Players are sorted by position and ranked based on priority. This means that, in most formats, you’ll want to pick up the first name listed if several are available. Note that this advice is strictly for redraft formats and usually will lean towards a fairly standard 12-team PPR league.
Matthew Stafford – Lions
I mentioned Matthew Stafford a week ago, but he is expected back this Sunday after a week 1 injury cost him almost a third of the season. The Lions are the pass heaviest team in the NFL, which explains why Shaun Hill was, at least, a decent fantasy option over the past few weeks. It also helps explain why Stafford currently sits 8th in my rest-of-season Quarterback rankings. We should expect somewhere in the vicinity of 40 pass attempts per week for Stafford, which will translate to 25 completions for 265 yards, 2 scores, and 1 interception. Over the rest of the season, that’s 2,655 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 14 picks. Stafford’s health issues and inexperience are certainly issues, but the upside here makes him worth the add. He should be owned in leagues of every shape and size.
Jon Kitna – Cowboys
It appears that Tony Romo is done for 6-8 weeks, which means Jon Kitna is the man in Dallas. Although the Cowboys could try to run more with a less talented quarterback behind center, consider that the only one team has passed more than them this season (Detroit). Even if a few more pass attempts are turned into rushes, they’ll still throw the ball close to 40 times per game. This is great news for the fantasy stock of Kitna, who would rank 14th in my rest-of-season projections should Romo not play again this year. Unless you have two top 12 quarterbacks, make sure you get a claim in for Kitna.
UPDATE: It’s been reported that the injury to Romo will keep him out close to 6 weeks, which means he will be back for the fantasy playoffs. This diminishes Kitna’s appeal quite a bit, but he’s still borderline QB1 material until Romo’s return. Proceed with caution.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Bills
I did a more thorough analysis of Ryan Fitzpatrick and you can read it HERE.
Matt Moore – Panthers
Moore is back in the lineup as the starter in Carolina, but don’t overreact to his stellar week 7 performance. The Panthers showed off their emerging group of wide receivers, but they are, and will continue to be, a run-first team. They’ll continue to force it to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, which limits Moore’s fantasy potential. Even if they do decide to mix it up and throw more, consider that Moore is inexperienced, has completed only 53% of his pass attempts in 2010, and has a 4:7 TD:INT rate. There’s not enough upside here to make him worth an add.
Colt McCoy – Browns
The Browns third-string quarterback has done a fairly respectable job in first two career starts, but he hasn’t been and won’t be a fantasy force. Even if he remains the starter going forward (which is uncertain), the Browns will continue to rely heavily on Peyton Hillis. The Browns best receiver has arguably been tight end Benjamin Watson, which says a lot about the team’s young/inexperienced/disappointing receiving corps. Leave him on the wire.
Brandon Jackson – Packers
Jackson is owned in most leagues, but I’ve noticed him on a few wires, so he’s worth a mention. In the weeks immediately following Ryan Grant’s season-ending injury, Jackson was in a backfield timeshare with John Kuhn. Over the last couple of weeks, however, Jackson has taken over a larger share of the carries and is seeing more targets out of the backfield. Considering that he should see close to 70% of the running back carries and 10% of Rodgers’ targets going forward, he is a must-own in all formats. In fact, in PPR he is certainly a RB2 option. If he’s still out there in your league, get him on your roster and in your lineup.
LeGarrette Blount / Cadillac Williams – Buccaneers
Although LeGarrette Blount appears to be on the doorstep of becoming one of the game’s better early down backs, it’s important that you read his disclaimer: he isn’t going to catch many footballs. That is especially damning in PPR formats, but receiving yardage counts for points in standard scoring leagues, too. Cadillac Williams is still in the picture and is seeing all of the snaps on passing downs. In fact, in PPR, you’re probably still better off with Williams, who could easily catch 35 balls to go with his 60 or so carries going forward. Expect to see Blount getting most of the carries going forward, but Cadillac will handle all of the targets. Blount’s upside gives him a nudge up the rankings, but he’s only a back-end RB3 in PPR. Williams will be dropped a lot this week, but he’s RB3 material in PPR, as well. Both should be owned in 12-team leagues.
Danny Woodhead / Fred Taylor – Patriots
Danny Woodhead has basically been the Patriots’ lead back over the past few weeks, but don’t forget about Fred Taylor, who is week-to-week. Once he returns, Woodhead’s carries will drop, as Taylor and BenJarvus Green-Ellis will both be heavily involved in the backfield picture. Woodhead has a clear advantage in terms of playing time on passing downs, but 2-4 receptions and 6-8 carries will only take you so far. Woodhead is worth RB3 consideration and is the Patriots back to own, but don’t go overboard. Taylor is worth a bench sport in standard scoring leagues only.
Chris Ivory / Reggie Bush / Ladell Betts – Saints
Reggie Bush is expected back this week, but it appears that Pierre Thomas could still be out. Assuming only Bush returns, you can go ahead and drop Ladell Betts, whose only role was on third down—a role Bush will take over completely. Chris Ivory will remain the early-down back until Thomas returns, and could push him for carries even after he’s back. Bush is the one of these three you want the most, as he’s worth RB3 consideration going forward and is a RB2 sleeper during bye weeks. Ivory should be rostered in all formats until Thomas returns and is RB3 material in standard scoring leagues.
