Week 7: Pickups of the Week
Josh Freeman is a surprisingly solid option for those left scrambling to replace quarterbacks on bye weeks. Over the last two games especially, he has looked more like the promising Josh Freeman of 2010 than the disappointing and mistake-prone version of last season. The 328 yards he put up against the Chiefs in Week 6 were atypical of a player whose career average hovers below 220. Nevertheless, his recent fantasy success looks likely to continue. Not only is he a solid replacement option this week against the lacklustre Saints, he is also someone to consider as insurance over the midseason stretch. The Buccaneers don't face another top flight passing defense until they host Atlanta in Week 12.MyFantasyLeague availability: 27%
Wilson isn't a pretty passer; It's a simple truth. He looks nervous in the pocket and can't seem to see over his own offensive line. Last Sunday his general awkwardness was compounded by a fierce Patriots pass rush and a slick, rainy field. Yet despite all that (and despite throwing some ugly, wobbly passes), Wilson got it done again. The rookie led his team to victory, clinching the game with a precise deep ball to Sidney Rice after a perfectly excecuted playaction fake. The touchdown pass was his third of the day -- a new personal best to go along with a career-high 293 yards passing. Those whispered suggestions that Matt Flynn should step in will fade to the background as long as Wilson keeps handling business in crunch time. Disregard this rookie at your own peril, owners of Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and Phillip Rivers.MyFantasyLeague availability: 18%
Ballard failed to live up to last week's sudden waiver wire buzz thanks to a stinker of a performance by the Colts. After getting down early to the Jets, Indianapolis pretty much abandoned the running game and effectively kept Ballard on the shelf. The rookie flashed some big time potential during the preseason, but had no opportunity to showcase his talent in Week 6. He should see his fortunes improve against a more suspect Browns front seven this Sunday. Unfortunately, he probably remains a short term solution as Donald Brown is due to make his return in Week 8 or 9.MyFantasyLeague availability: 69%
My cunning colleague Mr. Chris Weeks recommended LeGarrette Blount as a super sleeper last Wednesday, advising that it was sometimes worth planning a week or two in advance. Hopefully you heeded his words and enjoyed Blount's mild Week 6 breakout. The displaced former starter has now scored in consecutive games and is making a strong case for an increase in red zone carries. The Swiss cheese New Orleans defense should provide ample opportunities for both Blount and Doug Martin to put up decent fantasy numbers this Sunday.MyFantasyLeague availability: 22%
DeMarco Murray hobbled off the field with a foot injury midway through Sunday's loss to Baltimore. He checked back into the game after halftime, but was obviously limited and was only given one carry. In his place, Felix Jones ripped off 92 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, though he too had to leave the game briefly due to cramping. Jones' cramps aren't a concern; Murray's foot injury might be. He's headed for a MRI and fantasy owners shouldn't wait around to hear the result. Pick up Jones now as a handcuff who has, at the very least, earned a bigger role going forward. If Murray can't give it a go in Week 7, Jones will get the start against a very accomodating Carolina defense.