As we all dwell on leaving Brian Hartline on our bench or Waiver Wire, let us not forget that he was playing with a rookie QB against a defense that had shut down Tom Brady and Michael Vick in back to back weeks. Let us also not forget that going into Sunday, Hartline had only made more than 5 receptions in a game once in his 3-year career. And finally, let us not forget to get an early start on that holiday shopping; it’s October already!
If that doesn’t make you feel better, then here are some Week 5 pickups for unique leagues:
Two-QB Leagues –Matt Hasselbeck and Colin Kaepernick
With the bye weeks picking up in Week 5, it becomes increasingly difficult to find any quality QB talent on the Waiver Wire in 2QB leagues. Guys like Christian Ponder and Ryan Tannehill have likely been picked up by now, leaving only names like Gabbert, Weeden and McNabb available. If you’re not currently in need of a QB, picking up a guy like Hasselbeck can still be useful in a trade to Jake Locker’s owner, even if it’s for a backup receiver. I’m positive that Hartline could have been had for Shaun Hill early last week, and flipping Hasselbeck for someone like Brandon LaFell (coming off a 0-point effort), could pay dividends in the future.
As for Kaepernick, this is for the teams that drafted Stafford and Romo only to find out they had the same bye weeks, and need anyone that could possibly put up points. The Niners get Buffalo next week, who seem content to let anyone and everyone run all over them. If the Week 4 game plan is any indication, San Fran intends on working Kaepernick into the action as the Wildcat QB, especially in the red zone. Another cheap TD is possible, but even 10 yards rushing instead of a zero could be the difference between winning and losing.
TD-Only Leagues – Jackie Battle
The RB situation in San Diego is confusing to everyone other than Norv Turner. Who am I kidding, even Norv is confused about it. After going through two weeks of a Battle/Ronnie Brown/Curtis Brinkley rotation, it was assumed that the return of Ryan Mathews would mean he would get the bulk of the carries. While I believe that will still be the case, it’s clear that Battle is still going to get work, especially near the goalline. He’s likely rostered in most leagues, but Battle is still startable in TD-only leagues.
Going into the season, Rodgers was considered a sleeper who would ultimately take over for Michael Turner as soon as this year. Through three weeks, their fantasy production was about equal in PPR leagues, validating those who were high on him all summer. Week Four may have changed things, as Turner broke 100 yards on the ground and even scored on a long catch and run. Quizz still got work, but chances are his owner is not as high on him as they were before this weekend. I think Turner’s stats were more a product of the leaky Carolina defense than a rejuvenation of Turner’s talent. With Rodgers still handling kick returns, now may be the last time to make a move on him in KR yardage leagues before Quizz’s value pops.
I have been avoiding picking up Draughn in any leagues mainly because his parents missed a golden opportunity by not naming him Shaughn. I was also avoiding him because I thought KC’s backfield was crowded with Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, but it appears that Hillis still thinks he’s on the cover of Madden, so Draughn does have value. Even if he only gets carries in garbage time, the way the Chiefs have been playing that usually starts in the second quarter. For that same reason, Draughn will also get plenty of opportunities in the return game, boosting his value even further. It’s time to stop punishing Draughn for his parents’ oversight and give him a roster spot.
The availability of these backs will vary greatly depending on the depth and roster size of the league in question. Vereen was drafted in most leagues, only to be listed as inactive for the first three weeks. He was activated this past week, but was completely overshadowed by Brandon Bolden’s 137 rushing yards and TD, his second straight week finding paydirt. Bolden will likely go for a pretty steep price on the Waiver Wire this week, but the key to using Belichickian RBs is to buy while the value is low. In redraft leagues, you might not have the patience to wait for Vereen’s eventual moment in the sun, but in dynasty/keeper leagues, he’ll be worth the wait.
Most fantasy owners haven’t heard of Jonathan Grimes, and there’s a chance that they never will, but the dynasty football community has been following him since his record-setting days at William & Mary. He went undrafted this past year, but he made noise during the preseason for the Texans, before eventually landing on their practice squad. The Jets signed him this past week after moving Joe McKnight to cornerback, so his path to carries isn’t exactly daunting. There appears to be major shake-up looming for the Jets, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Grimes with a role by the end of the season or early 2013.