Waiver wire help you need? Waiver wire help we’ve got! This is an off-the-hook hoppin’ week for scouring talent off the wire…the best of the season! So let’s go!
Antowain Smith RB New Orleans Saints
What’s his name? Anto-wain. Ask him again and he’ll tell you the same. The Saints not only have to play 16 road games this year, but also lost stud back Deuce McAllister for the season with an ACL injury. Bad news for the ‘Aints, but maybe good news for your fantasy squad. Smith looks to be the man taking over most of the reps from here on in, at least on first and second downs. He’s a 2-time 1000 yard rusher for the Bills and Pats who should put up respectable fantasy numbers from here on in. Grab Smith and you likely have a lower-tier #2 back who’s likely better than your third wideout. Get him!
Joe Jurevicius WR Seattle Seahawks
With starting wideouts Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram riding pine due to injury last week, and likely for several more, “Frosted Lucky Charms, Magic” Jurevicius stepped up big-time with a monster 9 / 137 and a TD performance against the Rams. The Hawks can throw the rock with the best of ’em, and JJ looks to have a starting gig for at least the rest of the month, if not beyond. And with Houston, Dallas, and Arizona next on the schedule, the fantasy prospects look fine for this big red-zone target. Plug him in as your #2 and #3…sit back…profit!
Tatum Bell RB Denver Broncos
Uh, oh…it’s happening again! It seems that evil Shanahan gets a bit restless with his running backs around this time every year. Mike Anderson has looked pretty respectable this season, but the backfield star for the Broncs this past week was Tatum Bell, with 127 yards and 2 big TDs on only 12 carries! You’re always playing Russian roulette guessing who might be getting the carries in Denver each week, but Bell might be sneakily becoming the new stud in town. Bell was drafted in every fantasy league as he was the preseason favorite for the job, but he’s been dropped by impatient owners in many leagues. You’re a braver man than me if you start him this coming week, but there’s no ignoring the upside to whoever’s toting the rock in Denver.
Josh McCown QB Arizona Cardinals
The new Cardinals starting QB makes a repeat appearance on the list. Though when he did appear, I added the caveat that I thought he ‘sucked’. Well, maybe he does and maybe he doesn’t, but he’s certainly ringing up some nice fantasy numbers! Josh passed for 394 yards and 2 TDs against Carolina last week and even ran for almost 30…a nice day’s work for anyone’s starting QB. With Zona’s anemic running game, questionable pass defense, and talented Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin to throw to, the recipe is certainly in place for fantasy QB success! Remember that Arizona is on bye in Week 6, but with the Titans, Cowboys, and Seahawks next on the schedule, the hits just might keep on coming! Josh, maybe you don’t suck after all…
Aaron Stecker RB New Orleans Saints
As we’re picking Antowain Smith to be getting most of the quality carries for the Saints, don’t count Stecker out of the mix. Despite having the name of an H&R Block accountant, Stecker is a smaller but shifty back who can catch and will likely be seeing a lot of third-down duty. And with the Saints possibly playing from behind as their eternal road schedule grinds on, Aaron could rack up some mucho garbage-time stats if he doesn’t steal the job from Smith outright. A gamble for bigger rosters that could pay off handsomely down the road. Stecker has had a nagging ankle injury so keep an eye on his status.
Chris Cooley TE Washington Redskins
It seems that in almost every league, there’s great talent that somehow ends up on the waiver wire at tight end. Cooley had an ice-cold start to the season, but has been absolutely on fire the last couple of weeks, catching 8 balls for 82 yards and a TD this past week. If the others in your league haven’t noticed that Cooley’s been reborn-hard, make them pay!!
Ricky Willams RB Miami Dolphins
He’s back!!! The most-talented question-mark in the league ends his four-game suspension this week for the Dolphins and the world is waiting to see who shows up. Out-of-shape, rusty, and unmotivated…or the Ricky of old? Hard to say, but he’s certainly worth a roster spot in your league if he’s been long forgotten by the shortsighted. Ronnie Brown has looked pretty good toting the rock the past two weeks and the Fins management is under great pressure to see the #2 overall pick make it big, so it’s likely that Williams will be brought along slowly and settle into a dreaded RBBC situation barring injury to Brown. Nevertheless, Ricky was once perhaps the league’s best and could become so again. Will he do it? Or will his career just go up in SMOKE? Gawd, that’s a bad one…
Kelly Holcomb QB Buffalo Bills
Losman is out…Holcomb is in! The J.P. experiment came to an end, or at least hit a pause, in Buffalo this past weekend as Kelly Holcomb took over the job. Holcomb passed for 169 yards and a TD in a conservative but effective gameplan as the Bills beat their archrival the Dolphins. Holcomb is a veteran who put up some fairly gaudy numbers as the starter for the Browns a few seasons ago. If your squad is hard-up for a backup QB, you could certainly do worse than a guy throwing to Eric Moulds and Lee Evans every week. I’m just waiting for a Bills fan to show up at the game wearing a horizontally-ripped T-shirt with a “Holcomb-Mania!!!” logo. Could he beat “Jake the Snake” in a quarterback steel-cage match? Stay tuned…
On the Radar
Tony Fisher RB Green Bay Packers
With Ahman Green gimpy enough to miss last week’s game, and Najeh Davenport suffering a season-ending broken ankle in the same contest, Tony Fisher could soon become the Pack starter by default. Fisher’s been a third-down back before the injuries, but backing up a high-mileage back like Green could reap benefits for your squad should Green not be able to answer the bell down the line. The Pack are on bye this week, so picking up Fisher is a speculative move at best and only for deeper rosters.
Matt Schaub QB Atlanta Falcons
Schaub always seems to look outstanding whenever he fills in for Vick, beit in preseason or in a matchup with a tough Patriots defense last week. Schaub didn’t wilt under pressure and burned the Pats for almost 300 yards and 3 TDs replacing the injured Vick. It doesn’t appear that Vick will miss significant time with his current injury, but with his risky playing style it’s quite possible that Schaub will get his shot again at some point. An excellent handcuff for Vick and a nice dynasty prospect as well…I like this kid!
Chris Henry WR Cincinnati Bengals
We’ve mentioned Henry in this column several times before…he becomes a bigger part of the Bengals offense every week. You might be looking at the NFL’s best rookie receiver before things are all said and done! Three catches for 85 yards and another TD…the production might not keep after TJ is back, but it just might…
Cedric Houston RB New York Jets
With Derrick Blaylock suffering a season-ending foot injury this past week, unheralded rook Houston becomes Curtis Martin’s top backup. Houston isn’t flashy, but could put up some numbers for the Jets should Martin someday miss duty. Martin is the ultimate ironman, but the pounding will someday take its toll…maybe it’ll happen in time for Houston to get his shot.
Tyson Thompson RB Dallas Cowboys
This undrafted rookie out of San Jose State got a whopping 20 carries for 75 yards in an essentially garbage-time second half this past week. He seems to have become a Parcells favorite, and that means a lot. Big and very fast, he’s leapfrogged Anthony Thomas and Marion Barber to become Julius Jones’ backup for the moment. Whether he’d actually get the bulk of the carries if JJ went down is tough to say, but squirrel him away in the back of your GM mind, or even in your roster in a deeper dynasty league.