Man, we’re all missing Greg Little so, so much. What’s that? What’s an Aaron Rodgers?
Yeah, that will sort of be a big deal this week, along with Trent Richardson sitting out as we mercifully inch closer to the end of byes in Week 11. We don’t really have a great solution for the desperate T-Rich owner, but there’s an easy one for the scrambling Rodgers owner who possibly spent a first overall pick on their quarterback, and then waited, and waited to take a QB2 after making the highest possible investment at the position.
1. Russell Wilson: The prevailing theme on the quarterback waiver wire this week will be one of death, as Rodgers owners in deep leagues scramble during his bye. If that describes you, go make your waiver claim on Wilson now, and I’ll wait. As you’ll see below, the QB wire thins quickly if you’re seeking a tonic for your desperation, and Wilson is facing a very middle tier Jets defense that’s giving up 347 total yards per game (16th) after he was highly effective against a much stronger Vikings defensive unit in Week 9, throwing three touchdowns and finishing with a passer rating of 127.3.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 14.8%, Yahoo – 20%
2. Jake Locker: Oddly once Matt Hasselbeck began to look old again, Locker’s healing process rapidly accelerated. After Bud Adams issued a franchise-wide dismissal warning following the Titans’ latest loss, head coach Mike Munchak would really enjoy a win right about now, and achieving that job-saving measure will be much easier with Locker under center. Although there’s still a lot of uncertainty around Locker’s shoulder injury that’s kept him out since Week 4, the need to maintain employment could push Munchak away from doing the sensible thing, which would be to sit down the franchise’s future at the quarterback position for one more week prior to a Week 11 bye. At 3-6 the Titans have already dug a deep hole in a division led by the 7-1 Texans, so pushing Locker back seems senseless. But when jobs are on the line, common sense gets abandoned quickly in the NFL, which is why even before we get a definitive word on Locker’s status after Wednesday’s practice, a claim by Rodgers owners who have a low priority in deep leagues isn’t an awful play.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 5.8%, Yahoo – 14%
3. Mark Sanchez: I have more faith in Locker at potentially less than full health, because Sasnchez is traveling way westward to Seattle this week, home of both broken dreams, and all of the NFL’s road losses. Attempting to win a football game in Seattle is just an awful experience, especially when the quarterback in question is also awful. Example: Tom Brady has only thrown three interceptions this year, and two of them came in Seattle. Tom Brady >>>> Mark Sanchez, but again, if you’re grasping to fill that Rodgers bye or maybe some other dire mess has prompted your sad state, then Sanchez is maybe only a small step down from a healthy Locker. Against an equally daunting Dolphins pass defense last week he posted 14 fantasy points, which is fine production from your backup quarterback, especially if his name is Mark Sanchez.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 17.9%, Yahoo – 12%
1. Marcel Reece: The perfectest perfect storm has aligned for Reece, as both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson are likely out with high-ankle sprains (gasps all around), and the Raiders coaches hate Taiwan Jones with every fiber of their being. That means after the fullback that no one outside of Oakland had heard of a week ago posted eight receptions for 95 yards this past Sunday, Reece could be Darren Sproles-lite. Very, very lite, but pass catching will be Reece’s primary usage in a Raiders offense that despises running when McFadden isn’t healthy (they ran 10 times to 61 pass attempts last week). And he could be targeted often, especially this week against a still solid Ravens run defense even without Ray Lewis. Captain checkdown wants you to join him on his next mission to the flats.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 0.2%, Yahoo – 6%
2. Isaac Redman: This post was given the highly original and highly creative name “Journey To The Deep” for a reason. At the very least, we go beyond the surface layer of the waiver wire, and to the areas where darkness and death lurk. But right now we’re making an exception, because I can’t believe Redman — a starting running back for the rushing factory that is the Pittsburgh Steelers — is still out there in nearly 40 percent of ESPN leagues. I have to assume those are the shallow leagues inhabited by preachers and such, because it became clear late last week long before game time that Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall would sit out, a mess which will likely persist in Week 10. So Redman will get another start against a Kansas City defense that’s barely a defense at all (22nd against the run) after he had 145 rushing yards on 5.7 yards per carry this past Sunday.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 63.6%, Yahoo – 54%
