Goodbye byes. Thankfully, the madness of the byes ends this week. This is small consolation for fantasy owners of some of the elite QBs that will get a rest in Week 10–Green Bay, Oakland, San Diego, and New Orleans all are off. Mercifully, so is Wade Phillips, but that is another story.
Waiver madness should begin fast and furious this week as the NFL moves into its quasi-winter practice of scheduling a series of Thursday night contests, beginning this week when Baltimore travels to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Nov. 11. Timing is important as owners need to grab any relevant Ravens or Falcons personnel before Thursday’s match-up. The fantasy playoffs are looming in many leagues, making any victory scraped out especially savory. With that, we turn to this week’s suggested pick-ups.
QB: Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay. It’s a tired refrain, I know, but if Freeman is out there and you need a QB, grab him. Tampa plays at home against Carolina this week. Freeman should continue his above-average play and he therefore makes a worthy one-week filler.
RB: Donald Brown, Indianapolis. Joseph Addai and now Mike Hart are banged up for the Colts. The bulk of the rushing duties therefore will fall upon Brown. While owning a starting RB always has some value, Brown has been ineffective thus far, rushing for a mere 50 yards Sunday, though he did add 47 receiving yards. Brown certainly is worth owning in redraft leagues but primarily as roster and flex-position depth at this point.
WR: Steve Johnson, Buffalo. Waiver Wire tapped this guy weeks ago, before other sites jumped on the bandwagon. He’s fantasy money in the Bills’ offense, and his stock likely will rise now that teammate Roscoe Parish is out for the season. In Week 9, Johnson’s consecutive-games-with-a-TD streak was snapped. However, he continued to reward owners with WR1 results, posting 145 yards on 11 receptions. If Johnson remains available in your league, grab him and pencil him in as an every week starter.
TE: Jacob Tamme, Indianapolis. He’s real and spectacular. Filling in for injured Dallas Clark, Tamme again found the end zone Sunday and added 108 receiving yards to boot. That’s TDs in consecutive weeks for the young TE. With the Colts having all sorts of problems in their running game and with Clark, Anthony Gonzalez, and Austin Collie all out for the year or seriously injured, Tamme should continue receiving significant targets in the Colts’ offense. He is a must-own in all formats.
TE: Tony Moeaki, Kansas City. Held out of the end zone for some time now, Moeaki continued to receive targets and receptions, as well as continued to generate respectable yardage totals, Sunday. Against the Raiders, the former Hawkeye grabbed six of nine passes thrown his way and added 63 receiving yards. With all of the injuries to TEs around the league, Moeaki makes a worthy filler for owners in need. Kansas City faces Denver in Week 10, a match-up that may enhance Moeaki’s output as the Broncos’ Champ Bailey is likely to cover and, in turn, lock down WR Dwayne Bowe. Accordingly, more looks may come Moeaki’s way, and this may be the week he again finds the end zone.
K: Josh Scobee, Jacksonville. Mightily consistent, Scobee kicks at home against visiting Houston. Jacksonville was on a bye in Week 9, so Scobee likely is available in your league and will be kicking for a well-rested offense that has come on a bit mid-season. He therefore makes a fine one-week fill-in.
Team Defense, Buffalo. The Lions are likely without QB Matthew Stafford, who injured his right shoulder yet again Sunday. Stafford’s latest setback is sad, as he was playing very well against a more-than-stingy Jets defense. Significantly, back-up Shaun Hill also is banged up and the Lions have not been able to run the ball effectively all year. Facing winless Buffalo on the road will present some challenges, therefore, for the Lions offense. Almost certainly, the Bills defense remains available on your league’s waiver wire. Assuming third-stringer Drew Stanton is forced to start for the Lions at QB, the Bills make a sneaky one-week fill-in at team defense.
Team Defense, Tampa Bay. One way to locate a nice week-to-week filler at team defense is to peruse the schedule for Carolina’s opponent. The Panthers are in complete disarray, possibly down to third string at RB and starting whomever at QB. This week, the scheduling overlords have tapped Tampa Bay with the team defense bonanza that is facing the Panthers. Tampa, playing at home, should dominate.
QB: Jimmy Clausen, Carolina. Matt Moore is out for the season with a torn labrum, paving the way for Jimmy Clausen to return to the starting line-up. Ho hum. Clausen was so ineffective earlier this season that his return as the clear starter merits merely “Watch Them” status. Unless owners play in very, very deep redraft leagues, adding Clausen this season is pointless until he shows something more. However, owners in dynasty or keeper leagues with high risk tolerances and deep rosters might consider adding Clausen, as Moore is unlikely to return to Carolina in 2011.
QB: Drew Stanton, Detroit. The former Spartan may get the start Sunday at Buffalo as Matthew Stafford likely is out again with a shoulder injury. Stanton is decent but was third on the Lions’ depth chart for a reason. He is not worth grabbing in all but the deepest redraft leagues. Nevertheless, fantasy owners should scrutinize Stanton’s performance as the rest of the Lions’ passing game has been clicking. If he shows he can move the offense, Stanton would have some value in very deep keeper or dynasty leagues as well as the deepest redraft leagues, particularly those requiring teams to start two QBs.
WR: Earl Bennett, Chicago. Bennett has caught at least three passes and totaled at least 52 yards in each of his last three games. Indeed, he has caught at least 3 balls every game this season except for the Bears’ Week 5 win over Carolina, and in Week 1 when he did not play. This Sunday, Bennett added a TD, his first of the year. While his totals hardly are awe-inspiring, if Jay Cutler continues to hook-up with his old college teammate on a consistent basis, Bennett could add viable depth to fantasy playoff rosters. Moreover, he would jump onto dynasty and keeper league radar screens.
WR: Randy Moss, Tennessee. The circus moves to Nashville as Moss debuts in Week 10 with the Titans. When he wants to perform, Moss is a top talent. He likely is unavailable even in shallower leagues because owners invested too heavily in him during the draft to cut him loose and risk being haunted by a resurgence in Randy’s attitude and performance come fantasy playoff time. Obviously, if Moss is available, owners in redraft leagues should consider rolling the dice on a pick-up. Kenny Britt had been coming on strong in the Titans offense, and Moss certainly has the talent to add similar value if he puts his mind to it.
QB: Matt Moore, Carolina. Moore tore his labrum Sunday and will miss the remainder of the season. If you had him on your roster, you either are in a deep league, no longer care about fantasy this season, or both. Cut him for a better option.
Scott Rozmus is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Scott in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of Goose.
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