Week 15: Pickups of the Week
Jake Locker impressed again on Sunday as he stood in for Matt Hasselbeck, whose calf injury will likely keep him out of action in Week 15. While Hasselbeck is set to undergo an MRI on Monday, it may be Locker's good showing -- and not the injury -- that ultimately relegates the veteran to clipboard duty for the remainder of the season. Locker is clearly the future for Tennessee at the QB position. And the future could be right now if the Titans agree with general fan sentiment and decide that Locker gives them the best chance at steering the team toward a Wild Card berth. Indianapolis and then Jacksonville give the rookie a nice easy launching point if this marks the beginning of Locker's career as an NFL starter.MyFantasyLeague availability: 86%
Subbing for the injured James Starks, Ryan Grant was effective on Sunday -- something we haven't been able to say since back in Week 3 when he carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards. Grant ran hard against the Raiders and made decisive cuts en route to his first two rushing scores of the season. His value going forward is almost entirely dependent on a slow recovery by Starks because the seldom-used Packers running game isn't likely to generate enough fantasy production to sustain both backs in an RB time share. Grant remains a hopeful roster stash for Starks owners and those willing to keep a close eye on Green Bay's injury reports.MyFantasyLeague availability: 68%
We've talked before about Kendall Hunter's value as a Frank Gore handcuff. Now that the 49ers have wrapped up the NFC West, Hunter is seeing an expanded role as the team tries to keep the injury-prone Gore healthy for the playoffs. Hunter had eight carries to Gore's ten during last week's loss to Arizona and the split should remain fairly even going forward. Running lanes will be tough to find for either back over the next two games (PIT, @SEA) -- not that it should stop enterprising owners from giving them a look. At this point in the season, most waiver wires have been thoroughly picked over and there aren't many active running backs still available. In these dire circumstances, Hunter isn't a terrible fall-back option for the many despondent DeMarco Murray owners out there.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
Owners have been increasingly turning to Jabar Gaffney and I can't completely discourage the practice. Gaffney is on pace for his best season ever (though his hasn't exactly had an amazing NFL career). Credit where credit is due: he's held on to the starting job despite a decent push from Anthony Armstrong and more recently Donte' Stallworth; and is coming off his second big performance of the year. Last week he exploited a lazy Patriots secondary for six catches, 92 yards and a touchdown. He'll be hard-pressed to match those numbers against the Giants, though they offer a fairly cushy fantasy match-up themselves. Deep-leaguers could do worse.MyFantasyLeague availability: 3%
The Greg Jennings injury likely elevates James Jones to starter for the next few games -- likely through to the end of the season. The talented (if underachieving) Jones should make an immediate fantasy impact working on a consistent basis with the league's most productive passer. Even while splitting snaps with Donald Driver this season, Jones has already matched his career high with five touchdowns. He'll be a solid scoring threat even against the Chiefs' tenth-ranked passing defense and makes one of the more intriguing fantasy pickups in a week where the alternatives are particularly limited.