Just when you quit walking under ladders, stepping on sidewalk cracks, and throwing mirrors around the house…it’s Week 13!! If you’ve been starting Byron Leftwich, you’d better start shopping for a QB…we’ve got a few decent ones of mention on the wire. The format is a bit different this week so you just might get an idea or two even if you think you’re already set for the playoffs. We’ll also be talking about worthwhile handcuffs for your playoff run, and who to grab for your Dynasty teams even if you’re out of contention this year. So let’s rock!
Here are a few guys worth a pickup this week:
Ryan Fitzpatrick QB St. Louis Rams
Boy, Blue Cross is taking a bath insuring Ram QBs this year! With starter Marc Bulger nursing a reinjured shoulder, backup Jamie Martin gets whacked harder than a Buster Douglas uppercut and goes down for the count! Bring in Harvard rookie Ryan Fitzpatrick, who in his first NFL action promptly throws for 310 yards and 3 TDs to lead the Rams to a comeback victory…are you kidding me? Considering Ryan’s last game experience was against the Yale Bulldogs, this can be considered nothing short of amazing! Yeah, we know he was playing the Texans, but with the full compliment of Ram receivers finally healthy and with Washington, Minnesota, Philly, and San Francisco next on the schedule, look for Fitzpatrick to be a startable QB in many leagues if Bulger continues to miss games. Fitzpatrick also got a rare perfect score on his Wonderlic test, so for those of you dreaming of starting Alex Trebec at QB, here’s the next best thing!
Dominic Rhodes RB Indianapolis Colts
Rhodes won’t be worth much as long as Edge continues toting the rock in Indy, but as the season winds down it will be interesting to see how many carries James will continue to get. If the Colts keep winning, they may continue to play their starters in quest of the undefeated season achieved only by the ’72 Dolphins. But a single loss may mean that Rhodes gets the vast majority of the carries for the rest of the season, making him a potentially valuable fantasy player. Of course, Dungy would likely bench many of his other star players as well, so it’s tough to say what the true value of Rhodes would be. But in any case, he’s a great handcuff for the Edge and a nice guy to squirrel away in the event he gets hot during playoff time.
David Garrard QB Jacksonville Jaguars
With starter Byron Leftwitch possibly missing the remainder of the season with a broken ankle, look for the starting duties to fall to Garrard. He was highly-sought by several teams during the offseason and could be a suprise performer for the Jags down the stretch. Jacksonville has a decent receiving corps, and he could be a hail-mary starter for you against the Browns this week, the Vikings in Week 15, or San Francisco in Week 16.
Marcus Robinson WR Minnesota Vikings
It seems that Robinson has a few huge games every year and last week was one of them; he caught only three passes for 32 yards, but all three were for TDs! I’m guessing that this is the highest peak in Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood this season, but if you find yourself outgunned and need to swing for the fences, snag Robinson and hope that lightning strikes twice.
Handcuffing running backs
As the playoffs approach, I like to handcuff my running backs as a hedge against injury, but only when it makes sense. Getting backup quarterbacks and receivers may help your squad somewhat, but a good backup running back is more likely to come close to the numbers of the starter than the other positions will. However, don’t waste your time doing this unless the backup is one likely to get the majority of the carries in the absence of the starter…getting half of a committee of scrubs won’t help you, especially in the playoffs.
Here’s a list of backs worth getting if you own the starter
TJ Duckett backing up Warrick Dunn
Marion Barber backing up Julius Jones
Travis Henry backing up Chris Brown
Maurice Hicks backing up Kevin Barlow (only if Frank Gore is out, otherwise don’t bother with either of them)
Greg Jones backing up Fred Taylor
Marshall Faulk backing up Steven Jackson
Ricky Williams backing up Ronnie Brown
Chester Taylor backing up Jamal Lewis
Chris Perry backing up Rudi Johnson
Maurice Morris backing up Shawn Alexander
Steven Davis backing up DeShaun Foster (or is the other way around this week?)
Tony Fisher backing up Samkon Gado
Michael Turner backing up LaDainian Tomlinson
Cedric Houston backing up Curtis Martin
Aaron Stecker backing up Antowain Smith
Michael Pittman backing up Cadillac Williams
If the backup isn’t on this list, he likely shouldn’t be on your redraft roster at this point either. Many of these backups are gone as they play a lot already, but you might be suprised who’s left out there as teams think short-term and position for their playoff run.
Dynasty wire scouring
If you’re in a dynasty league, you may be out of the playoff hunt but that doesn’t mean your waiver wire work is over. There’s talent out there that can help a team greatly next year but the frontrunners can’t afford to carry on the roster. Here are a few names that teams in a deep dynasty league you might want to consider at different positions.
David Garrard Jacksonville Jaguars
If Garrard looks good down the stretch as the Jags starter, he could start elsewhere next year.
Dan Orlovsky Detroit Lions
The answer isn’t Joey Harrington or Jeff Garcia…why not Orlovsky?
Billy Volek Tennessee Titans
If McNair isn’t back, or even if he is, we might be seeing lots of Volek in Nashville next year.
Jay Fiedler New York Jets
Never in the picture this year, but he could end up as the Jets starter if its not Chad Pennington or Matt Leinart.
Cleo Lemon Miami Dolphins
Word is, the Fins like this guy. A project, but one that could pay off.
Cedric Houston New York Jets
Curtis Martin isn’t getting any younger…if Reggie Bush isn’t in town next year, Houston could produce.
Maurice Morris Seattle Seahawks
Shawn Alexander is a free agent. Will the Hawks break the bank to resign him? Probably, but if not, Morris will be in the starter hunt.
Eric Shelton Carolina Pathers
The rookie got hurt before the season even started, but he’ll be in the starter mix in Panthers camp next year, believe it!
Ryan Moats Philadelphia Eagles
A non-factor this year, but could slip into the Brian Westbrook role quite nicely should he go down.
Koren Robinson Minnesota Vikings
Becoming a valuable member of the retooled Vikes receiving corps. Can he kick the bottle and realize his huge potential? Big upside for small investment if you have the room.
Arnaz Battle San Francisco 49ers
Starting to come into his own and back from injury. Could even contribute to your team this year if Alex Smith can get time to throw.
Reggie Brown Philadelphia Eagles
Rookie Brown has looked good…can he fill T.O.’s shoes, if not his big mouth, next year?
Roscoe Parrish Buffalo Bills
Has been hurt most of the season, but he’s a playmaker and Moulds is getting old.
Chris Henry Cincinnati Bengals
If he’s not on a roster already, he should be!
Kellen Winslow Jr. Cleveland Browns
He’s no good at wheelies, but there’s no denying his upside as a player if he’s healthy and motivated.
Adam Bergen Arizona Cardinals
A small-school star who’s quickly becoming part of the Denny Green offense.
Michael Gaines Carolina Panthers
He’s raw but big and talented. With a little seasoning, he could be dangerous.
Kevin Everett Buffalo Bills
The rookie was hurt all year, but he’s a monster talent who could be a star down the road.