We take a bye from the byes for one week before the final four teams get their week off next Sunday. We have our first Thursday night game of the season (Oakland-San Diego) in Week 10. Here are quite a few names you should be able to get off the waiver wire to help you in your efforts to make a playoff push over the final four weeks of the regular season (if you’re postseason begins Week 14).
Matt Moore, Miami
Who expected a 22-point fantasy day from Moore in Kansas City on Sunday? Not many (read: any) of us. He had a consensus ranking of 29 on FantasyPros.com, but produced a three-TD game against a Chiefs team that hadn't allowed a QB to throw a TD in three games and just four TDs in the last five. Moore is probably not the first choice you'd pick up off the waiver wire and want to send out there at QB, but if you are really in a pinch he could produce. If your fantasy playoffs start in Week 14, here's the schedule for Moore leading up to that point: Washington, Buffalo, Dallas and Oakland. Washington has allowed at least one TD pass in all but two games and 200-plus yards in all but one. Buffalo has allowed just four touchdown passes the last five games and 200-plus yards in every game after Week 1. Dallas has allowed two TDs per game in all but three games and 221-plus passing yards in all but two games. Oakland has allowed at least two passing TDs in all but two games and 215-plus yards in all but the last two games.
Sam Bradford, St. Louis
Bradford, whose status was up in the air all week, ended up playing through the ankle sprain and doing very little in Arizona. It's about par for the course for Bradford's year thus far. Plus, he lost his second slot receiver this season when Danny Amendoala's replacement, rookie Greg Salas, broke his leg. Bradford is available on the waiver wire in 71 percent of Yahoo leagues, but you'd be pretty hard up if you're starting him at this point. The preseason optimism can only go so far that he is finally going to break through. He has just two double-digit performances this season, capping at 16.74 points in Athlon's 6 points for everything format. The Rams draw Cleveland and Seattle the next two weeks (both top 13 fantasy defenses against QBs).
Carson Palmer, Oakland
I told you he would be a top-12 fantasy QB in Week 9 with his matchup against the Broncos. Leading into Monday night's Philadelphia-Chicago game, Palmer had the fourth-best week amongst QBs with three TDs, three INTs and 332 yards. Next up is San Diego, who Aaron Rodgers threw for 247 and 4 TDs against on Sunday. Palmer's no Rodgers, but the Chargers have allowed 681 yards, eight TDs and three interceptions against Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez and Rodgers in the last three weeks. I would think Palmer comes out somewhere abouve the average of those three. So you're looking at 227 yards, 2.6 TDs and an INT for Palmer next week. The Raiders then get Minnesota, Chicago and Miami leading up to Week 14; all three are bottom six against fantasy QBs this season.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
Steady as she goes would describe the rookie from TCU. He's not going to give you much great but he's also not going to kill you. He had games of 7.2, 21.6 and 4.8 the first three weeks, since then he's never dipped below 13 points or gone above 21. The schedule certainly stiffens the next five weeks with Pittsburgh twice, Baltimore, Cleveland and Houston. All four are top five defenses against fantasy QBs. He does draw St. Louis (22nd) and Arizona (23rd) in your semifinals and finals.
Christian Ponder, Minnesota
The rookie quarterback certainly has a favorable fantasy QB schedule over the next month to help lead you into the postseason. Here's a look at the teams he gets over the next month and their rank against fantasy QBs. Green Bay (31st), Oakland (25th), Atlanta (20th) and Denver (32nd) is the schedule leading up to the postseason. There are very few schedules that favorable to a QB going down the pre-playoff stretch. But get it while you can because his postseason schedule certainly tightens up with Detroit (7th), New Orleans (15th) and Washington (10th).
Roy Helu, Washington
The rookie got the start against San Francisco, you know the best fantasy defense against running backs. So of course we all inserted Helu into our lineup. All Helu did was rushed for 4.1 yards per carry (10-41) and catch 14 balls for 105 yards. The 49ers had surrendered 33 catches over the first seven games and Helu got nearly 50 percent of that in 60 minutes. Well now we will all run to the waiver wire to add him, hope he reproduces his first start each week and we will all be happy. But there are a couple of things to remember. First, he's a back under coach Mike Shanahan so we never know when/if he will get his number called. Second, how often can we expect a reception day even remotely clost to that from a Redskins RB? No Washington back had more than five catches all season heading into the 49ers game.
