By Mike Cannici
Here are a few guys you may want to go out and grab, either for long or short term fixes. Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes return from suspension this week, so if for some reason nobody has them rostered, go out and get them immediately. Big Ben is on a bye this week but will start week 6.
Sam Bradford (22.9%ESPN, 56.4%MFL, 51%CBS, 33%Yahoo)- I told you guys to go out and grab him last week and hopefully you did. He’s not someone you necessarily want to rely on just yet weekly, but a good bye week filler and matchup play. If you’re someone who owned Michael Vick and need a replacement for a few weeks, he’s someone that may interest you. He’s got the Lions, Chargers and Bucs on tap the next 3 weeks and is averaging 17.4 fantasy points per game the last three weeks.
Kevin Kolb (59.1%ESPN, 66.3%MFL, 44%CBS, 38%Yahoo)- Kolb came in to Sunday’s game to replace the injured Michael Vick and didn’t wow me at all but is going to be the QB for at least week 5 and maybe beyond depending on the severity of pain threshold of Michael Vick and his rib cartilage injury. He’s got good upside and has a ton of weapons behind him. With the broken rib suffered by LeSean McCoy, the Eagles may be forced to air it out and Kolb can definitely do that as we saw a few times last season. In 12 team leagues and deeper he should be on your radar.
Mike Bell (1.9%ESPN, 16.3%MFL, 10%CBS, 4%Yahoo)- Mike Bell will be the starter with LeSean McCoy out for at least this week after suffering a broken rib. Bell is not a great pass catcher but is a hard runner and has some talent as we saw early last season in New Orleans when Pierre Thomas was out. The Burlington County Times is reporting that the Eagles have inquired about acquiring Marshawn Lynch from the Buffalo Bills. A trade would obviously deflate Bell’s value but even if they were to acquire Lynch, at least this week Bell would probably get the bulk of the carries as Lynch would need to get acclimated to his new team and playbook. McCoy owners need to definitely grab this guy and he plays the 49ers next week which is a pretty good matchup followed by the Falcons.
Michael Bush (64.4%ESPN, 73.3%MFL, 66%CBS, 48%Yahoo)- Bush is a guy I was high on coming into the season but that preseason thumb injury allowed Darren McFadden to get some starts and McFadden was producing at a high level. He injured his hamstring Sunday and didn’t return. Bush came in, and he had already supplanted McFadden as the goal line back, but depending on the severity of the hamstring, Bush could take the every down duties away from McFadden if he were able to have a few big games. Bush finished the Sunday’s game with 56 total yards and a TD. He needs to be owned in ALL leagues.
Ladell Betts( 1.6%ESPN, 11%MFL, 13%CBS, 7%Yahoo)/Chris Ivory (0.4%ESPN, 6.4%MFL, 9%CBS, 2.4%Yahoo)- Betts got the starting nod over rookie Chris Ivory with Pierre Thomas on the shelf with an ankle injury. Both backs were productive however with Betts getting 13 carries for 47 yards while Ivory had 12 carries for 67. If Thomas were to miss any more time, the Saints would still probably go with a committee approach, but from what I saw of the game, Ivory ran much harder and had that nice quick burst to break away from defenders. Betts’ veteran leadership and experience would probably keep him in the mix without Thomas on the field, but Ivory is the guy who would be the long term solution. Both guys are worthy of a roster spot on speculation alone. Betts is a better pass catcher, so if you’re in PPR leagues you’d want to take the gamble on Betts first. Thomas’ week 5 status is still unclear, but whoever gets the start, it’s against the Cardinals so make sure you own someone in this backfield for week 5.
Kevin Smith (40.4%ESPN, 33.8%MFL, 16%CBS, 7%Yahoo) – Jahvid Best had 17 touches in Sundays game as opposed to Smith’s 7 but it is a sign of things to come. Head Coach Jim Schwartz said after Sunday’s game that Smith would continue to get carries going forward in effort to keep Best fresh. Smith was a pretty good flex week in and out the last two seasons’ until his leg injury last year. He has some talent and is a great pass catcher out of the back field and all Best owners need to own this guy. Smith is also ownable if you’re looking for some RB depth or in deeper leagues as he would be the main beneficiary should Best miss any time.
