Free Agents to Target - Week 9

by Tim Heaney and Richard Garcia on October 31, 2007 @ 13:22:16 PDT


Free Agents to Target Key

Acquire: Players you should target to add to your team immediately.

Look to Acquire: Players you should consider adding if you have a need at the position, are looking to build depth or have the available roster space to block other owners from capitalizing on building the talent on their team.

Watch List: Players you should keep an eye on based off current trends or developing situations.

Quarterbacks: Acquire

NEW - Sage Rosenfels, Houston Texans - Rosenfels is expected to get the start this week after starting quarterback Matt Schaub (concussion) suffered a concussion during Week 8 and is considered day-to-day. Rosenfels came in and threw for 176 yards and a touchdown in relief of Schaub last week. He has seen action in their last three games and has thrown for 548 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions over that span. Rosenfels is available in 99 percent of casual and 95 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Quarterbacks: One-Week Play

NEW - J.P. Losman, Buffalo Bills - Losman was officially named the starter for this week's matchup after relieving starting quarterback Trent Edwards (sprained wrist) in Week 8. He completed three of five passes for 113 yards leading the Bills on two scoring drives that including an 85-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lee Evans. Losman began the season as the starter but suffered a knee injury in Week 3 and has since watched Edwards lead the team to two wins. It is unclear if Losman will be the starter after Week 9 and should be considered a short-term option. He is available in 78 percent of casual and 92 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Running Backs: Acquire

Kenny Watson, Cincinnati Bengals - Watson ran the ball well for a second consecutive week, rushing for 88 yards on 19 carries. The 88 yards was most impressive as it came against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have not allowed a running back to rush for more than 100 yards for 32 consecutive games. Watson faces the Buffalo Bills this week; they have played the rush well of late, allowing 94.7 yards per game over the last four weeks. With running back Rudi Johnson (hamstring) still recovering, Watson has proven that he is more than capable of having success running the ball. His is available in 36 percent of casual and 9 percent of competitive leagues polled.

NEW - Selvin Young, Denver Broncos - Young got the start in Week 8 replacing the injured Travis Henry (ribs) and put up some respectable numbers. He carried the ball 18 times for 71 yards and had six receptions for 49 yards in making his first NFL start. Henry owners should already have Young handcuffed to their injured back, who is also facing a possible suspension in the coming weeks. It is unclear at this point how much time Henry could miss due to both the injury and suspension, but in any case Young should be acquired immediately. He is available in 77 percent of casual and 17 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Running Backs: Look to Acquire

Chris Henry, Tennessee Titans - Henry carried the ball four times for 48 yards and a touchdown against a poor Oakland Raiders' run defense last week. Henry has scored a touchdown in consecutive games since being activated in Week 7, replacing running back Chris Brown (ankle), who has been inactive the last two weeks. Henry has carried the ball 15 times over the last two weeks and is also being utilized more inside the red zone than running back LenDale White over the last two games. Henry has a strong play matchup this week against a Carolina Panthers team that is allowing 98.7 yards per game over the last four weeks. Henry is available in 91 percent of casual and 63 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Kenton Keith, Indianapolis Colts - Playing second fiddle to running back Joseph Addai has its perks. In the two contests before last week's six-carry, 33-yard performance against the Carolina Panthers, Keith combined for 176 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Against the New England Patriots in Week 9, the Colts will look to constantly switch up their offensive schemes to try to confuse the New England Patriots' defense. Keith should play a heavy part in this mixing as he will also be involved a bit in the passing game. He should be owned in the first place because he's Addai's handcuff, so consider him if he's out there. Keith is available in 71 percent of casual leagues and 13 percent of competitive leagues polled. 

Adimchinobe Echemandu, Houston Texans - In the mess that is Houston's backfield, Echemandu presents the cleanest option for them right now. He was utilized just 12 times last week, and he capitalized on his moments. He had 10 carries for 62 yards and two catches for 11 yards. He didn't hit the end zone, but he did give Houston a steady running option. With running back Ahman Green (knee) missing Week 8, Echemandu could play a big part against the Raiders as his versatility would offer the Texans a reliable target. Echemandu is available in virtually all leagues polled.

