Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Breakdown: These are guys who are on the rise, moving up from where they’ve been over the first few weeks of the season. They may or may not be on a roster, but likely are, and may even be starting here and there. They are listed here because circumstances are favorable for them to move up in their overall ‘stature’ from a fantasy standpoint. With bye weeks now in season, these are guys who can help you in the coming week, and sometimes beyond!
Hines Ward (PIT) – Ward had been getting decent yardage and receptions all season, the only thing missing was touchdowns. However, after another great outing Sunday, he now has touchdowns in back to back games. He’s still on a low touchdown pace for the season, but the thirty-three year old veteran is on pace to have a career year in receptions and yardage, looking at over one hundred receptions and close to sixteen hundred yards. With the Steelers struggling in the second half of games, and having to keep firing to win, they have become a passing team rather than the ‘bruising’ running team they have been in recent years. The focus of this season is Big Ben tossing the rock all over the place to get the job done, and Ward is his favorite target. He’ll have a tougher go of it next week against Antoine Winfield and the Vikings, but that game will likely have quite a high number of passing yards and a few passing touchdowns to go around.
Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN) – This is primarily a notice to owners in touchdown heavy scoring systems, or straight touchdown leagues. Shiancoe, after another excellent outing, is now on pace for about fourteen touchdowns on the season. Brett Favre seems to know where he is at all times and is using Shiancoe as the ultimate escape valve. The catches and yardage aren’t very high, nor are they likely to catch much attention, but the touchdowns are what is important her, and he is one of the best on the books this year in that category so far. If you want a touchdown in a game…he’s an odds on start.
Donald Driver (GBP) – Driver, seemingly written off in draft season every year, has shown that he’s nowhere near done yet. Setting record after record for the Packers, he’s one of the top receivers in the game right now, picking up the slack that Greg Jennings is leaving on the field so far this season. He is on pace for about twelve-hundred yards, eighty catches and six touchdowns, all well above what most prognosticators predicted. At this point Green Bay looks like they are going to be in a number of shootouts as the season progresses, and with a running game that is solid and effective but not overpowering, the passing game is going to be the teams’ bread and butter, meaning Driver will continue to pile up the yardage. The Packers have had their bye week, so it is straight ahead sailing for owners of Driver going forward, start him and reap the rewards!
Wes Welker (NEP) – Welker had a very good day Sunday, but after two straight weeks without playing he has turned in a steady climb of stats leading up to that performance. In reality he has doubled his yardage output each of the past three weeks. He’s not likely to keep up that trend, but he is likely to stay at the pace he’s had in the four games he’s been healthy for, which is an average of nine catches a week for just shy of ninety yards a game. The bonus, based on the past two weeks’ touchdown explosion, is that he could have his best year with touchdowns yet, he’s on pace for eight at the moment. Brady and the Patriots offense looks like they’re getting things together after a very rusty early part of the season, and this means only good things for Welker, who seems to be finding his place in his comfortable second fiddle role to Randy Moss.
Devin Hester (CHI) – Devin has been consistent in the fact that every odd numbered game (1, 3, 5) he’s had solid outings and on even numbered games he’s been relatively disappointing. That trend is likely to end as he enters a streak of games against Cincinnati, Cleveland and Arizona, the last two of those at home. He seems to be getting into a groove with Jay Cutler, giving him good upside as the season progresses. Look for medium range output over the heavy bye week stretch starting this week, when you’ll need the points the most. Add this to his explosiveness in the return game and he’s always a threat for a big game, only enhancing his gradually growing production as a receiver.
Steve Breaston (ARI) – Breaston missed the first week of the season, but he’s made up for it since. He isn’t getting into the end zone a lot, but is on pace to top a thousand yards on the season even after missing a game. He’s averaging about eighty yards a game and is also a punt returner so has the added bonus of point possibilities on special teams. With the Cardinals being in plenty of shootouts, Breaston is a must start going forward, and is a solid start on the national stage Sunday night against the Giants, who showed last week that they will give up some points in the secondary. Breaston is a better start than a lot of second receivers on other teams in the league and should stay in that position barring injury.
Waiver Wire Radar
Breakdown: These are guys who more than likely are not residing on many, if any, rosters. They are in situations that are favorable for possible fantasy impact in the not too distant future.
