Week 13 Pickups: We should have Knowshon Better

It’s getting too late in the season to be reading this unless you’ve already got a playoff spot. I hope you do. But if you’re reading this with no hope of making it to the big dance, I commend you.

So what if your team imploded early in the season? You made a commitment to play 13 weeks, and I respect that. The best thing you can do when your team disappoints you early in the year is to keep making moves and improving your roster. Maybe those wins don’t matter down the stretch, but there’s nothing like knocking someone out of the playoffs when you have no shot of getting there yourself.

The best leagues have teams that remain competitive every year.

Not to mention, you’re only going to get better if you practice, practice, practice at making moves and building a team that can compete. By playing out your full string of games, you’ll figure out what you did wrong.

So what did we do wrong last week?

Week 13 Pickups

Knowshon Moreno was the surprise starter and workhorse back for the Broncos Sunday. While Ronnie Hillman is the explosive rookie, we all must have forgotten John Fox loves his vets.

Moreno does a better job of protecting the Broncos’ biggest asset on offense, Peyton Manning, so he’ll be getting most of the work in Willis McGahee‘s stead. Readjust your waiver claims and go all-in for Moreno. He’s no RB1, but decent yardage and the occasional score is totally on the radar. He’s a RB2 in the right matchups (and assuming Hillman doesn’t get anything more than a few touches per game moving forward).

Bryce Brown hit the fantasy football world in the mouth Monday night with a two-touchdown performance against the Panthers.

While he’s only the Eagles’ starter until LeSean McCoy returns, it sounds like McCoy could be out for an extended period of time. He still hasn’t passed Phase 1 of the concussion tests, which places him behind Michael Vick in terms of who’ll return to the field first.

In his place, Brown showed us he’s got RB1 ability, and he might even keep some of that workload if/when McCoy comes back. Go all in with any leftover FAAB you got stashed if you need a temporary RB2 with RB1 upside.

Since Andre Brown is out of the year, David Wilson should be back on your radar. He’ll be Ahmad Bradshaw‘s reliever for the next few weeks with a chance to start when Bradshaw eventually injures himself enough to miss time. But knowing how the Giants’ coaches feel about Wilson, they may bring in veteran depth if that happened.

And Jalen Parmele‘s time in the sun has passed. His groin injury sent him to IR this week and left us with the utterly disappointing Rashad Jennings. Claim ‘em if you gotta.

Outside of these shifts in the running back pecking order, there’s a whole collection of young wide receivers to stash if you need some receiver depth for the playoffs. Tops among them are Ryan Broyles and Chris Givens. I tend to like Broyles more because he’s shown playmaking ability all over the field and should remain a starter next to Megatron for the rest of the year. But Givens has a beauty of a schedule. Both could be WR3s or decent WR2s the rest of the way.

After Broyles and Givens, there’s  Mohamed Sanu, the slow but sure-handed compliment to A.J. Green these past few weeks. He’s quietly making his living in the end zone and doing it well. Standard-scoring leagues take note, and PPR leagues should stash him for depth as he could continue his hot streak in the playoffs. He has WR2 upside when he’s scoring every week.

The options are a little more risky after that. T.Y. Hilton was explosive on Sunday, but he’s hard to trust while still splitting time with Donnie Avery.

Jarius Wright will fill in while Percy Harvin remains sidelined, but Kyle Rudolph seems to benefit more than Wright from Harvin’s absence.

If you can’t get your hands on any of these players, dig back in our waiver wire archives. Good luck making it into your fantasy football playoffs.

Gronking for Rob Gronkowski Stand-ins: Replacing Gronk for the Playoffs

Let’s get this straight — there is no replacing Rob Gronkowski. Contrary to popular offseason belief, he has been on pace to reproduce his miraculous 2011 season, if not exceed it. He’s the head of the pack when it comes to tight ends, and you’re not going to find those kinds of points on the waiver wire floor.

