At this point in the season the goal isn’t necessarily to find long term guys. If you have struggled to find permanent starters all year long your probably not currently in a playoff spot. If you do have a good group of regulars then your probably preparing for the playoffs and are looking to add depth. For this reason it is important to start paying attention to guys who have good matchups down the stretch. Stashing a guy for a possible play 3 weeks away is okay if your starters are pretty much the same guys each week. It’s also good to add guys who could get an increased opportunity at the end of the season. These guys, who you know will succeed, will be the best backup to your starters incase disaster hits. Here are the guys who are in those situations and are immediate good pickups:
Andy Dalton (CIN QB)- He is officially a backup QB that I would trust plugging in. He has two tough matchups in a row coming up against PIT and BAL, but he also has good matchups left against CLE, HOU, STL, and ARI. He plays STL and ARI during the fantasy playoffs. He’s a guy I’d want sitting on my bench for the playoffs incase my starter went down.
Sam Bradford (STL QB)- He struggled a bit in first game back with 265/0/1 but that was to be expected. But aside from the last 2 weeks he has a very easy schedule coming up. He also has a legit WR in Brandon Lloyd that he will develop chemistry with. He could finally have success next week against SEA. After that he gets ARI, SF, SEA, and CIN. All favorable matchups.
Carson Palmer (OAK QB)- Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, Palmer faced a bad Denver defense. He also threw 3 interceptions. But he did throw for 332 yds and 3 TD’s. What he did prove is that he has stuff still left in the tank and can add depth to your team. He won’t play teams as easy as Denver every week, but he does still have opportunity to improve. I’m sure he will continue to get better with experience and the turnovers will start to come down.
Matt Moore (MIA QB)- I said last week that I liked Moore and he was in this exact article to pick up. He’s always had pretty good potential. 244 yds and 3 TD’s is reaching some potential. He has a decent receiving corp and plays teams coming up that he can put up points on. WAS, BUF, DAL, and OAK all have defenses that don’t terrify me. Of course Moore just peaked for the season and will not have another game as good as this one. But he did just show that he could be a decent plug in play when needed.
Rex Grossman (WAS QB)- Grossman was 3-2 as a starter. Beck is now 0-3. Beck’s team also didn’t score a TD for 7 consecutive quarters before a late one Sunday. Grossman will get the starting job back by the end of the season.
Dan Orlovsky (IND QB)- It looks like Painter could have lost his starting gig. Orlovsky replaced him this week late in the game and went 4/6 for 20 yds. Orlovsky has a lot of experience and used to be a decent fantasy starting QB during certain weeks. Right now he’s probably not a good pickup in most leagues. But if your in a 2 QB league, or a league where there are no starting QB’s left in free agency, then you might as well grab him. I don’t really advise starting him.
Laurent Robinson (DAL WR)- Week 8 was certainly a fluke because of the fact that both Dez Bryant and Miles Austin didn’t really perform in that game. I did not put Robinson on my pickup list last week because I figured he would fizzle out once Austin/Bryant rebounded. Well now it looks like Miles Austin has again hurt his hamstring. There is really no telling if he will miss any games at all or not. If he does miss games then Robinson is certainly worth adding and using. After Austin left the game this week, Robinson scored. He’s looked good the last 2 weeks and he could potentially be Dallas’ #2 WR temporarily. Grab him now and stash him incase Austin will miss time.
Jacoby Ford (OAK WR)- He may just be Palmer’s favorite target. 105 yds and a TD may prove that. As I said about Palmer, he won’t get the luxury of playing Denver every game. And Heyward-Bey, who was catch-less, will reemerge. But he’s low risk high reward right now.
LaVelle Hawkins (TEN WR)- He appears to be the Titans new #1 WR. He had 63 yds and a TD in week 8 and 63 yds and a TD in week 9. He’s worth adding and taking a chance on if your in need of bye fillers. Plus there is potential for him to stay consistent and be a legit #3 WR down the stretch like Nate Washington used to be.
Jerome Simpson (CIN WR)- He doesn’t get a whole lot of yards but he’s now scored in 3 consecutive weeks. I don’t trust him vs. BAL or PIT though.
Joshua Cribbs (CLE WR)- He’s had 50+ yds and a TD each of the last 2 games. His schedule coming up is very easy and includes STL, JAC, and CIN. He’s a high risk high reward guy that could either stay consistent or really hurt your team. If your league is very thin at WR then he could be worth adding. I wouldn’t start him over any established guys.
Greg Little (CLE WR)- He really hasn’t done much over the last 3 weeks but I just mentioned how the Browns have an easy schedule coming up. Little has upside and could certainly rebound against a team like STL. Very risky though.
TJ Houshmandzadeh (OAK WR)- We have a sighting!! Am I serious about this? Sure, why not. Housh and Palmer certainly have a long history together. They made each other famous once already. At this stage I’m not really saying to pick Housh up. All I’m saying is that you should keep an eye on him. He could be a reemergent comeback story. His one catch from Palmer this past week was a long 28 yd one. That’s a good sign. The chances of him succeeding long term are low, but it doesn’t hurt anything to watch his stats.
Roy Helu (WAS RB)- Last week I said to pick him up because eventually he would be the starter. Surprisingly he was the starter this week. And in his very first start he broke Art Monk’s Redskin record for most receptions in a game. He’s a RB!!! And it was his first start!!! And he faced a GREAT San Francisco defense!!! It’s very hard to trust Shanahan and what he will do with his team each week, but Helu has serious potential. On top of his 14 catches for 104 yards, he also ran for 41 yards. I truly expect Helu to put together a high number of combined yards each week. He will start scoring TD’s as early as next week vs. MIA. He is the biggest pickup of the week and could seriously be a #2 WR in all leagues, especially PPR leagues. Hightower is out for the season, Torain has looked bad, and the Redskins have to keep playing their youth in preparation for the future. Pick him up and start him next week.
Ben Tate (HOU RB)- He’s been remarkable as a backup. Every week he seems to put up numbers worth starting. With that said, I don’t ever recommend starting him as long as he’s a backup. Foster is known to be an injury prone guy so I would only stash him because of the chance that Foster could get banged up and miss another game or so down the stretch. His schedule isn’t very tough down the stretch and includes games against JAC, CIN, and CAR.
Kregg Lumpkin (TB RB)- LaGarrette Blount was pretty impressive racking up 72 yds in only 13 carries. But Tampa doesn’t run the ball enough. Why, I don’t know? They really should be running more. But they don’t. And Freeman really likes to throw the ball underneath to RB’s. Blount is not a receiver. And Graham is still injured. So Lumpkin will get receptions. This past week he had 4 catches for 31 yds. I can see him continuing to get receptions, a few rushes, and some TD’s.
Kendall Hunter (SF RB)- Every week I say he’s good. Even with a few carries he is impressive. The problem is that Gore has looked very good. But Gore usually gets hurt around this time every single year. Hunter is a good guy to stash in case Gore goes down. If Gore does go down then I would immediately trust Hunter in a starting role. If Gore lasts the entire season Hunter is worthless.
Jake Ballard (NYG TE)- I mentioned his name the last few weeks. Another 67 yds including a game winning TD this week. He is safe to play.
Follow me on Twitter