Those of you who actually played real tackle football are familiar with the phrase “play to the whistle,” meaning give your best effort until the play is over. The human temptation is to lose focus and intensity, even when you’re still in the mix to win.
Even if your league doesn’t have keepers you should be stashing the best possible players all the way up until your finals week. You never know when a player is going to come out of the woodwork. There is a tendency to peg your lineup as “set” and ignore the fact that at running back in particular, players go from “unknown” to “stud” overnight.
In my Week 13 Sleeper Math column I recommended that readers pick up Quinton Ganther, a player I had never heard of before and who wasn’t even on an NFL roster until November. He just put up 22 for me in my most competitive league this Sunday and I’m sure many of you benefited from his sudden rise to stardom as well. He is a perfect example why even if you are in position to be in the playoffs and have a strong roster you still finish and fight for every inch.
Worth a Waiver Claim
Quinton Ganther – He shouldn’t be on your waiver wire but if he is claim him (duh).
Maurice Morris – Kevin Smith has a torn ligament in his knee so he’s almost certain to be out the rest of the season. Maurice Morris filled in earlier in the year when Smith was out and played well. He is a terrific addition to your roster as a possible flex play and potentially a great keeper in leagues where you don’t have to make a decision until before the 2010 draft.
Arian Foster – Gary Kubiak must play fantasy football. That’s the only thing that could explain the random shuffling he does in the backfield. He’s now announced that Arian Foster will get a chance to be the feature back with Moats and Brown being relegated to backup roles. So this no name instantly becomes worthy of a waiver claim.
Josh Cribbs – Another announcement completely out of left field. Cribbs, the return league stud, has been more and more involved in the offense as the wildcat quarterback. Now Mangini has publicly announced that he is considering throwing Cribbs in to a traditional running back role. This will remain a murky situation with the endgame unclear but the upside is clearly enormous. I am throwing in a claim on Cribbs in many of my leagues.
Willis McGahee – A lot of people dropped him and for good reason after weeks of ineptitude. The Ravens are playing the Bears week 15 so he should be a really solid flex start in most every format. If he is on waivers I’d spend a claim on him just for next week’s start (it’s the playoffs!!!!)
Reggie Bush – He probably only got dropped in shallower leagues because of the injury. In PPR leagues in particular he is a great acquisition for the stretch run.
Ahmad Bradshaw – Might’ve been dropped in your league by a frustrated owner due to several weeks of ineptitude. He looked really good last night against the Eagles so maybe he’s turned the corner with his injury issues.
Greg Camarillo – Quietly is having a really good season at 50th overall in Yahoo rankings. Caught 7 passes for 110 yards on Sunday and has a quarterback (Chad Henne) who continues to play better and better. In PPR he could help you out.
Worth Grabbing in Free Agency (after Waivers clears)
Jason Snelling – There were rumors that Michael Turner would return on Sunday but he was kept out again. Chances are Turner will return for week 15 but if he doesn’t, Snelling would be a nice start for you.
Darren McFadden – If not for the Gradkowski injury I would have McFadden as worthy of a waiver claim and I would still consider doing so in Keeper formats. Unfortunately for the rest of this season JaMarcus Russell will be under center and I expect the offense to return to ineptitude. McFadden probably won’t warrant a flex start in weeks 15 or 16.
Chris Jennings – Outplayed Jerome Harrison against the Steelers and saw an upgrade in his touches. I don’t think I’d start him in week 15 but he’s certainly worth stashing in case.
Leonard Weaver – You simply can’t ignore him anymore. Weaver has become the short distance back for the Eagles as well as a receiving threat out of the backfield. He gets a lot of traditional work also as a straightforward runner. If Brian Westbrook doesn’t return for week 15 and you need another flex starter I would seriously consider playing Weaver.
Deep Sleepers/Stashes (Drop your Snuggies to pick them up)
Kenneth Darby – He got some playing time on Sunday and produced. At the end of the day though this is simply a “hope Sjax gets injured” play.
Kahlil Bell – I’ll stop hating on Forte and the Bears when they stop earning it. Lovey Smith probably won’t smarten up and spread the workload around but if he does Bell could be productive.
Tyrell Sutton – DeAngelo Williams appears fully healthy but it’s possible he could re-aggravate it.
Rashad Jennings – Same rationale as always; bet that MJD’s heavy workload will catch up with him.
Willie Parker – Mike Tomlin has alluded to making changes in the wake of the Steelers losing streak but we haven’t seen any tangible evidence of that. Mendenhall has made the most of his opportunity but there’s always a chance Tomlin will give Willie Parker an opportunity to be the main man again.
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