We’re re-treading a couple of names that appeared in this space last week, but we’ve got plenty of other guys to talk about. No reminder probably needed, but three Thursday games on the schedule this week so get your lineups in early. Sadly, we’re getting closer to the end of the season, so make sure you are aware when your league’s free agency period ends. Backup your studs and make sure you have enough quarterbacks to make it to the playoffs.
This week’s column was written while wondering why the NHL doesn’t award three points for a non-overtime win. I’m ok awarding a point for making it into overtime…but why not even things out and award three points in every game? You win in regulation, three points. You win in overtime or shoot out, two points and one point for the other team. I think soccer has it right here (that’s right, two different non-football sports references!) and this might even encourage teams to be more aggressive in winning before going into overtime?
On to this week’s waiver wire wonders…
RB Kevin Smith, Detroit
We had Smith “On the Radar” last week and this week he jumps up to the top waiver priority this week. He got hot early against the Panthers and the Lions rode him to the tune of 201 total yards and three touchdowns. Maurice Morris has looked slow and there is no return is sight for Jahvid Best, Smith will be the feature back for the Lions both short and long term. Detroit is scoring in bunches so the feature back in this offense is very valuable. Since he can also catch the ball out of the back field, Smith is in line for 100 total yards and a TD regardless of the opponent.
RB Toby Gerhart, Minnesota
Reports are that Adrian Peterson will be on the shelf for 2-4 weeks, which opens the door for Gerhart to be the starter until he returns. He’s worth an add, especially to the Peterson owners, but his numbers will be much more limited than those of Kevin Smith. The Falcons are very tough on the run, so look for Gerhart to only get in the range of 50-75 yards in total offense. The Vikings haven’t been using their backs in the passing game that much, another limitation to Gerhart’s numbers.
WR Nate Burleson, Detroit
Owned in less than 50% of online leagues, Burleson has put together back-to-back weeks of 7+ catches and 60+ yards. He found the end zone as well this past week, and with the Packers on the Turkey Day schedule, the Lions will be passing early and often in an effort to keep pace with Green Bay. A hundred yards and a score is not out of the question this week.
WR Vincent Brown, San Diego
Despite his struggles last week, I still have Brown as a ‘Solid Pickup’. The Chargers’ offense hit a bump in the road last week against the Bears, look for San Deigo to have more success this week against the Broncos. Brown will be involved, prior to last week he went for 79 and 97 yards respectively, look for a return to those numbers this week.
QB Matt Leinart, Houston
With Houston having a bye week, there’s nothing new to report on Leinart that we didn’t mention last week. Andre Johnson is back this week, so the weapons are there at his disposal. In an offense that has an excellent and established running game, Leinart won’t be asked to win games, he’ll only be asked not to lose them. With teams focused on stopping the run, he’ll have opportunities to throw for the occasional big gainer. For those that are struggling to keep their starting quarterback healthy, I see Leinart as the best of the available bunch on the waiver wire.
On the Radar
WR Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati
In AJ Green’s absence, Simpson exploded this week for 152 yards on eight catches as the Bengals’ passing offense continues to impress. The Browns are on tap this week, but it is Green’s return that will cut into Simpson’s numbers. Keep an eye on Green’s availability, if he’s out, then Simpson is a viable flex play this week.
RB Joe McKnight, New York Jets
Shonn Greene‘s rib injury gave McKnight an opportunity to get on the field last week against the Broncos and he didn’t disappoint. Sideline reports confirmed that Greene was available to return, but the coaching staff decided to ride the hot hand that McKnight had. I don’t see it as being enough for McKnight to move past Greene on the depth chart, but he’s earned a little more playing time. With the Jets struggling, the potential to “shake things up” is very high, so those in deep leagues can add McKnight and stash him on the bench.