The bye weeks are in full swing, and that combined with injuries can put the fantasy owner in a position of having to grab someone off the waiver wire and plug them directly into their starting lineup. Fear not, injuries and changes to NFL depth charts are creating plenty of opportunities this week. We’ve got players at every position that, in a pinch, can be called upon to perform as fantasy starters. And thanks to Eric Mangini waiting until this week to settle on his starting quarterback, we’ve got a handful of Browns that can immediately help the fantasy owner.
On to this week’s waiver wire wonders …
WR Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland
What is this? Some stability coming to the Cleveland Browns? Say it ain’t so! A ton of Browns will be mentioned in this week’s column, starting with a guy that clicked right away with Derek Anderson. As Braylon Edwards was drawing double teams, the rookie Massaquoi went on to grab eight balls for nearly 150 yards. Clearly, he’s earned the other starting spot, which will have good value going forward. Don’t expect 8 and 150 on a regular basis, but a consistent 5 and 75 is not out of the question.
RB Justin Fargas, Oakland
Despite the fact that Michael Bush is already owned in many leagues, look for Fargas to have the more significant role with McFadden on the mend. Unfortunately, we’re not only talking about an Oakland back here, and the Raiders have some tough matchups (Giants, Eagles, Jets) in the next three weeks. Fargas was involved before the McFadden injury, so that will continue regardless. It’s rare that you have a chance to grab an active runningback off the waiver wire. Grab Fargas and nod quietly as the Michael Bush owner wonders what you are doing, the joke will be on them in a few weeks.
RB Jerome Harrison, Cleveland
Harrison is still on the waiver wire in many leagues, this will be your last chance to grab him. With Jamal Lewis on the shelf, all Harrison did was run for 121 yards, while also grabbing give passes for another 31 yards. A very strong performance that no doubt will earn him some playing time when Lewis returns.
TE Bo Scaife, Tennessee
This is a guy that needs to be owned in all formats. Those of you at the bottom of the waiver wire order in need of a backup TE, look no further. For those that didn’t see the Titans opening game, Scaife was on his way to a monster game before getting injured. He’s back and healthy, and although only three catches for 25 yards this past week, look for those numbers to improve dramatically as he gets back into the flow again.
QB Derek Anderson, Cleveland
If only Eric Mangini had decided his positional battle in pre-season (like all other NFL coaches), the Browns might have a couple more wins. Then again, if that happened, then we fantasy owners wouldn’t be able to grab their key players off the waiver wire this week! Anderson solidified the starting job as his own by throwing for 169 yards and a touchdown, and he solidified his place on this list by adding a touchdown on the ground. He’s a solid backup fantasy QB and bye week fill in.
WR Sidney Rice, Min
As more teams take a page out of the Green Bay defensive playbook and concentrate on stopping Adrian Peterson, this will open up things in the Vikings passing game. Will Brett Favre be able to win games with his aging right arm? He certainly did this past Monday night. Rice was the recipient of five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. He’s healthy and with teams loading up against the run, Rice will be a consistent fantasy factor going forward.
WR Austin Collie, Indianapolis
This is more of a ‘right now’ mention, as Collie will move back into a reserve role when Anthony Gonzalez returns. That said, six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown from a player in the Colts offense describes someone that you can pluck off the waiver wire and put into your starting lineup for week five if you need to cover a bye week.
On The Radar
QB Seneca Wallace, Seattle
By throwing the ball 45 times, Wallace was able to put up 257 yards of offense, which included a touchdown by and and one by ground. The Seattle offensive line keeps whoever the quarterback is running for their life, but if you are in a pinch, while Hasselbeck is out, Wallace fills in as a spot starter in deep leagues.
WR Kenny Britt, Tennessee
The fact that Britt is still third on the Titans depth chart keeps him down on my waiver list this week, but I like his upside. He will be up and down, as evidenced by this week’s performance that included seven catches and 105 yards. Those numbers are a little high given that Tennessee was playing catchup. He’s worth a flyer at the back end of your fantasy roster.
TE Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville
Lewis is hot right now, but with the bye weeks in full swing, I’m putting some TEs on display to help cover your starter. He’s literally been on again, then off again; 60+ yards and a touchdown in week two and four, 20 yards and no TDs in week one and three. Take a swing here if you need a spot start at the TE position.
TE Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit
Another TE that is probably available, is the rookie for the Lions. After a blank on opening day, he’s consistently been getting four catches and 40 yards. He’s also been a target in the red zone, Pettigrew is worth owning as your TE2.
WR Michael Crabtree, San Francisco
Speaking of rookies, remember this guy? With the deadling looming for him to sign and play this year, Crabtree got on a plane and is in San Francisco talking contract. Despite the 3-1 start, the Niners can certainly use him on the field. Keep an eye on the situation, those with a roster spot to spare go out grab him early.
Deep and/or Dynasty Only
RB Garrett Wolfe, Chi
With ‘the other’ Adrian Peterson on the sideline, Wolfe came in during garbage time of the Bears win. If Peterson’s injury causes him to miss some time, Wolfe moves up a notch on the Chicago depth chart.
RB Mewelde Moore, Pittsburgh
I’m not breaking ground here by saying that the starting runningback for the Steelers has tremendous fantasy value. Rashard Mendenhall had a tremendous week four in the absence of Willie Parker. Moore has been in the mix on third downs even with Parker’s presence, and if (when?) something happen to the fragile Mendenhall, Moore moves up the depth chart.
RB Ladell Betts, Washington
Is Clinton Portis tough, or what? Every week, it seems that he’s sporting another injury on top of the one’s accumulated from previous weeks. Betts waits patiently in the wings, and has proven that he can handle the ball when he’s been asked.