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Working the Wire: Injury Means Opportunity

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

Week 7 marked the most significant week this season as far as injuries go. Top fantasy stars like Doug Martin, Arian Foster and Reggie Wayne suffered injuries that could keep them out multiple weeks. The silver lining is that a number of players will be available this week to grab off your waiver wire. At this point in the season there is little reason to save your FAAB, especially if you have a losing record. Don't be afraid to blow all of your budget this week and remember there are six teams on bye.

QUARTERBACK

Primary Targets

Andy Dalton, CIN -
Dalton put together his second straight 300-yard game and has six touchdowns to only one interception over those two games. His YPA is up to a respectable 7.7 for the season, an increase of almost a full yard from a year ago. Dalton has a ton of weapons at his disposal past A.J. Green as Marvin Jones has emerged, and there are two serviceable tight ends as well. This week's matchup isn't easy against the Jets, but there will be favorable spots to use him on the rest of the schedule. FAAB: $8-$12

Secondary Targets

Josh McCown, CHI -
McCown turned in a respectable performance in relief of Jay Cutler Sunday, albeit against a porous defense in the Redskins. Cutler is expected to miss at least the next four weeks, which gives the starting gig to McCown for the next month. McCown doesn't have a ton of upside, but his appeal is based on the receiving duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Bears defense has allowed a lot of points and just lost one of its best players in Lance Briggs. That should mean McCown will be attempting plenty of passes. FAAB: $4-$8

RUNNING BACK

Primary Targets

Mike James, TB -
James is likely the top player to target this week with Doug Martin expected to miss multiple weeks and possibly the whole season. James is a rookie out of Miami who the Buccaneers selected in the sixth round of this year's draft. He ran a 4.53 40 time at the Combine (the same time by Giovani Bernard) and should get plenty of touches with Martin out. He has some size and while Brian Leonard will get some touches, Tampa went with James in a short-yard situation, meaning he should get the goal-line work. Expect some aggressive bidding here, and Leonard is worth a buck or two in deeper formats. FAAB: $40-$60

Chris Ivory, NYJ -
We may have seen the changing of the guard in New York on Sunday after Ivory got 34 carries to Bilal Powell's three. Ivory finished with 104 rushing yards. Ivory should get the majority of carries and Rex Ryan has always believed in "ground-and-pound." Ivory can catch passes out of the backfield as well, but Powell's presence is why I slightly prefer Mike James to Ivory. FAAB: $35-$50

Secondary Targets

Andre Brown, NYG -
Brown appears to be on track to return to the field Week 10, the earliest he can do so. He's been practicing and has advanced from straight line running to doing some cuts. It's unclear when exactly David Wilson will be back and how the Giants will divide the touches once both are back. The problem with Brown is you'll likely have to pick him up soon if you want to get him. That means he's going to be a dead spot on your roster for at least a week or two, which is tough with so many teams hitting their bye week. Still, there's some upside here if he ends up with the lion's share of carries starting Week 10. FAAB: $6-$10

Roy Helu, WAS -
I talked about Helu a few weeks ago after he got 15 touches against the Raiders. It had to be incredibly maddening for Alfred Morris owners to watch Helu vulture away three touchdowns, but it's apparent that Helu has carved out a role in the Washington offense. This week he goes up against a stout run defense in the Broncos but should still get his touches spelling Alfred Morris. FAAB: $6-$10

Hail Mary

Ray Graham, HOU -
Who? The running back situation in Houston is a mess with Arian Foster dealing with a hamstring issue and Ben Tate breaking four ribs. Cierre Wood would have been an interesting target, but he was inactive for the game and released Monday for violating team rules. That could put Graham, who is on the practice squad, on the fantasy radar. The 39-year-old Greg Jones has limited upside and is more of a fullback, so the undrafted free agent out of Pitt could see some action. The Texans are on a bye this week so keep track of the health status of everyone the next two weeks. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

Fozzy Whittaker, CLE -
Whittaker started the season with the Chargers and was claimed by the Browns to provide some depth after being released at the end of September. Whittaker is a second-year player who spent time with the Cardinals last season before signing with the Chargers. He has more value in leagues that count return yards as he's been handling those duties for the Browns. Keep an eye on him to see if he gets more touches in the upcoming weeks. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

WIDE RECEIVER

Primary Targets

Harry Douglas, ATL -
I really expected Matt Ryan's fantasy value to take a hit with his two top wide receivers, out but Douglas stepped in with a 149-yard day with a score. Douglas knows the offense, and even when Roddy White returns will have value as the No. 2 wide receiver. The Falcons may also throw the towel in at some point and try to get Roddy White completely healthy, leaving Douglas as the prime wide receiver. FAAB: $20-$25

Darrius Heyward-Bey, IND -
Heyward-Bey has been something of a disappointment this far, finally scoring his first touchdown Sunday night. His season has been plagued by drops, but he will have every opportunity to atone with Reggie Wayne out for the season. Sooner or later it's likely the Colts give up the run and put the ball in the hands of their best player, Andrew Luck. Heyward-Bey should be around double-digit targets each week. FAAB: $20-$25

Secondary Targets

Mike Brown, JAC -
While Ace Sanders got some sleeper buzz during preseason it's Brown who has emerged as the third option after Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. He finished Sunday's contest with five catches on eight targets for 120 yards. The targets were the most encouraging sign, and he'll face softer coverage from opposing defenses. Throw in that the Jaguars will be behind most of the season and Brown has appeal in deeper formats. FAAB: $4-$8

Hail Mary

Cole Beasley, DAL -
Beasley has worked his way into the Dallas passing attack as an effective slot player, working between Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. There's an argument that Beasley has more fantasy value than Miles Austin, who hasn't recorded a catch in the last two games. Meanwhile, Beasley has seen his targets rise (4, 5 7) the last three games, which he's turned into 14 catches for 144 yards. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

TIGHT END

Primary Targets

Jordan Reed, WAS -
Reed is owned in roughly less than half off all fantasy leagues and will be one of the more sought after players this week. Coming off a decent Week 6 where he had four catches for 58 yards, Jordan had a monster game against the Bears with nine catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. Reed is on the smaller side for a tight end at 225, but he has better speed and quickness than the average tight end. It looks like he will be a big part of the Redskins passing attack, and Robert Griffin should be throwing a lot given the lack of a defense in Washington. Reed has been a little banged up, so keep an eye on the injury report this week for an update. FAAB: $15-$20

Secondary Target

Andrew Quarless, GB -
Jermichael Finley likely will miss multiple weeks with a neck injury. Whatever time Finley misses will give Quarless a huge fantasy boost in one of the league's best passing offenses. In Finley's place Sunday, Quarless finished with three catches for 21 yards on four targets. Watch for reports or timetables for Finley this week. FAAB: $6-$12