No small talk this week. It’s straight to the waiver wire for all of us. There are some pretty terrible teams on bye this week.
Bye week: Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints
Brandon Weeden – It looks like Weeden is going to be a viable bye week replacement in many leagues. The Browns aren’t very good and will likely need to throw a great deal. He certainly should be owned in 2-QB leagues as it looks like the Browns are finally phasing Greg Little out of the offense which can only help Weeden.
Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman – Robert Griffin III was concussed in Week five and it is unclear if Griffin will play in week six. Cousins came on in relief of Griffin and was uneven which is to be expected. However, Mike Shanahan hasn’t said whether he will go with the veteran Grossman or Cousins should Griffin miss this week.
Brady Quinn – No. I mean really no. Only in the deepest of leagues and I assume that would be a two QB league. I don’t see Quinn being successful as the starting QB this week (I’m assuming Matt Cassel does not play after his concussion). The Chiefs are going to ride Jamaal Charles as long as they can and attempt to minimize Quinn’s involvement in the game.
Arizona Cardinal running backs – Ryan Williams is out for the season with shoulder surgery. Beanie Wells is out until week 12 at least with his own toe injury. That leaves William Powell, Alfonso Smith and LaRod Stephens-Howling to pick up the slack. Kent Somers covers the situation better than I could here. In short, for fantasy purposes none of these players is worthy of an addition. There won’t be enough of an opportunity for one to shine and the Cardinals offense has not been conducive to a successful RB this year as they have an awful offensive line.
Somers also speculates on free agent RBs that the Cardinals could target – Joseph Addai, Tim Hightower, Steve Slaton, Cadillac Williams and Maurice Morris. I have to imagine that Hightower is the only viable option out of that group and the Redskins signed Ryan Grant instead of Hightower earlier this year because Hightower needed another knee surgery.
Finally, I saw (and I can’t recall the source) a note suggesting the Cardinals should explore a trade for Chris Ivory. Ivory could be intriguing as he’s always run hard, but he’s buried on the Saints depth chart and will likely not get into a game in the near future without a trade.
Green Bay Packers running backs – Cedric Benson is done for at least the next eight weeks and potentially the entire regular season with a foot injury. To fill in for Benson will be Alex Green, John Kuhn and James Starks. Green is the most intriguing of the three as he has the highest ceiling and could be a three down back. He’s got a ceiling higher than Benson’s and could end up being a high end RB2. His chances of hitting that ceiling are certainly low.
Kuhn is a short yardage/third down specialist who is best left on the waiver wire in all leagues. Starks has been inactive for the last few weeks so he’s certainly low on the depth chart, but if Green is injured or underperforms, Starks is the next man up.
David Wilson – Wilson has begun to climb out of Tom Coughlin’s doghouse and with Andre Brown’s injury this past weekend Wilson is back to being the Bradshaw handcuff. Bradshaw had a phenomenal week last week, but he’s never been the picture of health. Wilson has that home run hitter’s ability and should be owned in deeper leagues as a lottery ticket.
Rashard Mendenhall – He looked great and had no issues with his knee. Jonathan Dwyer was inactive for the game and can be cut in all leagues. Mendenhall has a great matchup this week against the Titans.
Darius Reynaud – In return leagues, Reynaud is likely on your radar. However, with Javon Ringer heading out for the next four to six weeks due to another injury, Reynaud is likely the backup to the awful Chris Johnson. Johnson turned back into a pumpkin last week and will likely struggle for the rest of the season.
James Jones – If Jones is on the waiver wire in your league, he should probably be your first priority pick among WRs. He scored another two TDs and he should continue to perform as a WR2/flex play in most leagues.
Devery Henderson – Henderson’s breakout game was due to Lance Moore’s injury. Henderson will likely slide back to the third WR for the Saints and that has value, but don’t expect this past week’s performance to be replicated.
Cleveland Browns WRs – It looks like the Greg Little experiment may be coming to an end. This week we saw two solid performances from WRs who were off the radar in nearly all leagues. Jordan Norwood had nine targets and caught them all. As I noted above, the Browns will have to throw a lot. Norwood looks like a potential PPR darling (who could replace the injured Danny Amendola on your squad).
Josh Gordon exploded for a huge performance last week catching two passes for 82 yards and 2 TDs. Gordon’s performance (should he keep starting) will be more volatile. It’s not clear what the Browns will do with Mohamed Massaquoi set to return and Josh Cribbs and Travis Benjamin also in the mix. There is value to be had (especially in PPR leagues), but it’s not certain yet where it will come from.
Devin Hester and Earl Bennett – Alshon Jeffery is out for the next four to six weeks with a broken hand. Jeffrey will be replaced by Hester and Bennett in some fashion. Jeffrey wasn’t valuable except in deep leagues and I believe Hester and Bennett will have little value going forward.
Danny Amendola – Amendola is out for the next six weeks and his replacement is going to be Chris Givens who looks to be a boom or boost play. Austin Pettis and the generally invisible Steve Smith are other options who hold more hope for PPR leagues.
Joel Dreessen – Dreesen has caught TDs in three straight games. He’s nothing more than a bye week option in deeper leagues as the the Broncos also have Jacob Tamme at TE. However, it looks like Dreessen may have passed Tamme in the pecking order.
Kyle Rudolph – Rudolph has another good matchup against the Redskins who are in the top five in points allowed to TEs.
Fred Davis – In the same game, Davis also has a favorable matchup, but it’s unclear who will be quarterbacking. You should be able to wait until later in the week to see who is the QB.
TE playing the Titans – Last week, we saw the Titans not give up tons of points to a TE. It’s unclear if it was a choice by the Vikings or if the return of Colin McCarthy to the linebacking corps for the Titans has improved the defense enough. That said, your TE of the week is Heath Miller. I like him as a low end TE1 in the matchup.
Jermichael Finley –Also, your weekly reminder to trade or cut Finley. He left last week’s game with a shoulder injury. He’s not as good as you thought and he’s not as healthy as you hoped.
David Thomas – Jimmy Graham did not contribute at all in the Saints come from behind victory due to an ankle injury. Should Graham miss time, David Thomas will likely elevate to the TE1 role in the Saints offense which offers TE2 upside for fantasy purposes.
Billy Cundiff – As I noted last week, the Redskins get a fair number of FG opportunities and I can’t see Cundiff lasting on the roster past Tuesday. Monitor the new FG kicker and add for a bye week replacement.
Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins face the Rams, bye week, Jets, Colts, Titans, and Bills over the next six weeks. That’s quite a nice run. And look who they face in weeks 15 and 16 when playoffs are played in most normal leagues – Jacksonville and Buffalo. Grab them now.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers defense has not played up to its lofty history, but this is the week to play them as they face the Tennessee Titans off a short week. Yes, the Steelers will be without Troy Polamalu, but this is the week to play the Steelers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions – A couple of deep league options here. The Bucs are coming off a bye and should be well prepared to take on the Brady Quinn All-Stars. The Lions face turnover machine Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles. They are a risky play as the Eagles are a better team at home than on the road, but if you are desperate the Lions are an option.
St. Louis Rams – The Rams are no more than a bye week fill-in going forward even though they’ve been quite successful so far. They face the Packers, Patriots and 49ers twice over the next seven games, but they do have the Bills, Jets and Cardinals during that same stretch.
Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.