In the last couple of weeks, two teams with Super Bowl hopes – Houston and Chicago – have lost their starting quarterbacks. Throw in Adrian Peterson going down with an ankle injury and fantasy owners are starting to get their usual late-season headaches.
Luckily, even though we’re entering Week 12, the waiver wire always offers some hope. Let’s take a look at this week’s hot waiver wire targets and whether or not those players are worth pursuing.
Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee – Locker came in against Atlanta when starter Matt Hasselbeck left with an elbow injury. Coach Mike Munchak has already said Hasselbeck will still be the starter if he’s healthy but it appears that Locker’s time is coming.
One thing Locker gives the Titans is mobility. Hasselbeck has been under heavy fire in recent weeks, and with his lack of mobility the veteran is a sitting duck. On Sunday, Locker was able to elude pressure and make plays down the field.
One thing I noticed about Locker, though, is he really struggled throwing to his left. Damian Williams was lined up to Locker’s left and he was targeted seven times. None of those seven passes ever had a chance. Every one of Locker’s passes to Williams sailed over his head or out of bounds. Locker threw very well to his right and when he was on the run. I’m not sure if it was just one game or if it’s an issue with mechanics but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on if Locker starts this week.
The Final Call: It’s unlikely fantasy owners fighting for a playoff spot need a starting quarterback right now. However, if you play in a two-quarterback league Locker is worth picking up. He could have some fantasy value if Hasselbeck is sidelined.
Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit – In one of the more shocking performances in recent memory, Smith came off the street to record 201 total yards and three touchdowns Sunday against Carolina.
There’s no question Smith was running hard, but if you watched the game you saw how truly pathetic the Carolina run defense is right now. I can’t remember a game where I’ve seen so many missed tackles by one team. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt things won’t get any easier for Smith this year.
Now that’s not to say Smith doesn’t have any fantasy value. It’s not like the Lions are loaded with great options at running back. Plus, Smith is a good receiver out of the backfield and the Lions love throwing the ball to their backs.
Smith has obviously earned more playing time, but those big runs against Carolina will be 2-yard runs against a defense like the Chicago Bears. There’s no doubt Smith benefited from a lot of poor tackling on Sunday.
The Final Call: Smith is worth adding in all leagues but just temper your expectations. He has a lot more value in points per reception leagues because of his skills as a receiver.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota – Adrian Peterson went down with an ankle injury and early reports suggest that he’ll miss at least one game.
Gerhart is a tough call for me because I really liked him in college but so far in the NFL he’s looked awful. I know he hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities but when he has run the ball he’s looked slow and indecisive.
Now that could change once he gets more carries, but going by what we’ve seen, Gerhart hasn’t looked good. The one positive is we know Gerhart will catch some passes, so if you’re in a points per reception league that’s where a lot of his value could come.
No one expects Gerhart to be Peterson but if he can catch five balls and get 70 total yards, he’ll have some fantasy value.
The Final Call: Gerhart is going to be a hot commodity this week but I wouldn’t kill yourself trying to get him. He’s obviously worth adding if you own Peterson but if you’re set at running back, take a pass.