Peyton Manning without a touchdown pass? Jamal Lewis held to nine rushing yards? Five interceptions for Daunte Culpepper? It was indeed another crazy week in the NFL. But there's one thing that we can count on...solid players available on the waiver wire for those with the knowlege to find them. So let's look at who these guys are this week!
Smokin' Hot!!! Sorry, there's really no Willie Parker-type of pickup around this week. Derrick Blaylock of the New York Jets could be one pending some news, but he can't be bumped to Smokin' Hot status just yet. What's that news? Well, you'll just have to wait on that one. But I promise, you won't have to wait long.
Solid Pickups Derrick Blaylock RB New York Jets Hey, what did I tell you?! With rumors out of New York having uber-back Curtis Martin suffering a strained knee and possibly worse, the starting slot could open up for Blaylock this weekend. Blaylock backed up Priest Holmes capably in Kansas City and should be able to put up respectable numbers in Martin's absense, should there be one. Picking up Blaylock is a very shrewd move for Martin owners, but of course this all depends on the diagnosis of Martin's knee. Stay tuned on this one, but stash Blaylock if you can...he could become a red-hot pickup in a hurry! Or the Martin injury hype could pan out as just that...hype.
Bobby Engram WR Seattle Seahawks Engram isn't spectacular and is nearing the end of his career. But as things stand, he's the clear-cut #2 reciever and is getting plenty of looks in a fairly potent Seahawks offense. Engram's 5/77 performance follows up on a 8/79 the week before...you could certainly do worse having Engram as your #3 WR right now in point-per-catch leagues. Don't expect a 10 TD year, but a 1000+ yard season seems within reach. A good roster add for depth, especially in larger leagues.
Travis Taylor WR Minnesota Vikings Taylor's a former top 10 pick who never really lived up to his billing for the Ravens. One might argue that this had as much to do with Baltimore's overall anemic passing attack as it did Taylor's individual efforts, but that's yet to be seen. With news out of Minnesota that top-catcher Nate Burleson may be out of action for a couple of games with a sprained knee, Taylor looks to be the beneficiary of more targets, and therefore more potential points, for the Vikes. Taylor caught 7 balls for 75 yards and looked pretty good after Burleson was hobbled. Travis is more of a possession receiver and likely won't produce eye-popping TD numbers, but Culpepper won't look this bad every week and Taylor has a pretty nice upside.
Marcel Shipp RB Arizona Cardinals An upgrade from last weeks On The Radar section, Shipp was made the Cardinals starter after JJ Arrington fell ill and was not activated for the game against the Rams this past weekend. Shipp didn't look All-Pro, but didn't look half bad either, rushing for 54 yards on 12 carries, also catching 5 balls for 39 yards...respectable numbers, especially in point-per-reception leagues. As mentioned last week, Arrington has looked thoroughly overmatched and one would think Shipp will have the chance to play as long as he's productive. Shipp doesn't have a monster upside, but he'll look good on your bench or as a spot starter if he can continue to hold off Arrington.
Steve Heiden TE Cleveland Browns Heiden had a monster game against the lowly Packers, snagging six passes for 102 yards and 2 big TDs! One might remember that Heiden had one similar game last season, but produced minimal stats the rest of the season. Will this once again be the case? Perhaps, but if his chemistry with Trent Dilfer continues for another week, Heiden becomes a starter-quality TE in your fantasy league.
On the Radar Ron Dayne RB Denver Broncos An interesting thing happened in Denver this past weekend. With the game on the line in a tie game in the 4th quarter, the running back in the game was not starter Mike Anderson, nor backup Tatum Bell, but rather...you guessed it...Ron Dayne! Dayne looked great, moving the Broncos into position to kick a game-winning field goal with 5 seconds remaining in the game. What does this mean? It's hard to say, but Dayne clearly is in the mix in the Broncos backfield. If you can get him cheap, do it now!
Mewelde Moore RB Minnesota Vikings The Vikings were basically crushed this past weekend, and their rushing game was non-existent. But something significant did happen...starter Michael Bennett fumbled twice and was benched by Mike Tice for doing so. Moore looked great last year and could be a *very* solid fantasy starter should he remain healthy and play even decent ball.