NFL fantasy football: Grab St. Louis Ram Amendola

Whether you're a fantasy beginner or don't have as much time to devote to your fantasy team during the week, I'm here for you with the newest edition of Fantasy 101 - all your fantasy needs in 15 minutes or less. That's how long you'll need to digest this column and make your appropriate moves. Remember, your Week 9 byes are the New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams, so adjust your lineup accordingly. Continue to be diligent, because right around Halloween is where some owners slack off a little bit and aren't as consistent with picking up free agents and checking on injuries as they've been the last few weeks. That means you may have a better chance at waiver pickups than in the past because you're competing with fewer people.

Big injuries to watch

Thankfully, injuries were at a minimum this week, but keep an eye on the Jordy Nelson situation in Green Bay, as he was a surprise late inactive for Week 8. Donald Brown returned from injury for the Colts, which takes Vick Ballard's value down as well. It looks like that backfield is headed for the dreaded time-share.

Free agents to pick up

Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams: The Rams have a bye this week, but pick him up anyway and get ahead of the curve. He's the Rams' number one WR and looks to be back in full action for Week 10. If you don't get him now, you may not get him next week.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: I know, you're nervous about what happens when Rashard Mendenhall comes back. But don't ignore the production. Two straight 100-yard games means he needs to be owned. Mendenhall has never done that in his entire career, so Dwyer has good value going forward.

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: He now has four double-digit fantasy point games in 2012. He's earned the trust of Blaine Gabbert, and in the slot he can use his speed and quickness to his advantage. Hey, we recommended Josh Gordon to you a couple of weeks ago, and think of Shorts as the same kind of player: electrifying, on a bad team where for now, he's the number one WR.

Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: He needs to be owned everywhere. True, his production has been mostly every other game, but you can't ignore someone who's just outside the Top 20 in fantasy points for WRs. Make him your number one WR waiver priority if you can.

Titus Young, Sr., WR, Detroit Lions: If Williams is priority waiver acquisition number one, Young is a close second. The Lions have been looking for someone to become a complement to Calvin Johnson and it looks like they've found him. Young is fast, talented and after Sunday has broken through to where Detroit had hoped he'd be at the beginning of the season.

Other notes of note

1) I know Matt Ryan faces the daunting task of the Dallas Cowboys defense next week, but it's a prime-time game at home. You don't sit a Top 5 fantasy QB no matter who they're playing.

2) Sunday will be another big day for Andrew Luck. He faces the Miami Dolphins, whose defense is ranked 27th against the pass. Better for him, it's at home where he's been unstoppable in fantasy.

3) Cam Newton will feast on the Washington Redskins this coming Sunday. The Redskins defense is allowing an NFL-worst 314 passing yards per game and have allowed 19 TDs through the air, the most in the NFL.

4) Make sure you play Rashad Jennings the next few weeks. He looked good against the Green Bay Packers and can make plays in both the running and passing games.

5) Keep playing Jamaal Charles. He's too big of a homerun threat to sit on your bench, even if Peyton Hillis did get some carries Sunday -- even if Romeo Crennel doesn't have an idea why and how his running backs play.

  • Jason Smith hosts NFL Fantasy Live on the NFL Network and writes fantasy and other pith for Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to his Fantasy Podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.*
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