But alas, you must because not even Gronkowski can “Gronk” his broken forearm back into game shape. So brace yourself. This isn’t going to be pretty.

Rather than guess who’s available in your league, I thought I’d take a look at who is available in several of mine. In one league, I see Joel Dreessen, Dwayne Allen, Marcedes Lewis, and  Anthony Fasano at the bottom of the pile. In a 10-man PPR league, the pickings are a little better: Kyle Rudolph, Dennis Pitta, Scott Chandler, Brent Celek, and Jared Cook.

Before we begin, obviously, the best of the bunch is Brandon Myers is you’re in one of those leagues that is sleeping on him, but everyone in my leagues has gotten smart to him by now. Greg Olsen is another name that gets tossed to the wire  occasionally  throughout the season, but he’s broken out as of late and probably got picked up. Martellus Bennett might have been dropped during Eli Manning‘s slump, and I’d be willing to take a shot with him coming out the Giants’ bye if you can get him.

Also not available in my league but worth consideration are Dustin Keller and Jermichael Finley. They would be just below Kyle Rudolph on my list if they were on the wire.

Barring a chance at any of those guys, you’re stuck with what I listed above. So let’s break them down.

Kyle Rudolph stands out as the biggest name of the bunch. He was a touchdown maker earlier in the season who went through a little bit of a slump before putting up points again just before his bye. I like him as a decent Gronk replacement, and perhaps the Vikings can fix their offensive troubles coming out of the bye. Unfortunately, he has game remaining against Chicago (twice) and the Texans in Week 16, which makes him a less promising option than he really should be.

Logan Paulsen‘s been a decent piece of the Redskins’ offense these last few weeks, and he scored his first touchdown last week coming out of Washington’s bye. He makes a decent play down the stretch in an offense that should continue to hum with Robert Griffin III under center and one that is playing for the future. The schedule doesn’t jump out at you, but playing the Eagles in Week 16 could be a fantasy points bonanza, assuming the Eagles pack it in for the year.

Jared Cook  was a sleeper to start the year. Many expected a breakout with Jake Locker under center, but the Titans just can be trusted to use Cook’s skills as a receiver. But I have to take the bait with him. Locker looked great in his return and hit Cook for a score. There’s promise here. And Cook faces the Colts and Jets in the fantasy playoff weeks.

Brent Celek doesn’t excite me, but the Eagles have a solid passing schedule with the Panthers, Bucs, Bengals, and Redskins on their slate. Unfortunately, I’d avoid Celek unless you can afford to stash him until we see one of the Eagles’ passers come to life. Nick Foles hasn’t been a spark for the Eagles offense, and Micheal Vick just hasn’t provided many  opportunities  for his playmakers to make plays. Go with Celek only if you can’t get any of the previous guys off the wire.

Dwayne Allen is a starting option only as long as Coby Fleener is out. When Fleener returns, the two will be frustrating owners as they  dilute  the tight end points you’ll get out of Andrew Luck throwing the ball. Allen gets to play the Bills this week without him, but Fleener will probably return before Week 16. If not, Allen will have the Chiefs all to himself.

Allen’s on my list because he’s a good starter for the next few games, but know that you’ll probably need someone else to support him in the playoffs.

While the above tight ends could be good weekly options, the remaining tight ends on this list are mostly spot starts. Dennis Pitta is currently concussed and hasn’t been very reliable since Week 3. He scored in Week 10 against the Raiders…but it was the Raiders. Joel Dreessen has way too many e’s in his name, and he splits his points with Jacob Tamme. While there was a three-game stretch earlier this season where you could count on Dreessen to find the  end zone   it seems that time has passed.

Dallas Clark hasn’t been as hot as the rest of the Bucs’ offense, but he’s benefited from their production. Still, it’s hard to trust him as a starting option in the fantasy playoffs, even if he faces the Saints in Week 15. Scott Chandler‘s schedule isn’t as scary as some, but he could get you 2 as easily as he could get you 9+ points. And Anthony Fasano has been a non-participant in the Dolphins’ offense lately.

