As we are turning the corner towards Week 4, reaching the end of the first quarter of the season and heading to the beginning of bye weeks, it is time to build your bench. Luckily, at this point there are many viable options to get on your waiver wire or trust in starting from here on out. Daniel Thomas of the Miami Dolphins is now clearly the number one guy, with Reggie Bush falling to the wayside. He has been putting up quality numbers, which is to be expected with the weak passing game in Miami led by quarterback Chad Henne.
Wideout Nate Washington of the Tennessee Titans is a great pickup considering the season-ending injury Kenny Britt suffered this week and the poor play of running back Chris Johnson thus far.
Tight ends Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints, Scott Chandler of the Buffalo Bills and Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots are good pickups. Yes, I know Hernandez is injured, but he’ll be worth it when he comes back considering what Rob Gronkowski is pulling off. Graham and Chandler have both received many targets from their respective quarterbacks in the red zone, so look for them to get their quota of touchdowns.
Wideout Sidney Rice looked good last week, even in his current situation of offensive depression with the Seattle Seahawks, and it looks as though he is the only answer their offense has right now.
After the ridiculous performances of Victor Cruz of the New York Giants and Torrey Smith of the Baltimore Ravens, they may seem to be great pickups. However, they are very risky and would be temporary as those players are simply filling in for their injured teammates.
Running back Felix Jones of the Dallas Cowboys is a great player to start if you were worried about his health and put him on the bench. He demolished the Washingotn Redskins defense and was involved in almost every Cowboys play from scrimmage. With Jones playing well, it might also be a good idea to put him up for a trade; his value will likely diminish in the coming weeks.
On a personal note, I am absolutely blown away by the performance of Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden. Projected to be a top-15 running back, McFadden has been one of the highest scoring non-quarterbacks in fantasy football to this point in the season. Additionally, his elevated play is no fluke, as he proved last week with his huge game against the potent New York Jets run defense.
Now, let’s head on to the injury report. I apologize for last week’s knocks on the Dallas Cowboys’s Tony Romo and the Philadelphia Eagles’s Michael Vick. I claimed that they would struggle to put up points based on reports earlier in the week.
As you read correctly earlier, all-star receiver Kenny Britt is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL, making him one of many high-profile fantasy stars to have a season-ending injury this year.
With a new development from the Indianapolis Colts owner, the biggest loss this year for any team, real or fantasy, is definitively Peyton Manning, who is seemingly out for the season, so if you had been keeping him on your bench waiting for that time when he returned, it’s time to let go.
San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been given a decision to make: he can play through the pain in his foot, or he can be taken out for up to five weeks to give the foot some more time to heal. Don’t lose hope in him, however, as he has played through the pain in the past. He still had a great season last year with a more painful version of the same injury.
Time for some good news, as Houston Texans running back Arian Foster should be returning to his starting position this weekend. For those of you who opportunistically picked up backup running back Ben Tate, I wouldn’t let him go just yet. Let’s see what the Texans do with him and how he is integrated into the system with Foster back before you release him. Michael Vick has a bruised, right, non-throwing hand and should still play this week, although at this rate, I feel like he may literally be putting his life at risk the way he’s getting pounded weekly. Backup quarterback Vince Young may be a viable pickup at this point.
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