Waiver-Wire Pickups, Keeper Sleepers and Spot Starts: Week 3

After missing on a few suggestions last week (i.e. Michael Pittman, Patrick Crayton and Arnaz Battle), I vow to only make good suggestions this week! Let's keep in mind that I did have a few suggestions (although some might have been pretty obvious), with Brandon Marshall, LaMont Jordan, Brandon Stokley and Derrick Ward, that worked out pretty well and should continue to work out for at least a couple more weeks. One change you'll notice with this week's post (and will continue for the rest of the season) is that I just combined all the suggestions into one "super" list. I figured that breaking the waiver-wire pickups and spot starts into two groups doesn't always make sense, so you'll now just see a list of players that should be able to make an impact in the next week and beyond, along with my explanation of why they've made my prestigious list for the week. I will break them up by position however, something that wasn't done last week. So without further delay, let's get to those recommendations…


Josh McCown (QB-OAK): DISCLAIMER! – This is only a spot start recommendation and should not be considered for any weeks beyond Week 3. After a terrible Week 2 in which McCown wasn't even expected to start, McCown has already been declared the starter for this week and it couldn't get any sweeter than this…a start against the Cleveland defense that let up 6 TD passes to Carson Palmer last week. While McCown isn't Palmer, he should still be able to put up some decent numbers. If he doesn't (and part of the reason why I only recommend him for this week), expect to see Daunte Culpepper get the next start and continue as the quarterback until JaMarcus Russell is ready.

Wide Receivers

Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter (WR-OAK): If McCown can perform, these are the two guys that are going to benefit. Porter had a decent game last week and Curry had a great game the week before…maybe this is the week that both of them perform at the same time! Both are worthy of waiver wire pickups if they're available and could also be used as spot-starts if you don't have any one better.

Shaun McDonald (WR-DET): I was reluctant to add McDonald to this list last week as I considered him a flash in the pan, but he is starting to prove that maybe he is more than a one hit (or apparently a two hit) wonder. After two weeks, McDonald is averaging 80 yards a game and 0.5 touchdowns as the Lions fourth receiver. If you are in dire need of a third receiver for a week, McDonald should make a decent plug-n-play, as he is by far the league's best fourth receiver in a pretty good passing attack.

Jacoby Jones (WR-HOU): This is an interesting one here. Jones was spectacular in preseason, but apparently went in hiding for the first two weeks of the regular season (33 yards in two games). Jones has the skills to be a quality starter in the NFL, but what he's doing with those skills I'm not sure. This week though is his moment in the spotlight. With Andre Johnson's injury probably keeping him out for this week, Jones takes over as the number one receiver on what has become a surprisingly good passing team. If he can step up and get 75% of the stats that Johnson got, he'd be a quality starter for your fantasy team. 

Derrick Mason (WR-BAL): I'm not sure what the consensus is on Mason at this point, but in one of my leagues he was a free agent this week, so maybe he is in yours as well. Mason is more useful in PPR leagues at this point, with 15 receptions in 2 games, but could also be used if you're getting frustrated with the extreme inconsistencies of your other receivers (i.e. Ronald Curry, Arnaz Battle). He'll probably never have a super Chad Johnson-like game at this point, but he should get 6-8 points on a consistent basis.

Anthony Gonzalez (WR-IND): After a zero catch performance in Week 1 (a week where we recommend he start over a few other receivers), Gonzalez proved he is a capable three-man in the second week, catching 3 balls for 49 yards. The more Manning becomes confident in Gonzalez, the more balls he'll see come his way (probably at the expense of Dallas Clark), and the closer he becomes becoming a viable fantasy starter. In Keeper Leagues, Gonzalez is definitely worth picking up and hanging on to. If Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne (knock on wood that he doesn't) gets hurt, Gonzalez immediately jumps up about 25 spots on our WR power rankings.

Running Backs

DeShawn Wynn (RB-GB): After Brandon Jackson has failed to impress in Green Bay, Wynn took over and ran with it (pun intended), to the tune of 50 yards on 10 carries, 2 TDs and a couple receptions for 18 yards. If Wynn doesn't start this coming week, expect Jackson to be on a short leash. Wynn appears to be good around the goal line as well, so he's got that going for him as well.

Jamal Lewis (RB-CLE): There's a chance that Lewis is available in your league (maybe in 10 team leagues or public leagues) and if that is the case, scoop him up. He put on quite a display last week (200+ rushing yards), which will probably not happen for the rest of his career, but proves that he still has something left in the tank. He'll make a good spot-start RB for the remainder of the season.

Kevin Jones (RB-DET): Although I'm still not that high on KJ, I'm sure he has been dropped in a good percentage of leagues (I dropped him in one) and warrants taking a chance on him if you have the roster spot. He is "ready" to play this coming weekend, but whether or not that happens is yet to be seen. Either way, he should play in one of the next few weeks and could have a chance to provide some spot-start points in an offense that has been pretty good over the first two weeks.