Another week, another series of upsets, another slew of injuries, another group of players attain “relevant” status due to injury or poor play by starters. Upsets? How about “BuffaBlow” beating Carolina. With all the offensive talent the cats’ can bring to bear, losing to a team as defensively challenged as the Bills are is simply inexcusable. How long can the Panthers continue to trot QB Jake Delhomme out? Leading the league with 13 picks, coach John Fox will be looking towards either A.J Feeley or youngster Matt Moore in the not-too distant future. Had Delhomme not been awarded a large contract barely a year ago, he’d be bench-meat already. Injuries that will impact your roster? Jet scat-back Leon Washington broke his leg and will be out until the playoffs at the earliest, Redskin TE Chris Cooley broke his ankle, Eagle RB Brian Westbrook suffered his umpteenth concussion. Who benefits from the above?
Each week, fewer and fewer Quarterbacks are found on the ‘Wire. Ineffective or diminished play from erstwhile starters such as Jake Delhomme, Jason Campbell and even Jay Cutler drove owners to the Waiver Wire in search of players such as Chad Henne, Brett Favre and Joe Flacco. If you’re quick enough, perhaps you can still lay claim to the first slinger on the list.
Alex Smith: The most coveted signal caller from the 2005 draft received another opportunity to shine due to Shaun Hill’s ineffectiveness on Sunday. Entering the game in the 2nd half in relief of Hill, Smith lit the Texans up for 206/3 and nearly led the Niners to victory. The San Fran O needed a spark and Smith provided just that, consistently finding his playmakers and moving the ball up and down the field. Tight end Vernon Davis was a frequent and favored red-zone target, but Smith also sought and found pass catchers Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan. Coach Mike Singletary has already tapped Smith for Sunday’s game against Indianapolis and has indicated that this is not a short-term decision. Although the upcoming tilt against the Colts is less than desirable, Alex Smith offers a nice, low-end No. 1 upside.
Matt Moore: This would certainly be a gamble, but coaches have this curious habit of wishing to retain their employment. The Carolina Panthers aren’t as big a mess as the Raiders are, but horrifying play from the quarterback position is the reason the club sit on a 2-4 record. The safe bet is that Fox yanks Delhomme, who has shown no signs of pulling out of his flaming tailspin. Moore is a young quarterback but he’s been with the Panthers since the ‘07 season and understands the system. Although Fox could call upon veteran A.J. Feeley, the smart money says Fox looks to the younger Moore as a possible solution to the teams QB quandary.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER: The list is rather thin.
Chad Henne: If you haven’t pounced upon him already and he’s just floating out there, waiting to be plucked? Pluck away and roster-ize the promising ‘Phin flinger.
There’s almost always an opportunity to grab a “Flex” type starter off of the Waiver Wire. Bye weeks and needs at other positions force owners to part with players they would rather retain, especially for those owners belonging to leagues requiring IDPs (individual defensive players). Heading up this weeks list is another back from the AFC East, the divvy that saw Laurence Maroney break back onto the scene during Week 6.
Shonn Greene: Losing Leon Washington is a big blow for Gang Green. Washington’s speed and open-field move render him a threat on par with Reggie Bush, and he must be accounted for on every snap. Shonn Greene is not a Washington-type back. Rather, Greene (144/2 Sunday) is a no-bones-about-it downhill runner with inspiring power.
Certainly the game that saw Greene average over 7.5 YPC was played against the hapless Raiders, but given incumbent Jet starter Thomas Jones’s advanced age and the youth of starting QB Matt Sanchez, look for Shonn Greene to receive a good 12-16 touches per game. The former Iowa standout was drafted to be Jones’s replacement. As stated in a previous ‘Wire piece, that time is fast approaching!
Beanie Wells: Frustrated by his early season struggles and with Tim Hightower pilfering all the goal line touches, many owners parted ways with Wells by Week 5. But Beanie wasn’t drafted for his good looks or cute nickname. Wells was selected to be a lead back and Sunday’s 17-touch, 77-yard, 1-score day in a win against a stout Giant ground defense has to buoy Beanie’s confidence. Look for coach Ken Whisenhunt to remain committed to incorporating the powerful rook’ runner into the Cardinal game plan. And, with upcoming tilts against Carolina, St. Louis, Tennessee and Detroit, Beanie Wells ranks a “Flex” start.
