Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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The Peterson Principle

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's safe to say we can add the Leslie Frazier Vikings to the list of teams that can't be trusted on the injury report. Brett Favre is the first player Rotoworld can remember being upgraded from "out" to "questionable," much less on game day itself. While that turn of events manufactured the obligatory game-time drama accompanying Favre, it was Adrian Peterson bowing out with a thigh/knee injury that turned out to be the true shocker.

The last-minute change of plans caught many owners astonished and unprepared for a follow-up move. That's perfectly understandable considering the optimism coming from Frazier and the dismissive manner in which the Vikes beat writers treated Peterson's nagging injuries. On the other hand, there's really no excuse other than shallow rosters not to have Toby Gerhart on hand to plug in at the last minute.

The Peterson predicament, then, is another useful reminder that handcuffs are all-important at this time of the year. If you've yet to do so, it's time to drop your low-upside timeshare backs, second quarterback, or fifth receiver to insure Peterson, Arian Foster, Maurice Jones-Drew, Knowshon Moreno, LeSean McCoy, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Michael Turner, and Ray Rice.

On to the players. Here is how I rank the top players available at each position as we head into Week 16. Full writeups of each player are below.

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Quarterbacks
1. Rex Grossman
2. Tim Tebow
3. Jason Campbell
4. Kerry Collins
5. Shaun Hill
6. Chad Henne
7. Alex Smith
8. Colt McCoy

Running Backs
1. Derrick Ward
2. Toby Gerhart
3. Rashad Jennings
4. Tashard Choice
5. Donald Brown
6. Lance Ball
7. Maurice Morris
8. John Kuhn

Wide Receivers
1. Anthony Armstrong
2. Jacoby Ford
3. Blair White
4. Sam Hurd
5. Josh Morgan
6. Kevin Walter
7. Andre Caldwell
8. Emmanuel Sanders
9. David Nelson

Tight Ends
1. Kevin Boss
2. Randy McMichael
3. Jimmy Graham
4. Jared Cook

Defense/Special Teams
1. Chargers
2. Cowboys
3. Dolphins

Quarterbacks

Rex Grossman, Redskins - It can be argued that we all owe Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle an apology after lampooning the move to pull Donovan McNabb for Grossman last week. But Shanahan & Son are already receiving too much credit for Grossman's uneven play against a Cowboys secondary that has been shredded by every quarterback they've faced for over two months now. So why does Grossman top this list? Matchup and coaching priorities. The Jaguars allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Grossman is going to keep chucking the ball so the Shanahans can see if he's a viable option in the Jake Plummer role as the bridge to their next franchise quarterback.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play

Tim Tebow, Broncos - As you may have read by now, Tebow is just third quarterback in history to record a TD pass of at least 30 yards and a TD run of at least 40 yards in the same game. He didn't look over his head nor did he embarrass himself in a rivalry game against the Raiders while making his first start. If the Denver coaches take the training wheels off against a Texans defense still allowing the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, Tebow will be a QB2 with upside this week. If Knowshon Moreno (ribs) ends up sitting out, Tebow has a great chance to lead the team in rushing.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play

Jason Campbell, Raiders - With 19.6, 24.2, and 20.0 fantasy points over the past three weeks, Campbell has been QB1 caliber. The biggest problem with trusting him in Week 16 is that the Raiders can go run-heavy in any given week. With a home game against the Colts and Peyton Manning, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is almost guaranteed to at least try to take the air out of the ball.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues

Kerry Collins, Titans - How good is Kenny Britt? The Titans have averaged roughly 29 points per game in his nine starts and less than half of that games he's missed. With Britt back in the lineup the past two weeks, Collins has averaged 22.0 fantasy points per game. He takes on a Chiefs defense this week allowing the 16th-most fantasy points per contest.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues

Shaun Hill, Lions - Indications out of Detroit suggest the Lions' quarterback question won't be answered until late this week. Hill (broken finger) progressed to the backup role in Week 15 while Drew Stanton suffered a Grade 3 separation of his left shoulder. I expect Hill to get the call against a Dolphins defense ranked sixth against the pass. It's a poor matchup, and Hill's fantasy day can only be saved by throwing 45-50 times.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues

Chad Henne, Dolphins - Henne is playing as poorly as he ever has in his young career, but he did manage to complete 73 percent of his passes against the Bills for 276 yards. With upcoming plus matchups against the Lions (10th-most points to opposing QBs) and Patriots (fifth-most), he's worth a look in two-quarterback leagues.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues

Alex Smith, 49ers - As expected, Smith struggled mightily against the Chargers after posting his best game of the season the week before. He's expected to draw the start over Troy Smith in a "big" NFC West tilt at St. Louis, but all bets are off if he plays like he did at San Diego. With a risk of being pulled for Troy, he's a dicey QB2 option.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues

Colt McCoy, Browns - The rookie continues to defy low expectations, playing virtually error-free football while remaining efficient. The upcoming matchups are forbidding, though, with games against AFC North rivals Cleveland and Pittsburgh to close out the season.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues

Long-Term Fliers: Brett Favre, Joe Webb, Patrick Ramsey, Matt Flynn, Charlie Whitehurst


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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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