1. Sage Rosenfels, Texans
There was plenty of upheaval and injuries at the QB position this week, which opens the door for many newcomers to enter the fantasy picture including Sage Rosenfels, Rex Grossman, Byron Leftwich, Daunte Culpepper, Brooks Bollinger and Brady Quinn. Rosenfels should be the top waiver wire priority if you’re light on QB talent. Early reports out of Houston suggest QB Matt Schaub could miss a month with a torn MCL in his knee. Rosenfels is widely regarded as one of the best backup QBs in the NFL. He’s thrown three touchdowns in a game and a half this season, and he performed well last season in limited action. Beginning with a matchup this week against the Ravens, Houston’s schedule doesn’t look all that promising. However, the team has enough offensive weapons to score points on anyone in the NFL. Look for Rosenfels to average close to two TDs per game for the remainder of the year.
Availability: Owned in ~17% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Rosenfels should be owned in all leagues and can be used as a spot starter.
2. Gus Frerotte, Vikings
The Forecast has been trumpeting Frerotte for the past few weeks. He’s now posted three quality fantasy performances in a row—yet his ownership continues to hover around 39%. If you’ve found yourself in a situation in which you’re rotating QBs in and out of your lineup on a weekly basis, Frerotte is an excellent addition. Yes, he has some shaky matchups coming up against the Packers and Bucs, but you won’t find a more favorable slate of games during the fantasy playoffs. The Vikings will face the Lions, Cardinals and Falcons in Weeks 14-16, respectively.
Availability: Owned in ~39% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Frerotte is a quality backup in all leagues and is an excellent pickup for playoff contenders.
3. Brady Quinn, Browns
Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel has indicated Brady Quinn will be the team’s starting quarterback this week. The timing makes sense. The Broncos are up next and they present a favorable matchup for Quinn’s first NFL start. The same cannot be said for Week 11, when the Browns face the Bills. What can we expect from Quinn? Since he has little NFL experience to draw on, it’s difficult to say. The Browns have talent at all the key positions, but a testy schedule may limit Quinn’s fantasy production. Look for inconsistency from the starter and don’t count on using him unless the matchup is favorable.
Availability: Owned in ~17% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: The Quinn era is quickly approaching; add him in deep leagues and keeper formats.
4. Joe Flacco, Ravens
Although Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has been getting all the headlines, fellow rookie Joe Flacco has been quite impressive himself. Flacco has led his team to a 5-3 record. Fantasy-wise he’s thrown at least one touchdown in three straight outings and is coming off a game in which he threw for a career-high 248 yards. This week he’ll benefit from a favorable matchup against the Texans, who have a middle-of-the-road pass defense. The Texans have allowed multiple TD passes in three of their last five games. Look for 230 yards and a TD or two from Flacco this week.
Availability: Owned in ~20% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Flacco is worth a spot start against the Texans.
1. Ray Rice, Ravens
Rice finally fulfilled his preseason status as a fantasy sleeper. He recorded 176 yards on 24 touches in place of the injured (but active) Willis McGahee. With an upcoming matchup against the Texans, Rice is worth acquiring this week. Now that they know Rice has the ability to perform as a workhorse, Baltimore’s brass might be more patient with McGahee’s various ailments. Even if McGahee does suit up and play, one would think Rice has earned himself 15 touches. That’s likely enough to do some damage against a Texans run defense that ranks 23rd in the NFL.
Availability: Owned in ~31% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Rice should be owned in all leagues and is playable this week against Houston.
2. Ryan Torain, Broncos
If Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan was intending to ease rookie RB Ryan Torain into action, he may have to scrap that plan. The Broncos placed starter Michael Pittman (neck) and role player Andre Hall (hand) on injured reserve, ending both players’ seasons. The team is now left with a stable of ball carriers that includes Torain and Selvin Young, who is recovering from a groin injury. Shanahan has shown little faith in Young so far, so look for Torain to get the bulk of the carries with the fullbacks getting some work, as well. The team will also likely bring in a veteran to backup Torain. Paging Mr. Dayne . . . Mr. Ron Dayne.
Availability: Owned in ~31% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Torain should be owned in all leagues and is playable this week against the Browns if named the starter.
3. Cedric Benson, Bengals
There must not be a lot of Benson believers out there. Despite being the starter for a couple games now, Benson is still available in over half of all fantasy leagues. Perhaps a 104-yard, 1-TD effort against the Jaguars will change that. With the Bengals playing better football lately, Benson certainly merits a roster spot in all leagues. Going forward, he’ll be a guy who should get 15-20 touches on most weeks. That’s the good news. The bad news is over the next three weeks, Benson faces the Eagles, Steelers and Ravens. That’s two top three NFL run defenses and one top eight run defense. Ouch.