Donald Brown, Indianapolis
He's been the bulk carrier the last three weeks, carrying 35 times for 150 yards and a score compared to rookie Delone Carter's 23 carries for 143 yards and a score. Brown is a pick up only because of opportunity. He's not hitting it out of the park, and draws some tough defenses against fantasy RBs in Jacksonville (8th), Carolina (11th) and New England (16th) in the three weeks leading to the fantasy postseason. If you are really just looking for someone who touches the ball a majority of the time, then pick up Brown; otherwise, look elsewhere.
Ben Tate, Houston
The Houston defense is playing well enough to continually get the ball back to the offense. And the Texans are the second-best rushing offense in the NFL (155.1 YPG). Tate has gone from just a mere handcuff to a great flex option after 41 carries for 302 yards and one score the last four weeks, including 27 for 219 and a score in two of the last three games.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland
Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty have already been ruled out for Week 10 against St. Louis. Ogbonnaya was a dud against Houston's No. 4 run defense (91.4 YPG). He carried 13 times for 28 yards and caught just one pass for 13 yards and lost a fumble. But he could be a solid play against the Rams in Cleveland this week if the Browns use him the right way (i.e. take advantage of his pass-catching ability). The Rams' rush defense has tightened up the last two weeks after DeMarco Murray gashed them for 253. They have faced six backs in the last two games, but surrendered just 89 yards on 32 carries. But St. Louis has allowed backs to catch 16 balls for 107 yards in that same time. Don't waste a priority spot on Ogbonnaya, but if you think the Browns might actually utilize his skill set out of the backfield then he'd be a decent PPR play.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco
Frank Gore suffered an ankle sprain against Washington (x-rays negative), so Hunter has the potential to do something this week against the Giants and their bottom 10 rush defense (127.1 YPG). The 49ers are the No. 6 rushing team (137.6 YPG) in the league heading into the Monday night game. Don't waste a priority claim on Hunter, but monitor Gore's status and pounce on the rookie from Oklahoma State if Gore looks gimpy at all.
Laurent Robinson, Dallas
Just as DeMarco Murray was a few weeks ago, Robinson is easily the No. 1 waiver priority claim of the week. Miles Austin is expected to miss 2-4 weeks after re-aggrevating his hamstring, and Robinson was already cutting into both Austin and Dez Bryant's production before that. The Cowboys are the seventh-best team when it comes to production from fantasy receivers. Robinson has been a steady producer since his debut in Dallas in Week 3. He has 33 targets for the season for 24 catches, 368 yards and touchdowns in each of the last two games. Robinson was the leader in targets two weeks ago when the Cowboys got destroyed by the Eagles, pulling eight targets for five catches 103 yards and a score, and this was with Austin and Bryant in the lineup.
Jacoby Ford, Oakland
It's hard to tell which Oakland receiver you are going to get from week to week. But we can only hope that coach Hue Jackson was telling the truth in the preseason when he said they needed to use Ford much, much more. Ford is healthy after battling injuries throughout a good chunk of the season, and if he and Palmer can get a good rapport going, Ford will be a helluva play the remainder of the season.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
I've been telling you about him for weeks. He was good with Hines Ward was in the lineup. H was good when Hines Ward was out of the lineup. He was good with Emmanuel Sanders in teh lineup. He was good with Emmanuel Sanders out of the lineup. Brown continues to get the most targets of the Steelers receivers over the last three weeks (35) and he has turned it into 21 catches for 278 yards and one score in that time.
Josh Cribbs, Cleveland
I'm not sure if I would trust any of the Browns' receivers, but Cribbs has been getting targets all season long. Cribbs has 40-plus yards receiving in five games this season and has posted a touchdown in back-to-back weeks. The Browns still pass the ball a lot, and if Cribbs is the emerging receiver alongside Greg Little, who's doing nothing with the targets he receives, then he's worth a look. Little has eclipsed 40 yards just twice this season and is still scoreless. I wouldn't waste a waiver claim, but just assess your roster as the week goes along and see if you want to make the move to pick up Cribbs.
