Desperation is a Stinky Cologne: Week 3

Have injuries or piss-poor performance left you decimated and desperate at a position? Don’t feel bad, it happens to the best of us (thanks to injuries to the WR1 and WR3 I drafted, my starting wideouts in my keeper league last week were Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem, and Ted Ginn, Jr… *shudder*).

The following players aren’t going to save your team if it’s in rough shape across the board, but they’re likely available as free agents and not terrible plug-ins for this week if you’re desperate. Note that this column differs from a standard “waiver wire” post in that I’m not advising you to pick these players up if you’re looking long-term production. Thanks to matchups, injuries, or other favorable conditions, these normally ignorable guys might just be useful this week if you really need them.

Quarterbacks

J.T. O’Sullivan, 49ers: If he can pass for over 300 yards against Seattle, there’s no reason he can’t do the same against Detroit. He’s actually a pretty safe start this week, with some real upside. I wouldn’t say that about him most weeks, but the Lions are that bad.

Matt Ryan, Falcons: The Chiefs will be starting two rookie cornerbacks in Atlanta this week. That’s the level of experience Ryan’s accustomed to facing, and the rest of the Chiefs defense isn’t much better, so consider him a pretty decent start.

Running Backs

Michael Pittman, Broncos: Pittman’s never a horrible start since he’s usually Shanahan’s man at the goal line, but this matchup with the porous New Orleans run defense is a particularly good one.

Fred Jackson, Bills: He isn’t getting much buzz yet despite his seven catches for 83 yards last week, but that will change if the Bills continue to use him so extensively in the passing game. If you’ve got a hole at RB this week, it’s worth gambling that they do it again. He might even prove to be worth holding on to.

Wide Receivers

Michael Jenkins, Falcons: Kansas City’s defense is terrible against the run, and that leaves them vulnerable to the big pass play – Jenkins’ specialty. Atlanta will cram the ball down their throats just like Oakland did last week. They’ll bide their time, wear them down, and then try a long bomb to Jenkins like they did in week 1, when he connected with Ryan for a 62-yard score.

Mark Clayton, Ravens: Due to last week’s unscheduled bye, we haven’t gotten much of a chance to figure out Joe Flacco, who clearly favored Derrick Mason in week 1 but still targeted Clayton a decent number of times. Clayton (who feels like he’s been around forever but is only 26) proved he can be dangerous when he scored on a 42-yard double-reverse. Clayton’s value will hang upon what kind of QB Flacco proves himself to be in the coming weeks, but if you like Flacco now, Clayton’s worth a shot this week.