If you’re one of the few fantasy owners who didn’t lose a player to injury this week, you’d better thank your lucky stars. It seemed like almost every team had a significant player get injured. But whether you lost a player from your fantasy team or not, this week’s waiver wire could make or break your season.
Tim Hightower is official done for the year with a torn ACL. Ryan Torain is the obvious pick-up here (if he’s even available). And if you can’t get him, don’t be shy about picking up Roy Helu. I’ve written about it before; you can’t trust Mike Shanahan. He will most likely name Torain the starter this week, but on some magical whim, Helu will get all the carries. This reason alone makes both Torain and Helu must-adds. You know they’re both going to get carries; and they could very well be valuable in a 50/50 split. Or one of them could take over as the workhorse and resemble the fantasy studs that came out of Shanahan’s offense long ago.
Willis McGahee will miss 1-2 weeks with a fractured hand. If Knowshon Moreno is available, as he should be, he’s another must-add this week. The Broncos play two of the most run-friendly defenses (DET & OAK) the next two weeks. And if you’re way down at RB because all of the other guys mentioned in this article are taken, Lance Ball could be a sneaky add. Moreno hasn’t proven he can handle a full workload yet, so Ball’s role could increase if he’s productive with his first few carries.
Beanie Wells is likely to miss 1-2 weeks with a bruised knee. Alfonso Smith and LaRod Stephens-Howling will likely share carries. Neither should have a big game against Baltimore this week, but if Beanie does miss week 9, both could be quality spot-starters. In week 9, the Cardinals play the Rams, the leagues worst run defense. I expect Alfonso Smith to be the more valuable guy here just because he handled the load well last time Wells missed a game this season.
Earnest Graham is out the rest of the season with a torn Achilles. Kregg Lumpkin would presumably be the replacement, but the Buccaneers have a bye this week, so LeGarrette Blount could be ready to return in week 9. However, if he suffers a set back, Lumpkin would face the run-friendly New Orleans Saints, and could be the only available running back for that game. Only pick up Lumpkin if you’re way down at running back and have the roster spot to wait a week.
Darren McFadden reportedly only suffered a mid-foot sprain in week 7. Which is surprising because the Raiders chose to hold him out the rest of the game. A game that they may have had a chance to win if they didn’t have to lean on Michael Bush and a combination of Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer. Anyway, the Raiders have a bye in week 8, so if it is just a foot sprain, I’d expect McFadden back. However, if you’re a McFadden owner, I’d make sure to snag Bush just in case.
Finally, DeMarco Murray had a monster game this week against the Rams; much to my surprise. I thought Tashard Choice would be somewhat involved with Felix Jones out, but I guess not. Choice suffered an unspecified injury in week 7, so there’s no reason to believe the Cowboys won’t lean on Murray again in week 8. If you own Murray he’s a must-start against the Eagles; they’re not much better than the Rams in terms of run defense. Phillip Tanner could be a sneaky play this week as well if Choice is out. Tanner had a great pre-season, and ripped off a couple nice runs in week 7. If he gets 5-10 chances against the Eagles this week, I could see him getting at least 50 yards and maybe a touchdown.
**If I were ranking these players in terms of priority, I’d go…
1-Torain, 2-Murray, 3-Helu, 4-Moreno, 5-Smith, 6-Bush, 7-Ball, 8-Stephens-Howling, 9-Ball, 10-Tanner, 11-Lumpkin.
The rest …
QB – Tim Tebow – DEN – Tebow needs to be owned! It wasn’t pretty this week and look what he managed to do, 22 fantasy points.
QB – Christian Ponder – MIN – Had a productive fantasy day against Green Bay. Could have another nice day against Carolina this week.
WR – Michael Jenkins – MIN – Ponder targeted him 8 times. With Percy Harvin’s status for this week unsure, and Bernard Berrian’s pending release, Jenkins could be in for many more targets.
WR – Jabar Gaffney – WAS – Should step in as the number 1 receiver for 5-7 weeks while Santana Moss is out after hand surgery.
WR – Anthony Armstrong – WAS – Same reason as Gaffney. Armstrong should be the primary deep threat while Gaffney and Fred Davis take care of all the short-to-medium routes.
WR – Michael Crabtree – SF – The 49ers offense looks in sync, and Crabtree finally seems to be realizing some of the potential he has.
WR – Jason Hill – JAX – Clearly Gabbert’s favorite target. Didn’t get in the end-zone this week, but had a nice game – 4 receptions for 62 yards on 8 targets.
WR – Antonio Brown – PIT – Hit a rough patch the past couple of weeks but could be back on track after week 7 against the Cardinals. He gets another pass-friendly defense this week in New England.
RB – Keiland Williams – DET – If Jahvid Best misses anymore time, I think the Lions will use Williams much more than Maurice Morris. You could already see it happening in the second half of their game against the Falcons.
RB – Delone Carter – IND – Looks like the best Colts running back. Hopefully they realize it.
TE – Visanthe Shiancoe – MIN – Was Ponders favorite target against Green Bay. Wouldn’t be surprised if he puts up similar numbers every week.