after they've started to produce. Many of these players will hopefully graduate to the main waiver-wire column and already be on your roster. Of course, I can't promise anything. Fantasy is far from a guaranteed game, as we know all too well.

Anyway, let's see what else Week 12 has to offer on the waiver wire.

Deep waiver targets for Week 12:

Alex Collins, RB, Seattle Seahawks - 0.3 percent owned
Dwayne Washington, RB, Detroit Lions - 1.3 percent owned
Rex Burkhead, RB, Cincinnati Bengals - 0.0 percent owned
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals - 1.1 percent
Alfred Morris, RB, Dallas Cowboys - 6.6 percent
Kenneth Farrow, RB, San Diego Chargers - 0.0 percent owned
Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6.7 percent
Kapri Bibbs, RB, Denver Broncos - 1.1 percent owned
Damien Williams, RB, Miami Dolphins - 0.9 percent owned
Malcolm Mitchell, WR, New England Patriots - 0.1 percent owned
Tajae Sharpe, WR, Tennessee Titans - 2.1 percent owned
Albert Wilson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs - 0.2 percent owned
Marquess Wilson, WR, Chicago Bears - 0.1 percent owned
Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings - 2.1 percent owned
Jared Cook, TE, Green Bay Packers - 4.1 percent owned
Logan Paulsen, TE, Washington Redskins - 0.0 percent owned

Running backs

In the span of a few days, the Seahawks went from having one of the deepest running back rooms to now having one of the most barren. The team released Christine Michael, and C.J. Prosise suffered a fractured scapula in Week 11 that could keep him out some time. Thomas Rawls returned to action but got banged up, which makes Alex Collins one of the best deep adds off waivers this week. The rookie was a productive runner at Arkansas, and has made a few nice plays this season. He'll back up Rawls and has season-winning upside if he gets a featured role because of injury during the fantasy playoffs.

Dwayne Washington handled 13 carries in Week 11, but gained just six yards. He was the only running back to carry the ball aside from Theo Riddick (four attempts). With Giovani Bernard tearing his ACL, the Bengals will need someone to step up to help Jeremy Hill. The most likely candidate is veteran Rex Burkhead, who has been a rotational player thus far in his four-year career. The team could also activate rookie Tra Carson from the practice squad.

LeSean McCoy's thumb injury in Week 11 was a sobering reminder to handcuff your studs this late in the season. Players like Andre Ellington (ARI), Alfred Morris (DAL), Kenneth Farrow (SD), Peyton Barber (TB), Kapri Bibbs (DEN), and Damien Williams (MIA) all back up workhorse rushers. If you have the bench space, scoop up one of these players as a low-cost insurance policy.

Wide receivers

The injuries to Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski opened the door for rookie Malcolm Mitchell to play a season-high 84 percent of the snaps on Sunday. That's what aided his breakout game (4-98-1) against the 49ers. He's a fine deep stash in case Hogan remains sidelined or this performance nets him more playing time. Losing the "No. 1 wide receiver" title for the Titans may have been the best thing to happen to Tajae Sharpe. As Matt Harmon notes in the Week 11 "Opportunity Report," Sharpe has thrived with Rishard Matthews taking over, as the rookie has notched 68 yards and a touchdown in back-to-back games. He's worth an add as the Titans offense remains hot.

Albert Wilson found the end zone in Week 11 with Jeremy Maclin still sidelined, but his 25 yards left a lot to be desired. He's a low-end, touchdown-dependent option as long as Maclin sits. Marquess Wilson tied with Cameron Meredith for second on the team in targets in Week 11 with four. It was his first game back off the PUP, and he could see an expanded role with Zach Miller out for the season. Adam Thielen continues to quietly contribute in the Vikings passing attack. He's had three-plus catches in five of his last six games, with either 40 yards or a touchdown in each game as well. The Vikings face the suspect Lions secondary on Thursday, and Thielen will be a decent PPR flex option.

Tight ends

He's back! Offseason darling Jared Cook returned for the Packers in Week 10 and led the team in receiving with six catches, 105 yards and a touchdown. He did lose a fumble, but it was evidently clear he provides this offense with a new, dynamic threat at a position of need. He's a great add this week, though he has a tough matchup next week against the Eagles. Logan Paulsen figures to replace Zach Miller, who was lost for the season with a broken foot. It'd be wise to take a wait-and-see approach here, but Paulsen is second on the team in tight end snaps, and was a serviceable fill-in for Jordan Reed in Washington back in 2013. He could be a matchup-based streamer moving forward.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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