By: Charlie Miller | 10/12/10, 5:00 AM EDT
By Matt Schauf
As we get deeper into the season, waiver claims tend to lean more heavily toward injury reactions than simply emergent players. Seeing as how Week 5 presented some particularly impactful injury situations, I figured I’d change up the format a bit this week and react.
Joseph Addai, RB, Colts
The fact that he finished Week 5 padless on the sidelines had to worry plenty of Addai’s fantasy owners, but the running back at least said on Monday that he thinks he’ll be all right. We can never fully trust such proclamations, of course, which suddenly makes Mike Hart a relevant character.
Hart is a limited runner with a career 3-yard rushing average, but he scored the lone touchdown in Sunday’s victory over the Chiefs, and we all know that playing for the Colts creates scoring opportunities for anyone on the field. With Donald Brown inactive the past two weeks and Addai at least iffy at this point, Hart is worth claiming in deeper fantasy leagues. Of course, if one or both of the backs typically ahead of him on the depth chart prove fine for Sunday, Hart isn’t a player worth saving.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers – hamstring injury plus knee scope
Green Bay’s big-play tight end will apparently miss at least three weeks, and who knows how much more. Not long after he went down on Sunday, backup Donald Lee suffered a chest injury that is expected to cost him two weeks or so as well. The pair of injuries obviously creates opportunities for rookie third tight end Andrew Quarless, but how many fantasy owners want to trust a position to a first-year player who has been third on his own team’s depth chart to date? Quarless did draw six targets and caught four balls on Sunday, but he had seen just one target through four games to that point.
In the same game, however, James Jones garnered eight targets, his largest total of the season so far and tied for the team high in the game. With the tight ends out and Greg Jennings playing lackluster ball so far, there should be room for Jones to produce a bit more. At the least, he should be added by owners looking to fill a roster spot with an upside receiver. Of course, his immediate relevance figures to be affected by Aaron Rodgers’ status following his Week 5 concussion.
Digging a little deeper, Jordy Nelson drew some solid attention in training camp as a potential possession receiver and could find some more work under present conditions. Deeper leagues should keep an eye on him and perhaps make a preemptive claim.
Mark Clayton, WR, Rams – done for the year with a torn patellar tendon
Who would have guessed that the fantasy world would be rocked come Week 5 by an injury to Clayton, heretofore pretty much a first-round bust? His injury, though, takes away the guy who led the Rams in targets by 10 through four games.
In his absence, Danny Amendola drew an absurd 19 targets against the Lions, catching 12. That makes him an obvious add in any point-per-reception league in which he’s still available. Of course, a receiving average that looks more like Jamaal Charles’ rushing rate displays Amendola’s limitations. That should create opportunities for players such as Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson and Mardy Gilyard – the latter two of whom drew six targets on Sunday.
Now, everything in St. Louis figures to be inconsistent at best, but Robinson and Gibson make for decent bench options in PPR leagues, in that order. Neither is going to become a weekly starter, but each could get into the mix. Gilyard is your man in a deep league in which you’re simply looking for a wild card. Return duties add another area for potential big plays.
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles – rib cartilage
Vick didn’t get hurt in Week 5, but two significant developments affect his situation. First, word has come out that Vick appears likely to miss at least one more week. Some probably already expected as much, including RapidDraft Pro and friend Joe Namath, who said last week that a week of rest isn’t enough to heal such an injury. The other development, of course, was Kevin Kolb playing pretty well Sunday night at San Francisco.
Kolb should be added in most leagues this week and is a real starting option against the Falcons in Week 6. Vick, of course, is worth keeping around because we don’t yet know who will be the starter upon his return.
Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns – thigh
Hillis looked gimpy despite playing on Sunday and producing yet another touchdown. The smart money would seem to be on him playing this week against Pittsburgh, but it would also have to be against him or any other Brown producing worthwhile fantasy numbers.
Even if he doesn’t miss this week’s game, though, the quad strain will be an injury worth watching. Hillis already aggravated it in a game once, and if he were to do anything more to it this week, he could set Jerome Harrison up for significant use against the Saints in Week 7. Harrison has likely hit the waiver wire in plenty of leagues lately.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys – ankle
Bryant played in Week 5 after leaving temporarily with an ankle injury, but he had just one second-half catch and could still be limited in Week 6. He seems likely to play, which keeps this from being a big deal, but it’s another reason to go ahead and claim Roy Williams in the few leagues in which he’s still available.
Matt Schauf is the senior football writer for RapidDraft.com. Challenge him and 10 other Fantasy Pros in free fantasy football there every week.
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