One draft-day strategy fantasy owners employed was waiting on the second starting running back (or third in leagues with flex spots) in the hopes that serviceable running backs would appear on the waiver wire due to injuries to starting running backs. Six weeks into the season backup running backs like Earnest Graham, Delone Carter, and DeMarco Murray have been given starting jobs due to injuries and are all serviceable pick ups.
Pickups of the Week
DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys (3.3 percent)
Week 6 stats: 10 carries, 32 yards, 1 rec, 7 yards
Felix Jones' high ankle sprain is good news for Murray as Jones will be out at least a couple weeks. Murray didn't impress much against a below-average Patriots run defense but his next two opponents, the St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles, rank dead last against the run.
Greg Little, WR, Browns (7.9 percent)
Week 5 stats: 6 rec, 57 yards, 8 Targets
Week 6 stats: 6 rec, 72 yards, 12 Targets
Little has led the Browns in receiving yards the last two games and over that span Colt McCoy has targeted him 20 times, more than any other Browns wide receiver. Little was promoted to the starting lineup last last week and can be expected to see a high amount of targets going forward.
Danario Alexander, WR, Rams (4.3 percent in ESPN standard 10-Man Leagues)
Week 6 stats: 6 rec, 91 yards, 10 Targets
Mike Sims-Walker has played his way out of the starting lineup, and Alexander stands as the player most likely to benefit. He has led the Rams in receiving yards two straight weeks now and has 18 targets in his last two games. With the Rams as bad as they are, Alexander will continue to see a high number of targets as the Rams play catch-up.
Jake Ballard, TE, Giants (2.0 percent)
Week 4 stats: 3 rec, 33 yards, 4 Targets, 1 TD
Week 5 stats: 3 rec, 72 yards, 4 Targets, 1 TD
Week 6 stats: 5 rec, 81 yards, 5 Targets
It's hard to recommend Ballard when there are so many other targets Eli Manning has available to throw to, which is why Ballard can't be expected to be consistent anytime soon. However, that's three straight productive weeks and which is at least good enough to replace bye-week tight ends.
Delone Carter, RB, Colts (33.7 percent)
Week 6 stats: 14 carries, 45 yards
Sure, Carter did not play particularly well against an average Cincinnati run defense, but Donald Brown only ran five times so Carter should continue to see the lion's share of the carries. The Colts play the Saints next week, who just gave up 109 rushing yards to Earnest Graham.
How is He Still Available, Guys from Previous Columns
Jackie Battle, RB, Chiefs (25.8 percent)
Week 5 stats: 19 carries, 119 yards, 2 rec, 21 yards
There is no good reason why Battle should not be owned in every league. At 6'2 and 238 pounds, Battle should repeat his Indianapolis performance against Oakland next week. Thomas Jones is a sad old man and shouldn't see more than 10 carries if Todd Haley knows what's right for the team.
Earnest Graham, RB, Buccaneers (66.1 percent)
Week 6 stats: 17 carries, 109 yards, 2 rec, 22 yards
LeGarrett Blount's injury could keep him out for a few more weeks, which means Graham should be useful for at least two more games, possibly more if he can produce like he did against New Orleans.
Montario Hardesty, RB, Browns (15.3 percent)
Week 6 stats: 11 carries, 35 yards, 2 rec, 18 yards
The most interesting storyline not involving JIm Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh has to go to Peyton Hillis. The Browns initially said Hillis was benched due to poor play only to change the story and say Hillis was benched because he pulled his hamstring. After sitting out the 2nd and 3rd quarters with what was thought to be a relatively serious injury, Hillis then returned in the fourth quarter for a couple of plays. With Hillis somewhat injured and also freaking out about his contract, Hardesty could find himself with the starting job quite soon.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders (51.3 percent)
Week 4 stats: 4 rec, 115 yards, 4 Targets
Week 5 stats: 7 rec, 99 yards, 12 Targets, 1 TD
Week 6 stats: 6 rec, 82 yards, 9 Targets
That makes two weeks in a row that Heyward-Bey has led the team in targets and yards, which means that at least one of he starting wide receiver positions in Oakland has been cleared up.
Tim Tebow, QB, Broncos (40.1 percent)
Week 5 stats: 4 for 10, 73 yards, 1 TD, 6 carries, 38 yards, 1 TD
Tebow started the last three games of the 2010 season and scored 22, 24 and 27 points in standard scoring leagues (4-pt QB touchdowns) and now has a week under his belt with the first team. Miami is also facing a short week and their pass-defense is nothing to be afraid of.
You're Dead to Me, Kinda
Players who you might not necessarily have to drop, but should if there are more worthy waiver wire prospects available. For example,
I'm not saying you should drop Joseph Addai, but if a player like Jackie Battle is available, I say you do it.
In no particular order Ben Tate, Percy Harvin, Mike WIlliams, Ryan Grant, Joseph Addai, Mike Tolbert, Robert Meachem, Lance Moore, Pierre Thomas, Mark Sanchez, Knowshon Moreno, Matt Hasselbeck, Marcedes Lewis, Johnny Knox, Roy Williams, Kevin Kolb, Chad Ochocinco, Malcom Floyd, Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster, Danny Woodhead, Kenny Britt, Jamaal Charles, Eddie Royal, Danny Amendola, C.J. Spiller, Donald Driver, Matt Cassel, Peyton Manning, Austin Collie, Kellen Winslow, Lee Evans, Donovan McNabb, Sam Bradford, Braylon Edwards, Hines Ward (forever and always), Ricky Williams, Zach Miller, Cadillac Williams, Jerome Harrison, and Devin Hester.
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