What? No unknown running back ran for 193 yards this week? The Chargers lose on the road? Favre leads the Packers to victory? Is the world finally becoming completely sane? There wasn’t the craziness this week that there has been for much of this wacky season, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some fine players on the waiver wire this week! Step on up, we’ve got plenty to go around…
Sammy Morris RB Miami Dolphins
Ok, so this is admittedly a bit of a stretch for a Smokin’ Hot pick. In fact, if there was more of a clear-cut option here, I’d consider bumping this fella down to a Solid Pickup. But with many of the true gems being picked over here in Week 7, we need to establish a top pick for the week. He’s not Sammy Winder, he’s not Joe Morris…he’s Sammy Morris! Sammy ran for 91 yards against a relatively stout Buffalo D this week, and looks to be the starter in the Land of the Rotten Fish for the time being. Laugh as you may, but with Miami realizing that they aren’t going to ride the arms of Jay Fiedler or A. J. Feely to victory, Sammy will get his cracks. He’s an outstanding receiver out of the backfield, so expect some catches and passing yardage from him as well, a nice hedge should the Dolphins unimaginably…fall behind? Nahhhh!!!! Not as sexy of a pick as a Reuben Droughns or Mewelde Moore, but he’s the best of the bunch this week, especially if you’re a bye-week owner of Portis, Barlow, Staley, or Dom Davis. Yes, it’s true…I love my running backs!!
Brandon Lloyd WR San Francisco 49ers
An upgrade from last week’s On the Radar, Lloyd had another very solid game against the Jets on the road, with 6 grabs for 93 yards and a TD. He has great chemistry with Tim Rattay, and he’s getting almost all of the looks that Curtis Conway got just a couple of weeks ago. Lloyd is looking like the top receiver on a squad that’s been throwing the ball a ton, and he could end up as a sneaky #2 WR for a lot of fantasy squads. Get him this week, cause he won’t be on the wire for much longer! Note that the Niners are on bye this week in case you’re looking for an immediate replacement.
Jermaine Wiggins TE Minnesota Vikings
It’s rare that a Tight End makes the Solid Pickups list, but Wiggins did just that with a huge 5 / 56 and 2 TD game against the Saints this week. The hard-core may remember that Wiggins made some huge grabs for the Patriots during their first Super Bowl playoff run. He has great hands and can be a receiving force at the Tight End position should he get the opportunity. The Vikings have traditionally used the Tight End as an offensive weapon, and since on any given week the Vikes have the potential to score more than Jenna Jameson at a Star Trek convention, that’s a great place to be. And as if that wasn’t enough reason to snag Wiggy, consider that if Randy is out this week with his sore hammy, that can only increase the balls that JW will see thrown his way. By the way, If you happen to talk to Jermaine’s brothers Tito or Marlon, let him know that I think Michael is innocent of all charges. At least as far as they know…
Donald Driver WR Green Bay Packers
After disappearing from the stud WR scene last year, Driver has been reborn hard! With a second straight huge game this week ( 9 / 110 / 2), he and Javon Walker are fast becoming one of the most dangerous receiving duos in the league. The Pack are having a down year and have lousy defense, but with Favre being forced to throw to produce points, this looks like a nice fantasy situation for the foreseeable future. And what a cool football name…Donald Driver. One of my favorites! How bad did this guy get razzed when he was a kid? When he was in elementary school, was he a “Student Driver”? Or after his 21st birthday party, was he a “Drunk Driver”? If he was a pro wrestler, would he be the “Pile Driver”? Boy, who knows what can come out of this head after staying up too late watching a 14 inning baseball game…
On the Radar
Chester Taylor / Musa Smith RB Baltimore Ravens
You *did* remember that Jamal Lewis’ drug suspension starts this week, right? If you’re having injury problems or are just a hard-up Jamal owner, consider picking up one of these guys. Taylor has been getting more carries than Musa and has done well in limited time…he figures to have slightly more value at this point than Smith. The fact that the Ravens are playing two pretty good defenses in the Bills and Eagles the next two weeks and the dreaded RBBC that may result from the inexperience of these two backs keep this tandem from jumping up to Solid Pickup status. But if you need a plug in, you know these guys will see some touches.
Jonathan Wells RB Houston Texans
A former pick of this column who’s fortune seems to skyrocket and plummet with the health of Domanick Davis, Wells stepped in for an injured Davis in the 2nd quarter Sunday and put up a solid 73 yard rushing effort with a TD against a ferocious Titans run defense. The Texans are realizing that DD is a very dangerous back, but isn’t suited to take the pounding of a 20+ carry effort every week. This smells of RBBC in the future, but jump on Wells if it looks like Davis will miss time. The Texans have a respectable running offense, and Wells becomes an immediate #2 RB for most squads with Davis out of the mix. And if you ever see Jonathan Wells standing next to David Wells and are confused about which Wells is which, it’s really quite easy. Jonathan is the one without the flaring case of gout!
Johnny Morton WR Kansas City Chiefs
A colossal bust since coming to the Chefs from Detroit a couple of years ago, Morton ripped the Jags for 111 yards this weekend. Vermiel is realizing that a completely anemic passing game doesn’t lead to wins, even if Priest Holmes is on your team. KC plays the Falcons and Chiefs the next two weeks and these teams can definitely be thrown on. Don’t expect big TD numbers from Morton, but in a point-per-reception league, Morton makes a decent fill-in for your squad.
Keenan McCardell WR Free Agent
If you’re in a deep league, here’s a potential flyer for you. The NFL trading deadline is today, and although unsigned at this instant, McCardell could be the top receiver on Atlanta, Kansas City, Cleveland, or a host of other teams in very short order. He’s healthy and has been hugely productive throughout his career…you could certainly do worse. And if things don’t pan out, he’s off your roster by Wednesday. I like a high-reward gamble that doesn’t tie up a roster spot…if you do too, snag Keenan this morning and you’ll know if you might have something worth keeping by bedtime.