Steve Breaston, Kansas City
Do you trust him as a receiver on a run-based team with an emerging rookie in Jonathan Baldwin starving for targets? A week after going 3-42 on four targets, third in targets on the team., Breaston went 7-115 with 11 targets as the leading target guy on the Chiefs. Here’s why Breaston is worth a look, at least for the next two weeks: Denver and New England. He draws the Nos. 1 and 3 worst fantasy defenses against receivers that are actually decent against the run (15th for Denver, 20th for New England).
Torrey Smith, Baltimore
Paging Cris Carter. Paging Cris Carter. All the rookie Torrey Smith does is catch touchdowns. Well, not really, but four of his 20 catches have gone for scores, including the game-winner against Pittsburgh Sunday night. That has to build some trust with QB Joe Flacco after Smith had struggled with drops earlier in the game. Smith has been targeted XX times, catching 20 for 397 yards and the four scores. He has seen nine targets in each of the last two games after having seen five apiece in the previous two games.
Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati
A.J. Green is a bad, bad man as a rookie. And the more he emerges the more Simpson has the chance to shine and be the receiver he was in the final three games of last season. Of course the consistency with which the Bengals use Simpson is hair-pulling. He had 10 targets Sunday against Tennessee, catching three of them for 43 yards and a score. This is a week after catching one of two targets for 14 yards and a score. In the two games prior to the 10 and 2 targets were games of nine targets, 6 catches, 101 yards and seven targets, four catches and 40 yards.
Austin Pettis, St. Louis
With Greg Salas breaking his leg on Sunday, fellow rookie Pettis steps into the slot. We are still waiting for this position to be the “next Wes Welker” position under OC Josh McDaniels. It has shown flashes, but no consistency perhaps due to the injuries and inexperience. Sam Bradford has lived well below expectations, but in PPR leagues, Pettis could be a nice grab for you as the Rams try to get some life into the passing attack.
Jake Ballard, New York Giants
I've told you for three weeks to go pick up the Giants' TE. It is a position that QB ELi Manning loved when Kevin Boss was there, and Manning's still looking that way. Ballard has been targeted seven times the last two weeks and was targeted 12 times in the three games before that. And over those 26 targets in the last five games, Ballard has caught 19 of them for 308 yards and three scores. He's the tight end to have off the waiver wire and has been for a while now, yet he's still available in 67 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Anthony Fasano, Miami
He caught two of his three targets and turned both into TDs against Kansas City on Sunday. But he has been targeted just 12 times for six catches and three scores with Matt Moore at the helm. If there's such a thing as a poor man's Scott Chandler, it's Anthony Fasano. And I'd leave both on the wire.
Jacob Tamme, Indianapolis
Dallas Clark (leg) may be done for the year. But weren't all Colts pass catchers really done for the year when we learned Peyton Manning would be out for an extended period of time? Tamme was a complete stud when he stepped in for an injured Clark last season. But that was with Manning at the helm. Now he may step in with Dan Orlovsky under center. Orlovsky replaced the benched Curtis Painter at QB. The ONLY solace you could take from this pairing of Orlovsky and Tamme is that they have probably been working together on the practice field as back ups and could have some rapport as long as they are on the field together.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota
I already told you about QB Christian Ponder's schedule against fantasy QBs over the next four weeks: Green Bay (31st), Oakland (25th), Atlanta (20th) and Denver (32nd) is the schedule leading up to the postseason. Well, the Vikings are the 24th-best team at using fantasy TEs and the same four defenses, save for Green Bay, are pretty good against the position: Green Bay (29th), Oakland (16th), Atlanta (5th) and Denver (4th). However, in the three games Ponder's seen significant action, Shiancoe has been targeted 19 times for 12 catches, 127 yards and a score. He might be worth a shot against Green Bay and Oakland to get you through the Week 11 bye, and then see how he is still working with Ponder to see if you hang on to Shiancoe.