Waiver Wire Wonders: Last Chance Before the Big Dance
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in what will likely be the last waiver wire opportunity before heading to the (cue the horns please) fantasy championships, the wires stayed fairly quiet. Don't get me wrong, we definitely got a few nice performances, but we didn't see any glaring adds or injuries to key starters that make for last-minute bonanzas -- unless you're a Lions fan, willing to take a gamble on the Oakland backfield, or somebody dropped Jerome Harrison in your league last week. We'll still sort through some options here, but unless things change over the course of the week, the last teams standing will likely head to the fantasy championships with largely the same lineups they used this week.
Maurice Morris (RB, Lions) - Our big hero this week came from the one team we almost never endorse -- particularly in fantasy playoffs -- the Detroit Lions. The Lions came from behind to strike fear into the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals (and devastating some fantasy owners trying to benefit from the Cardinals D/ST), largely on Morris' 126-yard rushing effort, including a touchdown and a few catches for icing on the doughnut.
Jerome Harrison (RB, Browns) - Given the fact that Harrison shows up on this list nearly every week, he probably already has an owner. In fact, he probably has an owner who didn't start him thanks to the bizarre move last week where the Browns overwhelmingly catered to Chris Jennings, but they went back to Harrison this week heavily. Harrison played the "stat" game of the day (maybe the season), tallying 286 yards on 34 carries and adding three touchdowns. All that talk about Joshua Cribbs stealing carries didn't really pan out, but Cribbs still managed to find pay-dirt twice on two amazing kick returns. Don't get overly excited about either of these Browns though. They played the Chiefs, which translates to fluky performances at times.
Michael Bush (RB, Raiders) - Of Sunday's performances, Bush probably represents the best all-around pickup. The Oakland backfield has been the antithesis of consistency this season, however, playing next week at Cleveland provides a favorable matchup in which Bush could conceivably repeat his 133-yard, one touchdown performance on 18 carries.
David Thomas (TE, Saints) - The Drew Brees target du jour, Thomas seemed to supplant the smoking hot Robert Meachem this week as he got a hefty bulk of the targets and hauled in eight catches for 77 yards. You never really know who will benefit from Brees' love on the Saints, so there's no real value here.
John Carlson (TE, Seahawks) - Despite a favorable matchup against the Buccaneers, Seattle really could not move the ball effectively Sunday. The only player to make a real impact was tight end John Carlson, who caught seven passes for 86 yards, including a touchdown. Seattle seems to be really struggling, but often the success of a tight end can work almost to the inverse of a team's pass protection and ability to move the ball -- as they cater to the short passing game and check-downs. Carlson looks like a solid pickup if you're still struggling to find your tight end for the championship game.
Vince Young (QB, Titans) - The shifty man came out with another big day in the Titans' seventh win in eight games, as he threw for over 200 yards with three touchdowns. He even added 24 yards rushing. Presumably, anybody in their championship next week has a safer bet at QB for the big game, but Young keeps making a strong case for himself. After all, he does win football games.
Josh Morgan (WR, 49ers) - I don't endorse getting into bed with any 49ers receivers for the final games this season, despite Morgan's impressive day of seven catches for 61 yards and a score. Although the passing game under Alex Smith is clearly capable of putting up stats, they do not have a clear-cut No. 1 option, so Morgan, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree essentially cannibalize one another's fantasy production.
Mike Wallace (WR, Steelers) - Here's some amazing logic for you: when Ben Roethlisberger throws for over 500 yards, the receivers will have big games. Everyone, including Heath Miller, came up with big numbers Sunday, but Wallace, despite catching just two passes, scored a pair of touchdowns. This is a similar story to Josh Morgan above. Since there are a lot of good options for Big Ben, week-in, week-out output from any one receiver is not likely.
Justin Gage (WR, Titans) - Not a huge day for Gage in terms of targets, catches or yards, but he caught two passes in the way they make a difference: for touchdowns. With Vince Young hot like a pizza roll, you could do worse than Justin Gage in a desperate scenario, but he doesn't scream consistency by any stretch of the imagination.