At this point in the season, the fantasy football waiver wire is mighty thin. There is nobody on the wire that is going to turn your season around, however there are a few safety valves that are worthy pickups if you have the room on your bench or want to start investing in the playoffs or beyond.
Roy Helu, Washington Redskins – Meet the third starter this year for Mike Shanahan’s Washington Redskins. What makes Helu so desirable is like Fred Jackson, he is a huge part of the Redskins passing game. Helu had over 100 yards receiving Sunday with 41 yards to boot on the ground. He is someone that could potentially give your team a big boost but there is a reason I used the word potential. He was a beast in his last two years at Nebraska so the talent is definitely there. Unfortunately the unpredictability with Redskins running backs has turned into a fantasy football joke and no matter how much upside Helu has, I would be very cautious about trusting him or anyone else from this backfield in your lineup.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns – Meet the last man standing in the Browns’ backfield. Peyton Hillis re-injured his hamstring last week and Montario Hardesty has already been ruled out for Sunday.Ogbonnaya was ineffective against the Houston Texans but he has the St. Louis Rams this week who give up a lot of points to running backs. I am hesitant about using anyone from this offense yet it is hard not to lick your chops about this matchup, especially if you are bit by the injury bug or have a running back on bye.
Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints – Two touchdowns in two weeks in this offense is nothing to sneeze at. Like running backs on the Washington Redskins, using any wide receiver on this team is always risky. However, coverages are focusing on Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham giving Moore holes in the defense to exploit. The Saints play the Atlanta Falcons next week which has big scoring potential. If you need a bye week filler, Moore could be a nice sleeper going into next Sunday’s game.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens – I had Smith in here early in the season but he really deserves a second mention. Smith may not be putting up the big points every week but he is targeted deep and often by Joe Flacco. With Flacco’s inconsistent play at QB, Smith is always going to be a high risk/high reward play. However, when he hits, he will hit big time. Quite frankly I like him a lot more for owners in dynasty leagues. He and Flacco remind me a lot of Big Ben and Mike Wallace in Wallace’s rookie season. Their timing was just off but you could see huge potential for big numbers down the line. With an offseason to practice and get timing down, I think Smith has potential to be a top 10 fantasy wide receiver next season.
Earl Bennett, Chicago Bears – I am not ready to jump on the Bennett bandwagon, but he is certainly someone you want to keep your eyes on. If you are desperate at wide receiver, he may be worth a flier. He was Jay Cutler’s only consistent option against the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night and will probably continue to be as long as he stays healthy. However, Matt Forte is responsible for almost 50% of the Bears offense. Does that change with the return of Bennett? Maybe, but I am skeptical.
Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati Bengals – Like Moore, two weeks and two touchdowns land Simpson on the list. He is inconsistent so it is hard to get on board, but as defenses start taking A.J. Green more seriously, Simpson will benefit with some nice openings in coverage. The lack of targets is a concern but the Bengals play a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that has given up at least a touchdown a week to wide receivers. He is a real sneaky play this week if you have a wide receiver on bye and nothing on the bench.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers – Miller has come on strong over the last three weeks and continues to be a go-to receiver for Big Ben. He had 73 yards this past week against a stingy Baltimore Ravens defense. He does have a tough matchup against the Bengals Sunday and a bye week to follow, but if you need help at tight end Miller looks like a solid bet to give you a minimum 7 points in non-PPR leagues on a weekly basis with some touchdowns sprinkled into the mix.