The fantasy world is waiting to feel the aftershocks of the Maurice Jones-Drew foot injury. Early reports have him already ruled out for this upcoming week. The question now becomes: How long will he end up on the sideline? His backup is ready to roll, and is the top attraction on this week's waiver wire. We also have a couple of other running backs, a tight end, and a handful of wide receivers that we are going to be keeping our eyes on. There's something for everyone in this week's edition of Waiver Wire Wonders!
RB Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville
Cellar dwellars, unite! For the second week in a row, we've got a running back at the top of the waiver list ready for the taking. Early reports are that the injured Maurice Jones-Drew will not play this upcoming week, with the potential for a longer absence looming large over one of the league's top backs. Jennings is the clear backup in Jacksonville, so he will inherit the load, as he did last week filling in when Jones-Drew left the game. He tallied more than 100 yards in total offense while scoring a touchdown, proving that the Jaguars have confidence that he can be the full-time back. Jennings is without question the top player to pull off waivers this week and will step in to be a fantasy starter as long as Jones-Drew will be out.
RB La'Rod Stephens-Howling, Arizona
Just as quickly as the Cardinals moved away from William Powell, so are we in the waiver wire business. An early fumble put Powell in the sideline doghouse, and Stephens-Howling responded in a big way. He got hot, stayed hot, and the Cardinals went with him the entire game against Minnesota. When the game was over, the stat sheet had Stephens-Howling with 149 yards in total offense (104 on the ground), a strong day for a guy not expecting to get that much action. This is a fluid situation, and will likely be a "hot hand" type of scenario. We like the hot hand of Stephens-Howling and envision the Cardinals giving him another chance to hold onto the starting role this upcoming week.
TE Dustin Keller, New York Jets
The Jets can hardly keep any player healthy, especially anyone tasked with catching the ball from Mark Sanchez. While New York figures out what it has at wideout, it was an old friend at tight end that was the star against New England in Week 7. Seven catches for 93 yards gets Keller a mention in this week's story, and with not much else on the outside, we see Sanchez continuing to look for Keller in the coming weeks, making him a good bye week filler at tight end. Our friends at fleaflicker.com have him as the top addition at his position, grab him and enjoy.
On the Radar
RB Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh
Though the Steelers were looking to go with a committee approach in Rashard Mendenhall's absence this past week, it was Dwyer that was the go-to guy for Pittsburgh. He lit up Cincinnati for 122 yards on the ground, a great effort in his first start of the season. Dwyer's fantasy value is directly impacted by Mendenhall, with early reports indicating that he'll be back this week, pushing Dwyer to the fantasy back burner. Keep an eye on the situation. If Mendenhall is not ready to go, Dwyer is worth another spot start.
WR Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets
The Jets passing game isn't something that we are in a hurry to get involved in, but at the moment it is a source of untapped players that are likely on the waiver wire. Against New England, Kerley caught seven balls, good for 120 yards, but these aren't numbers that we'd expect against a defense that is halfway decent. Something like five catches for 50 yards is expected here. Nothing great, but not too bad for someone out on the waiver wire.
WR Santana Moss, Washington
With Pierre Garcon expected to be out at least 3-4 more weeks, Moss will be seeing more action come his direction. The goal line was his specialty in Week 7, as two of his three of his catches went for scores. He is averaging around 60 yards receiving in the last three games. That's nothing to write home about, but a consistent number that can help the fantasy owner who needs a bye week fill-in at the wideout position.
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland
After a disappointing return in Week 6 where he was held without a catch, Heyward-Bey responded with a strong Week 7 against Jacksonville. He caught four passes for 85 yards while drawing the start opposite Denarius Moore. A low-end fantasy option, we'd like to see some consistency before we give him a high recommendation. For now, we'll keep an eye on him to see if he stays healthy and involved in the offense.
WR Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville
Drawing the start in place of the injured Laurent Robinson, Shorts had a busy afternoon against Oakland. Eleven passes were sent his way, and he caught four of them for 79 yards and a score. The second year man was impressive in his first start. He is worth keeping an eye on should he continue to be a starter for the Jaguars.
WR Devin Hester, Chicago
The Alshon Jeffery injury is forcing the Bears to be good on their promise to get Hester the ball more often, or at least it gets him on the field in more offensive situations than he normally would. We are still skeptical that Hester will have an impact as a wide receiver, as his Monday night performance did nothing to remove those doubts. He is an explosive threat if the Bears can get him the ball. We'll keep an eye on him to see if Chicago can [ever] figure this out.
Deep and/or Dynasty Only
WR Stephen Hill, New York Jets
The Jets wide receiving corps is extremely thin, so we're dipping down to third string on the depth chart for those that are in desperate need at the position. Jeremy Kerley is the preferred option, but Hill is seeing a fair amount of playing time. Four catches for 55 yards this past week against New England is right about where his expected weekly numbers will end up going forward.
WR Ryan Broyles, Detroit
Nate Burleson was carted to the locker room after hurting his knee on Monday night in Chicago, opening the door for Broyles to haul in his first NFL pass. Working out of the slot, the NCAA's leading receiver showed the moves that impressed the Lions enough to select him in the second round of this year's draft. The Lions are a prolific passing offense, and the loss of Burleson would translate into more playing time for Broyles. Our friends at fleaflicker.com have him just outside the top five at his position, a number that is sure to rise this week.
Doug Coutts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .