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Antonio Gates Out for Texans Game

It looks like Norv Turner isn’t as bad of an injury report manipulator as we suspected. No Chargers player listed as doubtful heading into a game has played for San Diego this year and that truth continues.

Tight end Antonio Gates has been declared inactive for their game with the Houston Texans. Gates apparently tried to play but decided before the game he wasn’t feeling well enough to get out there. Gates has foot, ankle, and toe injuries, and just added a plantar fascia injury to his list of growing ailments.

San Diego has a bye week coming up so the good news is Antonio will have two weeks to try and get better for the rest of the season. Nobody can doubt the man’s toughness given that he’s played through injuries the past two weeks, but if just yesterday we thought Antonio would play this weekend, what happened?

If you remember back during the week, Gates was talking like he was hurt so badly he wasn’t going to play. Coach Norv Turner probably wanted to make things more difficult for Houston by letting them think Gates would play, so he probably told Gates to start acting like he was going to play. Or maybe they planned to have Gates try and play on game day but he was unfortunately unable to. All I know is that the Chargers will be in a tough spot without their star tight end in Houston.

Working the Waiver Wire: Week 9 Free Agent Pickup Advice

Here is some advice on working the waiver wire in your fantasy league (for personal advice email larry at larrybrownsports.com):

Matchups to Avoid (at your discretion): Steelers defense, Ravens defense, Giants pass defense, Chargers pass defense.

Matchups to Exploit (at your discretion): Houston, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and New England’s secondary. Buffalo, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Denver, and Indy’s run defense. Start a defense playing Carolina, Arizona, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Hopefully you acted last week to pick up some of the players we recommended because you’ll have a lot of competition working the waiver wire this week. Here are some players to keep in mind when you submit your claims:


MUST-HAVE

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Bucs – He was one of our players to watch last week and blew up with two touchdowns and over 100 yards. He’s no secret anymore so just make sure he’s on your team instead of one of your rivals.
Mike Hart, RB, Colts – Hopefully you listened to us when we told you he was a must-have last week. He looked really good on Monday night running for 84 yards. He’s a nice fill-in while Joseph Addai is out.
Jacob Tamme, TE, Colts – Like Hart, we recommended Tamme last week and hope you picked him up. He dropped a pass early but picked it up with six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. He can keep it up.
Paul Posluszny, LB, Bills – Someone may have dropped him after their bye two weeks ago. Whether Buffalo plays a 3-4 or 4-3 defense doesn’t matter — Posluszny racks up the tackles.
Desmond Bishop, LB, Packers – He’s had double-digit tackle totals each week since gaining the starting job because of injury. As we saw against the Vikings, he’s also good in coverage.

*Make sure they’re not still available: Matthew Stafford, BenJarvus Green-Ellis

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Jacob Tamme, Anthony Gonzalez Will Have Fantasy Relevancy with Colts

No team in the NFL may have been limited by injuries more than the Indianapolis Colts. In a span of a few weeks, running back Joseph Addai hurt his shoulder, tight end Dallas Clark had season-ending surgery on his wrist, and Austin Collie had surgery on his hand. That’s on top of backup running back Donald Brown who’s been out with a hamstring problem and Anthony Gonzalez and Bob Sanders who got hurt week one. But you know the bottom line? As long as nobody on the injury report is named Peyton Manning, the Colts’ offense will be fine.

With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Jacob Tamme and re-introduce Anthony Gonzalez. Those two men, along with Blair White will fill in for Clark and Collie in the passing game. Tamme is in his third year from Kentucky and he only has six catches and 47 yards in his career. He may not have accumulated any stats so far this season, but he had two touchdown catches in the preseason and he wouldn’t be on Indy’s roster if he couldn’t play. He won’t see 10 targets a game like Dallas Clark, but six is reasonable enough to make him a good fantasy option at tight end, especially with bye weeks and injuries.

Anthony Gonzalez and Blair White are likely to share slot duties replacing Collie who could miss a month. Collie was a monster for Indianapolis, so it’s reasonable to suggest Gonzalez and White will put up stats. White has six receptions on the year and caught a touchdown in week three, so he can do something. Over the longer term, I’m expecting more out of Gonzalez.

Gonzalez may have missed all of last year and half of this season with injuries, but once upon a time he was a first-round pick for Indianapolis and he’s been in the offense for four years, so he knows the system and how to work with Peyton. At some point he’ll start to produce, maybe now is that time. And if you have Reggie Wayne or Pierre Garcon in fantasy, you’re in the best shape of all — Manning will lean heavily on the duo, though he won’t force things if it’s not there.