Running Backs: Watch List

NEW - Priest Holmes, Kansas City Chiefs - Holmes returned to action in Week 7 after missing close to two years from a serious head and neck injury. He carried the ball four times for nine yards and made one reception for negative-six yards. It is unclear how many touches Holmes will get after seeing him in only one game this season, but the team made room for him to receive more touches after trading running back Michael Bennett to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Holmes status should be watched closely. He is available in 96 percent of casual and 75 percent of competitive leagues polled.

NEW - Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders - Head coach Lane Kiffin stated that Bush (leg) could be removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list and placed on the active roster this week. The team waived wide receiver Mike Williams on Tuesday possibly making room for Bush to be activated. Bush was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He had first-round talent but suffered a broken leg during his final season at Louisville. The backfield in Oakland is a crowded one, but with the team going nowhere in the standings they could look to use their draft picks more during the final weeks of the season. Bush is available in 99 percent of casual and 97 percent of competitive leagues polled.

NEW - Chris Perry, Cincinnati Bengals - Perry became eligible to come off the PUP list on Monday, but the team hasn't activated him at this point. The Bengals running back situation is questionable with unproven running back Kenny Watson starting and Rudi Johnson (hamstring) missing three of their last four games. If Perry is activated he could supplant Watson as the backup to Johnson when both are healthy enough to play. Perry is available in 99 percent of casual and 99 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Wide Receivers: Acquire

Kevin Walter, Houston Texans - Walter benefits from the injury to fellow wideout Andre' Davis (rib) as he left in Week 8 and did not return. Even with Davis taking some of his catches, Walter has averaged 13 looks and 1.25 red zone plays over their last four games. He could now be able to provide an extra few looks per game if Davis can't go in Week 9. Walter was already a strong option before Davis went down, and you should snatch him if he's available. Walter is available in 73 percent of casual leagues and 33 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Lee Evans, Buffalo Bills - The return of quarterback J.P. Losman obviously boosted Evans, who was on the end of an 85-yard touchdown catch that clinched a 13-3 victory over the New York Jets Sunday. Quarterback Trent Edwards (wrist) had to leave the game with an injury, but the Bills received some form of offense when Losman entered. Evans spoke out in favor of Losman several weeks ago during the quarterback controversy, and he seems to be more comfortable with Losman at the helm. If Edwards can't go, Evans will see his already stable value surge. Act swiftly, because Evans is available in 28 percent of casual leagues and just 16 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons - White broke the century mark in receiving yards for the second time this season, amassing eight catches for 110 yards with a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. He converted all eight of his looks and has picked up the slack in the absence of tight end Alge Crumpler (knee, ankle) with 21 looks over the last three weeks. The Falcons receiving corps used to be the butt of many jokes, but the only laughing matter would be if you didn't at least consider picking up their new top target. The Niners defense likely won't offer much resistance this coming week. White is available in 26 percent of casual leagues and 27 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Reggie Brown, Philadelphia Eagles - Despite retaining his goose egg in the touchdowns column, Brown caught eight passes for 105 yards in the Eagles' 23-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. His 12 looks led the team last week as the Vikings' porous pass defense allowed him to roam free. The Dallas Cowboys should allow the Eagles to soar once again, and Brown should be targeted heavily as the Cowboys will focus on running back Brian Westbrook. Brown is available in 47 percent of casual leagues and 39 percent of competitive leagues polled.

NEW - Brandon Stokley, Denver Broncos - Stokley has filled in nicely for the injured Javon Walker (knee), making five receptions in each of the last two games for 70 and 71 yards respectively. He is the No. 2 receiver for quarterback Jay Cutler behind Brandon Marshall. He has a favorable matchup this week against the Detroit Lions, who are allowing 129.7 yards and 0.67 touchdowns to the position over the last four weeks. Stokley is available in 85 percent of casual and 58 percent of competitive leagues polled.

NEW - Ike Hilliard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Hilliard continues to have a good rapport with quarterback Jeff Garcia despite pulling in only three catches for 23 yards in Week 8. He has only had three games with less than 50 yards receiving all season and is the team's second-leading receiver. Hilliard faces an Arizona Cardinals team this week that is allowing 129.3 yards and one touchdown per game to the position over the last four weeks. He is available in 69 percent of casual and 53 percent of competitive leagues polled.

