It’s almost the half way point of the NFL season and your fantasy team is probably decimated with injuries and hit hard with bye weeks. Have no fear we’ve got some waiver wire pickups that will fill the void in your lineup.
In Order Of Priority
- Deion Branch (Patriots) – No one knew for sure how Tom Brady would be distributing the ball in the wake of the Randy Moss trade last week. Now we know. When it got to crunch-time against the Ravens on Sunday, Brady went to his old friend Deion with frequency, resulting in a very solid 9-98-1 performance for the veteran receiver in his first game back in New England. Sure Brady will spread the wealth going forward as he always has, but his reliance on Branch in the 4th quarter and overtime on Sunday makes him a guy that needs to be owned in leagues of any size. Amazingly, he’s still available in more than 85% of ESPN leagues.
- Mike Williams (Seahawks) – Once a hot item in fantasy football, the ex- Trojan fell from grace after a nice opening game to the 2010 season. Apparently having Deion Branch out of the picture in Seattle is a big deal for him though, as he caught 10 passes for 123 yards against the Rams in Branch’s absence. First, 10 catches is too many to ignore or write off as a complete fluke. Second, this performance came immediately after a bye week for the Seahawks, meaning the coach’s likely had time to discuss and strategize a plan for how to proceed offensively without Branch. Looks like they (including Williams’ former college coach, Pete Carroll) decided to make Williams a focal point of the offense. Williams is only owned in 45% of ESPN leagues, so go snatch him if you can.
- Derrick Ward (Texans)– I know he is technically the back up to Arian Foster, who has been a complete beast so far this season. But the dude has scored touchdowns in three straight weeks now. And he had nice yardage totals (80 yds – Wk 4; 58 yds – Wk 6) in two of those games. So, not only are you getting a guy who seems like a solid bet to score a touchdown each week, but you’ll have a potential stud running back if Foster’s past injury issues come back to haunt him. At the very least he is a very nice bye-week fill in for a team without great running back depth. He’s only owned in 2.4% of ESPN leagues!! That is about to change for sure.
- Christopher Ivory (Saints) – Ivory finally had a breakout performance in Pierre Thomas’ absence. After splitting carries equally with the wrinkly Ladell Betts over the past two weeks, Ivory exploded with 15 carries for 158 yards. Betts still got the lone rushing touchdown in the game, but it has become clear who the lead back in this this high-octane offense will be when Thomas is out, which will probably be a few more times this year. He’s a necessary handcuff for Thomas owners and a solid bench stowaway in larger leagues. He’s currently owned in 2% of ESPN leagues.
- Danario Alexander (Rams) – OK, now here is a guy that is only owned in 0.2% of ESPN leagues, but I think he should get serious consideration from owners with a guy at the end of their bench that is just gathering dust. I was really curious how the passing game was going to operate in St. Louis after Mark Clayton, who was having a really good season, went down for the rest of the year. Was it going to be Laurent Robinson, the guy with all the pre-season hype? Or Brandon Gibson, who had shown flashes of potential? Or even rookie Marty Gilyard, who the Rams’ coaching staff seemed to rave about. It looks like it is none of the above. Alexander, another Rams rookie out of Missouri activated from the practice squad last week, was Sam Bradford’s top target and big play guy against the Chargers catching 4 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. He’s big, fast and apparently healthy, which had been the issue in the off-season. He’s a bit of a roll-of-the-dice kind of guy at this point, but if he’s the guy who will be filling Mark Clayton’s shoes in this pass-happy offense, he should be owned in leagues with 12 or more teams for sure.
– Warzecha –