Most weeks, a key injury or breakout game leads to a running back being the key waiver pickup of the week. However, with Miles Austin supposedly out for 2-4 weeks, our top waiver add happens to come at the wide receiver position. Laurent Robinson had five catches and a TD for the second consecutive week, and he’s primed to do serious damage for as long as Austin is out. The Cowboys’ next two games on the schedule come against the Bills and Redskins, and if Austin still isn’t ready to return, Robinson has some sick matchups against Miami and Arizona. Take advantage of that and grab him off waivers immediately.
Andy Dalton (36% Yahoo!). A three-touchdown day against a solid Tennessee defense has Dalton on a roll, and he’s on pace for about 3,400 passing yards, 24 TDs and only 14 INTs. Of course, with four games total against the Steelers and Ravens, that pace is likely to slow just a bit. Still, he has the Rams and Cardinals on tap in Weeks 15 and 16 (“Playoffs?!?”), so he could have title-winning performances if your starter goes down between now and then.
Christian Ponder (16% Yahoo!). Ponder has been solid in his first two starts, though most of the heavy lifting has been done by Adrian Peterson. However, Peterson is starting to get more involved in the passing attack, and that can only help the rookie. He’s shown promise with his legs as well, and one could certainly imagine him scoring a couple times on the ground before the season in through. He has four straight favorable matchups coming up; pick him up before he gets hot.
Roy Helu (32% Yahoo!). With Tim Hightower’s injury, Ryan Torain was the logical choice to step up and lead the Redskins’ rushing attack over the second half. Which, of course, means Mike Shenanihan went with the other guy. Torain was effectively benched before the game even started, leaving Helu to 41 rushing yards (on 10 carries) with 14 receptions and 105 yards through the air. So yeah, pick up Helu, and have Tashard Choice (6% Yahoo!) on speed dial.
Maurice Morris (28% Yahoo!). There’s still no timetable on Jahvid Best, and that scares me to the point where I think we may not see him again this year. That puts Morris, who had 65 yards and a TD in his last action, in the driver’s seat. He has a great upcoming matchup in Week 11 against the Panthers after facing the Bears this week. Deep leaguers should also check on Keiland Williams (3% Yahoo!) and new signee Kevin Smith (0% Yahoo!, I assume).
Chris Ogbonnaya (28% Yahoo!). He certainly wasn’t impressive this week, averaging 2.2 yards per carry against the Texans. However, you can’t ignore anyone slated to start at running back in the NFL, and Ogbonnaya should remain the starter in Week 10 with Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty still out. That brings up a fantastic matchup against the Rams, who have been terrible against the run despite their great performance last week.
If desperate: Marion Barber (13%), Donald Brown (6%), Kregg Lumpkin (3%), Chris Ivory (2%).
Laurent Robinson (15% Yahoo!). Discussed above.
Jacoby Ford (20% Yahoo!). The Raiders decided to shake up the wide receiver depth chart heading into this game. Former No. 1 option Darrius Heyward-Bey barely got off the bench in this game, while Ford started and managed five catches for 105 yards and a TD (as well as 39 rushing yards). The door is wide open for anyone to become Carson Palmer’s favorite target, and Ford certainly looks like he took an early lead.
David Nelson (39% Yahoo!). The return of Donald Jones has pushed Nelson back into the No. 3 role, and that’s actually a great thing. Nelson has three TDs, all coming in the six games that featured a healthy Jones. He has a couple easy matchups in the next two weeks (Dallas, Miami) and then two easy matchups in the playoffs (Miami, Denver). He could very well have TDs in three of those four contests.
Earl Bennett (9% Yahoo!). Bennett slipped right back into his role as Jay Cutler’s favorite target — his 95 yards on Monday night were over double the amount of the Bears’ next best receiver. Five catches, 95 yards and a TD against the elite Eagles secondary? That’s something that should make you sit up and take notice.
Josh Cribbs (16% Yahoo!). A woozy Mohamed Massaquoi pressed Cribbs into extended action as a receiver for the second straight week, and he put up his second straight 50-yard, one-TD day as a result. I seriously doubt Massaquoi plays the Browns’ next game, and that could lead to another double-digt fantasy performance for Cribbs in a favorable matchup against the Rams. He’s struggled early, but Greg Little (17% Yahoo!) has talent; be patient.
If desperate: Damian Williams (2%), Austin Pettis (0%).
Jake Ballard (33% Yahoo!). He was completely off the radar coming into the 2011 season, so you can be forgiven if you didn’t know his name in September. However, that excuse doesn’t fly at this point. Ballard is quickly becoming a key part of the Giants passing game, and after catching four passes for 67 yards and a TD this week, he has 308 yards and three TDs in his last five games, TE1 type numbers. Stop doubting and pick him up.
San Diego Chargers (41% Yahoo!). Carson Palmer has six interceptions in six quarters of play, and now he has just three days to prepare for the start of the second half Thursday night slate of games. That makes the Chargers a primo play this week.
St. Louis Rams (6% Yahoo!). The Rams have gone a little Beast Mode lately, beating up the Saints two weeks ago before playing well in a loss to the Cardinals last week. A Week 10 matchup against an awful Browns offense promises plentiful fantasy bounty.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3% Yahoo!). The Jaguars have been a solid defensive team lately, and they now are fresh off a bye and ready to take their turn at beating up the 0-9 Colts. As the least owned defense in fantasy, you at least know they should be available to help you play matchups this week.