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Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Free-agent finds for Week 6

By Christopher Harris
ESPN.com

Waiver-wire news changes fast and furious throughout the week, as injuries and depth-chart shenanigans overtake us. So be sure to follow me on Twitter, @CHarrisESPN, and I'll keep you updated as news warrants. Let's get to Week 6's best fantasy roster additions:

(Week 6 byes: Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins)

Standard ESPN league finds

Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams (owned in 1.2 percent of ESPN leagues): All caveats should be invoked; Stacy's debut as a starting back came against a bad Jacksonville Jaguars team. That said, I liked the tape quite a bit. The thing that led me and others to speculate this summer that Stacy might be a good early-down alternative to Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead was there: He's not a blazer (4.55 40), not huge (5-foot-8, 216 pounds) and probably not a future star, but he seems to have good vision and he does have terrific balance. You should know that Richardson was just about as involved as Stacy in Week 5, so we're probably in platoon-land. But Stacy is the head of that platoon. Richardson is quicker and faster, and I still think his 2013 game tape is just fine. But this week, Stacy's was probably better. He's a must add in all leagues, and one of the better finds of the season. (I should finish by saying: Field Yates identified Stacy last week -- before he was named the Rams' starter -- as his favorite sleeper for the rest of the year. Where did he do this? The Fantasy Underground podcast. You should be listening!)

Reece
Marcel Reece averages 4.8 yards per carry and 10.7 yards per catch in his career.

Marcel Reece, RB, Oakland Raiders (3.7 percent): Rashad Jennings had 10 carries for 41 yards at halftime Sunday night but wasn't seen on the field again. He left the game with an injured hamstring, apparently taking a cue from the starter, Darren McFadden, who has his own hammy injury. Thereafter, when the Raiders lined up in a "diamond formation" with three RBs, it was Reece, Jeremy Stewart and Jamize Olawale. Just in case you're wondering, two of those players (including Reece) are fullbacks. But the thing about Reece is he's a darned good player. The converted college wideout won't blow you away with quickness or speed, but he has predictably good hands and doesn't make dumb plays. In Oakland, that'll take you far. As of this writing, we don't know whether McFadden or Jennings will be able to play Week 6 against the Kansas City Chiefs, but my guess is that neither will. That puts Reece in line for the start, and that's intriguing, especially in a PPR league.

Garrett Graham, TE, Houston Texans (3.4 percent): Owen Daniels reportedly might miss multiple weeks with an injured fibula, putting Graham in the crosshairs of what figures to be a conservative Texans passing attack moving forward. As if Matt Schaub hadn't done enough the past 12 months to prove he's not an above-average NFL QB, he has thrown a pick-six in four straight contests and overall in '13 has eight touchdowns and nine interceptions. Houston will run all over the Rams in Week 6, but Graham -- who has three TDs already this year -- will be involved on the short stuff. He's the man Daniels owners should target.

Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys (1.3 percent): Williams made my "deep" list last week, when I wrote, "His only real path to fantasy relevance is continued poor health for Miles Austin." And that almost certainly continues to be true. Early speculation is that Austin will be ready to play Sunday night against the Washington Redskins, which relegates Williams to the No. 3 WR job in Big D. But I'm still moving T-Will up to the "standard-league" list because (a) Austin is no sure bet to stay healthy; and (b) Tony Romo proved his early-season short-passing ways are gone, and might actually have been related to the rib injury that sidelined him temporarily in Week 1. If it works out that Williams winds up Romo's permanent No. 2 WR because of another Austin injury, he's going to merit top-30 consideration.

LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden, RBs, New England Patriots (19.9 and 5.7 percent, respectively): Gross. Blount and Bolden submitted gross and disgusting moments in Week 5's loss. Blount lost a fumble at the end of a 7-yard run as the Pats were threatening the Cincinnati Bengals' red zone in the second quarter. Bolden dropped a screen pass in the first quarter that might've turned into a 40-yard gain. And Blount did what Blount does in short yardage, getting stuffed at the goal line in the game's key moment in the fourth quarter. I almost certainly would not be comfortable starting either of these players in Week 6 against the New Orleans Saints. Nevertheless, I'm promoting them from the "deep" list to the "standard" one because, if Stevan Ridley is still out with a knee injury, someone is getting backfield work.

Carolina Panthers defense (37.1 percent): It's not a great week for streaming defenses, as the usual-suspect terrible offenses all seem to be facing widely owned stud D/STs. The Panthers' front seven can play with anyone: Charles Johnson might have only three sacks, but there aren't many more disruptive 4-3 defensive ends; rookie Star Lotulelei has lived up to his reputation as a run stuffer; and right now Luke Kuechly is my All-Pro middle linebacker. You never like to invest heavily in the defense that's about to stare down Adrian Peterson, and Matt Cassel made the Minnesota Vikings' offense click a couple of weeks back. Add a shaky corner duo in Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Thomas and I feel just a tad queasy. That said, this still seems like the best play of a bad lot.

