Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Hello, Helu!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Confession: I've been waiting to use this headline since Week 1. 

After breaking the franchise record of 13 receptions shared by Hall of Famer Art Monk and Kelvin Bryant, Redskins rookie Roy Helu remains unowned in more than half of fantasy leagues. It’s hard to believe Rotoworld readers are sleeping on Helu, as he was promoted relentlessly by Evan Silva throughout the NFL and fantasy draft processes. He had also been a recommended waiver addition in this space for three consecutive weeks (and five overall) heading into his Week 9 breakout game.

Considered an ideal fit for coach Mike Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme coming out of Nebraska, Helu dominated the NFL combine with a 4.40 forty and an eye-popping 1.50 10-yard split. Post-draft, Shanahan immediately compared Helu to an early-career Clinton Portis for his physicality and ability to go the distance if given a crease.

Once again citing the rookie’s “speed to make big plays,” Shanahan inserted Helu into the starting lineup against the 49ers shutdown defense and left him out there for 64-of-67 offensive snaps. Helu was a one-man show in Week 9, accounting for more than half of the team’s yardage while playing all three downs.

Shanahan’s latest backfield edict is that Ryan Torain will only see the field when Helu needs a breather. That’s subject to change with the whims of Shanny’s shenanigans, but Helu is ready to take the starting job and run with it. Even in a regressing offense, there’s plenty of fantasy upside the rest of the way -- particularly in PPR formats.

For those owners who miss out on Helu, Cowboys receiver Laurent Robinson makes a fine consolation prize as a solid WR2/3 option over the next few weeks.

On to the players. Here is how I rank the top players at each position as we head into Week 10. Full writeups of each player are below.

Editor’s Note: Join subscriber only chats, get weekly rankings before anyone else, plus exclusive weekly projections, stat tools, dynasty ranks, columns, and much more including the Rotoworld Oracle in our Season Pass.

Carson Palmer
Sam Bradford
Matt Cassel
Christian Ponder
Matt Moore

Running Backs
Roy Helu
Donald Brown
Chris Ivory
Chris Ogbonnaya
Marion Barber
Joe McKnight
C.J. Spiller
Toby Gerhart

Wide Receivers
Laurent Robinson
Jacoby Ford
Denarius Moore
Steve Breaston
Early Doucet
Santana Moss
Earl Bennett
Austin Pettis
Leonard Hankerson

Tight Ends
Heath Miller
Brent Celek
Visanthe Shiancoe
Jacob Tamme

Defense/Special Teams


Carson Palmer, Raiders - It’s hardly a surprise that Palmer’s decision-making and accuracy have been issues as he shakes off the rust in his first two games of the season. There are plenty of reasons for optimism, though, after a 332-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 9. Palmer’s arm looks stronger than the 2010 version, and the Raiders are getting explosive talents Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore involved just in time for a slate of plus matchups against the Chargers, Vikings, Bears, Dolphins and Packers. With offensive focal point Darren McFadden out again, Palmer may be asked to throw more again Thursday night.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Sam Bradford, Rams - I’m not going to hold last week’s performance versus Arizona against Bradford after he beat his recovery timetable on a high-ankle sprain. Bradford won’t be recommended against a strong Cleveland pass defense this week, but there are plus matchups against the Seahawks and Cardinals in Weeks 11 and 12. I still expect Bradford’s production to spike with Brandon Lloyd making plays down the field.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Matt Cassel, Chiefs - Cassel took a step back against the Dolphins, showing poor pocket presence while failing to lead a touchdown drive. Week 10 represents a fine bounce-back opportunity against a Broncos defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks -- including 332 yards and three touchdowns to a rusty Carson Palmer last week.

Recommendation: Worth a look as a matchup play.

Christian Ponder, Vikings - Ponder was a recommended add in 12- and 14-team leagues heading into the bye week. This is a reminder that he posted a more than respectable 22 fantasy points against the Packers in Week 7, and he gets a healthy Percy Harvin back for the rematch. Green Bay is surrendering the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks after a big game from Philip Rivers in Week 9.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues.

Matt Moore, Dolphins - Moore was the one quarterback to top Aaron Rodgers’ 146.5 passer rating as fantasy’s No. 3 quarterback for Week 9. While Moore can’t be recommended as a weekly option in any format by two-quarterback leagues, it’s worth noting that he’s incrementally increased his fantasy output in each of the past five games.

Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues.

Watch List: Vince Young, Matt Flynn, Shaun Hill, Rex Grossman

Young, Flynn and Hill are the three backups with the highest upside should the starter go down with an injury. … Beck’s poor play could force the Shanahan’s to revisit Grossman.

Hold Off: John Skelton

Skelton’s spot start was more of a catastrophe than the numbers suggest. He will never be ranked as a top-30 fantasy starter in a given week.

Cut Bait: Andy Dalton, Tarvaris Jackson, John Beck, Curtis Painter

Dalton is playing well, but he can dropped in 12- and 14-team leagues due to matchups against top-five pass defenses in each of the next four games. … With a matchup against the Ravens looming, T-Jack can also be dropped in 12- and 14-team leagues. … Beck and Painter have reached the stage of wretchedness where we can no longer expect them to avoid the hangman for four quarters.

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

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