Availability: Owned in ~31% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Benson should be owned in all leagues but is a desperation-only play for the near term.
4. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk, Patriots
Green-Ellis isn’t churning out beefy yardage, but he’s scoring touchdowns. Kevin Faulk isn’t scoring touchdowns but he’s churning out beefy yardage. That’s the New England backfield in a nutshell. Both RBs have value and are starter material as long as Sammy Morris remains out of the lineup. Green-Ellis has scored in three straight games. Faulk has surpassed 95 all-purpose yards in two straight games. This week, they’ll go up against an average Bills defense. Buffalo has ceded seven rushing scores in their last five games, which works in Green-Ellis’ favor. The team has also been vulnerable to RBs catching the ball out of the backfield, which works in Faulk’s favor. Also consider adding Leon Washington (vs. Rams) as a bye-week fill-in if available.
Availability: Owned in ~40% and 73% of leagues respectively.
Forecast guidance: Green-Ellis and Faulk are playable in all leagues this week if Morris misses the game.
5. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
After being limited in practice all week and deemed “unlikely to play”, Charles suited up and was forced into action after Kolby Smith went down with a season-ending knee injury. Charles rushed the ball 18 times for 106 yards against a formidable Tampa run defense. With Larry Johnson suspended for Week 10, Charles will assume the starting role. Head coach Herm Edwards has indicated he doesn’t think Charles has the size to carry the ball 20 times. However, even if his touches are limited, Charles could fare well against a Chargers team that allows 106.5 yards per game on the ground.
Availability: Owned in ~12% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Charles is worth a look in all leagues.
6. J.J. Arrington, Cardinals
Arizona RB Edgerrin James was benched in favor of rookie Tim Hightower on Sunday. Hightower was impressive, carrying the ball 22 times for 109 yards and a touchdown. He’s owned in the vast majority of leagues, but one guy who isn’t is Arrington. The third-down specialist parlayed five rushes and six receptions into 119 all-purpose yards. It remains to be seen how the Cards will spread out the carries going forward. Based on the comments James has made, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the coaching staff proceed with a combination of Hightower and Arrington. If it plays out that way, Arrington could develop into a Leon Washington-type player and will be worth a look in points per reception (PPR) leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~1% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Consider adding Arrington in PPR leagues.
7. Peyton Hillis, Broncos
With Michael Pittman and Andre Hall on the shelf for the season and Selvin Young laboring with a groin injury, the RB cupboard is bare in Denver. Rookie Ryan Torain figures to get a heavy workload, but don’t be surprised if fullback Peyton Hillis carves out a role. Hillis didn’t have a single rush attempt on Sunday against the Dolphins, but caught seven passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. He indicated he’s willing to contribute in any way the team asks him. There’s no telling how the RB situation will shake out, so Hillis is worth a speculative roster spot in deep leagues and PPR leagues at this point.
Availability: Owned in ~0% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Hillis is worth a look in deep leagues and PPR leagues.
1. Greg Camarillo, Dolphins
Camarillo was targeted an astounding 15 times on Sunday against the Broncos. He caught 11 passes for 111 yards. Camarillo has a minimum of four receptions in seven straight games. To say he is QB Chad Pennington’s most trusted target would be an understatement. With 43 receptions, Camarillo is tied for tenth in the league in receptions with Reggie Wayne and Derrick Mason. A matchup this week against the Seahawks looks pretty sweet. Seattle will make the road trip of all road trips from the Pacific Northwest to South Beach. The Seahawks rank 31st in the NFL versus the pass and they play worse on the road. Count on another game with six or more receptions for Camarillo.
Availability: Owned in ~35% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Camarillo should be owned in all leagues and is a quality WR3 this week against Seattle.
2. Devery Henderson, Saints
Give Henderson a look this week if you’re shorthanded at WR. Certain players excel against certain teams. Henderson has torched Atlanta since he came into the league three years ago. He’s scored in four out of six career games versus the Falcons. At first blush, Henderson may seem like a high-risk, high-reward player. However, upon closer examination, he’s been been quite consistent of late. Henderson has scored or posted 65+ yards in five straight games. Start him as a WR3 or flex play versus the Falcons
Availability: Owned in ~60% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Henderson is a solid pick-up and play this week against the Falcons.