That leaves us with Marcedes Lewis, who should be in this group as a matchups play if you look past his Week 11 performance with Chad Henne taking over at quarterback for the Jags. The schedule isn’t intimidating, which makes Lewis a promising option if you get this far down the list. Of all the guys after Allen, I’d probably consider Lewis the top of the group. I might even consider grabbing him over Celek if given the choice.

You’ll know after a few weeks whether Lewis can be counted on to produce. Just make sure you shore up your tight end position with another option in case Lewis returns to fantasy purgatory.

See, I told you it wouldn’t be pretty.

Old Vikings Marching Down a Street

Week 4 Pickups: The One With All the Vikings

Old Vikings Marching Down a StreetI’m 0-3 in one league, and I can’t stand it. So I’ll be all over the wires this week. You stand to benefit from my helpful or misguided research.

Obviously, we had an eventful weekend of football. Or whatever you call the sport the replacement refs are now calling for us.

Unfortunately for us all, there isn’t too much on the wire unless you’re in a very shallow league. Leshoure is probably owned. Brown probably got snatched before his start Thursday night. That leaves slim pickings if you’re in need of a running back because the injuries don’t seem too severe to the starters who went down Week 3.

As always, my pickups are listed in the order I would go after them and with FAAB estimations.

Week 4 Pickups

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions (75%+)
If you waited this long, sorry. I talked about him before he hit the field. You’re going to have to luck out to land Leshoure, who looks to be the Lions’ preferred rusher. At least until Jahvid Best returns.

Andre Brown, RB, Giants (25%)
You probably missed your chance at him by now, but Brown could continue to see action even when Bradshaw returns from his injury.

Jerome Simpson, WR, Vikings (15% if need be)
There’s a lot of hype around Simpson’s return from suspension this week with the Vikings offense moving the ball this year. I think you have to jump on him before he breaks out. He’s my top recommendation this week besides Leshoure.

Jake Locker, QB, Titans (10-15%)
This is the kind of potential we’ve been waiting to see. With Britt getting healthy (and MAYBE a running game showing up sometime soon), Locker should put together a nice season as a QB2 with QB1 upside.

Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings (10-15%)
To follow his new WR target, I’d offer up the Vikings QB, who looks good enough to enter QB1 territory these next few weeks. His schedule is excellent if you’re looking for bye week replacement help.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings (10%)
Rudolph caught two touchdowns this week, which probably serves as his coming out party, but Rudolph is worth owning in all leagues as we enter the byes. He’s a great target for Ponder near the redzone. And Simpson’s return should open up this offense, not take opportunities away.

Andrew Hawkins, WR, Bengals (5-10%)
The Hawk can play. I’m ready to grab him now, and you should, too. He’s shown he can produce with few targets. I expect inconsistency, but he’s solid enough to be rostered.

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Falcons (<10%)
Stash him now before anyone else sees him. I’m high on Rodgers, and as a result, high on the demise of Michael Turner. Turner can’t even drive fast.

Donnie Avery, WR, Colts (5-10%)
Without Austin Collie for the rest of the year, Avery now gets my confidence.

Heath Miller, TE, Steelers (<5%)
He looks to be a lot more involved in the offense this year than years past. He’s worth acquiring as the reigning No. 3 fantasy tight end.

Leonard Hankerson, WR, Redskins (<5%)
He’s secured a starting spot, even when Garcon returns. For now, he’s getting to run as the first read for Robert Griffin III. Just don’t do anything crazy like I did this weekend if you pick him up.

Ryan Williams, RB, Cardinals (15%)
I don’t love the Arizona running game, but Williams looks to be the best part of it.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins (10-15%)
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins (5-10%)

The more explosive and dependable of the two Dolphins running backs, I think Miller can emerge if given the opportunity. Daniel Thomas will probably get more action, but he may be owned in most leagues.

