It’s eons away from playoff time in the NFL, but in your fantasy league the regular season is likely past the halfway point. A shrewd roster move down the stretch could very well be the difference between the contenders and the pretenders. So pull up a seat, put on your GM hat, and soak in another session of Hot Waiver Wire picks. If you’re in need of a Tight End, you’ll be a happy reader this week!!
Chester Taylor RB Baltimore Ravens
As was mentioned last week, Jamal Lewis started his drug suspension, and Taylor established himself as the clear-cut Ravens ballcarrier for the next few weeks. His 89 yards rushing against a decent Bills defense shows that he can carry the load, and he outrushed Musa Smith 21 carries to 6. You know the Ravens will keep running and running the ball…amazingly, Chester had the second-most receptions and receiving yards 11, on this severely aerially-challenged squad (with 2 for 11? Ugh!!!). Taylor makes a decent #2 RB over the next three weeks, and Philadelphia, Cleveland, and the Jets are all teams that can be run on. Get him!
NOTE: Lewis is only out for one more game (vs. Philly), not for three. This makes him a one-week pickup. Sorry about the mistake in the original article.
Sammy Morris RB Miami Dolphins
My lone Smokin’ Hot selection of last week makes a repeat appearance…it seems that not many fantasy owners out there followed my advice and he’s still available in the majority of leagues. You fools!! “Smokin’ Sammy” ate up the Rams for 83 rushing yards and a TD last week, along with 3 catches. Like I said, Miami isn’t a good team, but they’ll keep running and Travis Minor isn’t the answer. Maybe Sammy isn’t the long term solution for this club either, but he’ll get his share of touches and the Fish are feeling good after spanking the Rams this weekend. Listen to me this time, would ya?
Justin McCariens WR New York Jets
Boy, was this guy overhyped in the preseason! I saw him drafted as a top 20 receiver in many a league, and up until this past week he’s been a big steaming turd on any roster of which he was a member! Who knows what happened, but McCariens had his first good game this week. Six catches for 83 yards while being covered primarily by All-World corner Ty Law gets my attention. Justin is a big target, and if he and Chad continue making goo-goo eyes at each other, he might be a good receiver to have. Santana Moss is hobbled, and McCariens seems to be getting into a groove at last.
Derrick Blaylock RB Kansas City Chiefs
Anyone who scores 4 TDs in a game deserves to be at least a ‘Solid Pickup’, right? Blaylock ran through holes the size of Star Jones in relief of a gimpy Priest Holmes in the second half against the Falcons this week and rolled up 90 yards of rushing. Was this the most amazing rushing performance by a team ever? If Priest played the whole game, would he have had 230 yards and 8 TDs? It’s certainly possible, and totally mind boggling!! I don’t think I’ve seen 8 rushing TDs in a game outside of a Sega Dreamcast, and that’s a great *season* for all but a few backs in the league. Unreal. Anyhow, Blaylock clearly has skillz, and running behind a monster Chiefs line that was playing at full strength for the first time all year makes him a force should Priest ride pine. Supposedly Holmes had a bad ankle this past week, but I’m betting it’s not too serious. If things turn out otherwise, Blaylock makes a super start! Otherwise, he’s just a must-have handcuff for Priest owners.
Jason Witten TE Dallas Cowboys
As I promised, there are plenty of TEs mentioned in the article this week, and here’s my top selection of the bunch. Witten has great hands and blocks well enough to stay in the game on running downs as well. He’s been rather quiet this year, but broke out this past week with 8 big catches for 112 yards and a TD…monster numbers from your TE for sure! Bad news for the Cowboys means good news for Witten owners…one of the reasons Jason got so many looks was that Terry Glenn and Quincy Morgan got banged up during the game, and neither of them are normally mentioned in the same sentence with Lou Gehrig or Cal Ripken. In fact, Google this in a few days…you just may have read the sole instance on the entire Internet! In short, Vinny needs someone to throw to, and Witten has proved he can be a dangerous target. If you’re a disgruntled Boo Williams owner like I am, consider dumping the stiff and snagging Witten if you can!!!
Keenan McCardell WR San Diego Chargers
I mentioned this guy last week as a good guy to pick up before he even signed with a team. Who would have guessed that he’d be the Chargers leading yardage receiver after just a couple of days with the team? Keenan caught 5 balls for 65 yards against the Panthers, and with his history of success, he’s bound to be a hot pickup this week. Outside of Antonio Gates, McCardell is really the Chargers only proven receiver, and the Bolts have a suprisingly potent offense this year. Grab Keenan and he’ll be a solid #3 or even a sneaky #2 WR for your team for the rest of the year. He’s got something to prove, and a talented receiver with a chip on his shoulder is a good thing to have!!
On the Radar
Bryant Johnson WR Arizona Cardinals
He’s been as quiet as a Yankee fan recently, but 2003 first-rounder Johnson was Sox loud with 7 catches for 54 yards against the SeaHawks this past weekend. The Cards would love to see him blossom into a good possession receiver to compliment Larry Fitzgerald down the road, and he’ll get his chance. Not worth a pickup just yet, but watch the boxscores for this guy, or use him to fill a Dynasty slot.
Ben Troupe TE Tennessee Titans
Highly-touted rookie Troupe was one of the few bright spots for the Titans this week, with 6 catches for 57 yards. He still needs some polish, but with Shad Meier out with an appendix, and with Erron Kinney also injured, Troupe could be a dangerous weapon for the Titans over the next weeks…or longer.
Craig Krenzel QB Chicago Bears
If you’re in a big league or are just really hard-up for a QB, the Bears pulled terrible Jonathan Quinn this week and replaced him with rookie Krenzel, who looked respectable in relief. If Krenzel should be named the starter this week, pick him up and you’ll have…the starting QB for the Bears next week! I know, not the most appealing prospect. But if you’re in a really big league or have to start 2 QBs…desperate times call for desperate measures!
Shawn McDonald WR St Louis Rams
This guy is becoming the Az-Hakim of a few years ago…he’ll have lots of dud games, but will explode for a few big ones that can win *you* a game. He looked good catching 77 yards of passes for a TD. He’s exciting, and if you’re in a position where you need to roll the dice to have a chance…why not? He returns punts for the Rams too.
Jesse Chatman RB San Diego Chargers
I think Tomlinson’s groin is bothering him *much* more than he or the team is letting on, and Chatman’s carries seem to be creeping up by the week. He actually outrushed LT2 this week, gaining 69 on the ground on 8 carries. A classic low-cost handcuff for Tomlinson.
Doug Jolley TE Oakland Raiders
Considered the future of the Raiders TE position as recently as last year, his snaps have been limited due to his questionable blocking skills. Maybe the Saints don’t need to be blocked, because Jolley caught 4 for 72 and a TD. With the Raiders running game struggling, will the Black and Silver be forced to pass more and continue to use Jolley extensively? Stay tuned…
Aaron Shea TE Cleveland Browns
One last Tight End here. Shea caught 6 for 45 against the Eagles. Not bad. Watch him.