Waiver Report: Football

Brandon Funston
Yahoo! SportsNovember 30, 2004

The fantasy postseason looms on the horizon, meaning every mistake made from here on out takes on consequences that are more dire than usual. That's why I won't be steering fantasy owners in the direction of Kelly Holcomb this week, despite his five TD passes in Week 12. You see, Holcomb is a fantasy groundhog who emerges one game a year to post monster numbers. I'm of the opinion that Holcomb's performance on Sunday was a fluke. With little room for error, Im concentrating on the real McCoy's from this week's waiver crop:

Jake Delhomme, Car – 14-for-21, 213 yards, 2 TD's, 1 INT
Only Peyton Manning has thrown more TD passes in the past five weeks than Delhomme, which makes it all the more surprising that Delhomme is still available in roughly a quarter of Yahoo! default leagues. Delhomme has been a frequent guest on the Waiver Report because he has been productive for a long time – he's had at least two touchdowns (passing or rushing) in eight of his 11 games – and Carolina's schedule is one of the softest in terms of pass defenses it will face. In fact, Delhomme is looking particularly good for Week 13 given that he'll face a New Orleans team that has allowed 16 TD passes in its past six games.

Brian Griese, TB – 27-for-39, 347 yards, 2 TD's, 1 INT
Griese did something in Week 12 that only one other quarterback has done this season: throw two touchdown passes against Carolina. The Panthers have allowed the second fewest TD passes in the league (8), and Denver's Jake Plummer was the only other QB to victimize them for multiple scoring tosses. For Griese, it was just another day at the office as he's managed two TD passes in each of the past four games. One of those games was against Atlanta, the team he'll lineup against this coming weekend. Griese, hitting on 70 percent of his passes, is tailor made for this Tampa Bay offense. Pick him up as an insurance option. Who knows, he just might help you get into your league's championship game as a soft New Orleans pass defense sits on his schedule for Week 15.

Kerry Collins, Oak – 26-for-45, 339 yards, 4 TD's, 2 INT's
I'm the type that holds a grudge, so I must tell you that Collins burned me badly when I picked him up earlier in the year and I've sworn off of him. But it would be irresponsible of me not to mention his merits as a fantasy quarterback. Since I cut him loose after his first three (miserable) games as Oakland's starter, Collins has turned things around. In his past five games, he has nine TD passes and has averaged 282 yards passing. Collins has the advantage of facing Kansas City twice in the final five weeks, with the first face-off coming this Sunday. The Chiefs rank up there among the worst pass defenses in the league. While I'm "once bitten, twice shy" in regards to Collins, there is no reason for other fantasy owners not to gamble on him. After all, Collins is well-known as a guy who makes his money in December.

Running Backs
Najeh Davenport, GB – 19 carries, 178 yards, 1 TD
It's not yet known if Ahman Green will be able to shake off his rib injury and play in Week 13. While we wait for the verdict on Green's injury, fantasy owners should make the preventative strike of adding Davenport. Green Bay has one of the best offensive lines in the league and Davenport was able to step in for Green and pick up 178 yards on Monday night. With fantasy playoffs in the immediate future for those who play their cards right, there is nothing like having an ace in the hole in the event that Green misses another week.

Chester Taylor, Bal – 16 carries, 61 yards
Taylor's value hinges upon Jamal Lewis' ankle injury. It is still not known whether Lewis will be able to return to action in Week 13. If he can't, you'll want to have Taylor around. Whoever starts for Baltimore has a good opportunity to produce big fantasy numbers. The Ravens will host a Cincinnati defense that allowed 48 points last week. The Bengals have struggled against the run all season, allowing seven backs to top the century mark in rushing yards. In fact, Lewis victimized them for 186 rushing yards and a TD in Week 3. Grab Taylor now. You can cut him loose later in the week if Lewis is named the starter.

Larry Croom, Ari – 10 carries, 25 yards
Croom replaced an injured Emmitt Smith in Week 12 and has been named the starter for Week 13 as Smith nurses a toe injury. Croom is a rookie who had just one carry prior to Week 12. So, only fantasy owners with serious running back issues should apply for his services. As a 1-2 week fill-in, Croom offers some upside as he'll face Detroit and San Francisco in the next two weeks. The Lions have allowed 99-plus yards to a back in four of its last five games and the 49ers have allowed 15 rushing TDs, worst in the NFL.

Justin Fargas, Oak – Tyrone Wheatley's backup
Fargas is a big gamble for Week 13. First, he's only going to see meaningful playing time if Tyrone Wheatley is sidelined because of a hamstring injury (questionable). And even then, head coach Norv Turner has indicated that Fargas and Amos Zereoue would split the carries. But with Oakland out of the playoff hunt, it wouldn't be surprising to see Turner give Fargas the bulk of the carries. Now that he's healthy, the team may want to see what Fargas looks like shouldering the load. He has carried the ball more than 10 times in a game only once in his career. But he has the breakaway skills that could yield big fantasy numbers if afforded the opportunity, especially if that opportunity were to come this week. His Week 13 opponent, Kansas City, has allowed nine TDs to running backs in its past four games.

Deion Branch, NE – 4 catches, 51 yards
If Branch is still available in your league, you shouldn't hesitate to pick him up. He is arguably New England's most talented receiver and has the most fantasy upside among Patriot wideouts. And Branch faces Cincinnati and Cleveland in the next two weeks, two teams that combined to allow more than 600 passing yards and nine TD tosses in Week 12.

Keary Colbert, Car – 3 catches, 72 yards, 2 TD's
Colbert should be a beneficiary of Carolina's remaining schedule, which features a slew of soft pass defenses. Colbert is coming off a two-touchdown performance on Sunday, which puts his fantasy numbers among the top 30 receivers from the time he stepped in for an injured Steve Smith in Week 2. Colbert is a reasonable start in each of his remaining games against New Orleans and he's a viable solution in the other three contests left on the schedule.

Jerry Porter, Oak – 6 catches, 135 yards, 3 TD's
For all of us that had hyped Porter for a true breakout season, all we can say about his three TD performance in Week 12 is, "It's about time!" After having wallowed through 11 weeks of mostly middling production, Porter finally hit the jackpot on Sunday. And with QB Kerry Collins starting to click and a schedule conducive to the passing game on the horizon, we just might see more from Porter before the season is over. It's worth doubling down on Porter this week against a porous K.C. secondary. And if you can't get Porter, you might want to consider Porter's teammate, Ronald Curry. Curry has TD's in back-to-back weeks and is coming off a six-catch, 110-yard outing on Sunday.

Drew Bennett, Ten – 5 catches, 54 yards
When it comes to easy remaining schedules, no receiver is likely to have it better than Bennett and the rest of the Titans receiving corps. In order, Tennessee will face Indianapolis, Kansas City, Oakland, Denver and Detroit. Depending upon your league's scoring system, it is very likely that you'll find all five of those defenses among the league's worst dozen in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Bennett sees a lot of passes thrown his way from QB Steve McNair, so he has a chance to make some big waves down the stretch