3. Chris Ivory: There’s some caution that needs to be used here due to the usual backfield mess in New Orleans that I explored/ranted about earlier today. That debacle is a little worse with Sproles out, and roles redefined between Ivory, Mark Ingram, and Pierre Thomas. But Thomas is widely owned, and while Ingram showed some burst too Monday night against an Eagles defense that would struggle to stop a diseased cat, he’s had far more opportunities this year to show said burst. Ivory received his first 10 carries of the year in Week 10, and he used them to give the two people who started him 10 fantasy points (48 yards and a touchdown). So if it’s a running back depth flier you crave, lean his way over Ingram.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 0.4%, Yahoo – 4%
1. Emmanuel Sanders: If “doubtful” is the chosen adjective to describe an injury on a Tuesday, that’s bad. Antonio Brown has received that tag, so for his owners a waiver claim on Sanders should be automatic. He’ll oppose a Chiefs defense that unfortunately only does one thing sort of right: defend the pass, as Kansas City gives up a moderate 221.5 passing yards per game. But that shouldn’t slow down the blazing Sanders, who has high-end WR2 potential as he’s logged four catches of 20 yards or more this year despite seeing scattered usage while playing behind Brown and Mike Wallace.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 1.6%, Yahoo – 7%
2. Jerome Simpson: Someone has to catch passes from Christian Ponder. That we know as a fact, we think. And Percy Harvin will almost certainly be out this week, so more very linear logic dictates that Harvin owners should pick up Simpson, because he’s the next man up. Alright cool, but what should the Harvin turned Simpson owner expect? Probably something only a little bit above horrifying. For Simpson to be effective, he has to be a deep threat. And for Simpson to be a deep threat, he has to have a quarterback who can throw the ball deep. Last week Ponder averaged only 2.9 yards per attempt, which was worse than his 3.4 average three weeks ago, and worse than his 4.3 average back in Week 4. Just like that time you took home Becky from that dark poker room, you’re making this claim out of necessity, not desire.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 3.3%, Yahoo – 7%
3. Michael Floyd: A funny thing will happen if the Cardinals continue to suck: they’ll develop a deep, burning desire to see if their first-round pick from last spring is great, good, or somewhere in the vast landscape in between. Ken Whisenhunt’s words, not mine. Floyd’s snap count increased dramatically this week during Arizona’s loss to Green Bay, and rose above 50 percent for the first time this season. The result of that has been 10 receptions over the last two weeks after Floyd had only eight over his first five games. So what does this mean going forward? Low confidence flex play status, that’s what. Score?
Percentage owned: ESPN – 2.6%, Yahoo – 6%
1. Dwayne Allen: A holdover from this list last week, Allen was the beneficiary of both Coby Fleener’s injury, and Andrew Luck’s record-setting game. But beyond Luck’s rookie single-game passing yards record, what was important and intriguing about his performance last Sunday is that for the first time since Week 1 when Fleener had 82 receiving yards, he targeted a tight end heavily, and deep. Allen averaged 12.5 yards per catch while making six receptions for 75 yards, and he now has 131 yards over his last two games. That’s pretty, pretty good for a tight end who’s been below 10 yards in three games this year.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 1.1%, Yahoo – 11%
2. Dennis Pitta: Aiming to establish a record of some kind for the longest tumble from grace ever, Pitta was the coolest over the first three weeks when he had two touchdowns and 188 receiving yards. Then he wasn’t even targeted against the Browns in Week 4, which started a run of sustain mediocrity, and that feels worse than just simple sucking. At least he strives for consistency, though, logging three straight games with 33 yards. But this week there’s hope, as Pitta will oppose a Raiders defense that’s a week removed from giving up 57 yards to Tony Moeaki, you know, the Chiefs TE who was receiving passes from Matt Cassel.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 32%, Yahoo – 35%
3. Brandon Myers: I’ll keep trotting Myers out here until his ownership increases, and I swear to god I’ll turn this blog right around if you guys don’t be quiet back there (*shakes fist*). He’s the Raiders tight end in an offense that attempted 61 passes last week, and he’s averaging 55.2 receiving yards per game. Also, he had two touchdowns last week, his only two touchdowns on the year. Hire this man.
Percentage owned: ESPN – 7%, Yahoo – 24%