Donald Brown – Colts
Joseph Addai’s status for week 8 is unknown, but it sounds like he could be out of action. If that’s the case, Donald Brown, assuming he is able to play after missing the team’s last 3 games, would be the starter. Brown would see a majority of the 20-23 carries and 5-7 targets for Indianapolis, with only Mike Hart spelling him for snaps. Considering the high-powered offense he’s a part of, Brown is a must-start at RB2.
Darren Sproles – Chargers
If you’ve been wondering why Sproles has been a forgotten man in San Diego this season, you’re not alone. Fortunately for owners in PPR leagues, he came alive on Sunday with 9 receptions. Although this is a good sign that he’ll be more involved on passing downs, the Chargers will continue to utilize rookie Ryan Mathews on early downs and will find ways to get the ball to Mike Tolbert. Don’t expect Sproles to see a dozen touches very often, but considering his passing-down role, he’s a must-own in PPR leagues.
Kenny Britt – Titans
Britt exploded for 225 yards and 3 scores on 7 receptions against the Eagles on Sunday despite not entering the game until midway through the 2nd quarter. Although a suspension could be looming after his off-the-field incident over the weekend, he’s a must-add if he’s still available in your league. It’s clear that the Titans quarterbacks have been looking his way more often of the past few weeks, and he’s far-and-away the most talented receiver on the roster. Expect him to see 23-25% of the targets going forward, which almost qualifies him as a WR2.
Steve Johnson – Bills
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t exactly skyrocket up my rankings, Steve Johnson did make a move this week. Currently leading Buffalo with 41 targets, Johnson has consistently been targeted in the redzone by Bills quarterbacks. As I alluded to with Fitzpatrick, the passing touchdown rate in Buffalo is absurdly high and will regress, but even at a TD rate half of what he’s put up so far this season, Johnson is WR3 material. 40-550-4 is a relatively conservative projection for Johnson going forward. Put in your claim.
Danny Amendola – Rams
Amendola hasn’t exactly lit it up after the season-ending injury to Mark Clayton 2 weeks ago, but he’s still one of the most targeted players in the entire league this season. Considering his impressive catch rate, 21% of Sam Bradford’s targets going forward translates to 5 receptions, 42 yards per game. He won’t score very often and his upside is limited, but 5-42 makes him WR4 material in PPR leagues.
Anthony Gonzalez / Blair White – Colts
Dallas Clark is done for the season and Austin Collie is expected to miss a few weeks with an injury of his own. That opens the door for Gonzalez (if he’s healthy) and/or White. Assuming he’s able to play Sunday like he said he will, Gonzalez is the play here. He will slide into Collie’s slot role and will be the third option in a passing game that will feature Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon. In most cases, being the third option is bad, but Manning will throw it 40 times a game and very few quarterbacks are more productive on a per-attempt basis. Gonzalez is a WR3 with WR2 upside in PPR leagues while Collie is out. If Gonzalez has a setback and misses time, White fills the same role.
David Gettis – Panthers
Gettis broke out with 8 catches for 125 yards and 2 scores on Sunday and has established himself as the WR2 in Carolina. Unfortunately, that isn’t the most appealing situation for a breakout campaign. The Panthers will continue to try and run the ball as much as they can, which means 5-6 targets will usually be the max for Gettis. He’s a WR5 going forward.
Jordan Shipley – Bengals
Shipley is worth a mention after his 6-131-1 performance on Sunday, but those numbers are inflated by one long catch. His situation hasn’t changed: he will continue to battle fellow rookie Jermaine Gresham for targets as the third option in the passing game. He’s a possession/slot receiver with limited upside in 2010 and is no better than WR5 material in PPR.
Dexter McCluster – Chiefs
Chris Chambers has been a healthy scratch each of the past 2 weeks, which has moved McCluster up to #2 on the depth chart. As appealing as that might sound, he’s not yet worth an add. Kansas City is the league’s run heaviest team and there is little reason to expect that to change. McCluster is seeing only 2 carries and 5 targets per game, which obviously means he has little fantasy value. Leave him on the wire.
Jacob Tamme – Colts
Tamme is the hot add at tight end this week after the Colts lost Dallas Clark for the season. Similar to the situation in Green Bay when JerMichael Finley went down for the season 2 weeks ago, we don’t know for sure how the Colts will attempt to replace his targets. The Packers went for a committee approach, and, although the Colts have the ability to do something similar, it is very likely that Tamme will step into Clark’s role, at least, in some capacity. Fellow tight ends Brody Eldridge and Gijon Robinson will be involved as well, but Eldridge will spend most of his time blocking and Robinson is an H-Back who was just re-signed last week. Tamme won’t see 8-9 targets a week like Clark did, but 5-6 would only require 12% of Peyton Manning’s targets. That in itself would be good enough to earn Tamme TE2 consideration. Because of the upside this offense brings, Tamme is a must-add in 12-team leagues and his role should be monitored closely this weekend.