StrategyOctober 20, 2009


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The Live Wire: Week 7!

By jameyman

Week 6 in the NFL was notable for a number of reasons. Tom “Terrific” Brady stacked TDs with ease on Sunday afternoon, thoroughly shaming the Titans and setting aside any lingering doubts as to his physical capabilities, while Mark “The Sanchize” Sanchez reminded us all that, indeed, he remains a rookie. While the Tennessee/New England game was entertaining primarily for those fans north of Connecticut, the Titans’ “poor-formance” will greatly impact the club’s quarterback position. The Patriot 59-zip pasting has coaches in the the AFC East screaming, “Tom Brady is coming, Tom Brady is coming!” How ’bout them Raiders?” What? Oakland, arguably the single-most dysfunctional franchise in all of football, managed to top the offensive-Jacked, defensively-stacked Eagles? My sources say yes. And again, the winning team brags a couple of usable, and likely wire-bound, skill position players.

Let’s scan the Waiver Wire and see who might be available for the upcoming Week 7 tilts.

QUARTERBACKS
The number of Quarterbacks playing at a Pro-Bowl level is eye-popping. I can’t imagine too many potential difference makers are available, but I’ll repeat myself.

Chad Henne: With the team operating out of the wildcat offense with regularity, Henne’s value is diminished. Nevertheless, the ‘Phins are offensively intriguing, and Henne’s numbers have increased in each of his three starts, culminating in a outstanding 241/2 effort against a very solid Jet secondary. Chad Henne isn’t #1 fantasy starter, but he’s absolutely worth a roster slot and should be useful as a bye-week replacement or #2 ’slinger in leagues that require two starting QBs.

Vince Young: I’m going to go out on a limb with this one. Not because I think Young is going to be the second coming of Warren Moon, but the Titans have too much talent to be this bad. Under venerable Kerry Collins’ anemic stewardship, the offense was stale and predictable, and Collins is as elusive as a lawn gnome. Young, assuming he’s finally digested the playbook after some three seasons, offers mobility and arm strength. The downside? Coach Jeff Fisher tapped Young for “mop-up” duty Sunday for the second time in two weeks, and Tennessee’s ‘06 1st round savior is 0-5 with an INT in those games. Jeff Fisher’s desk-chair is currently suspended over a bed of red-hot coals; with nothing to lose, Fisher will turn the reins over to the loose-cannon armed QB — and hope for the best.

RUNNING BACKS

Laurence Maroney: Perhaps it was because Tom Brady set the secondary afire, but the Titans dispensed with run defense and for the first time in only a Patriot fan knows how long … we’ve had a Laurence Maroney (123/1) sighting! Without doubt, Maroney tops the running back Wire list. In the games leading up to Sunday, Maroney had been a forgotten man and hadn’t received more than nine touches since Week 1. But Sammy Morris went down with a knee injury, the severity of which won’t be known until Wednesday. Fred Taylor is already shelved following ankle surgery and greybeard Kevin Faulk is not feature-back material. Just to give you some idea as to the ineffective nature of Maroney’s running, the last time the Pat’ back surpassed the century mark was during the Bush administration (the ‘07 post-season). But we saw a different Maroney Sunday, a decisive, downhill Maroney. Let’s see if it sticks. Tampa Bay’s relatively fictitious run defense, allowing a gaudy 171+ yards per game, is next on New England’s slate. Laurence Maroney will be the team’s feature by default and he makes for a very appealing Flex play.

Jonathan Stewart: Available only in the shallowest of leagues, I’d be doing those owners a disservice if I failed to mention the fact that he’s again healthy and has his typical burst and helmet-popping power. Stewart certainly got his groove going Sunday in spite of QB Jake Delhomme’s ghastly-bad play. Jonathan Stewart still plays “Thunder” to DeAngelo Williams’ “Lightning,” but “Thunder” hit 110/1 on 17 totes while “Lightning” flashed for an eye-popping 152/2 on 30 carries. Should he be available, Stewart has a tasty Week 7 match-up against the defensive-challenged Bills.

Justin Fargas: Darren McFadden is attending to a knee injury and Michael Bush took a shot to the noggin Sunday. Enter RB Justin Fargas, son of legendary “Starsky and Hutch” co-star “Huggy Bear.” Fargas, who has served as the team’s primary ball carrier in the past, recorded 87/1 in the team’s stunning victory over the Eagles Sunday. Fargas and the Raiders have had an on-again, off-again romance, and I would go so far as to call him “occasionally-effective.” Sunday’s effort assures Huggy Bear’s baby-boy of an enhanced role moving forward. Worth a look should you need bye-week fodder.

