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.
Shaun Hill / Drew Stanton – Lions
The news isn’t official, but it appears that Matthew Stafford is done for the season. The sophomore played well in back-to-back games and seemed in line for a huge second half, but the team will now be forced to go with Shaun Hill…eventually. Hill is also recovering from an injury he suffered a few weeks ago and his availability for this weekend is in the air. Enter Drew Stanton, who would be under center on Sunday if Hill is out. The Lions have a favorable matchup against Buffalo this week, but it would be risky to go with Stanton as your starting quarterback, especially since it’s likely to be one start and done. Instead, grab Hill. Even if he doesn’t play this week, he is a decent QB2 option going forward. He doesn’t have Stafford’s upside, but he’s been fantasy-relevant when in the lineup this year thanks to the Lions pass-heavy attack. Not many quarterbacks are guaranteed near 40 pass attempts every week. Grab him off the wire.
Colt McCoy – Browns
The Colt McCoy bandwagon is filling up fast and, although he’s done an outstanding job thus far for the Browns, he’s not worth fantasy consideration. The Browns sport one of the game’s run-heaviest attacks, limiting McCoy’s chances to produce fantasy points. Consider that the rookie has thrown a grand total of 36 passes over the team’s last 2 games and that the Browns have attempted more than 33 passes in a single game only twice this season. Comparatively, the Lions are averaging 43 pass attempts per game and their single-game low for the season is 34. The Browns will continue to lean heavily on the run, making McCoy fantasy irrelevant. Leave him on the wire.
Jimmy Clausen / Tony Pike – Panthers
Matt Moore is done for the season, which re-opens the door for rookie Jimmie Clausen. Clausen has been terrible so far this season, completing just 47% of his 109 pass attempts for 501 yards. His 0.9% TD/Attempt mark can only improve, but don’t expect major regression here, as Clausen continues to struggle getting the ball to his playmakers. If Clausen falters, Tony Pike will get an opportunity to win the job. Regardless, neither should be on your radar this season. Leave them on the wire.
Mike Goodson – Panthers
DeAngelo Williams still isn’t healthy and Jonathan Stewart’s availability for Sunday is in doubt after a concussion knocked him out of Sunday’s loss to the Saints. Add to the mix an injury to 4th-string back Tyrell Sutton, who saw 10 looks when Stewart went down on Sunday, and we’re left only with Mike Goodson. Goodson has been used a little bit on 3rd down this season, but is a far cry from Williams and Stewart in terms of running ability. Still, he has an excellent opportunity to make a name for himself on Sunday, as he could be in for a 20+ touch day. Keep an eye on the status’ of Williams/Stewart/Sutton, but Goodson is definitely worth a Waiver claim, considering his likely RB2/Flex status for this weekend’s game against Tampa Bay—a team that has been very kind to opposing running backs.
Clinton Portis – Redskins
It appears that Clinton Portis could return this week when the Redskins host the Eagles. Even if he’s out this week, he appears to be only a week or two away from a return. When he does, the Redskins backfield, like so many other backfields, becomes a complete mess. At this point, we can only speculate on his role, so allow me to do so. Ryan Torain has run the ball well this season, so one would have to imagine he’d continue to see most of the early down carries. Portis would see a handful of carries, but his main role would be as the team’s third down back, which would give him some added value in PPR. Keep a close eye on Portis’ status and feel free to submit a claim for him in deep PPR leagues. He’s not worth starting, but is certainly worth stashing on your bench in case he takes back his starting job.
Javarris James – Colts
James is on some radar’s this week after scoring twice in week 9. Don’t be fooled by the touchdowns. James is the Colts’ fourth string running back and scored twice despite only 4 carries. With feature back Joseph Addai sidelined, Donald Brown is the back carrying the load for the Colts. 3rd-string RB Michael Hart’s injury status isn’t known at this time, but he could also be back in the next few weeks, pushing James back to complete irrelevance. Leave him on the wire.
Sidney Rice – Vikings
The fantasy breakout wide receiver of 2009 is close to returning from an injury that has kept him out the entire first half of this season. Sidney Rice could play in a limited role this week, but is no more than a week or 2 away from a return. Considering the Vikings question marks at wide receiver and desperation for wins, it shouldn’t be a surprise if they throw him right into the starting lineup once he’s cleared to play. Although I’d be hesitant to put him in my lineup his first week back, it won’t be long before he’s seeing 17-20% of Brett Favre’s targets. That is enough to make him, at least, a WR3 and we know he has WR1 upside. He should be owned in 100% of leagues.
