A light group of waiver wire candidates this week. It’s so light that we’re forced to ditch the usual format. We do talk about several players, giving you enough information to decide if the player is worth considering for your roster. This list was put together while wondering which of the following two true statements would have been more laughable if made two months ago: “Chris Johnson will not be the most productive running back on his team on Nov. 1,” or “Trick-or-treating will be postponed because of snow.”
Both of those statements, spoken on Nov. 1, are completely true. Johnson has been a shell of himself since holding out for a new contract. He’s no longer a ‘must start,’ instead his fantasy starting status depends on what other options you have on your roster. And yes, those in New England have been stunned by an October storm that forced Halloween to be postponed to later in the week. That spawns the question – Will the Halloween candy still be half-price this week so I can grab some [more] before the newly scheduled trick-or-treating takes place? Inquiring minds want to know.
On to this week’s waiver wire wonders …
WR Jonathan Baldwin, Kansas City
The Chiefs moved the rookie into the slot for the Monday night tilt against the San Diego Chargers, and it paid immediate dividends. Baldwin burst onto the fantasy scene with five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. Reports are that Kansas City will keep him there, as well as work him into some regular work in two wide receiver sets. I see Baldwin as a player that will have an immediate and long-term fantasy impact.
RB Javon Ringer, Tennessee
This is the way it always works out – star player holds out, signs, then has a disastrous campaign on the field. Of course, there is more to that story, but in this case, we’re talking about an epilogue where Ringer is a more productive fantasy player than Chris Johnson. Many are talking about leaving Johnson on their fantasy bench this week, and I can find no reason to disagree with that decision. Ringer has been the most productive runner for Tennessee, and reports are he will continue to see a consistent dose of action. Like his fantasy owners, the Titans are waiting for the “pre-contract” Johnson to make an appearance on the playing field. Until that time comes, Ringer will be in the mix and is worth owning in all formats
RB Kevin Faulk, New England
As we’ve said in this space before, solving the riddle that is the New England backfield is tricky. Back from injury, Faulk joins a backfield that is already crowded with the likes of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and Stevan Ridley. Playing from behind for most of the game this week, Faulk saw a ton of playing time this week, leading the Patriots’ quartet of running backs in rushes and catches. His 72 yards in total offense will no doubt raise some eyebrows, but for those that are trolling the waiver wire for a viable running back, I urge you to look elsewhere unless you are in a very deep league. Faulk will get a lot of playing time on passing downs, so when the Patriots are playing from behind, it will be Faulk getting the action. Green-Ellis gets the majority of work when New England is in front, so predicting who will get what during which week is an impossible task. Tread at your own risk here.
RB Tashard Choice, Washington
Speaking of riddles, we move into the mind of Mike Shanahan, an even more difficult puzzle to solve. Fresh off his release from Dallas, the Redskins picked up the currently injured Choice, adding him to their backfield medley that includes Ryan Torain and Roy Helu. As sad as it seems, Choice is the most talented of the three, so the possibility exists that Choice could unseat both these guys in 2-3 weeks time. Reports are that Choice will be out for at least another week. Those desperate with an eye for a few weeks down the road can take a flier on the oft-injured and under-performing Choice.
RB Curtis Brinkley, San Diego
We’ll stick with the running back position for now, and list the player that would have been at the top of this week’s waiver wire article if it weren’t for a late game concussion suffered on Monday night. It’s too bad, since Brinkley performed well in relief of the injured Ryan Mathews. Mike Tolbert is also battling injury, so all three candidates in the Charger backfield are hurting. As long of a shot that Choice is, Brinkley is an even longer shot. Those in deep leagues can take a flier, but much of Brinkley’s playing time will not only rely on his injury status, but also that of Mathews.