Commentary

Hail Mary: Boller and Beck might help

Updated: November 16, 2007, 4:15 PM ET
By Nando Di Fino | Special to ESPN.com

Dwayne Wright, RB, Bills: Anthony Thomas and his prior relationship in Chicago with Bills coach Dick Jauron (sounds much less saucy than it was) have burned us here at Hail Mary before, so we're going to zag while everyone else zigs and go with the rookie from Fresno State as our pick to receive the bulk of the carries in Marshawn Lynch's absence. This season has turned out to be the "Year of the Unknown Running Back Coming Out of Nowhere To Be the Next Fantasy Darling" -- Ryan Grant, Earnest Graham, Kenny Watson, and Derrick Ward are just a few examples -- so a guy named "Dwayne Wright" just seems like a much more realistic option than Anthony Thomas. Also, Thomas has done nothing more than Wright to make us believe it will be him, other than play for Jauron half a decade ago in the Windy City.

Kevin Faulk, RB, Patriots: For mostly the same reason that Sammy Morris was a decent play in a lot of leagues, Kevin Faulk should be considered an option as well. He may not get the goal-line carries that Morris was afforded, but let's look at his situation:

--He plays in an unstoppable offense
--They have a tendency to throw the ball to him from time to time
--The Belichick system utilizes the dual-RB attack
--Laurence Maroney isn't exactly the healthiest running back in the league.

Yes, Faulk is tiny like Lucas, and would not be a candidate for goal-line carries on a normal team, but Mike Vrabel is primarily a linebacker, yet he catches TD passes from Tom Brady on a semi-regular basis in the wacky New England red zone offense.

Brodie Croyle, QB, Kansas City: I am declaring this a Kelli Croyle-free area. I've had enough of idiot bloggers dismissing the Kansas City offense "against the 2nd-ranked Indianapolis defense," and then pathetically drooling over the man's wife. Give it a rest for a minute, and focus instead on what he has going for him: Priest Holmes, Dwayne Bowe, Tony Gonzalez, and an Indy defense that is coming off two losses and is going to be further rocked by the loss of Dwight Freeney. Croyle tends to make some mistakes (we saw a lot of that in the HBO special "Hard Knocks"), but let's not think he's going to totally wet the bed. The Chiefs have some serious offensive weapons, and Simeon Rice's arrival in Indy won't be an instant hole-filler for their fallen Pro-Bowl linebacker.

T.J. Duckett, RB, Lions: Hail Mary declared Tatum Bell a sleeper pick a few weeks ago, anticipating this magical -- and entirely predictable -- moment of Kevin Jones getting injured. Unfortunately, we were a little ahead of our time … and one running back off. So we return to you, our head hung low, asking for forgiveness, and offering T.J. Duckett (he played "Warrick Dunn's Backup No. 1" for three seasons in "Atlanta: the Vick Years") as an alternative. Kevin Jones' foot is hurting, and that can never be good when it also happens to be surgically-repaired. Jones may play, and Duckett may see very little time, but if the foot becomes a problem, he's the safe bet to get the (wait for it …) Lions share (rim shot!) of carries in the Detroit backfield, with Tatum Bell demanding trades while firmly planted in the doghouse. Even if Jones plays, Duckett may see some goal-line action.

Drew Bennett, WR, Rams: The St. Louis offense finally seems to be hitting its stride now, with Steven Jackson running and passing for TDs and Marc Bulger's ribs healed. Bennett was a big signing in the offseason, and encountered some injury setbacks early on, but is coming off two games in which he totaled 100 yards and a TD combined. I'm not sure if this is a chicken-egg conundrum -- which came first Bennett's success or the St. Louis turnaround? Still, he seems to be poised for a breakout game this week against the lowly 49ers and is owned in only 13.8 percent of ESPN leagues.

Marty Booker, WR, Dolphins: Booker's value in Week 11 is going to come from his being a large target for a new, inexperienced quarterback. Cleo Lemon is back to the bench, and Trent Green's career might be over. So the eyes of Miami this Sunday turn to … Miguel Cabrera's trade value. The next day, however, when wading through all the rumors in the newspaper, they may see that John Beck -- although not having the greatest of debuts -- did find Marty Booker for 54 yards and a touchdown. Remember, the Dolphins traded away Chris Chambers and lost Ronnie Brown for the rest of the season. Beck has a very limited number of targets, and Booker is the best bet to catch the corner of his eye just as he's about to be sacked by a Philadelphia linebacker.

Sinorice Moss, WR, Giants: I'm bringing back Moss to "Hail Mary" for a second go-round in light of the Plaxico Burress ankle tweak. Sinorice has done so very little for the Giants this season, it's easy to forget that he actually plays from time to time. He caught one pass last week, and I'd be willing to wager that 50 percent of Giants fans had to wait for the announcer to say his name on TV until they figured out who it was. Still, if Burress is limited by his ankle, it's going to be up to Jeremy Shockey, Amani Toomer, and Moss to get Detroit to give up those 256 passing yards per game the Lions have been averaging this season (3rd-worst in the NFL). Shockey and Toomer cannot do it alone, and now is as good a time as any for Moss to step up and get involved in the offense.

Kyle Boller, QB, Ravens and Devard Darling, WR, Ravens: The Browns are giving up 272 passing yards per game this season. I realize this logic didn't quite work last week with my Steve McNair pick against the Bengals, and this video doesn't really help my argument, but stick with me for a minute. Boller has been practicing with the second team, of which Darling is a part. If he has any kind of rapport with him, the Browns are probably the team that will allow him to showcase it on a Sunday in front of 80,000 fans. Darling's stat line on the season (2 catches for 26 yards) isn't the prettiest thing to look at, and it's already been 10 weeks, so he probably should have made a much bigger impact by now; but, there is a new quarterback, they are playing a very weak pass defense, and Darling really only has to push his way past an injured Todd Heap and a disappointing Derrick Mason to get a piece of that 272-yard pie that the Browns have baked for them.

Anti-Hail Mary

Ricky Williams, RB, Dolphins: Just stay far away.

Fun Kicker Fact of the Week

Neil Rackers, kicker for the Arizona Cardinals, was assessed a 15-yard penalty three weeks ago for attempting to fight Carlos Rogers, defensive back for the Redskins, after a blocked extra-point attempt. Since then, Rackers has been a perfect 2-2 in field goals, and 5-5 in extra points.

Ashley Lelie Corner of Fantasy Incompetence

Week 10: Ashley Lelie had 2 catches for 18 yards.

Three Indianapolis Colts You Have Never Heard of Who Had More Receiving Yards in a Game in Which Peyton Manning Threw Six Interceptions:

Bryan Fletcher, backup TE (55)
Craphonso Thorpe, 4th-string WR (41)
Aaron Moorehead, 5th-string WR (39)

Nando Di Fino is a fantasy baseball and football analyst for ESPN.com.