TOYOTA TUNDRA – PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
This week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brad Evans looks at eight intriguing fantasy football players, and a defense, likely to be available on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues.
Strong Buy (10-teams plus) Buc continues to plunder competition with little fanfare
Josh Freeman (QB) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Enough is enough. Advertised in this space a number of times this season, the dissed signal-caller demands your respect. On fire over the past past several weeks, Freeman, whose accuracy and velocity were oft-questioned earlier this season, has proven doubters wrong, completing passes at will of late . In his past four games, he's averaged 289.3 yards per game and notched a 8:3 TD:INT split. His resulting 23.0 fantasy points per game average is the 10th-best mark during that stretch. Blessed with another favorable matchup this week at Oakland, he deserves strong starting consideration in all formats. The Raiders have allowed 7.1 yards per attempt and three multi-TD performers in seven games. Expect Freeman to again take flight.
Moderate Buy (12-teams plus) If Andy Reid listens to his conscience, rookie will soon start
Nick Foles (QB) Philadelphia Eagles
It appears the sometimes spectacular, sometimes sorrowful, Michael Vick era is about to end in Philadelphia. Insiders close to the Eagles believe a change at QB is imminent, possibly as early as this week. If that happens, Foles is worth an immediate add. At 6-foot-6, he's a towering figure in the pocket who possesses plus poise and surprising fluidity. Many owners will be turned off by his lack of experience, but several rookie passers have flourished this season. The pass-friendly system and weapons around him are also advantages. So is this week's opponent. New Orleans is the best possible matchup for a green QB to get his feet wet. Passers are averaging 27.3 fantasy points per game against the Saints, the most allowed in Fantasyland this season. In competitive formats, stash him.
Solid Buy (10-teams plus) Additional opportunities on the horizon for rookie?
Daryl Richardson (RB) St. Louis Rams
The Rams have made it no secret they are willing to ship Steven Jackson out of town at the right price. Though the 30-year-old back may attract only minimal interest, his slim odds of getting dealt by Tuesday's trade deadline are reason enough to acquire Richardson in shallow leagues. The rookie has been a pleasant surprise this season. Immersed in a near dead even timeshare with S-Jax, he's averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per carry on 62 attempts. He isn't as powerful as Jackson between the tackles, but Richardson is explosive around the edge, versatile and tough. In Jeff Fisher's uptempo spread, he's a better fit. Since draft picks are so coveted in the NFL, it's unlikely Jackson will change addresses, but if he does, Richardson would instantly vault into the RB2 class in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Moderate Buy (10-team leagues plus) Possible change of scenery could set DeAngelo free
DeAngelo Williams (RB) Carolina Panthers
Jonathan Stewart's insertion into the featured role has the once prized commodity on the trade block. According to the Charlotte Observer, Williams could be moved by Thursday's deadline or this offseason. RB needy locales such as Green Bay and Arizona could express interest, but the vet's exorbitant contract and Carolina's draft pick demands sticky the situation. It's hard to say if a change of scenery would spark his production. After all, DeAngelo is an elderly RB at 29. And on 61 rushes this season he's averaged just 3.4 yards per carry and experienced a noticeable dip in yards after contact. Still, if gifted the opportunity to compete for lead carries, he could again regain fantasy respectability. Make a speculative move.
Solid Buy (12-team leagues plus) Underrated PPR producer could be in line for expanded role
Joique Bell (RB) Detroit Lions
Mysteriously, Mikel Leshoure limped off in the second half of Sunday's game versus Seattle and never returned. Though he received attention by trainers, Jim Schwartz noted in post-game comments that his primary rusher wasn't injured. Instead, Bell and, to a lesser extent Kevin Smith, were used simply because they possessed hotter hands. It's not unusual for Schwartz to lean on Bell. In games in which Detroit has played from behind, he's seen extensive action. From the coaching staff's perspective, he's the preferred option in late-game passing situations, which is strange considering Leshoure's plus versatility. Obviously the Lions' backfield is a complicated mess, but Bell continues to carve out a substantial role. On pace for 45 receptions, he's employable in a pinch as a FLEX play in PPR leagues. For now, Leshoure should remain the primary back, but if sidelined by significant injury, Bell, and not Smith, would likely be the next man up.