Tashard Choice, RB, Bills (10%)
Whoever starts in Buffalo is going to rack up yards. They just run the ball well up there. But there is no guarantee Choice even gets this one start in Week 4 if Fred Jackson can get in a full week of practice. Be careful how much you bid on him here.

Shaun Hill, QB, Lions (<10% if you own Stafford)
If you’re in a very deep league and want to make sure you get points for the Lions’ passing game, you might need Hill to play safe with Stafford’s injury. But it sounds as if Stafford could make the start Week 4 if the team lets him.

Stashes

I’m not yet ready to bite on Nate Burleson (maybe in PPR), Brandon Stokley, Jacoby Jones, or T.Y. Hilton, but they may be worthy stashes if you have the roster room. Cecil Shorts is hard to buy as long as he’s still in Jacksonville.

Brandon Myers and Jordan Cameron look like they can ball, but the tight end position is DEEP this season.

I’m not sure what to think of Ronnie Hillman or Lance Ball just yet if McGahee sits out Week 4, but I think I’d rather stash Ball if I’m a McGahee owner.

Don’t forget about Bilal Powell just yet, but I don’t think it’s an emergency that you get him on your roster. Especially not when he faces the 49ers this week.

Drops

Austin Collie (sadly), Stephen Hill, and Greg Little are all droppable if you have a more promising guy on the waiver wire. David Wilson is bordering on droppable territory, but we’ll have to see how he’s used once Ahmad Bradshaw returns to the field.

Free Handcuffs with every frame bed

Unleash the Handcuffs: Andre Brown, Bilal Powell, Daryl Richardson are Week 3 Pickups

Free Handcuffs with every frame bed
Week 2 brought the injuries, now didn’t it? I can’t say I enjoyed watching Steven Jackson sit through the second half…especially after he was doing so well before he sat down.

Aaron Hernandez owners may still crying after seeing him go back to the locker room without putting any points on the board. Of all the less serious injuries, Ahmad Bradshaw’s neck injury seems to be the only one that hasn’t been clarified since the games were played.

But let’s not dwell on the negative. I did that already this week.

Let’s get better. Say it together…WITH FEELING!

Just like last week, these are presented in the order I’d go after them. Dollar dollar bill FAAB suggestions are also listed beside each player.

Week 3 Pickups

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions (<5%)
If no one owns him yet, you should be able to pick him up on the cheap. Kevin Smith doesn’t have the full confidence of this team. That much we could see as the Lions went with Joique Bell on several touches in Week 2. There’s a good chance Leshoure returns in Week 3 and makes this job all his own, and Lions RBs are good for fantasy points.

Andre Brown, RB, Giants (10%)
When Ahmad Bradshaw went down, we all expected to see David Wilson. Instead, we got Brown as the workhorse back, and he performed well. He’ll be the RB to own if Bradshaw misses any time this week and probably keeps a good portion of the work if Bradshaw misses additional time. Wilson’s got some work to do to get himself out of the doghouse.

Martellus Bennett, TE, Giants (5%)
Bennett has quickly become the third option in this Giants’ offense and one of the top tight end options through the first two weeks. Make sure he’s not in the pool, especially if you’re sitting on a lesser option like Fred Davis.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens (5%)
He’s getting a ton of looks in this offense. While some of it may be game plan, two weeks is enough to notice the trend, which makes him worth a grab. The rumor is that he’s Flacco’s best friend on the team, and you know how that works out for tight ends. *COUGH* Witten *COUGH* I’d look to fill your Aaron Hernandez hole with Pitta or Bennett this week.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings (<5%)
You’re still letting this guy sit on the waiver wire? He’s on the radar after scoring this week, and I expect his big breakout game to happen sooner rather than later.

Greg Little, WR, Browns (0%)
He lives. But the Browns aren’t going to be producing like this week to week. Still, if you’re looking for a WR3 with potential, he’s worth stashing in all leagues for bye weeks and potential garbage time production.