James Jones – Packers
Jones told us he wanted the ball more and he got it on Sunday night. With Donald Driver out of action, Jones caught 8 of his 9 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. It’s the second time in 3 weeks that he’s gone over the 100 yard mark. As intriguing as he may sound, there are a few obstacles between Jones and fantasy relevance. The first is Donald Driver, who is still the teams #2 wide receiver when healthy. As long as Driver is active, Jones should not be in lineups, so monitor closely. The other factor is Jones’ inconsistency and propensity for mistakes. Despite the big game on Sunday night, Jones also dropped a touchdown and fumbled—his third of the year. I mentioned that he’s had two 100-yard games in 3 games, but he couldn’t be any more inconsistent over the last 6 weeks. In week’s 4, 6, and 8, he had 1 total catch on 9 targets. In week’s 5, 7, and 9, he’s totaled 16 catches on 25 targets. Jones is too shaky to start every week, but should definitely be in your lineup if Driver is inactive. He’s worth a claim.
David Nelson / Donald Jones – Bills
David Nelson and Donald Jones are on the fantasy map after a season-ending injury to heavily-used Roscoe Parrish. Nelson doesn’t exactly match the skillset of the speedy Parrish, but will replace him as the team’s #3 option at wide receiver. Jones has very little experience, but is a better fit for the slot, and will see plenty of work in that role going forward. Considering that Parrish was responsible for 19% of the Bills’ targets, there are certainly plenty of them to go around. The Bills do have other options, and it’s likely they’ll try and get them involved, but they rely heavily on the wide receiver position, which is why Nelson and Jones shouldn’t be overlooked. Still, watch for rookie CJ Spiller, a similar player to Parrish and possibly tight end Shawn Nelson to see a few extra targets each game. Both Nelson and Jones are worth WR5-6 consideration in PPR leagues, but that only makes them bench material in deeper leagues.
Jacoby Ford – Raiders
Ford put himself on the map with a 9 targets, 6 reception, 148 yard performance against the Chiefs on Sunday. The rookie had been targeted only 8 times in his career prior to Sunday, but took advantage of injuries to Louis Murphy and Zach Miller. Murphy and Miller are expected back after the team’s bye and oft-injured WR Chaz Schilens could return in the next few weeks, as well. Add additional competition from Darrius Heyward-Bey and the fact that the Raiders are the 5th-run-heaviest team in football and Ford is no longer looking as attractive. That said, he showed his explosiveness on Sunday and there is room for a breakout wide receiver to earn playing time in this offense. He has tremendous upside, but the offense and shaky quarterback situation will limit his production. He’s only worth a speculative add in very deep leagues.
Blair White – Colts
Anthony Gonzalez is done for the year and Austin Collie seems likely to miss a week or two after suffering a concussion against the Eagles on Sunday. Blair White will sit in as the team’s slot receiver while Collie is out, but has little value, except as a handcuff, when Collie returns. White is worth an add this week and has a shot at WR3 status, but cut him loose when Collie returns.
Arrelious Benn – Buccaneers
Fellow rookie wide receiver Mike Williams has stolen all of the thunder in Tampa Bay, but Arrelious Benn has joined Williams in the starting lineup. Unfortunately for Benn, that’s translated to a total of 2 targets over the team’s last 2 games. It’s worth noting, however, that Benn was productive in those 2 looks, grabbing a 53 yard reception in week 8 and adding a 14 yard touchdown in week 9. Still, despite seeing the snaps, Benn has very little fantasy value until he sees more looks. Monitor him closely, but don’t bother with an add yet.
Seyi Ajirotutu – Chargers
The Chargers were without Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, and Buster Davis on Sunday, which means it was all up to Randy McMichael, Patrick Crayton, and, of course, Seyi Ajirotutu. Ajirotutu was the game’s big playmaker, racking up 4 receptions for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns on 5 targets. Head Coach Norv Turner has already said that Ajirotutu is in the team’s future plans, but does that make him worth an add in fantasy? The answer is no. The Chargers are on a bye this week and have only one game left before the return of Jackson. Additionally, Gates is likely to return in week 11 and Floyd/Naanee could be back, as well. Ajirotutu could see the occasional target, but his best case scenario is splitting time with Naanee as the team’s 4th option in the pass game. Leave him on waivers.
Joel Dreessen / James Casey – Texans
With Owen Daniels out of action on Sunday, Joel Dreessen and James Casey were heavily involved in the offense. Daniels’ injury isn’t serious and he could be back in time for the team’s week 10 game against Jacksonville. Even if he’s out, neither tight end is worth a start. Dreeseen would be a top 20 option, but Houston hasn’t consistently thrown to the tight end and Casey will steal away some targets. Only pick him up if Daniels is out and your desperate for a one-week fill-in.
Jimmy Graham – Saints
Graham stepped into the lineup on Sunday after Jeremy Shockey left the game with what turned out to be a bruised rib. Graham is eventually going to be a good pass-catching tight end, but the Saints are on a bye week and Shockey should be able to return after that. Even if Shockey were to miss time, Graham would have to compete with David Thomas for reps at tight end. Leave him on waivers.