NEW - Chris Henry, Cincinnati Bengals - Henry has been practicing with the team since being cleared to return to action by the NFL and could possibly return to the roster for their Week 10 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. In 11 games last season, Henry made 36 receptions for 605 yards and nine touchdowns. He was impressive in the preseason and has proven that he can play a big role in the offense. He should be acquired soon and stashed away in the meantime. He is available in less than 9 percent of casual and 69 percent of competitive leagues polled.

NEW - James Jones, Green Bay Packers - Jones made an impressive run after the catch that turned into a 79-yard touchdown against the Denver Broncos in Week 8. He now has made two touchdown catches on the season to go along with 400 yards receiving. The 2007 third-round pick is second on the team in receptions (26) and yards and is averaging 15.4 yards per reception. Jones has built up a good rapport with quarterback Brett Favre and is available in 87 percent of casual and 62 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Wide Receivers: Look to Acquire 

Ike Hilliard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Hilliard's value was knocked down this week with the emergence of wide receiver Maurice Stovall. Hilliard mustered just three catches for 23 yards. Stovall is a much taller target than Hilliard, giving Tampa Bay a new red zone option. However, Hilliard had caught 21 passes over the prior three weeks and averaged nine targets per game. Quarterback Jeff Garcia hasn't solidified his No. 2 receiver after top wideout Joey Galloway, so Hilliard still has a chance to sneak in. He is available in 69 percent of casual leagues and 53 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Wide Receivers: One-Week Play

NEW - Josh Reed, Buffalo Bills - Reed could benefit from the both the return of Losman and this week's matchup against the Bengals. He has yet to catch a touchdown pass this season, but the Bengals are allowing 170.7 yards and 1.67 touchdowns per game to the position over the last four weeks. Reed comes off one of his better games last week, where he made four receptions for 40 yards. Reed is available in 99 percent of casual and 99 percent of competitive leagues polled.

NEW - Michael Jenkins, Atlanta Falcons - Jenkins returns from a bye after having one of his most productive games in Week 7, where he caught six passes for 69 yards. The Falcons play the San Francisco 49ers this week, a team that is allowing 148.3 yards and 1.67 touchdowns per game to the position over the last four weeks. Jenkins is available in 94 percent of casual and 82 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Tight Ends: Acquire

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers - Davis finally broke through in Week 8 with six receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown while being targeted 10 times. The return of quarterback Alex D. Smith seemed to help Davis' fantasy stock, even if it didn't help the rest of the Niners offense. With the lack of firepower surrounding Davis, Smith will frequently look his way for the rest of the season. If he's on your waiver wire, your other owners are probably sleeping. He's available in 40 percent of casual leagues and 33 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Eric Johnson, New Orleans Saints - Johnson is just one cog in the slew of receiving options at the disposal of quarterback Drew Brees. He has had a catch of over 20 yards in each of his last two games and is still utilized as a possession tight end. Despite not scoring a touchdown in his past two games, he has received nine looks over his last two contests. That's the same number as wide receivers Lance Moore, Terrence Copper and Devery Henderson have had combined over that same span. Only receivers Marques Colston and David Patten have been more productive in their last two games; Brees is giving Johnson the chance to contribute. He's available in 58 percent of casual leagues and 39 percent of competitive leagues. 

Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders - In the last three games, Miller has averaged 3.00 catches per game and has been targeted in 0.67 red zone plays per game. Miller had just two looks this past week but had been sought nine times the previous week. The Raiders had some issues against the Tennessee Titans but should remain a factor for the coming weeks. Against tight ends over the last four games the Texans have averaged 4.50 receptions per game, 50.8 yards per game and 0.75 touchdown catches per game. Miller could sneak in a mildly productive game against Houston. If you're thin at the position or you need a Bye week replacement, Miller could help. He's available in nearly all casual leagues and 88 percent of competitive leagues polled.  

Jeff King, Carolina Panthers - The Panthers apparently have a competent passing option besides stud wide receiver Steve Smith. King hauled in a season-high 10 catches for 82 yards Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Carolina's quarterback situation has stripped away a chunk of his potential, but David Carr and Vinny Testaverde combined to give him 14 looks in his last effort. King could be stashed away, or he could fulfill your tight end void. The Panthers will be passing in abundance this week - regardless of who's running the offense - as they encounter the Tennessee Titans and their league-best run defense.