Solid Buy (10-teams plus) Rookie quickly becoming Rams' best playmaker
Chris Givens (WR) St. Louis Rams
The lone bright spot in a reenactment of the Boston Massacre, this time on British soil, the fourth-round pick from Wake Forrest extended his 50-yard catch streak to five, a NFL record. Though bothered by a minor toe injury, he finished with a team-best three receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown. Because of his limited route tree, Givens won't attract many targets or catches, but he's an underappreciated WR3 who deserves strong consideration even in shallow formats. The Rams are on a one-week siesta this week, but it's more than time for owners to stash the wideout. The Rams' fantasy playoff schedule is dreamy with matchups against Buffalo, Minnesota and Tampa Bay. His long-distance streak will likely come to an end at San Fran coming out of the bye, but he's a playoff difference-maker in the making.
Strong Buy (14-teams plus) Second-year receiver in midst of breaking out
Titus Young (WR) Detroit Lions
Sans Nate Burleson, Young seized the moment in Detroit's thrilling Week 8 win against visiting Seattle. A perfect 9-for-9 in targets/receptions, he tallied 100 yards and two touchdowns. His subsequent 22.0 fantasy points set the pace among Week 8 wide receivers. With Matthew Stafford seemingly back on track and due to Calvin Johnson's ongoing struggles, Young is in prime position to score WR2-level numbers moving forward. The youngster is an adept route runner who is featured in all packages, including inside the red zone. Given his skill set, featured role and favorable upcoming matchups, he should be trusted as a fantasy starter, particularly in Week 9. The Lions travel to North Florida to face a Jags secondary that ranks No. 22 in pass defense according to Pro Football Focus. Another 80-plus yards with a touchdown is well within reason.
Moderate Buy (12-teams plus) PPR contributor quietly cranking out steady numbers
Brandon Myers (TE) Oakland Raiders
The scope and depth at tight end continues to amaze. Every week new sources emerge. Though he's been productive for several weeks, many owners continue to scoff at Myers. Because he's yet to cross the chalk this year, standard leaguers have purposely ignored him. But with at least five receptions and 55 or more yards in four games, he's practically indispensable in PPR settings. But his scoreless streak should come to an end soon. Serious shootout potential exists in upcoming matchups versus Tampa Bay (Week 9) and New Orleans (Week 11). As one of Carson Palmer's trusted weapons, he's worth slotting in as a TE1 in 12-team and deeper leagues over the next few weeks.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) Week 9 QB Plug n' Play
Carson Palmer Oakland Raiders
One of the more disrespected passers in fantasy, Palmer continues to churn out quality numbers with little buzz. Over the past three weeks, the Raider has notched 286.7 yards per game and totaled five touchdowns, equal to the 11th-best line among signal callers. Suffice it to say, a healthy Denarius Moore has done wonders for him. This week, another excellent yield is in the forecast as the Raiders welcome rising Tampa Bay. On the year, the Bucs have allowed 8.3 yards per attempt and 318.1 passing yards per game. Only Brady Quinn failed to reach 250 passing yards against TB. Look for Palmer to finish in range of 300-plus yards with 1-2 scores. Lean on him, Tom Brady owners.
Solid Buy (all leagues) Week 9 DEF Plug n' Play
San Diego Chargers Defense/Special Teams
Kansas City is a team comprised of givers. Whether it's Brady Quinn or Matt Cassel, the Chiefs generously reward defenses with numerous turnovers and sacks. Last week, for example, the Oakland Raiders, one of the league's worst units in takeaways and QB takedowns, compiled three sacks and forced four turnovers in a lopsided win at Arrowhead Stadium. An identical scenario could unfold for the Chargers. San Diego's D contributions don't leap off the page. On the year, Shaun Phillips and friends rank 19th in per game fantasy average, totaling a mere 12 sacks in seven games. Still, given the delicious matchup, the pick-6 potential is rather high. In a pivotal division game for the home team (SD), expect the Chargers to notch top-10 totals on Thursday night.
Other Week 9 Pickups: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buf, QB, John Skelton, Ari, QB, Ronnie Hillman, Den, RB, Jonathan Dwyer, Pit, RB, Cecil Shorts, Jac, WR, Ryan Broyles, Det, WR, Golden Tate, Sea, WR, Logan Paulsen, Was, TE