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 FosterGary 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 BushHe 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 McFaddenIf 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 JenningsSame 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.

You can follow me on twitter: Razzball_Drew

  1. Marvin N. says:

    Ok, so I’ve had Cribbs stashed for awhile but haven’t had use for him as I’m running Wayne, Smith (CAR) and Megatron at my receiver spots. I’m in a PPR league that also counts return yardage and with the new announcement regarding Cribbs and getting some work out of the backfield, I’m considering starting him in place of Ryan Grant (against Pitt), as a flex, or Smith (CAR) as my third receiver. Any thoughts?

  2. Drew

    Drew says:

    @Marvin N.: I would definitely play Cribbs. Of those two I would probably sit Steve Smith unless Troy Polomalu ends up playing. In that case I’d sit Grant.

  3. Frank says:

    By the way I love this column. You think Jerome Harrison is worth a start; He’s proven that he was potential and with the illness maybe he was just off? I’m starting him against Bradshaw (v. Was) and J Stewart (vs min).

    Also, I have Peyton Manning and I thought Carson palmer would be a good backup but even though he has great match ups I can’t trust him. I’m thinking about picking up either J Campbell or Vince young… thoughts?

  4. Cheese

    Cheese says:

    Good stuff Drew. However, I have a question that is kind of off topic, but also on topic (for anyone to respond to).

    I’m in a league with 15 other friends, and we’ve been doing re-draft leagues for years. However, this year we decided to do a keeper league. It’s been great, but I’ve noticed one problem. We use Yahoo, and currently have it set up so that the only guys requiring waiver claims are those who have been recently dropped. This is great for those guys who are at home on Sunday afternoon and see a big star go down to injury, then within 30 minutes, they snag the back up who will be the starter for weeks to come. However, I think it would only be fair if everyone had equal rights to trying to claim this player. What settings are available on Yahoo to allow this? Thanks!

    On another note… I’m not sure how many of you have seen this but, this is what happens when you bet against the Saints… only in America…

  5. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:

    @Cheese: The Yahoo setting you want is “Weekly waiver claims” (or something like that). The way it works is that as soon as the first game starts Sunday morning, all free agents go on waivers and don’t clear until the Wednesday morning. This gives everybody the opportunity to review the games, injuries, etc and then decide who to make a waiver claim on. My league is using it for the first time this year and it’s a lot better system.

  6. Jamba says:

    TY for advising Bush over Maroney last week!

    I have 4 good options this week. Pick 2, PPR:

    RBush v Dal
    Garcon @ Jac
    Maroney @ Buf
    Wells @ Det

  7. Plainview says:

    I have a first round bye in my league’s playoffs so my first game will be week 16. I have several bad matchups for weeks 16 & 17 – QB Romo and RB DeAngelo Williams are the worst. I notice a couple of lesser options have much better matchups in those weeks- QB Brady Quinn, RB Jennings, RB Snelling, RB McGahee. Should I roll the dice based on matchups or stick with the studs who got me here?

  8. JB says:

    Since we’re talking sleepers, I have Aaron Rodgers but am thinking about giving the start to Kyle Orton this week. Den vs. Oak defense / GB vs PITT defense? What do you think?

  9. Jim Parkey says:

    Def.- Saints or Vikings?
    RB – Wells or Moreno?

  10. mgeoffriau

    mgeoffriau says:

    @JB: No, no, no. Pittsburgh is no better than average without Polamalu. Oakland isn’t great either, but Asomugha does limit one side of the field. Aaron Rodgers all day long.

  11. Tony Scinta says:

    At one time or another, I bet everyone has wondered whether we should root for a fantasy player who is going up against our “real” NFL team. I think it all boils down to a simple question: does it feel better when my fantasy football team wins, or when my favorite NFL team wins?

    My interest in this question goes beyond simply curiosity – in addition to being a die-hard sports fan, I’m a professor who is conducting research on this issue. If you’re interested in taking part in the study (a fun study, I think, that asks about the things we like to talk about in our free time), please visit the link below. The survey itself is quite short and should only take about 5-10 minutes to complete. I’ll be happy to share the results once the data have been collected and analyzed. I know that 99% of the time people ignore stuff like this, so all I ask is that you click on the link and at least take a look at the first few questions. If it’s not your cup of tea, feel free to bail out.

    Your responses to the survey will be completely anonymous. As you’ll see, I don’t ask for your name, your forum/member/guest name, or anything else that might allow me to identify you. If you have a few minutes, I would greatly appreciate it if you could help out a fellow fantasy player and football fan. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]
    You can find the survey here. ->

  12. Clodbuster says:

    McCoy, Maroney, and Beanie? Pick two for week 15 please

  13. Drew

    Drew says:

    @Clodbuster: Maroney, Beanie

  14. AL KOHOLIC says:

    @Drew: what happened to the master standings

  15. Drew

    Drew says:

    Not sure, Doc will probably have them on the site soon.

  16. Pingback: On the Wire: Playoff Week 15 Pickups to Block From Your Opponents (If You Dare) | Fantasy Football Fools

  17. jb says:

    Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, Randy Moss…. Which two this week?

  18. Frank da Tank says:

    @Frank: Man I had no response and so I thought I wasn’t thinking right.. Anyhow, I should have continued with my logic and maybe researched some Brown’s practices and stuff. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter and I’m definably gonna play him against the OAK.

    Thanks Doc. Good advice throughout the year.

  19. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Frank da Tank: Sorry we missed it. I can’t say what I would have answered there, but it looks like wherever you went you had a pretty good start!

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