3. Nate Washington, Steelers
Like Henderson, Washington is his team’s deep threat. He’s hauled in a reception of 40+ yards in four straight games. Although QB Ben Roethlisberger is ailing with a shoulder injury, backup Byron Leftwich has a live arm and should have no trouble getting the ball to Washington deep should Roethlisberger miss time. Leftwich looked quite capable on Monday night. He led a couple lengthy drives and completed 70% of his passes. Consider adding Washington if you need depth at the WR position.
Availability: Owned in ~36% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Washington is a big-play threat who can help any fantasy team, especially those that give extra points for long TDs.
4. Michael Jenkins, Falcons
With Roddy White drawing coverage from Nnamdi Asomugha, Michael Jenkins posted 64 yards receiving and two touchdowns against the Raiders in Week 9. Jenkins hadn’t scored since way back in Week 1 when he caught QB Matt Ryan’s first career touchdown. If defenses continue to focus their efforts on stopping White, Jenkins has a chance to make an impact. Atlanta has a relatively easy road ahead with games against the Saints, Broncos, Panthers and Chargers over the next four games.
Availability: Owned in ~10% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Jenkins is worth a speculative roster spot in all leagues.
5. Rashied Davis, Bears
If it weren’t for the injury to QB Kyle Orton, Davis would surely rank higher on this list. He has turned in four quality fantasy performances in a row. On Sunday against the Lions, Davis posted five receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown. The TD reception was thrown by backup Rex Grossman, so Davis isn’t a lost cause. The Bears play host to the Titans this week. Green Bay threw for over 300 yards on Sunday against Tennessee, so starting Davis might not be as suicidal as you think. Still consider Davis a low-end WR3 this week at best.
Availability: Owned in ~8% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Davis is worth a roster spot in deep leagues.
6. Mark Bradley, Chiefs
Everyone saw the SportsCenter highlight featuring the touchdown pass Bradley threw on the run after he took the ball on a reverse. It was a thing of beauty. What you may have missed is that Bradely was targeted seven times in the passing game. He caught four passes for 65 yards. It was the second game in a row in which Bradley was thrown to seven times. With Larry Johnson out, the Chiefs are spreading things out and relying more on the passing game. And, as surprising as it is, QB Tyler Thigpen is doing an sufficient job under center. Bradley is a sneaky good play this week against a Chargers defense that ranks dead last in the NFL versus the pass.
Availability: Owned in ~0% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Bradley is a decent one week fill-in if you’re in a bye week pinch.
1. Kevin Boss, Giants
Boss was a popular sleeper TE during the preseason. After a decent second half of the 2007 season and following the decision not to bring back Jeremy Shockey, the thinking was Boss would have plenty of opportunity to contribute. It didn’t play out that way early in the season, but Boss has become a redzone threat over the last couple weeks—scoring in two straight games. He’s a quality acquisition and can be used in Week 10 against a Philly defense that has allowed the third most fantasy points to TEs this season.
Availability: Owned in ~28% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Boss is a smart acquisition if your TE has disappointed.
2. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
After scoring consecutive touchdowns in Weeks 5-6, Lewis has been held out of the endzone the last two games. However, he continues to catch 3-4 passes per outing. If you pick him up and play him this week, he won’t give you a goose egg. In fact, the Forecast projects good fantasy production for Lewis, who will face the Lions. Detroit has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to TEs this season. With Jacksonville’s top receiving target Matt Jones facing a possible suspension and in limbo for this week’s game, Lewis has a ton of upside.
Availability: Owned in ~27% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Lewis is worth a spot start this week against Detroit.
1. Jay Feely, Jets
Feely connected on 4-of-5 field goals against the Bills in Week 9. It was the fourth time in five games he’s drilled multiple three-point kicks. With the Rams on tap next, Feely has the potential to record another strong fantasy performance. St. Louis has allowed the seventh most fantasy points to kickers this season. They’ve allowed kickers to go into double figures in both of their last to contests.
Availability: Owned in ~6% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: Feely should be money this week against the Rams.
DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS
1. Carolina Panthers
With Darren McFadden sidelined and very little veteran leadership on offense, the Raiders are a punchless team right now. They are coming off a game in which they were shut out and embarrassed on their home field by a very average Atlanta Falcons defense. Coming off a bye week, you have to like Carolina’s chances of causing some havoc. The Panthers rank third in the NFL in scoring defense. A scenario in which we see back-to-back shutouts for the Raiders is not out of the question.
Availability: Owned in ~65% of leagues.
Forecast guidance: The Panthers are an excellent start this week versus the Silver and Black.