Peter King called him "just another guy." Eric Mack wrote he could be on your waiver wire after he struggled against the Colts -- the Colts! -- this week. Chris Johnson rushed for just 34 yards on 14 carries against Indianapolis' bad run defense. He was even benched..
For the season, Johnson has rushed for just 302 yards on 107 carries, a paltry 2.8 average. He's scored just one touchdown. (In points-per-reception leagues, he's at least averaging 3.9 catches a game.) On Sunday he was benched by the end of the game in favor of Javon Ringer, who also got 14 carries but rushed for 60 yards. Ringer was also targeted six times to Johnson's five and caught five passes for 42 yards compared to three for 17.
So is Ringer a sneaky good fantasy pickup, especially considering he's only owned in nine percent of Yahoo! leagues. Johnson remains the starter, but Ringer is expected to be mixed in. He got the offense going a bit against the Colts. Sunday was only the second time he broke double-digit fantasy points all season in standard leagues and Tennessee was last in Football Outsiders' adjusted line yards stat even before Sunday.
And yet, by the eye test Ringer looks better than Johnson and it seems like the coaches would be have to start working him in more eventually. Coupled with the Titans' appealing run defenses matchups in Weeks 14 (New Orleans) and 15 (Indianapolis), Ringer is a guy to pick up this week and stash on your bench for future dividends.
Carson Palmer, Raiders (27 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues): There aren't many quarterbacks left on the waiver wire, but Palmer plays against Denver this week, the defense that's given up the most points to fantasy quarterbacks. Palmer is likely to put up big numbers this week and will be snatched up immediately. Get him while you can if you're in need of a QB; he has a lot more upside than the rest of the QBs out there.
Andy Dalton, Bengals (36 percent): The rookie QB is producing more than anyone could have expected, has a nice matchup against the Titans this week and a not-so-tough Bengals schedule the rest of the way. He's obviously a definite pickup in dynasty leagues.
Michael Bush, Raiders (51 percent): Available in just under half of leagues, Bush is a decent third running back in big leagues because he gets so many carries near the goal line. But with Darren McFadden banged up -- there's no medical update yet on his sprained foot -- Bush could be the starter against Denver on Sunday. If he goes
Tashard Choice, Redskins (7 percent): Cut by the Cowboys, Choice now heads to Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins. He called being cut "a blessing" and, it being Shanahan, will probably be the No. 1 back in Washington by Week 10 against Miami. He can stay on the waiver wire for now unless you're a really skittish Ryan Torain owner.
Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns (1 percent): With Montario Hardesty expected to be out a few weeks and Peyton Hillis both banged up and a question mark, the Browns' third-string running back is only for incredibly deep leagues.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers (40 percent): The 49ers' passing game still isn't great with Alex Smith at the helm, but Crabtree has slowly been improving, posting double-digit fantasy points (in standard leagues) for the first time all season on Sunday. Braylon Edwards (21 percent) is also an option in bigger leagues, as he made it through Sunday unscathed.
Jonathan Baldwin, Chiefs (5 percent): Left for dead after two weeks, the Chiefs are now tied for the AFC West lead. The rookie Baldwin made his first mark this season, catching five passes (on seven targets) for 82 yards and a touchdown. He's the Chiefs first-round pick and should be involved in the offense more as the season goes on.
Early Doucet, Cardinals (24 percent): The Cardinals don't have a great passing game and now Kevin Kolb is injured. But Doucet was targeted on the goal line again and scored for the second straight week despite catching just two passes for 20 yards. He led the team in targets with six.
Brent Celek, Eagles (11 percent): Celek has led the Eagles for consecutive weeks with nine targets and scored in both games. Andy Reid says the Eagles are trying to utilize him more; he hasn't been very productive since 2009, but he scored eight times and averaged 4.75 receptions and 60.7 yards a game that season. The Eagles have a lot of weapons, but Celek has some decent matchups coming up: Up next are the Bears, who give up the most points in fantasy to tight ends, followed by the Cardinals.
Mike Nugent, Bengals (14 percent): He's available in most leagues, the Bengals offense continues to move the ball and they have an easy schedule the rest of the way. He might even be outscoring the kicker in your starting lineup. Check!
Raiders (18 percent): The Raiders are a one-week pickup. They face Denver this week and Tim Tebow is still the starter. The Lions' defense turned that into a ridiculous fantasy day; Oakland is unlikely to score multiple touchdowns like Detroit, but they should be able to force a couple of turnovers and keep the score low.