Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Earnest Goes to . . . I.R.?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008



QUARTERBACKS

Shaun Hill, 49ers - Hill's Week 11 fantasy stats won't jump at you because he was too good against the Rams. His first-half performance was so efficient that he spent the second half handing off before giving way to J.T. O'Sullivan in garbage time. With QB1 numbers in his first two starts, it's time to pick up Hill in case you need him as an extra option during the fantasy playoffs.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks - Skepticism is still advised. Hasselbeck breathed a tiny bit of life into Seattle's offense, but it was far from a renaissance. Mike Holmgren conceded the division to the Cardinals after the game and hinted that the Seahawks will be playing for the future the rest of the way. With Hass still not fully recovered from back and leg injuries, he's not a great bet to stay active down the stretch in a lost season.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues

Joe Flacco, Ravens - Flacco has eight touchdowns in the last five games after managing just two in the first five games. His Forrest Gump-like rushing ability is giving his fantasy value a decent boost as well.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues

Kerry Collins, Titans - Collins won't give you that warm and safe feeling as you're plugging him into your lineup, but his last two games at least merit a pickup. With defenses stacking the box to stop the Titans dominant rushing attack, Collins has put up an average of 250 yards and 2.5 touchdowns against the Bears and Jags. He may be worth a pickup if you're unhappy with your backup situation.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues

Daunte Culpepper, Lions - Stuffedpepper is playing poorly, but he's the kind of quarterback that can fill a stat sheet regardless. His 200-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Panthers is repeatable, but take note that he has the Bucs, Titans, and Vikings next on the docket.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bengals - The Harvard grad's 261-yard performance may have you thinking about adding him to your roster this week. Think again. The noodle-armed Fitz may be without the entire left side of his line as he travels into Pittsburgh in Week 12. Even if he survives the game, he's still going to be Ryan Fitzpatrick facing the Ravens and Colts the following weeks.

Recommendation: Pass


WIDE RECEIVERS

Mark Bradley, Chiefs - I recommended Bradley as the top wide receiver option last week, but he's still unowned in about half of all leagues. The former second-rounder has averaged nine targets per game over the past month, and the Chiefs spread offense shows no signs of slowing down. He could easily remain a viable WR3 the rest of the way.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

Deion Branch, Seahawks - Matt Hasselbeck targeted Branch eight times in their Week 11 return to the lineup; Bobby Engram, on the other hand, saw just two passes. If Hasselbeck has a go-to receiver, it appears to be Branch. Don't expect monster games in the Seahawks offensively challenged attack, but Branch may put up WR3 numbers in PPR leagues.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues

Justin Gage, Titans - The Titans nominal No. 1 receiver is back on the map after back-to-back four-catch performances totaling three touchdowns. Now healthy, Gage is a good bet to remain involved in the offense, but Brandon Jones' presence makes it a guessing game as to who will have a better performance from week-to-week.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues

Brandon Jones, Titans - Jones had been emerging as the Titans best receiver over the past month before Justin Gage returned to full health. The duo has been productive the past two weeks, but the Titans offense isn't likely to support a pair of fantasy receivers going forward. Gage is the safe choice, but Jones' athleticism could offer higher upside. The situation bears watching once again in Week 12.

Recommendation: Monitor in 12-team leagues

Jerry Porter, Jaguars - Porter remains more of a Matt Jones handcuff as opposed to a realistic weekly option. If Jones' thigh keeps him out again or if the suspension finally kicks in, Porter could be a starting option. My inclination, though, would be to bypass Porter for third-receiver Mike Walker. Now healthy, Walker has a much better chance of making noise come fantasy playoff time and makes for an interesting stash.

Recommendation: Monitor in deeper leagues

Michael Jenkins, Falcons - With 70-yard upside, Jenkins isn't my kind of WR3. If you're looking for a safe option to plug in for 50-70 yards weekly, however, Jenkins is your man.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues


TIGHT ENDS

Dustin Keller, Jets - Last week I advised picking up Keller as a high-upside stash and plugging him into your lineup after he proves himself against New England. With an average of seven receptions for 97 yards the past two weeks, Brett Favre's new safety blanket deserves the benefit of the doubt in your starting lineup. He's not yet owned in many fantasy leagues, so get him while the getting is good.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

Jerramy Stevens, Buccaneers - Starter Alex Smith missed Week 11 with an ankle injury, which gave the reprobate Stevens a chance to rack up 84 yards on six catches. The Bucs head into Detroit this week, so Stevens will have a prime opportunity to flourish again if Smith remains hobbled.

Recommendation: Monitor in 12-team leagues

Donald Lee, Packers - Lee has been a huge disappointment after his 2007 breakout season, right? Well, yes, but it's interesting to note that he could still come awfully close to last year's 48 receptions. Lee remains involved in the offense, but he's averaging a measly 7.0 yards per reception after posting 12.0 last year. Give him a look in PPR leagues if you're desperate.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues


TEAM DEFENSE

Broncos - Attractive waiver wire defenses are sparse this week, so the Broncos defense at home against an offensively challenged Raiders team qualifies as the best option. Denver did show improvement at Atlanta in Week 11, and the Raiders are always a decent bet for a goose egg. Roll the dice if you need a fill-in.

Browns - Sage Rosenfels is the kind of quarterback that keeps both teams in the game by taking chances he shouldn't take. His 4-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio and fumble per game average will leave opposing defenses plenty of opportunities for points. Throw in Josh Cribbs in the return game, and the Browns make for a decent choice this week.


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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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