By Week 11, the verdict is in on most of the players who showed up on sleeper lists in the preseason.
In the 14-team Yahoo! Friends and Family League, the search for sleepers isn't over just yet. This week, a couple of owners made moves in free agency for relatively obscure players who have the potential to play a major role in deep leagues over the final weeks.
To reiterate, deep leagues are our focus here. Shonn Greene(notes) is one Thomas Jones(notes) injury away from carrying teams, but you and your leaguemates should already know that. With Greene's ownership rate at 45 percent in PLUS leagues, let's assume you do.
We're talking about the Hail Mary's of midseason fantasy – intriguing players who are available in at least 95 percent of leagues. We'll start with the two aforementioned players who were added this week and finish with a player who also fits the billing but is currently unclaimed in the Friends and Family League.
Blunda: I don't really know a whole lot about Brandon Gibson other than the fact that the Rams traded for him a few weeks back, but I feel like he might be the guy who steps up as the possession target for Marc Bulger(notes), with Donnie Avery(notes) as more of the big-play threat. Considering my dire need for a WR, I figured I'd give Gibson a shot after his nice outing last week and see if he can keep up the production. I'm starting him this week because of his favorable matchup with the Cardinals, but if he plays well, there's a good chance he'll remain my No. 3 WR for the rest of the year. I'm not expecting huge numbers or for him to be much of a TD scorer, but if he can grab a handful of passes for decent yardage, he'll certainly have value in our PPR format.
Michael Bush(notes) is starting on Sunday and Chester Taylor(notes) is one of the top handcuffs in the business, yet I've chosen to own Ware over both of them. That should say something about what I think Ware can accomplish down the stretch this season. Finally recovered from an elbow injury suffered on the season-opening kickoff, the second-year back out of Georgia fills a need in the Giants backfield as the superior pass blocker to Brandon Jacobs(notes) and Ahmad Bradshaw(notes). That asset makes Ware the team's third-down specialist, and that role could easily expand. Playing through a partially cracked foot, Bradshaw's production has been falling off lately, and if the injury has been the reason for his ineffectiveness, the Giants could elect to shut him down. Couple that with Jacobs' well-known injury history and the Giants' commitment to running the ball, and it's pretty easy to foresee a scenario that would put Ware's touch count on the rise.
Brian Westbrook's(notes) season could be finished after he suffered his second concussion in three weeks last Sunday. LeSean McCoy(notes) (93-percent owned, 52-percent started) is the guy to own, but Weaver is the guy to not forget. The fourth-year fullback is strong in an area where McCoy is weak: pass protection. And at 6-foot, 250 pounds, Weaver is a much bigger body around the goal line compared to the 5-foot-10, 198-pound rookie. Don't be surprised if Weaver, also a good check-down option out of the backfield, works his way onto the field more than McCoy owners (myself included) would like to see.
Working the Wire
The following section catalogs the transactions made in the Friends and Family League following each week of the regular season. Every owner has a $100 free agent acquisition budget for the year to be used on players clearing waivers
The move: Matt Romig dropped Earl Bennett(notes) and added Jason Snelling(notes) for $26.
The logic: Michael Turner(notes) (high ankle sprain) should miss multiple weeks, making Snelling a very good fantasy option in the meantime. The versatile fullback has been effective as a runner, blocker and receiver this season, and really, the only thing capping his potential over the next however-many weeks is the presence of change-of-pace back Jerious Norwood(notes) (hip, questionable). Odds are that presence won't be enough to make Romig regret this investment.
The move: Andy Behrens dropped the Denver defense and added the Arizona defense for $17.
The logic: Those who follow this league closely might notice something familiar about this transaction. Three weeks earlier, Dalton Del Don put down $20 for the Arizona defense. The logic here remains the same as the time before: the Cardinals have a sweet schedule down the stretch. Leading up to the expert league's Week 16 championship week, Arizona faces St. Louis, Tennessee, Minnesota, San Francisco, Detroit and St. Louis. Those final two matchups in particular are where Behrens is hoping to get the bang for his buck.
The move: Scott Engel dropped Willis McGahee(notes) and added Bernard Scott(notes) for $15.
The logic: Cedric Benson(notes) (hip) will likely miss this week's tout with the Raiders, and Scott is in line to receive the lion's share of the workload in his place. Per usual, Brian Leonard(notes) will be active on passing downs, but Scott is the one-week plug-and-play of choice with Benson expected back in Week 12.
Other adds: Kevin Faulk(notes), Vince Young(notes), San Diego defense, Kris Brown(notes), Gibson, Norwood, Green Bay defense, Lex Hilliard(notes), Ware, Fred Davis(notes), San Francisco defense, Lawrence Tynes(notes)
Other drops: James Jones(notes), Jerome Harrison(notes), Tennessee defense, Carolina defense, Jay Feely(notes), Derrick Ward(notes), Chester Taylor, Jets defense, Marcedes Lewis(notes), Atlanta defense, Kolby Smith(notes), Rob Bironas(notes).