Mike Bell: The Saint running game is but a stepchild to the prolific passing game led by Drew Brees. Pierre Thomas receives the bulk carries but once inside the 10s, and Bell has reclaimed his former short-yardage and goal-line duties. Sunday, Bell returned from his knee injury and posted a pedestrian 34 yards on 15 carries, but he did score. Mike Bell isn’t going to pile-up the yardage, but with the passing game firing on all Saint cylinders and defenders forced to play off the line, the running game is flourishing, indeed.

WIDE RECEIVERS
A slew of young pass catchers continue to make names for themselves. With any number of top and second-tier running backs consistently posting disappointing digits, this is truly the “Season of the Point-Scoring Pass Catcher!”

Michael Crabtree: The fact that first-round pick Michael Crabtree finally got around to signing his six-year, $32 million deal is an enormous relief to us all. Accordingly and shockingly, San Francisco head coach Mike Singletary has indicated that Crabtree will not only start, but he’ll be replacing the sometimes-productive WR Josh Morgan in the lineup. This is huge news and indicates one of two things; either Crabtree’s workouts have knocked Singletary’s socks off (or sense out of his skull), or Crabtree’s draft position and salary demand an immediate insertion into the lineup. Either way, his physical skills are undeniable, elite runner Frank Gore is expected to return from injury and QB Shaun Hill will get Crabtree the ball. As an aside, Crabtree’s presence should provide immediate dividends to TE Vernon Davis’ owners.

Sidney Rice: Listed last week, Rice fried the small Baltimore cornerbacks to the tune of 6/176. Favre has regained both his fastball and touch and lost his irritating tendency of tossing wanton picks. Developing a nice rapport with Favre, and possessing size (6-4/205) that can’t be taught — oh, and in his magical third year — Rice appears to be amid his breakout season.

Hakeem Nicks: Also mentioned in a previous Wire piece, Nicks (5/114/1) was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal day for Big Blue. It’s important to note that Hakeem Nicks is carving a larger role for himself at WR Mario Manningham’s expense.

Sammy Stroughter: His 3/65 receiving line was eclipsed by his outstanding punt return performances; 3/142 including a 97-yarder for a TD. Those owners whose leagues tally return yards will want to keep an eye on Stroughter.

TIGHT ENDS

Tony Scheffler: Bronco signal caller Kyle Orton has a tight end with a wideout’s agility in Scheffler, who has a knack for finding the soft spots in zone coverage. The tight end recorded a monster night (6/101/1) on Sunday. Featuring more wiggle than Beyonce on his long TD catch and run, Scheffler’s key grabs were instrumental in guiding the Broncos past their arch-rival Chargers. Orton trusts Scheffler, as former QB Jay Cutler did, and with WRs Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokley commanding opposing secondaries’ attention, Scheffler is not to be left on the wire.

Brent Celek: The Eagle tight end is one of the NFL’s best pass-catching secrets. Celek notched 4/75 Sunday and has topped 75 receiving yards in three out of Philadelphia’s five games. The Eagles came out sewer-cap flat Sunday, but Celek still banked a respectable day, especially for a tight end who plays alongside such explosive weapons. More significantly, the Eagle receiver has proven himself to be more valuable (from a fantasy perspective) than stalwarts such as Jason Witten and Todd Heap. Celek is another tight end likely to be Wire bound.

Heath Miller: The Steeler season has truly been a curious one. Instead of sticking to their smash-mouth, “up the field in increments” style of football, Ben Roethlisberger is reaching heights that has the most ardent Steeler fan incredulous. Heath Miller, in turn, is having the kind of career-season NFL observers felt him capable of all along. A professional and complete tight end with exemplary blocking skills and soft hands, Miller has truly distinguished himself over the past 3 games (18/204/4). The stellar Steeler remains unclaimed in (on average) 25% of all Roto leagues.

 
I'm the Head of Youth Services for the Edgewater Free Public Library; I place great value on education and literacy... hell, I proof-read everything. Ever proof a Chinese Food Take-Out menu? I do, great for a laugh. Anyway- A long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan... I harbor hopes, however slender, that my beloved Vikes' will claim a SuperBowl trophy during my lifetime.
 
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