November 03, 2009

Steve Slaton's time in the lineup on Sunday was short. Midway through the first quarter, Slaton caught a Matt Schaub pass just past midfield and failed to keep a grip on the ball, losing his fifth fumble of the season. Slaton got the hook, allowing 26-year-old Ryan Moats the opportunity to gain 126 yards on 23 carries and score three times in the fourth quarter to push the Texans past the Bills.

Now 5-3, and heading into a pivotal stretch of the season, the Texans may be tempted to pull the trigger and give Moats a chance to handle the primary rushing duties moving forward. Coach Gary Kubiak is mum so far, but how can he ignore Moats' performance? Fantasy owners certainly cannot.

The Texans rank fifth in the NFL in total rushing attempts, suggesting an increased role for Moats could make him fantasy gold for those fantasy owners lacking quality depth at the position. At 5-foot-8, 210 pounds, Moats is no smaller than Slaton, and is someone capable of handling the ball 20-plus times, evidenced by his performance on Sunday. One thing for fantasy owners to keep in mind: Moats is not the receiver that Slaton is, suggesting both backs will probably figure into the equation.

Here are a few other waiver wire candidates to consider...

QB Vince Young, Tennessee

Last week, Alex Smith rose from the dead; this week it was Young. In his first start of the season Young completed 15 of 18 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown (no interceptions). Most important, the Titans won, perhaps serving as proof team owner Bud Adams was right in insisting Young should get a chance. The next four weeks the Titans will face four teams that rank in the bottom half of the league in defending the pass. Young, like Smith, might just make the most of what is expected to be his final opportunity.

RB Leonard Weaver, Philadelphia

With Brian Westbrook ailing, Weaver was given the ball eight times on Sunday (75 yards). In the first quarter the 250-pound tank rumbled through the Giants defense for a 41-yard score. Fantasy owners should not expect Weaver to become the team's primary ball carrier -- especially not with rookie LeSean McCoy running as well as he has -- but Weaver's productivity against a respected defense will force Philadelphia to keep him in the rotation.

WR David Anderson, Houston

Moats isn't the only Texans player worthy of a look this week. Anderson caught three passes for 51 yards in the win over Buffalo. The reason he may be a good pickup is the Texans' sudden lack of bodies in the passing game. Tight end Owen Daniels is out, and his backup, James Casey, is also expected to miss time. Anderson could join Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter as the top weapons for a team that has put up respectable passing totals so far (Schaub is tied for first in the league with 16 touchdowns).

Here is a look at this week's buy and sell candidates:

WR Michael Crabtree, San Francisco

Crabtree is the real deal. Forget about the ego, the injury, the missed practice time ... in just his second game he led the 49ers in catches (six) and receiving yards (81). Alex Smith seemed to favor his rookie target, especially on deep sideline routes, and Crabtree found open space with ease. The 49ers are a team just starting to take shape; fantasy owners should expect Crabtree's numbers to grow in the final month, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he challenged for the most rookie receiving yards in 2009 despite missing the first five games.

WR Derrick Mason, Baltimore

It appears Mason has found a second wind. Quietly he has caught a touchdown in four of the last five games. His "worst" performance during that stretch came this past Sunday (four catches for 40 yards). It might be a good time to make a move for Baltimore's No. 1 receiver, especially as he is just two weeks away from a rematch against a Browns secondary he torched for 118 yards the first time around this season.

K Matt Stover, Indianapolis

With Adam Vinatieri out with a knee injury, Stover will get all of the spoils in Indianapolis. On Sunday, he made all four field goal attempts, finishing with 12 points for fantasy owners. The Colts schedule suggests more field goals over the next several weeks against defenses such as New England, Houston and Baltimore.

QB Kyle Orton, Denver

Coming off of his first loss of the season things won't get easier on Orton and the Denver passing game. Over the next four weeks the team will face three of the top eight pass defenses in the league. If that doesn't scare you, consider that Orton has a poor track record in the month of November (49 completion percentage last year, with three touchdowns and three interceptions in three games).

QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Rodgers is the league's top-rated quarterback. He's also on pace to accept 71 sacks this season, and it was reported he is dealing with a couple of sprains following Sunday's loss to Minnesota. The good news is that Rodgers will not see Jared Allen again this season. The bad news is that he has been labeled a fragile quarterback throughout his career, and the Packers' rag-tag linemen haven't kept people off his backside all year. The odds seem good Rodgers will miss time at some point in the second half of the season.

RB Justin Fargas, Oakland

With Darren McFadden expected back soon -- perhaps after the bye week -- Fargas' production will drop sharply, even though he has clearly been a bright spot for an awful Raider offense. Fargas scored his first touchdown of the season on Sunday, and caught three passes for a second straight week. Use those numbers to help unload him.

Mike Beacom is a contributing writer for

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