Other solid waiver adds, about whom I've written in previous weeks: Willis McGahee, RB, Browns (22.2 percent); Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints (15.5 percent); Andre Ellington, RB, Cardinals (4.0 percent); Rashad Jennings, RB, Raiders (20.4 percent); Johnathan Franklin, RB, Packers (8.8 percent); Roy Helu, RB, Redskins (41.6 percent); Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars (20.0 percent); Kendall Wright, WR, Titans (39.5 percent); Heath Miller, TE, Steelers (21.1 percent); Coby Fleener, TE, Colts (23.3 percent).

Deeper-league finds

Nick Foles
Nick Foles' first start of 2013 will take place in Tampa, the scene of his career-best 31 fantasy points last season.

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (0.5 percent): Foles started rough after Michael Vick went out with a bad hamstring, but he did get better. His path to midgame improvement leading the Eagles to a come-from-behind win over the New York Giants was remembering the underneath passing game, and not trying so hard to connect on a bomb right away. It was clear his comfort level rose as his defense got him good field position in the fourth quarter, and he even ran one read-option keeper in the red zone, although he could barely Frankenstein his way back to the line of scrimmage, let alone the end zone. Let's be clear: Chip Kelly likes running the ball, and the Week 6 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be way more difficult than the Jints were. Still, Foles isn't an awful desperation option in one of the league's fastest-paced offenses.

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers (1.2 percent): Allen was a favorite of mine coming out of Cal this spring, and I was disappointed to see him fall in April's draft; I had him rated as my No. 2 rookie wideout coming out of the combine, but a knee injury and speed concerns saw him plummet to the third round. Injuries to Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd have landed Allen alongside Vincent Brown in the starting lineup, and he has logged 11 catches for 195 yards and a TD over the past two games. Mike McCoy's offense seems more invested in using Antonio Gates, Danny Woodhead and Eddie Royal in the middle of the field, which could lead to inconsistent production from the outside men. But when the Chargers have to play catch-up, as they did in Week 5 against the Raiders, Allen and Brown can produce.

Austin Pettis, WR, Rams (1.2 percent): Tavon Austin has been Sam Bradford's most-targeted and most-red-zone-targeted receiver so far in '13, but Austin played only 23 snaps Sunday (although he did see six targets) and has caught only 23 of his 40 targets, with an NFL-worst six drops. Pettis has found the end zone four times, including twice against the Jags last week, although he has yet to eclipse 78 yards receiving in a game this year. If you watch the Rams closely, you know Pettis is the first man Bradford looks at when he really needs a play. There are too many mouths to feed and the blocking, play calling and QB play in St. Louis are all too crummy for any of these guys to be startable in a 10-team league (and that includes Chris Givens and Jared Cook). But if I'm in a deeper league, I don't mind giving up a bench spot to Pettis.

Da'Rel Scott, RB, Giants (0.9 percent): As of this writing, it was unclear whether David Wilson (neck injury) would be able to play in Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bears. But I'm not counting on it, especially given that the Giants re-signed Scott on Monday evening. We're likely to see some kind of awful platoon between Scott and utterly cooked Brandon Jacobs. Although that almost assuredly won't go well, I feel it's my civic duty to alert the most desperate owners among us. Scott was on the "deep" list early this season but was removed after New York released him.

Ted Ginn, WR, Carolina Panthers (7.3 percent): Are you about done waiting for Brandon LaFell to turn into a consistent No. 2 wideout? So are the Panthers. LaFell had another mind-numbing mental error in Week 5, a drop on fourth-and-1 on the Arizona Cardinals' 15. It's not as though Ginn -- a slight speedster who's never been a reliable fantasy player -- is a candidate to play flanker for Cam Newton, but at least when they ask him to run straight down the field and catch the ball, he does it. He has caught only 11 passes in four games, but he has made gains of 32, 21, 47 and 40 yards, two of which went for TDs. As wild-flier acquisitions go, against a scuffling Vikings secondary, Ginn is decent.

Josh Freeman, QB, Vikings (4.0 percent): I'm almost completely alone in my belief that Freeman is going to be a good starting NFL QB again someday. (I'm not even sure the Vikings believe it.) The thing is, I've seen Freeman be exactly the player he should be: smart with the ball, athletic in the pocket and capable of making any throw. It's clear there's something wrong with the kid's noggin. There's too much smoke not to believe he was a problem child in Tampa. And I'm not sold Leslie Frazier is the coach who's going to shake Freeman awake. But Minny spent $3 million to sign Freeman, Christian Ponder is hurt and Matt Cassel is Matt Cassel. (Cassel will start in Week 6.) I've heard some folks lump Freeman into the Ponder category, but Ponder is his own particular kind of milquetoast awful. Freeman is a wild man. Should the Vikes rein him in, he could turn his career around.

Other solid waiver adds for deep-leaguers, about whom I've written in previous weeks: Terrelle Pryor, QB, Raiders (32.5 percent); Mike Goodson, RB, Jets (2.5 percent); Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers (6.3 percent); Khiry Robinson, RB, Saints (0.6 percent); Brandon Jacobs, RB, Giants (1.4 percent); Donnie Avery, WR, Chiefs (11.0 percent); Robert Woods, WR, Bills (10.3 percent); Jerome Simpson, WR, Vikings (4.3 percent); Charles Clay, TE, Dolphins (28.2 percent); Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions (34.3 percent).