NEW - Tony Scheffler, Denver Broncos - Scheffler caught a touchdown for the second consecutive week and continues to be one of Cutler's most targeted players around the goal line. He ended the game with three receptions for 28 yards. He has now played in three consecutive games after missing the first four weeks due to a foot injury. Scheffler is the main tight end target in the passing game and should be acquired immediately. He is available in 74 percent of casual and 73 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Tight Ends: Look to Acquire

NEW - Donald Lee, Green Bay Packers - Lee no longer has to share the tight end role with Bubba Franks (knee), who has missed the last two games and is expected to miss at least a couple more. In two games without Franks, Lee has made six receptions for 109 yards. He is third on the team in receptions with 25 after making three catches against Denver in Week 8. Lee is available in 59 percent of casual and 36 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings - At first glance, thinking about picking up any member of the Vikings pass game might make fantasy general managers turn purple. Shiancoe worked through the quarterback revolving door last week while grabbing five receptions for 50 yards and a nine-yard touchdown reception. He came through on his one red zone look, and the 6-foot-4 target could become an increased part of the offense. Quarterback Kelly Holcomb (neck) looked his way when he was playing, but he might miss next week's game in favor of Brooks Bollinger. Shiancoe could be a nice pickup in deeper leagues if the Vikings give him a more permanent role. The San Diego Chargers stand in the way for Week 9; they have allowed 4.67 receptions per game, 47.0 yards per game and 0.67 touchdowns per game to the position in their last three games. After all, they need someone that can catch the ball; wide receivers Troy Williamson, Bobby Wade, Sidney Rice and Robert Ferguson haven't been consistent enough to inspire confidence. Shiancoe is available in virtually all leagues polled.

Tight Ends: Watch List

Leonard Pope, Arizona Cardinals - Coming off a Bye week, Pope faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9. He posted one-third of his seasonal output when he caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown in Week 7. Even with the scattered opportunities he's received this year, he has scored two touchdowns in his last four games. He has two catches of at least 30 yards this season while standing to benefit from distractions set by wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. If utilized correctly, the 6-foot-8 behemoth could contribute a few catches this coming week. If he grabs a few against Tampa Bay, you could stash him or play him if you have a tight end vacancy.

Place Kickers: Acquire

Nick Folk, Dallas Cowboys - In Week 7 against the Vikings Folk missed his first field goal since Week 3, snapping a string of seven consecutive field goals made. He has also made all 26 of his extra point attempts this season. The Cowboys haven't had a kicker this consistent in a long time. With the Cowboys offense still performing at a high-octane pace, Folk should have a spot on your team. He's available in 37 percent of casual leagues and 19 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Place Kickers: One-Week Play

NEW - Rian Lindell, Buffalo Bills - Lindell has been solid since returning from their Week 6 bye to hit all six of his field goal attempts over the last two games. He faces a favorable matchup this week against the Bengals, who are allowing two field goals per contest and a total of 8.7 points per game to the position over the last four weeks. Lindell is available in 99 percent of casual and 88 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Defensive Team/Special Teams: One-Week Play

Oakland Raiders - Oakland's pass defense will surely look forward to pillaging the mess under center in Week 9. The Houston Texans come to town with uncertainties about their quarterback spot as starter Matt Schaub (head) reportedly suffered a concussion is uncertain for Sunday. Backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels has given Houston anything but comfort as he has thrown five touchdowns but has added five interceptions in his last two games. Either way, Oakland could earn some takeaway points as a result of Houston's uncertainty. The Raiders would be a suitable Bye week replacement. Their unit is available in 75 percent of casual leagues and 73 percent of competitive leagues polled.

Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons take on the 49ers this coming week, and Atlanta should benefit from facing the league's worst offense. The Falcons have averaged two interceptions per game over their last three contests. With the defenses of both the New York Giants and Chicago Bears on byes this week, the Falcons should be ready at your disposal. Atlanta's unit is available in 98 percent of casual leagues and 85 percent of competitive leagues polled.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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