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Week 6 – Waiver Wire Pickups

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Quarterbacks

Tim Tebow (Bye Week) –

The Tim Tebow era has begun after John Fox finally benched Kyle Orton in the second half of a loss to the Chargers. While Tebow still has much to learn, he is a must pick up for those of you that are in need of a spark at the quarterback position. Yes, Tebow has a bye week coming up, and maybe Fox will play the old, “we will see, who starts” routine but just the look in Orton’s eyes at the end of the first half should tell you that he knows it’s over in Denver.

Tebow may have problems making the routine throws, but he will make spectacular athletic plays, and his upside in the running game gives him added value as a potential, future top ten fantasy quarterback. With the Broncos struggling to find ways to win, yet at the same time having talent in the passing game, Tebow’s situation and skill set (up to a point) is comparable to Cam Newton in Carolina.

Now, I’m not saying Tebow will have the kind of success Newton has had, but again, he’s a must add for those of you that are in need of a quarterback or have the depth to sit on him, and see what happens.

WK 6 Rankings – QB | RB | WR | TE | K/D | Flex | Start/Sit |

Curtis Painter –

It’s time for the Colts to go with Curtis Painter for the rest of the year as the young quarterback is clearly maturing and is the favorite by his teammates. Painter has the arm to make all the throws and while the Colts won’t have a winning record, Painter will be in a situation that allows him to put up fantasy numbers, and at least be a respectable backup.

This week the Colts get the Bengals, and with Joseph Addai likely to be inactive, Painter should see an increase in pass attempts as he continues to gain confidence. At the end of the day, this guy still has Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Dallas Clark in the passing game, not bad.

Matt Cassel (Bye Week) –

Say what you want about Matt Cassel, but as I’ve pointed out in the past, I think part of Cassel’s troubles are that he tends to start the year slow. All four years as a starter, Cassel has struggled in September but as the season progresses, he tends to get into a groove and starts playing respectable football.

Outside of Dwayne Bowe, Cassel was open in training camp that he was struggling to get his timing down with his other receivers. With Steve Breston showing life in recent weeks, it’s clear that Cassel has two options he now trusts and rookie Jonathan Baldwin is coming along, and should be a contributor as the season progresses. After back to back wins and a four touchdown performance against the Colts, Cassel and the Chiefs overall have life in 2011.

Alex Smith –

As a 49er fan I can tell you the Alex Smith era has been one to forget, but it appears, we can officially say that a large portion of the failures is due to horrible coaching. Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary had an attitude of playing good defense and running the football with Frank Gore to win games.

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Basically, under those head coaches, Smith’s role (or any quarterback for this team) was not to screw things up. Growing up watching Joe Montana and Steve Young, this offensive philosophy was far away from the days with the West Coast Offense helped us win five Super Bowl’s, and we could actually score points.

Now, a version of the West Coast is back under Jim Harbaugh and after a 48 to 3 pounding of the Buccaneers, it’s time to pay attention to Smith as at least a bye week fill in against the Lions. The 49ers will run the football, but when Braylon Edwards gets back around week eight, this passing attack could make Smith a matchup play down the stretch.

Running Backs

Delone Carter –

I was a huge fan of Delone Carter going to the Colts on draft weekend, but was greatly disappointed when the team opted to re-sign Joseph Addai. Now, Addai is nursing what could be a hamstring injury that may keep him out for a few weeks, so Carter is an option to start against the Bengals. Donald Brown will get some looks, but Carter is the goal line back and should see the majority of touches.

Jackie Battle (Bye Week)  -

With Thomas Jones looking old, the Chiefs will likely see what Jackie Battle can get done after the bye week, as he posted over 100 yards rushing against the Colts. Battle has been knocked for failing to break tackles on a consistent basis in the past, but he did a good when given a chance in the past few weeks.

Don’t expect huge numbers, but with the passing game opening up, and the Chiefs winning a few contests, opportunities could arise for Battle to be a flex play in the future.

Wide Receivers

Darrius Heyward-Bey –

Don’t look now but it appears that Darrius Heyward-Bey is looking like a respectable wide receiver not just in the NFL, but as a fantasy option as well. Heyward-Bey is still a starting receiver for the Raiders in the past two weeks he has over 200 yards receiving and a touchdown. In that time, Heyward-Bey has been targeted 19 times for 11 receptions.

Unlike JaMarcus Russell, Heyward-Bey has actually worked hard to be the best player he could with the talent he was given. Then again, talent (like many of Al Davis’s selections over the years) has never been in question, but more his ability to pick up the mental game at this level. When Heyward-Bey came out of college annalists had him as a late first-round pick because he had great physical tools, but it was going to take him a few years to get things going, because he was very raw.

Coach Hue Jackson does a great job of understanding the skill set that his players have and putting them in positions to succeed. A great attribute of any skilled coach, it’s Jackson’s abilities and Heyward-Bey’s hard work that have brought us from joking about Heyward-Bey as a horrible draft selection, to possibly making good on Davis’s hopes of him being an impact No.1 receiver in the league. Don’t expect Heyward-Bey to take the world by storm, but he is getting better, and you should give him strong consideration as a waiver wire pickup.

Steve Breaston (Bye Week) –

As I mentioned in my writeup for Matt Cassel above, both Cassel and receiver Steve Breaston are building a trust together, and it’s showing on the field. Breaston had a couple big plays against the Vikings and followed that performance up with a two touchdown game against the Colts. This connection should continue to develop, and Breaston is at least an option to hold on your bench for matchup plays and as a bye week fill-in option.

Doug Baldwin (Bye Week) –

I’m still not a full believer in Doug Baldwin, but he’s making noise in the Seahawks passing attack and is worth a look on your waiver wire. Sidney Rice will remain the top target in Seattle, even though he failed to produce close to other receivers against the Giants.

Kevin Walter –

While I didn’t believe Kevin Walter was worthy of a waiver wire pickup with Andre Johnson down, here we are as Walter posted start-worthy numbers against the Raiders. For now, Walter should get increased looks in the passing game as Johnson is rehabbing his hamstring injury.

Tight End

Jake Ballard –

Don’t look to Jake Ballard as a future weekly starter for your tight end position, but he’s getting it done in recent weeks and the Giants host the Bills on Sunday. Another high-scoring game will be in the works as the Bills are likely to score over 30 in this game, and the Giants will continue to throw the football, giving Ballard increased opportunities to succeed.

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