Week 5: Pickups of the Week
Even though Cassel is coming off his best performance of this young season, he's not an easy sell. His team has been awful and he deserves to shoulder much of the blame. He was absolutely awful through his team's first two games and in spite of his relative success in Weeks 3 and 4, he's still averaging just 172 passing yards per game. Against the Chargers, he did start to work the vertical passing game, which is promising. Owners who've lost their quarterback to the bye week have reason to hope Cassel will build on that success against the Colts, who've been soft on opposing QBs and may have essentially thrown in the towel following their heartbreaking Week 3 loss to the Steelers.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
Rashard Mendenhall owners are waiting with baited breath to find out the severity of his hamstring injury. While they wait, take a trip to your local waiver wire and grab Isaac Redman, who on the season is averaging 4.9 yards per carry to Mendenhall's 3. Redman has been getting more carries lately and has looked good handling a more significant role. He's got the jump on Mewelde Moore and would step into the number one spot if Mendenhall can't go in Week 5. Bear in mind, though, that the Steelers face a tough test against the Titans' staunch run defense this week.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
The Patriots departed from the 400-passing yard script last week and decided instead to run the ball down the Raiders' throats. BenJarvis Green-Ellis got the bulk of the work, rushing 16 times for 75 yards and a score, but it was Ridley who had the most impressive performance. The rookie out of LSU gained 97 yards and a TD on 10 carries and really wore down the Oakland defenders in the second half with his hard-nosed running. Ridley will still have to battle Danny Woodhead (who sat out most of the game with an apparent ankle injury) and Green-Ellis for snaps, but his role has been growing weekly and this latest performance should be enough to move him up a few notches in the Patriots' RB hierarchy.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
What better time to add a player than right before his bye week? And of course there's no surer bet than a Washington running back, right?
Torain obviously comes with all sorts of red flags (injury risk, lack of use, plays for Mike Shanahan) and we list him here more out of grim fascination than as a genuine fantasy recommendation. Heading into Sunday, last year's starter had failed to impress in training camp and had fallen behind both Hightower and Helu on the depth chart to begin the season. Inexplicably, after three weeks of inactivity he got the call in Week 4 and answered to the tune of 135 yards and touchdown. These are the patented Shenan-ihan-igans we've come to expect from Washington's head coach. Hightower gets the hook midway through the second quarter and suddenly Torain is the go-to guy. Good luck trying to figure out the backfield ebb and flow going forward. Logic dictates that Torain leads the committee when the Redskins come back from the bye, but it's no sure thing. If you're brave enough to have been a Hightower or Helu investor, you might as well pick up Torain -- one of these guys gets to face Philadelphia's 30th-ranked rush defense in Week 6.
Enjoy the roller coaster ride.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
Brown looks to have passed Emmanuel Sanders and is fast emerging as the Steelers' next best receiver behind Mike Wallace. It appears Hines Ward is being gradually phased out and relegated (whether fairly or not) to a downfield blocker and tackling dummy for linebackers and safeties looking to punish short interior patterns. That leaves Brown to run some of the easier sideline patterns against the weak corner while Wallace draws double-coverage on the opposite end. Until Roethlisberger (only three touchdown passes over the last four games) returns to form, Brown isn't a top option (but he makes a reasonable WR3 in mid-sized fantasy leagues).