Again this week, I don’t see any earth shattering prospects on the waiver wire. However, there are several potential contributors available in many leagues.
Ryan Torain, Washington, RB – In the magical land of wonder that is Mike Shanahan’s mind, Ryan Torain appears to have floated back to the forefront. How long this will last is anyone’s guess. My guess would be that Torain will continue to see significant carries in Week 5 if you need someone to fill in. Beyond that, I think you will just have to monitor Shanahan’s latest whim on a week-to-week basis, particularly given the continued presence of Roy Helu and Tim Hightower.
Jason Campbell, Oakland, QB – First, I really hate this recommendation. Unfortunately, this is a pretty bad week to find a replacement QB to fill in for a bye week. Matt Hasselbeck has been solid this season, but he has a bad matchup this week (and his own bye the following week). Chad Henne has had a decent game or two, but is now injured. Kyle Orton is dicey against anything resembling a defense (and he faces a decent San Diego team). That leaves not much more than Campbell. Campbell has had three good games this year and faces a mid-level defense in Houston. His only bad weeks came against the Jets who have been crushing fantasy QBs this year. He is a threat to add a few points with his legs if Houston shuts down Oakland’s passing game. Accordingly, I think he is the best option out of a shaky group.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati, TE – Two options stand out as TE pickups this week, Gresham and Jared Cook. Over the long-term, I’m not certain which will be a better option. However, over the next two weeks Gresham faces TE-friendly Jacksonville and Indianapolis, while Cook faces the Steelers and has a bye. For that reason, I would go with Gresham if you need an emergency fill-in at TE. If available in your league, Brandon Pettigrew is also a very solid option. Pettigrew has 17 receptions over the past two weeks and faces a Chicago defense that has given up plenty of TE points this year. (I also still like Pettigrew as a long-term addition as I discussed last week.)
Willis McGahee, Denver, RB – McGahee appears to have taken over as the primary back in Denver. Since Denver will likely be playing from behind, way behind, all season, it is difficult to predict what value he may ultimately have. Regardless, he has gone for 100 yards two times already this season and should be a solid spot start in a pinch. If you need depth at RB, he may also be a good long-term addition.
Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh, RB – With Rashard Mendenhall’s status in doubt, Redman may be a spot-start possibility. Redman could split carries with Mewelde Moore, but Moore also may also be injured. If you need running back help, I would grab Redman and monitor the situation in Pittsburgh as the week progresses to determine if he merits a start.
Eric Decker, Denver, WR – I discussed Decker a few weeks ago and admitted to being cautious that his production would continue when other Denver WRs returned. I am still a bit cautious on that front, but Decker’s ability to get into the end zone (four times in the last three weeks) makes him a valuable option. He is a very big, athletic target, making him a threat both for breakout plays and a threat to pull TDs out of a crowd in the end zone. He is hot and probably worth a start if you need help this week. Eddie Royal is due to return this week. If Decker remains one of Orton’s favorite targets, I would certainly hold on to Decker for the long-haul.
Stevan Ridley, New England, RB – Stevan Ridley followed up a respectable Week 3 (42 yards on only six carries) with a very good Week 4 (97 yards and a TD on only 10 carries). Unfortunately, New England has never been a great place for fantasy running backs under wild Bill. Moreover, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been pretty solid in three out of the four weeks played so far this season, making the picture more convoluted. However, I believe Ridley merits a pick-up in deep leagues at this point, given his rapid progress in this, his rookie year, and the myriad of scoring opportunities in the New England offense.
As discussed various other short-term/spot-starts listed above may merit keeping for the long haul.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco, RB – Just when everyone was declaring Frank Gore’s demise, he broke out with 127 yards and a TD on an injured ankle in a game when Hunter had been declared the “starter.” Regardless, Gore is still an injury risk and one game does not necessarily make a trend. Accordingly, Hunter, who has been serviceable bears watching closely going forward.
SIGNS OF LIFE
Darrius Heyward-Bay, Oakland, WR – Yeah, he’s actually still alive. That is all.
Marshall has over ten years fantasy football experience and maintains a fantasy football blog over at Sunday Morning Legend (In My Own Mind).
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!