Again, as mentioned last week, the waiver wire pool gets shallower and shallower each week. Only a handful of players worth picking up this week and the backfield battles are playing themselves out now and it seems that most of the teams are pretty set in their rotations now. Still some finds out there, and this should help you find them.
Pick ‘Em Up
1. Josh Freeman – Buccaneers
Josh Freeman is getting back to his rookie year form, as he had a breakout performance this past Sunday throwing for over 300 yards and also tossing four touchdown passes. The biggest positive to take from this past Sunday is that he looked comfortable in the pocket and connected on the deep ball on more than one occasion. Freeman still is just a bye week replacement, but if that becomes the norm for Freeman, he will quickly move into a starting role on your team.
1. Felix Jones – Cowboys
Believe it or not, this guy is still in the league and there was actually a sighting this past weekend in the end zone. All joking aside, Jones will see a lot of carries this upcoming Sunday with DeMarco Murray on the shelf. Also, Murray has a foot injury and those seem to linger longer than expected, so Jones could actually be a useful commodity for the rest of the season. One last thing is that if Jones falters with this opportunity, it could be his last shot.
2. Danny Woodhead – Patriots
Another blast from the past right here worth picking up. Woodhead seems to be a favorite of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, as he is in the game pretty much every offensive play, either lining up in the backfield, or in the slot, or as a receiver. Woodhead will never get you the 20-25 point breakout performance, but is usually good for eight to ten every week because he will get his fair share of touches. If he does break one and get in the end zone, then that ends up with a 14-16 point performance. Sometimes, it is okay to go with the safe play in fantasy football.
1. Josh Gordon – Browns
The rookie from Baylor is making Cleveland look really good for using a draft pick in the 2013 draft to take him in the supplemental draft. He has become the favorite deep threat target of the Browns’ rookie QB Brandon Weeden. Gordon caught a 71 yard TD pass this past Sunday and also
hauled in a 62 yarder the week before. In an earlier column, it was suggested to pick up Greg Little, but since he can’t stop dropping passes, Weeden has looked Gordon’s way and it has paid off for both of them.
2. Brandon Stokley – Broncos
It should not be surprising that he is on the list. The reason is because he became a recognizable name during his time in Indianapolis with the QB who arrived in Denver this past offseason, Peyton Manning. Stokley is the receiver on the Broncos whom Manning trusts the most because of of their time together in Inday. Manning will look his way in the red zone and in crunch time, so Stokley will at least get some fantasy points every week, and just like Woodhead, Stokley might not bust out for a huge number this year, he is a guarantee to not leave a donut on your score sheet.
1. Jermaine Gresham – Bengals
Bernard Scott is out for the season in Cincinnati and BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been struggling. Since they cannot get the run game going, they have been relying on the pass and the pass catchers have been getting a good share of looks. Gresham scored on a 55-yard slant this past week and the three previous weeks before that had five catches in each of those games. Gresham is a Top-10 TE and is available in over half of the leagues out there, so go and get him.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers, as a team looked in vintage form, blowing out the previously undefeated Texans. Earlier in the year, Green Bay’s defense was suffocating against the Chicago Bears. This upcoming week they play the St. Louis Rams, whose offense has been really good and improved at times, and just plain bad at other times. Pick up the Packers defense and don’t be surprised if they continue rolling this week against the Rams.
1. Greg Little – Browns
He was mentioned as pick-up in an earlier column, but that was dependent on him getting over his case of the drops. He has not and he is not Dez Bryant, so his talent alone will not allow him to get more looks than he has earned. It seems that Little is getting passed on the depth chart by somebody else every week. Yeah, by the end of the season he could be the number one receiver on the depth chart, but chances of that aren’t too likely.
2. Toby Gerhart – Vikiings
Unless you are an Adrian Peterson owner, then there is no reason to own Gerhart. It doesn’t look like Peterson is going to show any ill effects from
his offseason surgery, which pretty much takes away all of Gerhart’s value. If you want to hold on to him in case Peterson does go down, then that’s your choice, but that roster spot could better be spent on a guy that has more potential of becoming a starter such as Daryl Richardson in St. Louis.
1. Green Bay Packers
Alex Green looks to be the guy for the Packers as he got most of the carries this past Sunday. James Starks did see his first action of the season as he came into the game in the second half and even got a couple of carries. Also, look for John Kuhn to get some of the goal line carries, if the Packers do run the ball down there. The breakdown for the carries will most likely look like this – Green – 65%, Starks – 25%, and Kuhn – 10%.
2. Arizona Cardinals
LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell split the carries down the middle in the Cardinals game on Sunday. Powell was by far the more successful back, but it looks like Coach Ken Whisenhunt will give LSH a chance to succeed in Arizona. Look for the carries to be split 50-50 again this week.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Who is Baron Batch? That’s the question a lot of people were asking themselves on Thursday during their game against the Titans. Batch came in as the fourth string running back, but ended up with the most rushing yards for the Steelers. Word of caution on picking him up, DON’T. The reason is because he will continue to be the fourth string. Rashard Mendenhall is the guy in Pittsburgh, but with him just coming back from the injury and it being a short week, the Steelers did not want to risk anything and kept him on the bench. Mendenhall should get at least 70% of the carries with Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, and Baron Batch splitting the rest.
4. St. Louis Rams
Every week, Daryl Richardson is impressing the Rams coaching staff more and more and because of that his workload has increased over the past few weeks. There is no denying Steven Jackson’s consistency and durability over his career, but it is looking like all those miles on him is now finally taking a toll. Richardson bring some youth to the backfield and could eventually replace Jackson as the main guy in the Rams’ backfield.