Brutal Week 8 Byes Put Fantasy Football Owners in Tough Spot

From the moment I drafted my fantasy football teams, I was dreading week eight. Whereas only four teams were off for most bye weeks, six are off in week eight, and many of them are loaded with fantasy studs. Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, the Giants, Philadelphia, and Baltimore are all off this week. That means fantasy owners are scrambling to replace some of these stars:

(Fantasy ranking listed in parentheses)
Falcons: Roddy White (#1 WR), Matt Ryan (#6 QB), Michael Turner (#13 RB), Tony Gonzalez (#10 TE), Matt Bryant (#4 K)
Giants: Hakeem Nicks (#2 WR), Eli Manning (#7 QB), Ahmad Bradshaw (#9 RB), #9 defense
Eagles: Jeremy Maclin (#5 WR), LeSean McCoy (#6 RB), David Akers (#10 K), #6 defense
Ravens: Anquan Boldin (#7 WR), Joe Flacco (#10 QB), Todd Heap (#9 TE)
Bears: Matt Forte (#7 RB), Robbie Gould (#11 K), #3 defense
Browns: Peyton Hills (#8 RB), Ben Watson (#11 TE)

Yes, I write this out of bitterness because I have about half of the players listed above on my two fantasy teams. It’s OK though, just follow some of our waiver wire advice and you should be alright. You may wind up with guys like Anthony Armstrong, Patrick Crayton, and LeGarrette Blount filling in this week, but that should be good enough to keep you in contention.

Working the Waiver Wire: Week 8 Free Agent Pickup Advice

Here is some advice on working the waiver wire in your fantasy league (for personal advice email larry at larrybrownsports.com):

Matchups to Avoid (at your discretion): Steelers defense, Ravens defense, Giants pass defense, Chargers pass defense.

Matchups to Exploit (at your discretion): Houston, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Oakland, and New England’s secondary. Buffalo, Oakland, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Indy’s run defense. Start a defense playing Carolina, Arizona, Cleveland, and San Francisco.

I know it’s the bye week for many of players and you’ll need some replacements, but unfortunately there aren’t many must-have type guys. You can find some guys to plug holes, but not many difference makers.


MUST-HAVE

Donald Brown, RB, Colts – Joseph Addai will probably be out a month with his shoulder injury. Whoever gets the bulk of the carries will have lots of fantasy value and be a good bet for a touchdown each week. I’m thinking it will be Brown.
Mike Hart, RB, Colts – Hart has been receiving carries and will likely have a strong role in the offense with Addai out. He and Brown are both worth pickups, but Brown will probably be the man.

*Make sure they’re not still available: Kenny Britt

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Donald Brown Could Become Hot Fantasy RB Pickup with Joseph Addai Hurt

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve had Donald Brown stashed away on your fantasy bench waiting for the moment he could step in and replace Joseph Addai in the high-powered Indy offense. If you were, your hopes and patience may have finally paid off. The Colts are on a bye this week, but when they return they may get former first-round pick Donald Brown back from injury while Addai may be out.

Brown’s missed the last three games because of a hamstring injury so former Michigan product Mike Hart took on Indy’s backup running back role. The bad news for the Colts, besides Dallas Clark’s wrist problems, is that Joseph Addai’s shoulder looks like a serious issue. It’s been reported that Addai has a nerve problem in his shoulder that could keep him out several weeks. It’s a bad break for Addai who’s been running the ball better than he has since his rookie year in 2006, but he still might not miss any time.

If Addai is out, Brown should be fully recovered from his hamstring injury in time to take over the feature back role. While the Colts traditionally don’t run the ball too heavily, they elect to handoff inside the 10 quite frequently, making it a running back touchdown heaven. Plus, if Dallas Clark is lost for the year, they might run the ball more than usual (though that’s not guaranteed). I’ve been waiting for a while to see what Brown can do. Maybe in a few weeks we’ll finally find out.

Working the Waiver Wire: Week 7 Free Agent Pickup Advice

Here is some advice on working the waiver wire in your fantasy league (for personal advice email larry at larrybrownsports.com):

Matchups to Avoid (at your discretion): Steelers defense, Ravens defense, Jets rush defense, Giants pass defense, Chargers pass defense.

Matchups to Exploit (at your discretion): Houston, Seattle, Jacksonville, Oakland, and New England’s secondary. Buffalo, Oakland, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Indy’s run defense. Start a defense playing Carolina, Arizona, Cleveland, and San Francisco.


MUST-HAVE

Deion Branch, WR, Patriots – His 9 catches and 98 yards were the most he’s had in a game since 2007. He already showed instant chemistry with Tom Brady, so grab him if he’s still available.
Patrick Crayton, WR, Chargers – Had 6 catches for 117 yards taking over once Floyd and Naanee got hurt. With Floyd out this week, expect Crayton to see plenty of action.
Heath Miller, TE, Steelers – We told you last week he would make an excellent addition to your roster and he delivered by catching his first TD of the season. Big Ben loves him. You should too.
Cameron Wake, LB, Dolphins – He’s been a sack machine, getting to the quarterback in four of five games including a three sack performance against the Packers. The former CFL product is legit.
*Make sure they’re not still available: Kenny Britt

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