“And like broken glass you’ll shatter
With bloody fists I’ll batter
Like a ten ton hammer, son.”
“Ten Ton Hammer”–Machinehead
With nine weeks in the books, you should fall into one of three categories. If you have three or fewer wins then you most certainly are the nail being driven down into the wood. If you’re a team with six or more wins, you feel like you could be swinging the Ten Ton Hammer and smashing your opponents week after week.
Those of you with four or five wins still have work to do but that’s where we come in to help you out.
Most leagues have just four weeks left in the regular season and this becomes an important week on the waiver wire. We saw several big-name players go down hurt and here’s who you should be picking up to fill in with.
This week’s byes are Arizona, Green Bay, Washington and Cleveland so you’ll be looking to replace guys like Aaron Rodgers, RG III, Larry Fitzgerald and Trent Richardson. Percentages are availability in ESPN.com leagues and FAAB is based off of a $100 budget.
In Thursday night’s game with Indianapolis visiting Jacksonville, look to add the Colts DST (96%, $2). This isn’t so much a praise of the Colts themselves as it is how feeble the Jaguars looked last week against Detroit. Jacksonville was shutout through three quarters and, defensively speaking, the Lions aren’t going to be confused with the Bears anytime soon.
Maurice Jones-Drew has already been ruled out for the game and Andrew Luck just threw for 433 yards against Miami. This all adds up to an easy day for the Colts DST. Remember, the last time I recommended a defense it was last week and the Chargers gave wise owners a 25-point performance in standard leagues. The Colts may not score 25 but they should get you off to a good start.
If you’re looking for a defense to roll with for the rest of the regular season, look to Dallas. The Cowboys (70.7%; $2) have a pair of games against Mike “Fumbles” Vick sandwiched between Cleveland and Washington. Dallas was able to contain Cam Newton earlier this season so they know how to shut down the mobile quarterback. In their other game, the Browns are rather one-dimensional on offense and Dallas can load the box against Trent Richardson. Hopefully they can also load up your scoresheet.
Oakland RB Marcel Reece (99.8%; $10) looks to benefit from the recent rash of injuries in the Raiders’ backfield. In the loss to Tampa Bay, Darren McFadden left the game in the second quarter and has been diagnosed with the dreaded high ankle sprain. McFadden has shown consistency in getting hurt about mid season each of the last three years. With him on the sidelines, Mike Goodson was given the chance to tote the rock and he also limped off with a high ankle sprain.
Reece picked up the slack with eight receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown. He’s worth adding for the extra running back depth and will have even more value in PPR formats. Get Reece while the rest of the Raiders RBs are in pieces.
Detroit RB Joique Bell (95.3%; $4) had a good game against Jacksonville with 13 carries, 73 yards and a touchdown. Yes, Mikel Leshoure overshadowed him with his three touchdown effort but Bell has a different kind of value. Bell is more of the receiving back and would be used as such. It looks like Matthew Stafford might be coming around and starting to get the Lions’ passing game going. Bell should be stashed for bench depth and could be a spot starter in PPR leagues.
St. Louis WR Danny Amendola (56%; $5) looks to be ready to go after his severe clavicle injury last month. Amendola started off fast and was amongst the league leaders in receptions and yards before getting hurt against Arizona. He posted 31-351-2 in his first four games of 2012. Look for him to get right back in rhythm with QB Sam Bradford and pick up where he left off. Amendola also has matchups that will have Bradford airing it out with games @SF, NYJ, @ARI and SF in the end of the fantasy regular season.
Indianapolis WR T.Y. Hilton (99.3% $5) is worth checking into mainly because of how well Andrew Luck has performed this season. Hilton posted 6-102-1 in the win over Miami and the Colts visit Jacksonville on a short week. Hilton saw extra action after Donnie Avery left in the second quarter with a hip injury. It’s unknown how serious Avery’s injury is but getting banged up with a short week doesn’t ever sound promising.
Indianapolis RB Vick Ballard (55.7%; $5) looks to be another Colt to benefit from injuries as well. Donald Brown was supposed to be splitting carries with Ballard but Brown only got half of Ballard’s carries and just one reception. We saw Jacksonville get torn up by the Lions running game last week and Ballard could do the same on Thursday.
Pittsburgh WR Emmanuel Sanders (98.4% $2) and Jericho Cotchery (99.7%; $1) are both worth getting since Antonio Brown left the Steelers win over the Giants with the dreaded high ankle sprain. Both would be better suited in deeper leagues or the more desperate teams in standard leagues.
Miami WR Brian Hartline (29.7%; $3) has fizzled out significantly since his 253-yard outburst on week 4 against Arizona. Hartline has 16 catches for 207 yards in the four games since. Hartline got back on the radar with an 8-107-0 line against the Colts and has some favorable matchups ahead. Miami takes on BUF, SEA, NE, SF, JAC, BUF and NE to close out the season so they have some weak defenses which could yield plenty of yards for Hartline and the Dolphins.
Minnesota WR Percy Harvin left last week’s game against Seattle. He was spotted on crutches and has reportedly sprained his ankle in three places. Harvin said he wants to play this week but a triple sprain of the ankle would really limit his effectiveness. In his place you’d see guys like Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu and Jerome Simpson in the mix for the targets. I don’t expect to Harvin to play against Detroit since the Vikings have their bye week on week 11. If you needed any further discouragement from picking any of those guys up, the Vikings play the Bears twice in three weeks after the bye.
Green Bay TE Tom Crabtree is a major sucker bet. While widely available, he raised a couple of eyebrows with a 72-yard touchdown catch against the Cardinals last week. For the season Crabtree has three touchdowns which is more than Jason Witten (one) and Aaron Hernandez (two) and the same as Antonio Gates (three) but don’t expect him to be relevant in fantasy. Crabtree has caught a total of six passes for 183 yards this season but won’t wrestle the starting spot away from Jermichael Finley in Green Bay.
Good luck to everyone on week 10 and leave your questions below.