William Powell

 

 

There's a lot of hype this week about Russell Wilson, who's conspicuously absent from this list. But he threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns! Alright, but what did he do before that to make you think he was viable even as a bye-week fill-in? Wilson draws the Niners in San Fran this week; good luck with that.

 

 

 

You may notice I skipped over week 6; seems like it makes more sense to label these pickups for the weeks in which they're intended to be used.

 

I'm really glad I don't have to write about picking up Tim Tebow. Yet.

 

Robert Griffin III has more rushing yards than the Steelers and the Saints do.

 

Quarterbacks

 

Josh Freeman, TB – This isn't a general endorsement for Freeman, who's been unreliable at best, but he threw for 328 yards (mostly on big plays, as he completed just 15 passes) for three touchdowns and a pick last week against the Chiefs, and he draws the pass-friendly Saints this week. He's probably the best commonly available bye-week filler this week.

 

Colin Kaepernick, SF – If you're in a deeper keeper league, Kaepernick is probably already owned, but he's worth a speculative add in a wide variety of leagues now, considering what he's done in a very limited sample as a complement to Alex Smith. The second-year man out of Nevada has rushed for 112 yards on 12 carries, and he's proven able to throw the ball too, going 5-for-9 for 89 yards. At 6-4, 230, he's a hybrid quarterback in the mold of Cam Newton.

 

Running Backs

 

William Powell, ARI – Well, I'll cop to being wrong about LaRod Stephens-Howling, though he may have still been hampered somewhat by his hip injury. Powell won the greatest share of the carries, taking 13 rushes for a relatively productive 70 yards. The Cardinals' poor offensive line will likely keep Powell, not an elite talent, from putting up big numbers, but any starting running back is worth owning in fantasy, and Powell's still fairly widely available.

 

Felix Jones, DAL – Ah, back to the old days. Felix will start at least this week, as DeMarco Murray is laid out with a foot sprain. You know what you're getting here – Jones has always been a great YPC guy and is a major factor in the passing game, but has always done better as a complementary back and can be injury-prone. So you know what you're getting here. With this in mind, third-stringer Phillip Tanner is worth a pickup in deeper formats, as he should see some work along Jones.

 

Baron Batch, PIT – The Steelers' running game has been a disaster this year, and savior Rashard Mendenhall left Thursday and could miss this week's game. Isaac Redman put up a stunning 105 receiving yards Thursday, but is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry. Even if Mendenhall does play, his continued fragility makes it likely that someone else will get the chances for Pittsburgh. It could be Batch is that guy. That said, the second-year back, picked in the seventh round in 2011, gained just 22 yards on 10 carries Thursday, though he scored a TD. Don't throw too much FAAB his way, but he's worth a speculative add.

 

Daryl Richardson, STL – Recommended here earlier this year, Richardson went quiet for a few weeks, but he busted out with 11 carries (to Steven Jackson's 12) for 76 yards and two catches for 23 yards against the tough Miami run defense. With Jackson seemingly on his way out of town, Richardson appears to have won himself a roughly 50-50 share of the backfield touches, and he's proven he can turn those touches into big plays.

 

LeGarrette Blount, TB – I could have recommended Blount two weeks ago, after he scored his first touchdown, but the bad taste from last year's utter disappointment made me wary. Well, he seems to have carved out a role for himself in the Tampa offense – and it's the goal-line back, a good role for fantasy purposes.

 

 

Wide Receivers

 

Stephen Hill, NYJ – After leading with a huge game, Hill was widely dropped due to two poor efforts and a hamstring injury that kept him out for two games. But he came back last week to score a touchdown, and with Santonio Holmes out and the Jets needing a difference-maker on offense, Hill's size and skill should mean he sees a significant role going forward. And hey, the Jets will probably have to throw plenty this week against New England.

 

Brandon Gibson, STL – I maligned Gibson last week, but he answered the bell with seven catches for 91 yards. He's still a possession-type receiver with limited upside, as Sam Bradford hasn't gone to him down the field much, but the Rams have a pass-friendly schedule and he appears to be as close as anyone to taking on the injured Danny Amendola's role. Keep expectations low, though, as Gibson hadn't done anything before this game.


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