As many have noticed by now, Week 8 was not the best week for fantasy football explosions, but that didn’t stop us from helping you select a few gems for last week’s action.
Jon Kitna blew the ceiling off Dallas with over 370 yards and a touchdown. True, his four interceptions nullified much of his success, but we suggest forgiveness in his direction, as three of his four picks were extremely arguably at the fault of his receivers.
Matt Cassel was another weak play, as the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills combined for just 23 points in what was expected to be an offensive explosion.
On the bright side, LeGarrette Blount destroyed the Arizona Cardinals for 120 rushing yards and two scores, including an impressive gallop up the middle to help ice the game.
The NFL rarely has two down weeks in a row, so look for several big fantasy performances in Week 9.
With that said, we’re taking a jump in our waiver wire from a minimum availability of 51 percent to 70 percent in terms of available players. We know deeper leagues are a dime a dozen these days, and the regular fodder that is hanging around in 50-69 percent of leagues just hasn’t been cutting it.
It’s time to dig deep and look past Week 9. Read on for some guys that might not crush it for you right away, but could see solid success in the coming weeks:
Jason Campbell, QB, Oakland Raiders (Available in 90% of all standard Yahoo! fantasy football leagues)
Let it be known that once Bruce Gradkowski is 100 percent ready to go, he is supposedly (per head coach Tom Cable) the Raiders’ starting quarterback. However, it’s starting to get real tough to ignore the progress Campbell has made.
The former Redskins quarterback has put up over 500 yards passing and four touchdowns (with no picks) in the last two weeks (both wins). If he gets the start again against a beatable Kansas City pass defense, he’ll be hard to sit.
Jon Kitna, QB, Dallas Cowboys (73%)
We vouched for Kitna last week and it didn’t really work out as planned, but a closer look shows that was more on his receivers than Kitna. The former backup tossed four picks in Week 8, but three of those four picks came off the hands of his receivers, with at least two coming when Dallas was marching.
Outside of that, Kitna continued to prove his worth, as he topped 370 yards and a touchdown. Green Bay would normally be a scary matchup in Week 9, but since we know Dallas can’t run the ball, you know Kitna will have some numbers with all the talent he has at receiver.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings (96%)
Gerhart only ran the ball twice (for zero yards) in Week 8, but has seen his role increase in previous weeks, and exploded onto the scene as a third down receiver against the New England Patriots, hauling in five catches for 67 yards.
If he can nail down that old Chester Taylor role, his value could sky rocket on a team that has been severely missing that type of production out of the backup tailback. He’s not a stud yet, but it’s time to start monitoring Gerhart; especially with a date at home against a bad Arizona Cardinals run defense.
Nate Burleson, WR, Detroit Lions (91%)
After scoring a touchdown in two straight games, Burleson emerged from his bye week with Matthew Stafford back under center, and immediately caught seven passes for just under 50 yards.
We were extremely down on Burleson’s potential with Stafford out, but now that he’s back, we’ll be looking for Burleson to score or rack up catches every week. With opponents keying in on Calvin Johnson, look for Stafford to take advantage and get the ball to Burleson more often.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Oakland Raiders (95%)
No, we can’t believe it either, but Heyward-Bey is finally starting to resemble an NFL wide receiver. After the best game of his young career saw him hauling in five catches for 105 yards and a touchdown, it might be time to start paying attention to the would-be bust.
He’s still inconsistent and fairly unreliable, but he’s also already doubled his catches and yards from 2009. That, and he has a great matchup with the Chiefs in Week 9. He’s still a risky WR3 play, but with Louis Murphy down, he’s worth a shot going forward.
Bernard Berrian, WR, Minnesota Vikings (93%)
Berrian has just seven total receptions on the season, but if the Vikings are ever going to take flight in 2010, that should change, starting in Week 9. He gets a favorable matchup with the Arizona Cardinals coming to town this week, and with the release of Randy Moss, he’s likely right back in the starting lineup.
He’s not really worth WR3 status yet, but Brett Favre looked much better and more accurate last week, so there is room for optimism.
Benjamin Watson, TE, Cleveland Browns (71%)
Watson didn’t do much in his contest against the New Orleans Saints before his bye week, but that was due mostly to a defensive battle and a run-oriented game plan.
However, with a reunion with his former team in Week 9 (Patriots), Watson could get his number called like he had been in recent weeks. While he’s no lock to put up big numbers this week, he had been fairly reliable before the Saints game, and could be roster worthy going forward.
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