With Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin not expected to play in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions due to an ankle injury, the time for desperation and depression has come for fantasy football owners.
The former Florida Gators star had been nothing short of sensational thus far, leading the NFL with 62 receptions and sitting 10th with 677 yards coming into Week 10. Those stats are especially impressive considering the abject failure of Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in recent weeks.
Stuck without Harvin on Sunday, fantasy owners are likely even more despondent after taking a look at the dearth of talent on the waiver wire. It seems that we've reached a point in the season where almost every consistently solid receiver has been scooped up, leaving a trip to the scrap heap upcoming for desperate owners.
Luckily, there are a few guys who will get opportunities due to injury that could step up. While it's not an ideal scenario to be replacing someone like Harvin, his injury should last just one or two weeks.
With that in mind, here is a look at a few guys available in most leagues that could have solid games in place of the Minnesota star.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
He's listed as questionable on the team's official injury report (per CBS Sports), but it was first reported by Mike Bires of The Beaver County Times that the Pittsburgh Steelers do not expect Antonio Brown to play on Monday night:
Mike Tomlin says that as of today, WR Antonio Brown is doubtful for next game vs. KC. That all but means he won't play.— Mike Bires (@mikebires) November 6, 2012
That leaves an infinite amount of possibilities for Emmanuel Sanders, who stands to get a ton of work in Brown's place. It's likely that the third-year receiver will handle both return duties and be the second outside flanker with Mike Wallace.
With a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs on tap, Sanders should have a solid game fantasy-wise. Chiefs corner Brandon Flowers will stick to covering Wallace for the most part, leaving the former SMU star to reap the rewards for his owners.
Still, it's impossible to ignore how Pittsburgh's conservative offense could hurt his value. If Sanders gets into the end zone, he'll be a top-20 guy. But if not, he's likely to settle somewhere in the six-to-eight point range.
Fantasy Projection: 6 REC, 60 YDS, 1 TD
Ryan Broyles (WR, Detroit Lions)
Like Sanders, Ryan Broyles will see his fantasy value take a nice uptick this week due to injuries.
Both of Detroit's starting flankers, Calvin Johnson and Titus Young, are listed on the injury report as questionable with knee injuries. While it stands to reason that both will be in the lineup, Johnson and Young could each be hampered performance-wise.
That's especially true for Young, who struggled mightily in last week's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, grabbing just two receptions for 20 yards.
Broyles, meanwhile, took advantage of his extra targets and had six catches for 52 yards as an underneath target for Matthew Stafford.
The Lions face off against the Vikings on Sunday, a team that has seen its struggles on defense mount as the season has progressed. Broyles certainly won't blow up for 150 yards and two scores or anything, but he should be a great option in PPR leagues or for owners who are desperate after Harvin's injury.
Fantasy Projection: 6 REC, 80 YDS
Danny Amendola (WR, St. Louis Rams)
While injuries to starters leave Broyles and Sanders as interesting fantasy options, it's a return from a dislocated shoulder that brings Danny Amendola back to fantasy relevance.
The early-season star had sat out the past four weeks (three games) after injuring his shoulder against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5. Unfortunately, Amendola's return won't be much of a friendly one, as the St. Louis Rams hit the road to play the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Coming into Week 10, the 49ers have allowed just two passing touchdowns to opposing wide receivers all season, neither of which was more than 10 yards. Playing against San Francisco's secondary (and with Sam Bradford as his quarterback) obviously limits Amendola's potential for a big return.
However, the waiver wire simply isn't friendly right now for pickups. In the unfortunate scenario that Broyles and Sanders are gone, it's likely that the Rams wide receiver is the best available guy in your league.
Still, if you need a mere five or six points or are in a PPR league, you could do a whole lot worse than Amendola.
Fantasy Projection: 5 REC, 55 YDS