Week 9's sneaky pickup is ...

Updated: November 5, 2010, 4:06 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

The best player in fantasy football this season will be throwing to, among others, fellows named Seyi Ajirotutu and Gary Banks on Sunday. Ajirotutu is a 23-year-old Fresno State product who was signed as a free agent. Banks, whose name is clearly easier to say and spell, is 28, and played his college football at Troy. Both of these players were on the Chargers' practice squad until recently, but with one injury after another, along with a much-publicized suspension, it's likely to be Ajirotutu, Banks and Patrick Crayton serving as Philip Rivers' wide receiver options this week.

In time, the suspended Vincent Jackson and the injured Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee, both dealing with hamstring problems, should return to the active roster, and Rivers will be dealing with more experienced, suitable options. However, this week the Chargers play the team with the worst pass defense in the league, the squad permitting the most fantasy points to quarterbacks and the third most to wide receivers, the Houston Texans. That doesn't necessarily mean you should sign or activate Ajirotutu or Banks -- though I did rank Crayton quite well this week -- but remember the names. Oh, and you'll have to sound the first one out.

In retrospect, it's kind of incredible that Rivers has been able to put up the best fantasy numbers through eight weeks -- he was the No. 6 quarterback in ESPN average live drafts -- with such a rag-tag crew of options. Antonio Gates is, of course, an absolute monster; he leads all tight ends in scoring by a sizable figure. But now it's a Dallas Cowboys castoff in Crayton and a pair of rookies being asked to step up. I ranked Ajirotutu this week, and if he puts up really nice numbers, maybe he gets to keep doing so. Other than Gates, I'd argue there are no guarantees with Rivers' weapons, though.