Brent Celek, TE, Eagles (0%)
Celek might not have as high a ceiling as the tight ends listed above, but he still might be an upgrade for Fred Davis owners/sufferers.

Bilal Powell, RB, Jets (0%)
Powell has been on my watch list all season. When Shonn Greene went out of the game, he took the carries and did more with them. Powell’s worth stashing as we wait for the Jets to look past Greene on the depth chart for something with a little more punch.

Daryl Richardson, RB, Rams (0%)
When Jackson didn’t return after his ball-spiking penalty in the second quarter, we all thought he was being punished. Turns out, it was only his fantasy owners getting the punishment as Jackson suffered a groin injury that prevented him from reentering the game. It was Richardson, not Isaiah Pead, who took over the game for the Rams when Steven Jackson went down. We can safely say that Richardson is the handcuff for Jackson, and he’ll be the RB to own if Jackson can’t go in Week 3. For now, all signs point to Jackson being back in the lineup Week 3, which makes Richardson just a stash.

Sam Bradford, QB, Rams (0%)
So maybe the Rams aren’t so terrible? I’m undecided, but Bradford certainly had good numbers against the Redskins. Washington suffered several injuries on the defensive side of the ball in this one, which took some pressure off of the Rams offensive line that needed the help. In short, swap your backup QB out for Bradford if you’re worried about your current guy.

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals (0%)
I know he had a good showing against the Browns, but I just don’t think Dalton is dependable as anything more than a QB2. That said, you might look to Dalton during the bye weeks if your QB2 isn’t looking so hot.

WATCH LIST

Andrew Hawkins, WR, Bengals
The shifty wide receiver has made his mark two weeks in a row now. He’s worth keeping on your radar as a potential WR3, and he is worth stashing if you’re in a PPR league.

Jackie Battle, RB, Chargers
I see Battle’s stats from this week as a flash in the pan just before the return of Ryan Mathews. When Mathews takes the field, I don’t think we’ll see Battle get this many touches. His usage in Week 2 is probably a result of how little Ronnie Brown has left in the tank. If Mathews doesn’t return in Week 3 or goes down with another injury, keep your eye on Battle.

Robert Turbin, Austin Collie, and More Players Who Should Be Owned in Week 1

I thought I’d let Cecil Lammey kick off this year’s waiver wire discussion with  this video for Footballguys  TV. To give you a little more to work with, here’s my list of players who should be on more rosters to start the season.

Quarterbacks

  • Jake Locker, QB, Titans   — What’s not to like about a young, athletic QB with plenty of weapons at his disposal and an explosive offense?
  • Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks   — As I’ve already mentioned this preseason, running quarterbacks are always good for fantasy points, and Wilson has the tools to hit the ground running this season.
  • Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings   — With Adrian Peterson not at full strength to start the year, the Vikings might finally let Ponder run the show.

Running Backs

  • Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers   — Between Redman and Dwyer, I’d rather own Dwyer.
  • Robert Turbin, RB, Seahawks   — Seattle has a great run game, and Turbin’s in line for a heavy workload if Lynch misses time or isn’t as effective as he was last year.
  • Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers   — Until we see how carries are split for San Francisco, I’ll take a chance on Hunter emerging in 2012.
  • Bilal Powell, RB, Jets   — If you believe that Shonn Greene will be ineffective this year, you should invest in Powell.

Wide Receivers

  • Austin Collie, WR, Colts   — Collie was shaping up to be Luck’s No. 1 receiver until his concussion scare this preseason.
  • Braylon Edwards, WR, Seahawks   — Everyone forgets about the veteran receiver that Seattle didn’t cut before Week 1.
  • Randy Moss, WR, 49ers   — Even in a rotation with Mario Manningham, Moss is worth stashing just in case being named the starter means something in San Francisco.

Tight Ends

  • Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings   — Rudolph could join the elite this year as Ponder’s favorite target.