Michael Pittman (neck) and Andre Hall (hand) have been placed on IR, Kolby Smith (knee) is reportedly done for the season, Earnest Graham hurt a knee, Willis McGahee (ankle) could miss Week 10, and we already knew that Larry Johnson (socially inappropriate) was suspended for next week, and perhaps facing additional penalties.
So yeah, the waiver wire is where you need to be. We don't mean to intrude on Pickups of the Week territory here, but there are a few players who require immediate discussion. We're listing the five most interesting and widely-available names below. You should know your team needs well enough to prioritize the players that follow, and we've already had fire drills on most of them...
Brady Quinn, Cleveland QB, four percent owned
If it weren't for that unfortunate Braylon Edwards fourth quarter drop on Sunday, maybe we're not recommending Quinn today. But the drop happened, and Quinn is taking over for Anderson. The timing is convenient. The Browns host Denver on Thursday, then they travel to Buffalo, and then they host Houston in Week 12. Those three teams have allowed 31 total TD passes and they have just 14 picks. This is inarguably the friendliest stretch remaining on Cleveland's schedule. The match-ups are mostly brutal in the final weeks: at TEN, at PHI, CIN, at PIT.
Quinn is a reasonable short-term play for those in need, and he's potentially a nice trade chip, assuming he has a useful game against a battered Denver defense.
Ryan Torain, Denver RB, 16 percent
Every week we cover him somewhere, despite the lack of stats. Plenty of Torain details can be found here, in last week's post. We never said that he had elite skills, but you have to like the short-term opportunity. It doesn't hurt that he'll get his carries in Week 10 against a Cleveland defense that's allowing 148.0 rushing yards per game and 4.7 per carry. The Broncos actually have an appealing schedule through Week 14: at CLE, at ATL, OAK, at NYJ, KC. You'll want to be invested in that Denver-Kansas City game for sure.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City RB, 17 percent
The Chiefs rookie (and every other rookie) received plenty of attention in Sunday Scene. Charles had an excellent day in relief of Smith and LJ (18 carries, 106 yards), and he did it while facing a tough opponent.
Here's an interesting Sunday comment from Herm Edwards, via the Kansas City Star:
Charles is expected to be Kansas City’s starter next week. But coach Herm Edwards said Sunday that Charles doesn’t have the size or experience to rush the ball 20 times a game.
“When you draft a guy like that,” Edwards said, “you know that you can’t give him the load of your offense. You have to pick your spots with him.”
Expect Herm to pick 15-20 spots this week against a surprisingly user-friendly Chargers defense. Again, LJ is out for Week 10, and the long-term outlook is murky. Kansas City's remaining schedule is outstanding for fantasy purposes: at SD, NO, BUF, at OAK, at DEN, SD, MIA, at CIN.
Not that you asked, but I have more waiver claims in place on Charles than on any other player right now. That's really about league depth, roster needs, and the near-certainty of Charles' role in Week 10. Torain is long gone, and Quinn would be buried on my benches.Ray Rice, Baltimore RB, 26 percent
Tough waiver call here if Charles is available, too. Rice was outstanding on Sunday (21 carries, 154 yards). He was decisive, elusive, tough, and he also ran through gaping holes. Check out the stiff-arm at the 1:18 mark in this video, via NFL.com. Rice has a chance for a significant workload in Week 10, and the match-up at Houston is great.
But according to the Baltimore Sun, Willis McGahee is expected to play. Here's John Harbaugh:
"I don't know if we know going into the game," Harbaugh said at today's news conference. "We'll find out who is going to play more based on how we match up against this football team. Certainly, Ray has expanded himself with the things he can do and the confidence he builds in the coaching staff."
Rice actually likes McGahee and looks up to him as a mentor. He likes sharing the role with McGahee at this time. As long as McGahee can play, and he follows all the team rules, I think both should play and both can help the team.
This has a committee/redistributionist feel, and Le'Ron McClain is still a terror on the goal-line.
Sage Rosenfels, Houston QB, six percent
There's very little difference between Rosenfels and Schaub, fantasy-wise. Scott discussed this fact earlier today, and gave Rosenfels a rock-solid PBI of 95. Honestly, you can hardly ask for a better PBI. The upcoming match-ups aren't ideal for Rosenfels (BAL, at IND), but he never goes without a touchdown pass -- he has at least one in every appearance over the last two years -- and the weapons at his disposal are excellent. He also rarely goes without a turnover or three, so there will be negative plays.
Quinn figures to be the better fantasy play in Week 10, but give Rosenfels the edge in Week 11, and again in Week 12 facing Cleveland.
And that's all you get. This blog is not in the business of recommending Rex Grossman, so you'll have to look elsewhere for that advice.
Photos via US Presswire