Week 1's sneaky pickup of the week

Updated: September 10, 2010, 2:18 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

The more we hear about how oft-disappointing New England Patriots running back Laurence Maroney (groin) might not even dress for this weekend's game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to a lack of practice, the more my thoughts turn to Fred Taylor. Oh, you know Taylor. Despite being 74 years old and seemingly well past his underrated prime, Taylor actually had some nice moments during the 2009 season when he was healthy, which wasn't often. He played in six games; in Week 3 he rambled for 105 yards and a touchdown, and in the Week 17 finale he scored a pair of touchdowns among his seven carries.

Why discuss Taylor when I barely ranked him for this week's game? Well, the purpose of this weekly Friday blog is to identify sneaky pickups for future weeks, and while I think Tom Brady and the team's aerial attack will be on full display this and mostly every week, the fact is that Taylor should be owned in more than 18.8 percent of ESPN standard leagues. The point is that by this time next week he probably will be, so get ahead of the curve now.

The Patriots are at the New York Jets in Week 2 (then the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins), so the schedule isn't overly enticing, but full-time work is. And certainly Maroney isn't such an obvious starter for even his own team. Why not grab Taylor now before everyone in your league knows about him next Tuesday, when they're making their waiver picks? Sure, Taylor is unlikely to run wild against the Jets in Week 2, but Patriots observers are saying he looks fast and spry, and his balky ankle is not a problem. Plus, the Jets can be run on: Maroney ran for 77 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Rex Ryan's bunch in Week 11. It can happen.