One might think that after 10 weeks of hard-hitting NFL action, the waiver wire must look more empty than Paris Hilton’s underwear drawer. But you’d be wrong! Read on!
Ladell Betts RB Washington Redskins
Are you a Betting man? If not, this might be the week to start. With Clinton Portis busting a digit and expected to miss several weeks of action, Ladell stepped in and delivered the goods. Depite the Skins being manhandled by the Eagles, Betts rushed 20 times for 83 yards and added 4 catches to boot. He’s one of the best backups in the league and is possibly gone in yours. But if he isn’t, he looks to be getting the bulk of the carries for the Skins down the stretch, making him the waiver wire Smokin’ Hot pickup of the week.
Reche Caldwell WR New England Patriots
The Pats spread the ball around more than most, but after Doug Gabriel got his butt parked on the bench after fumbling after catching a pass, Caldwell picked up the slack. Caldwell had a career day with 9 catches for 90 yards and a TD. Homey looks like his eyes could pop out of his skull at any moment, but he’s clearly established a chemistry with Tom Brady. Don’t expect number like this on a weekly basis, but Caldwell is probably the Pats receiver to own at this point.
Jason Campbell QB Washington Redskins
Mark Brunell has had a pretty solid season so far for the Skins and doesn’t deserve to be benched based on performance. But with a 3-6 record, Washington has correctly chosen to see what they have in last year’s first round QB Jason Campbell. He’s a talent, but expect some highly inconsistent play due to their pathwork receiver corps and the absence of Portis. But hey, he’ll be the starter throughout the season, with a good but not great passing schedule on tap.
Ben Utecht TE Indianapolis Colts
In most cases, a backup tight end is pretty useless for fantasy purposes. But this is the Colts we’re talking about here and there seems to be enough balls to go around for almost everyone. Despite being the second-fiddle as a receiving option to Dallas Clark, Ben has been getting lots of looks from Peyton Manning lately and had a nice game against the Bills, grabbing 7 balls for 66 yards. If you’re hard-up at TE, ride the hot hand with Utecht for as long as it lasts.
Patrick Crayton WR Dallas Cowboys
Terry Glenn was out of action this week, and hearing descriptions of his knees in phrases like ‘bone-on-bone’ doesn’t make one feel too good about his future productivity. Should Glenn miss time, Patrick Crayton seems to be benefitting from his absence. PC snagged 5 balls fomr 104 yards and a TD. He had a nice game against the Cards the previous week as well and looks like a marginally startable player should you need to go 3-wide. The Colts are on the schedule this week, and the Boys may throw a lot should they fall behind early.
On the Radar
Samkon Gado RB Houston Texans
What a roller-coaster ride it’s been for this guy! Last year’s super-sleeper for Green Bay becomes an afterthought, looks to be a a contributor for the Texans and then fizzles out. But last week he rose from the fantasy depths to garner 17 carries for 67 yards in a hard-fought win over the Jags on the road. It’s hard to say what the backfield picture will look like next week for the Texans, but it appears that Gado could be the flavor of the week against the Bills. You’d be hard-pressed to start him, but if you’re a Lundy or Portis owner, he’s better than a dead roster spot.
Aaron Brooks QB Oakland Raiders
Andrew Walter has looked like a deer in the headlights all season, and the supporting cast isn’t helping him one bit. With the poor protection the Raiders O-line provides, they need a mobile QB such as Brooks rather than a statue like Walter. Don’t expect an All-Pro performance if and when Brooks returns to the starting lineup, but know that this is the type of pickup that could pick up some pretty nice garbage-time stats for your fantasy squad. If you hear rumblings of an impending return to the starting lineup, he’s worth a grab if you need help at that position.
Maurice Hicks RB San Francisco 49ers
Frank Gore has been an animal running the ball this year, but he got his bell rung pretty hard in the third quarter last week and sat out the remainder of the game. I’m betting he’ll be playing again this weekend against the Seahawks, but if he doesn’t, expect Mo Hicks to tote the rock in his absence. Hicks has produced in the past when given the chance, and if you’re a Gore owner with little backing him up, it might be worth grabbing Hicks as a cheap insurance policy.