With Tony Romo out for the rest of the fantasy season and Brett Favre limping toward the end of his consecutive-games streak, there was a mad dash to the waiver wire for quarterbacks this week.
Congratulations if you slept through it.
You read that right. It says here: You'll be far better off making a trade for your next quarterback rather than relying upon the two most popular choices from the scrap heap: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jon Kitna.
Nothing against either guy. And, in fact, it's quite possible both could lead you to victories this week as each (Fitzpatrick at Kansas City, Kitna at home vs. the Jaguars) draws a decent matchup.
But the schedule says you can do better long-term, and at not a very high price.
Yes, the same guy who told you to deal Aaron Rodgers last week (hey, the two receivers I had you acquiring combined for 278 yards and four touchdowns) is now suggesting you go after one of three quarterbacks I say will outplay Fitzpatrick and Kitna over the course of the remainder of the fantasy regular season.
Steal him/deal him
Trade Peyton Hillis for Matt Cassel and Marshawn Lynch. Yeah, I know. Hillis has been pretty darn good for you this season. But the point is: You need a quarterback, so you've got to give up something. Plus, given the relative strengths of their schedules the next six weeks (Hillis faces the 10th-hardest collection of run defenses, Lynch the third-easiest), it's quite possible this move will actually upgrade your running back position as well.
The key is: Cassel can't help but have a nice run against the likes of the Bills, Raiders, Broncos, Cardinals, Seahawks and Broncos again. Only Seattle, which has an average pass defense, would be considered anything less than a no-brainer matchup - similar to the Texans and Jaguars the past two weeks, against whom Cassel threw five touchdowns without an interception.
Trade Reggie Bush or Jonathan Stewart for Matthew Stafford. Actually, Stafford should have been the guy you targeted on the waiver wire, if he was he still there. Coming back from a shoulder injury he suffered in the opener, Stafford now finds himself directing a well-stocked Lions attack that features two quality wideouts, two productive tight ends and a game-breaking rookie back.
Trade Darren McFadden for Mark Sanchez and Felix Jones. You'd have to be quite the horse trader to deal McFadden right now. His performance at Denver last week was so impressive, one national analyst labeled McFadden the best player in the NFL right now. Alas, that could very well be balancing out - McFadden's schedule the next six weeks includes the dreaded bye week and three matchups with Top 10 run defenses. This at a time when Sanchez will be seeing four of the 10 worst units against the pass.
Play him/sit him
However, it doesn't appear we need to worry about that anymore. Lynch's 24 carries last week were a definite "buy" sign, especially considering the matchup this week with one of the league's worst run defenses (Oakland).
Philip Rivers, Chargers. If you think you have quarterback problems, imagine the guy who owns Rivers. You've probably decided to stick with him, but with Vincent Jackson still out, injuries mounting and the vastly improved Titans coming to town, this is far from an ideal spot. Rivers threw 50 passes last week against a much weaker pass defense (New England) and only one of them got into the end zone. That's what happens when you target the likes of Patrick Crayton and Buster Davis a total of 23 times.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys. If you read this far last week, you might recall I said there would be a silver lining to a Bryant breakout game even if you had him on your bench. And that silver lining is: You now know he's arrived on the NFL scene, so feel good about penciling him into the lineup each week. Well, Bryant had that bust-out performance against the Giants, and he can thank Jon Kitna in part for that. When Tony Romo's sub wasn't looking for Jason Witten, he was eyeballing Bryant. More of that this week against the league's worst pass defense (Jacksonville) could result in even bigger numbers.
Owen Daniels, Texans. I feel the same way about Daniels today as I felt about Bryant last week. Until he demonstrates he's fantasy-worthy, you shouldn't risk having him in your lineup. Daniels is coming off a bye and should be healthier now than at any point this season, so his first 2010 explosion shouldn't be far off. But the Colts are great at defending tight ends and I want to see his big game rather than predict it, so I recommend exploring your other options.
Jacob Tamme, Colts. I'm now 1-1 in my ultra-bold selections (thumbs up on Buster Davis, down on Tim Tebow), which qualifies me for at least one more stab in the dark. And few things are darker than Tamme's stat lines in two-plus seasons with the Colts, where he's totaled six catches (none this season). Alas, with Dallas Clark out for the season, Peyton Manning will now have to work Tamme into the passing scheme… just as he did Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie last season when Anthony Gonzalez got hurt. I don't know about you, but I trust this Manning guy.
Steelers defense/special teams. How can you possibly sit a defensive unit that's the league's best both against the run and the pass? I'd only consider it in one circumstance: Against a Saints team, at home, coming off one of its most embarrassing performances in quite some time. You know Drew Brees will get his offense into the end zone at least three times this week, which means there are probably a handful of other defenses you'd be better off playing.