Well, that was a weird one. Drops, fumbles, missed tackles, penalties, bad officiating. Aside from protecting Jay Cutler, everything that could have gone wrong for the Bears DID go wrong. My general feeling was that the entire offense was just slightly off, and that Major Wright needs a LOT more seasoning before we can call him the future.
BUT WE WON!!!
We're now basically free and clear for the #6 seed in the NFC, standing one game over all other competitors except the Atlanta Falcons, who we hold the tiebreaker over.
Anyhoo, let’s start off with the usual disclaimers. I'm not a Fantasy expert. I've run the gauntlet from 0-for the season to undefeated champion, and everything in between. I've played in almost every type of Fantasy Football league except for Auction drafts and Franchise leagues. My favorite leagues right now are the two 2QB starter leagues, one of which I'm the defending champion. I'm also a big fan of scoring odd things, like return yardage for offensive players, and TFLs and 3-and-outs for Defenses. So some of my rankings might be skewed slightly (or majorly) by some of my experiences. Take them with a grain of salt.
The pickups below are broken down first by position, then by the order I'd pick them up. Not all waiver wire pickups are created equal, obviously. The guys higher up in their positional breakdown are more highly recommended than those lower down.
I also dislike talking about players for multiple weeks in a row. It gets boring from my end to say the same things over and over again. But I’ll also run out of material pretty quickly if I keep doing that. For the most part, the guys I thought would be good to pick up last week (or any other week for that matter) are still probably halfway decent pickups. But, as always, be smart about what you’re doing with your team. Don’t pick up Torrey Smith just because I recommended him after his insane 3 score game a few weeks ago. Do your own research, just as I’ve done in compiling these lists. And, above all, ENJOY THE INSANITY!
Carson Palmer, QB, Oak -- One of a few potential Week 9 Plug&Play options. San Diego just gave up 45 points at home to the Packers. Now, the Packers are cringe a great cringe team, with quite possibly the most potent offense since New England ran through the season a couple years ago. Even so, Carson put on a pretty decent show against an admittedly porous Denver passing defense. 3 scores, 3 picks, and 332 yards. Those are some big points. I'm expecting around 250, 2 scores, and a pick this week, as a floor.
Christian Ponder, QB, Min -- Another Plug&Play type. Green Bay just let Philip Rivers go crazy against them, especially in the 4th quarter. And Rivers didn't really have much of a running game to help him out with Matthews sidelined this weekend. Ponder has Adrian Peterson to take the pressure off him. And he's got basically zero expectations for this game or this season. And his receiving core isn't without talent either. Like Palmer, I'd say that the floor here is around 250 yards, 2 scores, and a pick, but the ceiling is probably lower and Green Bay has become ball hawkish recently.
Matt Cassel, QB, KC -- Two things could potentially go on here. KC could have a bounce back game like they had those 4 bounceback weeks after the atrocity that was the start of their season. And Denver is a terrible passing defense. I'm not buying on the player here. I'm buying on the situation and the matchup. Don't expect huge numbers, but he should get you 10-15 points on standard Y! or ESPN settings.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, NYJ -- There's a good chance he's already taken in your league, as Y! is reporting him 53% owned right now. But he looks to be getting his poaching job back, and he was pretty lively in limited action against Buffalo this weekend. New England probably isn't where you want to test this out, though. But after New England, he's got a pretty cushy schedule for a RB, pretty much all the way through Championship Weekend. The Buy Low period is probably over for him, but you could still make a profit out of the former Fantasy MVP.
Roy Helu, RB, Was -- I've made it something of a policy to stay away from a Mike Shanahan backfield. But Helu is, in my eyes, clearly the most capable runner that they've got to work with. Of course, the moment that I recommend him, Shanny's gonna bench him for some other no-name and watch him go for triple digits and a score. Still, it's Miami. And if you're going to test out a Shanny RB, there's really not much better of a place to do so.
Marion Barber, RB, Chi -- He is a poacher. Pure and simple. His game relies 100% upon scoring opportunities. But Matt Forte, for everything that he does right, simply does not have a nose for the end zone. Scores are the most important part of Fantasy Football, so Barber's worth an add in the same way that Jerome Bettis was worth an add back in 2005. Scores, and only scores, will make the Barbarian useful. And he's delivered more often than not this season, as well as each of the last 3 weeks.
Laurent Robinson, WR, Dal -- Miles Austin is injured. Again. And Dez Bryant is almost criminally underused in that offense. Robinson looked pretty decent against a spectacular Eagles passing defense and a not-terrible Seahawks defense. He's also got scores two weeks running. And he gets the soft Buffalo secondary. Pick him up and start him if you don't have multiple top 20 WRs. He's got a good shot at joining them this week.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Oak -- Time to rewrite the book on this receiving core once again. Really, I think that all three players here (Ford, Denarius Moore, and Darrius Heyward-Bey) are start-worthy depending on your league settings. But Ford seems to have Carson Palmer's eyes right now. I think he's the one to own at the moment, but that could change weekly. And, again, San Diego isn't a spectacular passing defense this year.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pit -- He had 20 yards and a score stolen from him by his teammate Mike Wallace. But he's turning into an incredible fantasy value, and an almost must-start as long as Hines Ward is even close to injured, which seems to be his perpetual state. He went 5/109 against the always-stingy Ravens. He's been doing it for most of the season. He's available in 60% of ESPN leagues. PICK HIM UP!
David Nelson, WR, Buf -- He's got 4 catches in each of the last 3 weeks. He's got 2 scores in his last 4 games, all against pretty decent competition. He visits Dallas, who were carved up on underneath stuff against Philly last week. He's probably and every-week starter at this point, though a low-end one. But at 61% availability, you can definitely do worse.
Damian Williams, WR, Ten -- This team is just looking cursed right now. They lose their best wideout just a couple of games into a spectacular start to the season. Their $60million back decides to take a vacation for a season. Then his replacement goes down this past week. Williams, while not great, looked lively at least in replacing Nate Washington. And he gets the soft Carolina defense. Tennessee will probably be looking to uncork CJ0K this week against a laughably bad Carolina team. But don't underestimate the passing game against a team selling out to stop the run.
Earl Bennett, WR, Chi -- He is clearly the best receiver on this team. Or, at the very least, the most productive. And Jay Cutler loves this man like a brother, so he's going to keep getting opportunities. At least as long as Roy E. Williams, Devin Hester, Dane Sanzenbacher, and Johnny Knox are dropping good passes like they're bad habits, he'll continue to have massive fantasy value.
Austin Pettis, WR, StL -- You're really getting desperate now. This is the third strong slot WR on a bad team on a downturn. But he's also one of a very few WRs available on this bad team right now. Most of the others have either gone down with injury or ineffectiveness. Cleveland is far from the worst place to start off either. He could have a respectable PPR game if you need him.
Brent Celek, TE, Phi -- Nothing quiet about this guy. He's Vick's safety valve, and he's been using it early and often recently. With 18 catches for over 200 yards and 2 scores over the last 3 games, I believe he'll continue to be a useful Fantasy asset as long as opposing defenses are focusing on taking away the home run play.
Jake Ballard, TE, NYG -- Ballard has been quietly effective the last 4 games. 16 catches, 275 yards, 2 scores. Be careful, though, as he's traveling to the incredibly good San Fransisco defense this week. Opportunity tends to override matchup for TEs, though. Unless you've got a Golden Boy TE, Ballard is probably worth a flyer.