Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Quarterback Quandaries

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


If you have been hoarding that No. 1 waiver wire pick, this is the week to use it. The ultimate roster stash, Ryan Torain, may be taking over in Denver much sooner than we imagined. Not to be outdone, fellow rookie running backs Ray Rice and Jamaal Charles are putting their stamp on the starting jobs in Baltimore and Kansas City respectively.

Even with the savory running back options, though, this is the week of the waiver wire quarterback. Quarterback changes in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Houston, Detroit, and Chicago have fantasy leaguers scrambling to the waiver wire, trying to impose order out of chaos. Aaron Gleeman did an outstanding job of handicapping the musical quarterbacks in his Daily Dose column this morning, so I'll dispense with the lengthy introduction and get on with the rankings.

On to the waiver wire. Here is how I rank the likely targets at each position. Full writeups of each player are below.

QUARTERBACKS
1. Sage Rosenfels
2. Gus Frerotte
3. Brady Quinn
4. Shaun Hill
5. Byron Leftwich
6. Daunte Culpepper
7. Joe Flacco
8. Tyler Thigpen
9. Rex Grossman

RUNNINGBACKS
1. Ryan Torain
2. Ray Rice
3. Jamaal Charles
4. Cedric Benson
5. Selvin Young
6. Derrick Ward
7. Kevin Faulk

WIDE RECEIVERS
1. Greg Camarillo
2. Mike Walker
3. Shaun McDonald
4. Mark Bradley
5. Roscoe Parrish

TIGHT ENDS
1. Tony Scheffler
2. Brent Celek

DEFENSES
1. Jaguars
2. Jets

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QUARTERBACKS

Sage Rosenfels, Texans - Thanks to Aaron Gleeman's handiwork, we know that Rosenfels has been a high touchdown, high yardage, high turnover quarterback whenever he has started. In real life, that leaves him just short of an ideal starter due to his penchant for back-breaking turnovers. In fantasy terms, however, that makes him a legit weekly option for as long as Matt Schaub is out.

Rosenfels gets the Ravens this week, with the Colts and Browns on the horizon. If you are looking for a one-week patch, you may want to try Brady Quinn or Shaun Hill. If you're looking further on down road, though, Sage Rosenfels is your man.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

Gus Frerotte, Vikings - Frerotte has surprisingly been a Top-5 fantasy quarterback over the past month, capitalizing on Bernard Berrian's deep playmaking ability. He gets the Packers and Buccaneers the next two weeks, so don't go overboard with expectations.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Brady Quinn, Browns - After a month of hemming and hawing, the Browns finally pulled the plug on Derek Anderson. The mighty Quinn's first NFL start will come in the national spotlight Thursday night against a reeling Broncos defense giving up 243 yards per game.

With the surrounding offense becoming more stable, it's a great time for Quinn to get the call. If he can take advantage of Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, and Donte Stallworth, Quinn carries more potential than your typical waiver wire fodder.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Shaun Hill, 49ers - Hill's quick release makes him an interesting option in Mike Martz's offense, and he may just pick up where he left off late last season. Hill should be a fine QB2 the rest of the way, starting this week against Arizona.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Byron Leftwich, Steelers - Coach Mike Tomlin reported that Ben Roethlisberger could have continued to play Monday night, but the team wanted to play it safe. ESPN's Michelle Tafoya, however, painter a more grim picture, pointing out that Big Ben couldn't raise his arm after his shoulder "popped out." The Steelers have a big game this week with the Colts coming to town, but my guess is that Big Ben will be watching from the sidelines for at least one week.

I should disclose up front that I am a charter member of the Byron Leftwich fan club. When healthy, he's been a tough, winning quarterback who doesn't turn the ball over and makes all the throws. It's been unbelievable to me that would-be contenders have chosen to go with the likes of Tarvaris Jackson and Rex Grossman the past couple of seasons while Leftwich sat at home collecting dust. On the other hand, things are working out well for Leftwich with the Steelers, and he could be guiding a Super Bowl contender if Big Ben's shoulder problems persist.

Recommendation: Monitor in 12-team leagues

Daunte Culpepper, Lions - Dan Orlovsky's thumb injury is a great opportunity for 2007 second-rounder Drew Stanton to showcase his skills as a possible quarterback of the future. Unfortunately, a franchise that regular sees its fans show up with heads hidden under grocery bags is worried about their young quarterback embarrassing himself. Suddenly, humiliation is verboten in Detroit.

Meanwhile, Daunte Culpepper is expected to take over as soon as Sunday against the Jaguars. The recently unretired fallen star hasn't played in a year and will get a crash course in the Lions offense before throwing the ball up for grabs to Calvin Johnson. Skepticism is advised.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues

Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs - I covered his early season atrocity against the Falcons, so I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the new and improved version of Thigpen. To his credit, though, Thigpen is making plays in the spread offense and suddenly has a nice cache of weapons in the passing game.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two quarterback leagues

Joe Flacco, Ravens - After an ugly stretch early in the season, Flacco is starting to make good on that first-round promise. The rookie will continue to have his ups and downs in the second half, so don't expect anything more than low-end QB2 production.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two quarterback leagues

Rex Grossman, Bears - Rex the Wreck is back! I know what some of you are thinking: Kyle Orton was a punchline too before he made the leap this season; maybe lightning can strike twice. Guess again. Grossman will continue doing his backpedaling routine against the Titans and Packers the next two weeks. Look elsewhere.

Recommendation: Pass


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling


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