Sammie Stroughter (TBB) – Sammie is becoming a regular, if not spectacular, resident on the Tampa Bay box score each week. He’s solidified his hold on the number three spot for the Buccaneers, as well as taken over as the team’s kick returner. Tampa Bay isn’t going to remind anyone of the Saints offense any time soon, obviously, and while they’re not winning much, they are staying in games, using all facets of their team. If things keep going the way they are, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him take over the second spot currently occupied by Michael Clayton. In fact, looking at the stats, one could argue he’s already done that, though the starting lineups haven’t reflected it yet. Look for Stroughter, a rookie, to continue to impress and lay the foundation for a long term spot as a Tampa Bay starter.
Torry Holt (JAX) – In deep leagues Holt is already on a roster and will be a great start in two weeks against Tennessee after a bye this weekend, but in leagues that only have ten or twelve teams (or less) he is probably still out there on the wire, not being anything flashy and not getting into the end zone so far this year. However, this is the week to grab him if you’re in one of those leagues. As I stated, he’s on bye this week, but returns the following week to face Tennessee, which is a gold mine for receivers at the moment. He’s been quietly going about his business this season, not putting up great numbers, but he’s gradually moving up his yardage totals as the season moves on, and should finish with close to 1,000 yards this year on about seventy-five catches. In PPR leagues those numbers are valuable, so he should be a long term consideration as owners get used to what players are performing and what ones aren’t this season and adjust accordingly. Grab him if you can and get ready to reap the benefits week after next.
Julian Edelman (NEP) – There are a few things going Edelman’s way right now. First, it appears as though, albeit somewhat slowly, Tom Brady is finding his rhythm on the field again. Second, through five games that he’s been active he’s averaged six targets a week, not a bad pace which has led to twenty-one catches for 188 yards and a touchdown. He started the season as the number four receiver in New England at best, but seems to have taken over, or is very close to taking over, the ‘coveted’ number three receiver spot on the Patriot offense. With a game in London Sunday against Tampa Bay, look for him to again have five or six catches and a possible score. Again, on a week where players will be in short supply due to six teams on their bye, Edelman represents a nice pick up with the possibility of a decent outing with at worst a few points off yards and more if you play in a PPR league.
Hakeem Nicks (NYG) – Nicks has now made it three straight weeks with a touchdown and had a bust out week in regard to yardage with over a hundred for the first time in a game. The rookie seems to be catching on, giving the Giants four seriously good receivers that can be a threat on any play. The fact that he’s getting so much attention from Manning is a good sign going forward. While he may or may not be on the wire still in your league, he’s definitely out there in some, and would be an excellent addition to your roster going into the deepest of the bye weeks and beyond. The Giants have a big national game next Sunday night against Arizona and should be ready to show the world that they are better than the team that was manhandled by New Orleans this past weekend. Look for an arial show with plenty of catches to go around, and Nicks should be right in the thick of things, though look for a drop in yardage from this week to go with a likely touchdown.
Lance Moore (NOS) – With their bye week over and a quarterback going for the record books, any receiver on the Saints has a certain amount of value. At one point this year it looked as if Moore had been forgotten, then he missed some time with a hamstring injury, so had pretty much dropped off the radar. Enter week six against one of the better teams in the league. Moore made it well known that he was fully recovered from the hammy and hadn’t gotten out of favor with Drew Brees, who at the beginning of the season had referred to Moore as his ‘Marvin Harrison’. That obviously hadn’t made a hill of beans difference so far this season, but it seemed to this week, and the reality is that Moore is a much better receiver than Meachem or Henderson, meaning if he’s healthy he likely could slide back in to the number two receiving option among receivers on the team. I realize there are about six legitimate receiving options on any given play for the Saints, but there are plenty of balls to go around, so with the next three weeks limiting options with six teams off each week, Moore is a great addition on the wire this week.
…And On The Slide – Quick Hits
Breakdown: With the season in full swing and bye weeks about to begin, we felt it time to add a bit of the ‘flip side’ to our movers review. These are guys who are relatively well known, but whose stock is most definitely not moving in the right direction – with just a quick hit as to my personal thoughts on the matter.
Patrick Crayton (DAL) – Some of the harshest words I’ve heard about an active player in the NFL have been said about Crayton in the past couple of days, including one report that someone ‘in the know’ stated they’ve never seen a player dive as fast as Crayton has in regards to skill. I don’t know how much of this is true, but regardless, it appears quite accurate that Miles Austin is going to be getting more action going forward than Crayton. The only reprieve is that Roy Williams has trouble staying healthy, meaning for the moment Crayton could get more time due to lack of better options. If you have another way to go, now would be a good time to look for someone to put in your lineup over Crayton.