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The NFL, always a dangerous place, is proving to be particularly treacherous this season. The injury report runs deep, and many fantasy owners are in a panic. Never fear. Unless your roster stars Jamaal Charles, Miles Austin and Arian Foster, you are not alone. (If it does, enjoy your offseason and better luck next year.)
The fantasy waters may look cloudy, but these are the moments when fantasy champions are made. The time to out-shrewd and out-persevere your fellow fantasy owners begins now. DO YOU HEAR ME? No? Drop and give me five spoonfuls of leftover guac from Sunday and a shot of tequila to wash it down. OK, let's get to work.
Pick up: Rex Grossman, Washington, QB
I suggested picking up Grossman in this space last week, yet he's still a free agent in a majority of leagues. Yes, he reminded us of the Grossman formerly known as "Bad Rex" with his two picks Sunday. But he still threw for a couple of touchdowns and close to 300 yards (291 to be exact), a mighty competent fantasy day. It's hard for some to believe, but the 2011 Redskins are a balanced team with a well-oiled offense. Grossman has been adept at utilizing his weapons (especially TE/WR hybrid Fred Davis) and racking up good yardage along the way.
Pick up: David Nelson, Buffalo, WR
Nelson, part of the self-proclaimed "no-name" Bills receiving corps, is fast becoming a favorite target of Ryan Fitzpatrick. On Sunday, Nelson was targeted 13 times, following up on the six targets he received in Week 1. He wound up with 10 catches, 83 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Unlike some other quick fixes this week, Nelson will likely be a consistent fantasy commodity.
Pick up: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo, QB
What's not to like about seven touchdown passes in two weeks? With Nelson's emergence as an additional threat and the very dangerous Stevie Johnson, Fitzpatrick has a legitimate arsenal. He faces a tough test against the Patriots next week, but is worth at least stashing for the big Bills/Bengals matchup of Week 4. Also, did you know Fitzpatrick went to Harvard? It's a little-known fact never mentioned by announcing teams.
Pick up: A.J. Green, Cincinnati, WR
The Bengals, arguably the most depressing football team in the league, have a silver lining in rookie wide receiver Green. He was targeted 13 times in Sunday's loss to Denver, and he scored a touchdown for the second consecutive game. Green is already building a special connection with his quarterback and fellow sliver of hope, Andy Dalton. The Bengals host the 49ers this week, and after the Niners' epic secondary collapse against the Cowboys, Green should be salivating in anticipation of this matchup.
Pick up: Jesse Holley, Dallas, WR
Holley, who made the squad via the reality show "4th And Long" (no, I didn't watch it, either), came from out of nowhere to torch the 49ers with three catches for 96 yards, helping to seal the Cowboys' overtime victory. With early reports suggesting Miles Austin is out until after the Week 5 bye with a reaggravated hamstring strain, look for Holley to get plenty of opportunities as secondaries focus heavily on Dez Bryant. Jason Garrett may also run a lot more three-wide-receiver sets than usual in Austin's absence. Holley is worth a shot as a spot guy for a couple of weeks.
Pick up: Mike Sims-Walker, St. Louis, WR
With Danny Amendola sidelined with a dislocated shoulder, Sims-Walker stepped up and borrowed the Rams' leading receiver role Monday night. A reliable target, he hauled in six catches for 92 yards in the loss to the Giants. Sims-Walker may not give you MVP numbers every week, but he's the least likely Rams receiver to leave you with a goose egg at this point. The more electrifying Danario Alexander will likely be a popular waiver add this week, so swoop in and make the smarter move: Sims-Walker.
Pick up: Daniel Thomas, Miami, RB
Thomas had an explosive rookie debut Sunday with 107 yards on 18 carries. He was also in the game for 33 plays (compared to Reggie Bush's 25). While Thomas may not have the workload edge every week, he'll surely be an integral part of the Fins' offense moving forward. Pay attention to this guy.
Don't pick up: Thomas Jones/Dexter McCluster, Kansas City, RBs
The week's most devastating injury, a torn ACL for Charles, leaves many fantasy owners reeling. Given the Chiefs' traditional strong running game, choosing between Jones and McCluster may simply seem like a toss-up. But avoid them both. The Chiefs have no passing attack to help open up the running game. Plus, it's hard to be stellar on the ground when you're down 30 by halftime every game. McCluster is speedy, but averages a fumble a game, and Jones just doesn't have the speed or force to make any impact at this point. Rise above the desperation and let someone else grab these guys.
Trade: Knowshon Moreno, Denver, RB
Moreno has been one of the most overhyped running backs in fantasy football history. During his two-plus years in the league, he has yet to eclipse 1,000 yards, is a nonfactor as a receiver and perennially suffers from some type of nagging injury. Willis McGahee, already the goal-line back, looked like a legitimate every-down guy Sunday, running hard to 101 yards and a touchdown as a fill-in in for Moreno and his sore hamstring. Even with McGahee likely upping his carries, Moreno still maintains name value for some reason. You'd be wise to float him on the market before the secret gets out.
Drop: C.J. Spiller, Buffalo, RB
The Bills are Fred Jackson's team now. Jackson looked very much the every-down back this past week, with 15 carries, 117 yards and two touchdowns. Spiller ran effectively during his four carries. Yes, four carries. Unless you're in a dynasty league or mired in a true running back conundrum, there's no point of wasting a roster spot on the seldom-used Spiller at this point.
I'll be back Friday at 3 p.m. to chat with some start-and-sit advice. Hope you'll join me then. In the meantime, if you have any waiver questions not covered here, please ask away.