Brandon LaFell (0.1%ESPN, 11.4%MFL, 2%CBS, 2%Yahoo)- LaFell is going to be the guy for at least this week in Carolina with Steve Smith’s injury. He has the size and the hands to be a quality receiver and is definitely ownable in deeper leagues. David Gettis will get the start opposite LaFell. Two rookie receivers along with a rookie RB could be a recipe for disaster, but Claussen will have to throw the ball to somebody, why not LaFell. He has struggled early on this season but better times are ahead and if you have a roster spot why not take a shot, you never know.
Harry Douglas (0.2%ESPN, 5.1%MFL, 1%CBS, 1%Yahoo) – Douglas finally got going this week making 3 receptions on eight targets for 59 yards and a TD. He’s a tough nifty kid who can make the run after the catch. He’s a guy they’ve liked in Atlanta for a few years now and he appears to finally be healthy and take that number two receiver job and run with it. In deeper leagues or if your receiver starved take a shot on this kid, he could pay off big time especially in PPR leagues opposite of Roddy White, who has been waiting for a legit threat alongside him for god knows how long now. Douglas could be it.
Roy E. Williams (25.2%ESPN, 55.9%MFL, 59%CBS, 44%Yahoo)- Roy Williams had a big week way back in week three against the Texans going off for 117 yards and 2 TD. I know It was against the worst pass defense in the league but you have to look deeper than that. He was running nice clean routes, fighting off defenders, beating DB’s down the field. Williams just looked like the guy who broke into the league with the Lions and the guy Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones traded for. The Cowboys are a pass first team, so there will be plenty of targets to go around. Williams should be a decent flex play every week going forward.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh (21.4%ESPN, 63.1%MFL, 66%CBS, 43%Yahoo)- Who would have thought 2-3 years ago that Roy Williams and T.J. Housh would ever end up in a waiver add article, certainly not this guy. It is 2010 now and both of these guys are thought to be past their primes and I wouldn’t disagree with that. However, they still have talent and are on very good offenses so they still can bring your team a lot of value, if for nothing else to add depth to your receiving corp. T.J. finally was involved yesterday which means that Flacco trusts him more and that Housh has finally learned the playbook. Flacco trusted him so much that he looked his way and fired the game winning 18 yard touchdown pass to him with 18 seconds left on the clock. Housh finished with 3 catches for 49 yards and a score and was targeted six times as well. Go out and grab T.J. in all leagues for some depth as he could have some big games going forward.
Steven Johnson (0.3%ESPN, 4.3%MFL, 1%CBS, 2%Yahoo)- Johnson, during QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s two starts now appears to be his favorite red zone target as he caught a TD each of the last two weeks. Nobody on this Bills offense deserves to see any owners starting lineup any time soon, and Lee Evans is no doubt their most talented receiver, but right now it appears Johnson has some potential for some solid games as the season goes along. He’s not quite a roster worthy in 10 or 12 team leagues, but in 14 team or deeper, he’s definitely worth a look.
Joel Dreessen (0.2%ESPN, 0.4%MFL, 0.1%CBS, 0%Yahoo)- Now you know a guy comes from obscurity when you see in parentheses here that he’s less than 1% owned in even MFL leagues (MFL site consists of many deeper and dynasty leagues) but Joel went off this weekend in Oakland for 73 yards on five catches and a TD. He was targeted often (eight times) by Matt Schaub and with Jacoby Jones and Andre Johnson’s status up in the air for week 5 against the Giants, Dreessen would probably get a similar amount of looks and could make a decent matchup play if your TE is either struggling or in their bye week. Dreessen’s got good size (6’4) and great hands so he definitely has some potential going forward especially with Owen Daniels recent injury history. Keep your eye out for this guy and follow my advice earlier of taking a look for week 5.
Brandon Pettigrew (2.6%ESPN, 24.8%MFL, 12%CBS, 6%Yahoo) – I talked about grabbing Pettigrew a few weeks back and he has continued to produce. He has averaged 15.3 pts over the last few weeks. Its time to jump on the bandwagon here and ride this hot streak as long as possible. Once Stafford comes back, its likely he won’t be quite as valuable as Stafford has a big arm and will try and get the ball down the field much more than Shaun Hill has. Tony Scheffler is someone else you want to look at long term, as his value is much higher with Stafford under center. Pettigrew has had a tendency to drop a few balls, as he did drop a potential TD pass in the end zone, but still had eight catches for 91 yards.