Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week 7: Working the waiver wire

We’ve reached the point in the fantasy football season where it’s perfectly fine to shift into rent-a-player mode. You know, the weekly free agent pick-up who will only play one week for your team before getting shipped back to anonymity. Of course this strategy doesn’t work if you’re paying for each free agent pick-up. Regardless, here’s a list of players you should check out
Matt Cassel – QB Kansas City
A week after torching the Houston Texans for 3 TDs, Cassel is headed for another favorable match-up this week when the Chiefs host the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags rank near the bottom of the league against the pass and Kansas City is a difficult place to play. In fact, Cassel makes a pretty good play the next three weeks as the Chiefs began a three-game stretch where they host Jacksonville and Buffalo and then travel to Oakland.
Danny Woodhead – RB New England
Somewhere Bill Belichick is laughing at us. All of us fantasy football players trying to figure out his gameday strategy. It certainly appeared that BenJarvus Green-Ellis would be the lead RB after Laurence Maroney got shipped west. After week 6, it’s clear that Woodhead will continue to see time in New England’s backfield, perhaps even more than Green-Ellis. Woodhead finished with more than 100 yards total offense against the Baltimore Ravens last week, which included a heavier workload in the second half. That tells me the Patriots trust him in crucial situations. If you’re desperately seeking a RB to fill out your roster, Woodhead may be the best option.
Chris Ivory – RB New Orleans
With Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush both sidelined with injuries, Ivory made a name for himself running for 158 yards against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Ivory is the Saints best option right now with Thomas and Bush out. He’s faster than Ladell Betts and Julius Jones, plus he’s got the big play potential the Saints offense has lacked at times this year. Ivory’s performance in week 6 likely earned him more touches this season, but when Thomas and Bush return, his role will be less clear. He’s got another favorable match-up this week against the Cleveland Browns, but don’t expect too much after that. With a game against Pittsburgh in week 8 and the eventual return of the Saints wounded RBs, Ivory’s days as ‘the guy’ in New Orleans’ backfield may be numbered – at least for this season.      
James Starks – RB Green Bay
I will admit that putting Starks on this list is a stretch at this point, but it might be a risk worth taking. It’s no secret the Green Bay Packers are having trouble running the ball. Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn are barely average and the team's inability to run the ball is having a major impact on the entire Packers offense. Starks is now eligible to play after spending the first six weeks on the PUP list. The Packers will give him a chance; that I can promise you. However, what he does with that opportunity remains to be seen, thus making him a very risky pick right now. Starks has not played at all this season, including during the preseason due to a hamstring injury. Picking him up now would be the ultimate roll of the dice, but it might just pay off (Or it might not. I’d avoid him for now. Scout him).   
Mike Williams – WR Seattle
The departure of Deion Branch in Seattle has opened the door back up for Williams. A hot waiver pick up after week one, Williams landed back on the free agent market after poor performances in weeks 2 thru 5. In week 6, Williams was targeted 14 times by Matt Hasselbeck, catching 10 of those balls for 123 yards. Williams is an excellent option the next two weeks with Arizona and Oakland on the schedule. Plus, Seattle’s schedule the rest of the way has several favorable match-ups for Williams. If you’re going to grab one Seattle receiver, make sure it’s Williams (avoid Deon Butler and Golden Tate).
Deion Branch – WR New England
When New England traded Randy Moss to Minnesota many thought the Patriots were giving up on the season. However, with a win over Baltimore on Sunday and Branch having a big game, people have torn up the Pats' obituary. The Brady to Branch connection tormented a very good Ravens pass defense for 98 yards on nine catches, including a TD. Despite another tough match-up this week against the Chargers in San Diego, Branch is a good player to pick-up. Being Brady’s go-to guy is always going to be worth something.

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