LeSean McCoy: Veteran bird Brian Westbrook is accumulating injuries the way I acquire baseball cards; all too frequently. But just as Jet rookie Greene was drafted to succeed veteran Thomas Jones, McCoy was selected in April’s draft by the Eagles to replace the aging Westbrook. Possessing nice wiggle and burst, McCoy has all the tools and should succeed once given the regular gig. McCoy filled in for the concussed Westbrook on Sunday and was unable to get anything going, but he’s going to get the nod against the Giants Sunday and his stint as starter will be determined by the severity of Westbrook’s concussion. With the Giant defense in some disarray, McCoy has value as a flex in 12-team leagues as soon as this weekend.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER:
Jamal Charles: Openly critical and not shy regarding his views, Chief starter Larry Johnson is rapidly turning himself into persona non grata. But if the front office is to change the team’s culture, they might be inclined to start with LJ.
Justin Forsett: Seattle starter Julius Jones is about as exciting as a tall glass of milk and his 3.9 YPC is an anemic 4.6. Forsett is far more dynamic, elusive and flexible and he should see his number called 8-12 times per game, perhaps more if he continues to average 5.7 YPC.
Justin Fargas: Mentioned last week, Fargas took eight totes for 67 yards and is the only Raider skill position player worth a look. QB JaMarcus Russell shocked the world by stating after Sunday’s loss, “I don’t think it’s me… I really don’t.” Well, coach Tom Cable thought Russell’s trio of 1st half turnovers might have had something to do with the team’s 21-0 2nd quarter deficit… and replaced the big waste of a jersey with journeyman Bruce Gradkowski.
Mike Wallace: The Steeler receiver continues to fly beneath the Roto radar and is posting rock-solid WR3/”Flex” digits. The pass catcher has compiled 7 receptions for 174 yards and 2 scores. Averaging an eye-popping 17.5 YPR, Wallace is making excellent use of his return skills as a pass catcher.
Jeremy Maclin: Look for Maclin (5/53) to play an increasing role in the Eagle offense as the season progresses. With RB Brian Westbrook shelved for the foreseeable future due to concussion, the offense will diversify and McNabb will spread the ball around. Maclin has too much talent to lay unclaimed.
Austin Collie: All of Peyton Manning’s targets have value, but rookie Austin Collie has really distinguished himself over the past 3 games; 18/188/4. With TE Dallas Clark, WR Reggie Wayne and the rushing duo of Joseph Addai and Donald Brown to account for, Collie has slipped beneath the radar of opposing defensive coordinators. Look for Collie to continue his good work.
Michael Crabtree: Dude certainly hit the ground running! Crabtree was thrown into the starting lineup even before the ink on his freshly-signed contract had dried. Nevertheless, and this speaks to his remarkable physical gifts, Crabtree accrued 56 yards on 5 grabs in Sunday’s game against the Texans. With a number of weak Ds on the Niners’ docket and receiving on the job training alongside new starting QB Alex Smith, Crabtree should be claimed in all leagues.
Eddie Royal: A sluggish start forced countless owners to kick Bronco wideout Eddie Royal to the curb. Royal finally had his breakout game against the Chargers last weekend, exploding for 90 yards on 10 grabs. With foes rolling the safety over to double-up the nearly uncoverable WR Brandon Marshall, both Royal and TE Tony Scheffler find themselves enjoying single coverage. Both pass catchers are capable of exploiting average secondaries and zone coverages.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER:
Jacoby Jones: Jones wasn’t a pass catching factor in Houston’s razor-thin victory over the San Francisco 49ers, but his value in leagues that tally return yardage is considerable.
Chris Henry: Henry found the end zone this weekend. More explosive than the Bengals’ current #2 WR, Laveranues Coles, Henry is a dangerous weapon and the Cin’ City O seems to have rediscovered its swagger in a crushing win (46-10) over a struggling Bear squad.
Hakeem Nicks: Nicks was the recipient of a serendipitous pass defended by Washington this weekend, with the ball finding it’s way into his hands in full-stride… and Nicks striding into the end zone 62 yards later.
With the Giant rushing game still trying to gain traction, QB Eli Manning is going to the air with uncomfortable regularity. Nicks has been a beneficiary of the Giants’ defensive misfortunes.
Sam Stroughter: Listed last week, Stroughter affirmed my faith by tallying 63 yards on 3 receptions.
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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