The Talented Mr. Roto: The Rockies of free-agent pickups
The Rockies are in the World Series? Really?
If you were here, with me, watching me type this in my office, you'd see me shrug. You'd also see a restraining order because let's face it, why are you in my office? It's creepy, dude. Back off.
It's a great story, of course. Winning 21 of 22 games. Being 4½ games out with nine to play. Having a player named "Ubaldo."
But of all the lovable underdog stories in sports, these guys seem like the least lovable. It's not that I have anything against Colorado. Or that I don't like the Rockies. Regular listeners of the "Fantasy Focus" baseball podcast I did with Nate Ravitz know that we had a long-running joke of drinking Troy Tulowitzki's bathwater, we loved him so much. (It was kind of a nutty podcast).
But it just doesn't seem as if they have any personality as a team. Josh Fogg? Todd Helton? Did you know LaTroy Hawkins is on this team? Do you care? Again, amazing story and worth rooting for, but the Rockies might be the least lovable of lovable-loser type teams making it to the show.
This brings us to this week's football pickups, where it's a fairly motley crew to choose from. Not a lot to get excited about, you know? It's like Yeah, I guess so. (Again, I am shrugging, but again, you'd have been hauled off by security at this point.) None of these guys is worth blowing a high waiver priority or a chunk of free-agent money on, but if you need some warm bodies for the bye weeks or due to injury, here ya go.
Here are some guys who have recently seen an increase in value and who are probably available in your league.
Kevin Faulk, RB, Patriots: We have to wait and see what the injury status on Sammy Morris and the Horribly-Frustrating-To-Own Laurence Maroney (officially his new full name) is, but regardless, I like Faulk. He had 74 total yards and played quite a bit after coming in for Morris on Sunday. Even better? He gets the Dolphins this weekend and Miami is 31st in the NFL against the run. I figure the Patriots get up big in this game quickly and run the ball to death, which is good news for Faulk, even if he's having to split carries.
Michael Bennett, RB, Buccaneers: Remember how the Rockies wanted to trade Todd Helton but couldn't?
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DeShawn Wynn, RB, Packers: No, he's not great. And yes, the Packers are on a bye this week. But he has clearly established himself as the running back you want in Green Bay and he does have four touchdowns. Interesting tidbit, by the way, is that only LaDainian Tomlinson and Joseph Addai have more rushing touchdowns than Wynn.
Kyle Boller, QB, Ravens: Told you it was an ugly week. But if you need someone under center, I like him much more than guys like Cleo Lemon this week. Boller gets the Week 7 start for Steve McNair and he's actually been OK this season. He's completed 60 percent of his passes this season, he had 184 yards against St. Louis and, this week, he gets the Bills. Buffalo is 31st in the NFL in terms of passing yards given up per game.
Kevin Walter, WR, Texans: Two first names. Always a crowd pleaser. Unlike that joke. Very quietly, Walter has 23 receptions for 304 yards in his past three games and plays Tennessee this week. You can't run on the Titans at all, so Houston will have to throw.
Here are some players who have seen a spike in value and may be available in shallow leagues or leagues where you play with morons.
I said it yesterday and I'll repeat it here. DeShaun Foster is the running back you want in Carolina and the Panthers are on a bye this week anyway, but you can't ignore that DeAngelo Williams had 121 yards and a score in Week 7, nor can you ignore that he's still available in 23 percent of ESPN.com 10-team standard leagues. I also mentioned that as Brian Griese returned, so did Muhsin Muhammad of the Bears, who has two touchdowns in his past three games.
Remember when Brian Fuentes of the Rockies was struggling and folks were clamoring for Manny Corpas to take the job over? Of course you don't. No one cares about the Rockies. But some fantasy folks cared, just like we all can't understand why Jerious Norwood of the Falcons won't be named the starter. In a pun that is actually relevant, Dunn is done and on Monday night, Norwood ripped off a 67-yard touchdown run, had 138 total yards and is available in 29 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues.
I'm as surprised as you to find out that Marc Bulger was dropped in 17 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues, but he's coming back and starting this week against Seattle. And you saw what the Seahawks did to help revive Drew Brees.
Reuben Droughns of the Giants might very well be the only healthy running back they have on Sunday. We have to wait to see the status of Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, but Droughns had 90 yards and a score on Monday night and the G-Men (I call them the G-Men) have a very favorable matchup at home against the 49ers.
Maybe the Rockies need to get into a fight with someone. Or call out the Broncos for scoring less than they do. Anything. Speaking of the Broncos, they can't stop the run, they play the Steelers this week and Najeh Davenport of Pittsburgh has three of the Steelers' four rushing touchdowns this season.
D.J. Hackett of the Seahawks is also scheduled to come back this week and if he plays, he could have a big game, especially with Deion Branch still out. By the way, the Buccaneers' D/ST is owned in only 20 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues, but has scored double-digit points in three of its past four games. The only time Tampa's D/ST didn't was against Indianapolis, and there's no real shame in that.
Here are some players who have seen a slight increase in value and on whom you should keep an eye, or if you are in a deep league, consider picking up.
With the trade of Michael Bennett to Tampa Bay and Larry Johnson having injury issues, it'd be worth taking a flier on either Kolby Smith or Priest Holmes. Holmes is scheduled to practice this week and be sure to check back here for updates. If I was picking for this week, I'd take Smith. If I was gambling for the rest of the season, why not Holmes?
It's now not a question of if, but a question of when Kellen Clemens gets the starting quarterback gig for the Jets and I like him. Pick, a Henry, any Henry. With Chris Brown banged up, Chris Henry -- the running back -- could see some action this week for the Titans against Houston and we're two weeks away from Chris Henry -- the wide receiver -- being able to play for the Bengals. I'd take a flier before the rest of your league does.
If I owned Shaun Alexander or wanted to stick it to his owner in my league, I'd grab Leonard Weaver, who had seven touches for 93 yards for the Seahawks. And, he plays the Rams this week. Only one team has given up as many rushing touchdowns this year as the St. Louis Rams. I could see Weaver vulturing one.
Lance Moore of the Saints has replaced Devery Henderson in the starting lineup and scored a touchdown in Week 6. David Patten had eight receptions for 113 yards and a score. I like Patten, then Moore, if you're ranking the Saints' receivers.
I talked about Lemon all last week. Great one-week contribution, thanks Cleo, but up next are the Patriots, Giants, a bye, then the Bills, Eagles, Steelers.
Vinny's schedule is almost as bad: a bye, then the Colts, Titans, Falcons and Packers. As for Rattay, he is getting only one start, it's on the road at Washington and the Redskins have allowed only two passing touchdowns all year long. No thanks.
Martin (Phoenix): Matthew, Great podcast! Great information! One thought, you talk up the Man's League and I was not able to find a link anywhere on the Web site to take a look at the league. It might be somewhere, but I was not able to find it. Can you post the link somewhere on the Web site or give it out during the podcast? Thanks, Martin
TMR: Ask, and you shall receive. The league can be found here.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is ESPN's Sr. Director of Fantasy, in charge of content. He was just as surprised as you to find out it's a real job. He is a four-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner and the only writer in the industry with wins in multiple sports (NFL, MLB, NBA). Be sure to check him out every Sunday morning on "ESPNEWS Fantasy Insider" at 11 a.m. ET and then on ESPN.com's "Fantasy Football Now," which is live starting at Noon ET.
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