Waiver Wire Wonders: Gang Greene
You can't paint a turd, folks. Week 7 gave us slim pickings in terms of waiver wire action. We saw a couple of interesting stories to add to the watch list, the reemergence of a quarterback long thought to be lost for dead, the first start of a highly-touted rookie, and a few other odds and ends, but really only one quality add via a huge day from a previously third-string rookie. All in all, it looks like a week to focus on lining up that blockbuster trade to take you down the backstretch, because the waiver wire gods did not offer us up much this week.
Shonn Greene (RB, Jets) -- The one player here that looks like an honest-to-goodness pickup this week would have to be Greene. While Thomas Jones looks about as good as ever, his platoon-mate Leon Washington suffered a broken leg and will miss the rest of the season, making Greene's output going forward a reasonably strong bet. The Jets seem to like the dual-threat backfield and Jones is not an every-down type player at his age. Be clear though, we certainly cannot expect numbers like Sunday from Greene every week -- given that the Jets topped 300 yards rushing while blowing out the Raiders. An aircraft carrier could have fit through the Jets' holes in Week 7. Still, can't hurt to snatch him up if it's not too late.
Alex Smith (QB, 49ers) -- It's true, we may have just witnessed the emergence of Alex Smith. After a lousy first half of Shaun Hill -- both in the game and the season -- San Francisco benched Hill in favor of Smith, who mustered up quite a second-half rally. Completing 15 of 22 passes for 206 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, Smith made a strong case to be the 49ers starter. With Michael Crabtree finally on the field, Smith might surprise down the stretch. At this point, there is no need to race out and add Smith, but keep an eye open as he showed good things Sunday.
Mike Wallace (WR, Steelers) -- With the Steelers continuing to evolve into a passing offense and Ben Roethlisberger playing about as well as any quarterback in the league, rookie Mike Wallace looks like an emerging weapon in the arsenal. Wallace caught three passes for 72 yards, including a 40-yard scoring strike. He also added 19 yards on the ground. Sunday's score marked Wallace's second in three weeks.
Michael Crabtree (WR, 49ers) -- Crabtree made a fine impression at the debutante ball Sunday, coming out with five receptions for 56 yards. While these numbers by no means represent a screaming buy, Crabtree obviously will play a significant role in this offense and may well make a solid play as soon as next week. There's a fair amount of risk involved in putting your faith in an unproven rookie, but Crabtree is not your average rookie.
Jamaal Charles (RB, Chiefs) -- I warned you it was a slow week, right? Jamaal Charles only ran the ball four times, but he picked up 33 yards, which easily trumps the abysmal 16 rushes for 49 yards posted by Larry Johnson. The Chiefs have got to be thinking they need a change of pace, so expect to see an increased workload for Charles going forward. Frankly, Barry Sanders couldn't make room with the Chiefs' blocking and generally pathetic offense, but in deep leagues Charles may be good enough to have on the roster for spot starts down the stretch.
Justin Fargas (RB, Raiders) -- Despite playing second fiddle behind starter Michael Bush, Justin Fargas again proved the worthier runner, gaining 67 yards on just eight carries and adding another 23 on three catches. Until Darren McFadden resurfaces -- and who knows when that really happens -- Fargas makes a decent safety valve to keep on the roster.
Jason Snelling (RB. Falcons) -- For anyone playing in one of those brutal 65-team leagues, Jason Snelling backed up Michael Turner nicely in Jerious Norwood's absence. Snelling carried the ball seven times for 68 yards and caught one pass for another 10 yards. Norwood should be out for at least a few more weeks, so if you need a warm body, Snelling is your man.
Mike Bell (RB, Saints) -- While nobody can be too excited about getting into bed with this fungal issue of a backfield, Bell got the coaching favor over Pierre Thomas with 12 carries to Thomas' eight. Bell gained 80 yards on Sunday and last week managed to convert at the goal line when Thomas failed. Frankly, I think Pierre Thomas is a better running back and will resume the lead role, but from a fantasy perspective, Thomas struggles to regain relevance as a weekly play.