Obvious Acquisitions: Kurt Warner
1. Chris Simms, Buccaneers
On Sunday, Simms had his best game since taking over for Brian Griese. He posted 279 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he didn’t throw any interceptions and wasn’t sacked. He’s starting to feel more comfortable in the pocket and getting rid of the ball on time. While I wouldn’t trust Simms based on this one performance, the fact that the game was against a solid Washington Redskins defense is promising. Acquire Simms this week if you need a backup for your playoff run or you have a tough match-up in Week 13 when the Buccaneers face the Saints. Next opponent: @ Atlanta.
2. Tommy Maddox, Steelers
Early indications are that Steelers starting QB Ben Roethlisberger will miss this week’s game against the Ravens. With Charlie Batch (hand) also out, Tommy Maddox will get the start against a Baltimore team that looks like they’re mailing in the rest of the 2005 season. The once fearsome Ravens defense has given up 20+ points each of the last three weeks. Maddox isn’t likely to light up the scoreboard, but if you’re desperate for a contribution from your QB slot, he should get you 175 yards with the potential for two touchdowns. Next opponent: @ Baltimore.
One Week Wonders: Gus Frerotte
Obvious Acquisitions: Samkon Gado and Michael Bennett
1. Greg Jones, Jaguars
Jags head coach Jack Del Rio has indicated that Fred Taylor’s ankle injury is not season ending. What he hasn’t provided us with is an accurate time table for when Taylor might return. As long as Taylor sits, Greg Jones is a viable fantasy starter. He’s scored a touchdown in three of his last four tilts, including a 106-yard, 1-touchdown performance on Sunday. Upcoming games against the Titans and Cardinals should help whichever Jacksonville running back starts post some outstanding numbers. Acquire Jones in case he’s the guy. Next opponent: @ Tennessee.
2. Heath Evans, Patriots
Corey Dillon owners are likely on the verge of slitting their wrists after another week in which Dillon started, but didn’t contribute. The veteran RB aggravated his calf injury on the first carry of the game. Unsung fullback Heath Evans assumed most of the carries and opened more than a few eyes. He amassed 102 yards and reminded me of Mike Alstott in his early years. With New England’s backfield wiped out because of injuries to Dillon, Kevin Faulk, and Patrick Pass, Evans is essentially the only option. A game this week against the 30th ranked run defense of the New Orleans Saints sets the table for another solid performance from Evans. Next opponent: versus New Orleans.
3. Jonathan Wells, Texans
Wells took over for the injured Domanick Davis a couple weeks ago and got the start again on Sunday. While his numbers haven’t been huge, Wells has posted touchdowns in consecutive weeks. It’s unclear at this point when Davis will return to action, but if he continues to miss time Wells can be used in a pinch. Next opponent: versus Kansas City.
4. Adrian Peterson, Bears
Cedric Benson, who got the start in Week 10 because of a rib injury to Thomas Jones, will miss an undetermined period of time after messing up his knee. The injury elevates third stringer Adrian Peterson up one slot on the depth chart. With Benson and Jones both sidelined on Sunday, Peterson carried 24 times for 120 yards and a touchdown. Jones is expected to return next week, but he isn’t likely to shoulder the full load, especially with Peterson running so well. Stash Peterson on your roster in case Jones sits again. Next opponent: versus Carolina.
5. J.J. Arrington, Cardinals
I’ve been touting Arrington as a sleeper for the past few weeks. While he hasn’t emerged as a dominant running back who can be counted on week in and week out, Arrington did score his first touchdown of the year in Week 10 against the Lions. More importantly, he led his team in rushing attempts and yardage. Marcel Shipp has been awful of late and Dennis Green is likely ready to turn to Arrington as his primary ball carrier. If you’re truly desperate for a running back to start this week, the Arizona rookie could post his best game of the year against a Rams defense that ranks 27th in the NFL against the run. Next opponent: @ St. Louis.
6. Anthony Thomas, Saints
Owners who are looking for a sleeper as they gear up for the playoffs or a role as spoiler might consider adding Anthony Thomas. The A-Train was released by the Cowboys a couple weeks ago and promptly snapped up by New Orleans. According to Pro Football Weekly, the Saints coveted Thomas earlier in the year but failed to pull off a trade with Dallas. He could work his way into the mix if starter Antowain Smith stumbles. Get him now in anticipation of a breakout game two weeks from now against the Jets. Next opponent: @ New England.
One Week Wonders: None
Obvious Acquisitions: Roy Williams and Bobby Engram
1. Lee Evans, Bills
Every quarterback has his favorite passing target. For J.P. Losman, that receiver is Lee Evans. Evans caught three passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns with Losman under center. The second-year QB is expected to get the start again this week against the Chargers. San Diego currently ranks 30th in the NFL against the pass, giving up nearly 250 yards per game through the air. I expect the Bills will be trailing early in the game, resulting in many opportunities for Evans. Look for another solid performance. Next opponent: @ San Diego.
2. Brandon Stokley, Colts
Stokley hasn’t been nearly as consistent as he was last season when he caught 68 passes for 1,000+ yards and 10 touchdowns. Through nine games, he has 31 grabs for 344 yards. The Colts slot receiver had his best game of the season in Week 10 against the Texans, posting 78 yards and a touchdown. Before you dismiss the performance, consider that the Colts play the Bengals next week in what could be a high-scoring, shootout-type game. As a result, Stokley could again play a prominent role. Consider starting him as a #3 WR or flex player. Next opponent: @ Cincinnati.
3. Matt Jones, Jaguars
Jones, a former NCAA quarterback out of Arkansas, gave the Baltimore Ravens fits on Sunday. He racked up 129 yards and a touchdown on five receptions and two rushes. According to head coach Jack Del Rio we can expect to see more of Jones in coming games. With battles against Tennessee, Arizona, and Cleveland on tap in the next few weeks, the versatile Jones should continue to be a factor. Next opponent: @ Tennessee.
One Week Wonders: Roddy White, Marty Booker, Ike Hilliard and Edell Shepard
Obvious Acquisitions: None
Donald Lee, Packers
Minnesota’s struggles against tight ends have been highly visible to most fantasy owners this season, but they’re worth repeating. The Vikings have given up 19 touchdowns to tight ends in their last 18 games. The beefy TE production allowed by the Norsemen makes Green Bay’s Donald Lee a sneaky play this week on Monday night. QB Brett Favre threw Lee’s way five times on Sunday, completing three passes for 31 yards. He should have little difficulty exceeding that effort this week and has a good shot to reach paydirt. Next opponent: versus Minnesota.
One Week Wonder: Brandon Manumaleuna
Obvious Acquisitions: New York Giants and Denver Broncos
1. Seattle Seahawks
I don’t care how well the 49ers have played at home lately. The fact is their QB is coming off a game where he only completed one pass. Plug and play the Seahawks against San Francisco this week. Seattle’s defense has started to gel. Over the last four games, they’ve held opponents to an average of just 13.75 points per game. I expect them to hold the 49ers under that average. If Shaun Alexander opens up the first half with a couple scores and San Francisco is forced to play from behind, Seattle has the potential to register multiple sacks and interceptions. Next opponent: @ San Francisco.
One Week Wonders: Minnesota Vikings