November 17, 2009

The Atlanta Falcons have run the life out of Michael Turner these past two seasons, so it was just a matter of time before the bulky back picked up an injury. The high-ankle sprain he suffered in last week's loss to Carolina could keep him out a week or longer -- no one at Falcons headquarters is saying much so far. It's an unfortunate injury considering Turner was just starting to pick up some steam (three straight 100-yard performances).

To replace him, Atlanta will most likely turn to 25-year-old Jason Snelling, who gained 93 yards of offense last week and scored a touchdown. Snelling is fresh off a hamstring injury, but his 18 carries against the Panthers is proof he can handle the extra workload, and his 9.7-yard average per carry against Dallas in his last outing (Week 8) is proof he can be productive.

Fantasy owners may want to roll the dice and give Snelling a shot before Turner's status becomes clear. Players rarely recover quickly from high-ankle sprains, and even if Turner can go this week he'll be limited. The Falcons next opponent (Giants) has allowed 4.5 yards per carry and 12 rushing scores, and Tampa Bay (Week 12) ranks 31st in the league in rushing yards allowed.

Here are a couple of other waiver wire candidates to consider...

RB Justin Forsett, Seattle

In a few leagues, owners picked up Forsett after his Week 2 performance against San Francisco: 92 yards of offense, six receptions. Since then, however, Forsett has been given very little opportunity in Seattle. With Julius Jones' injury expected to keep him out at least another week, Forsett will become the top rusher for the Seahawks, possibly for a few games. Last week in a relief role, Forsett carried 17 times for 123 yards and caught five passes. More weeks like that and Seattle may need to find something permanently wrong with Jones.

WR Brandon Gibson, St. Louis

Against the Saints, Gibson caught seven of the nine passes thrown to him for 93 yards. Where has this guy been, you ask? After struggling to find a spot in Philadelphia's deep receiving corps, Gibson was picked up by St. Louis early in the year but didn't see any action until this past Sunday. Now with Keenan Burton out for the year with a bum knee, Gibson will get plenty more opportunities to make plays. Keep in mind that he beat up on a New Orleans secondary without a few of its top performers. Even so, fantasy owners desperate for wide receiver help should consider Gibson.

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

WR Jerricho Cotchery, New York Jets

In his last two games Cotchery has picked up the pace, registering 70 yards against Miami before the bye week, then catching six passes for 68 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against Jacksonville. Quarterback Mark Sanchez targeted Cotchery 11 times in the game -- by far more than any other Jets receiver. And with several key divisional matchups on tap, Cotchery's season is just getting started. Fantasy owners should be able to pick Cotchery up for a reasonable price due to the frustration he has caused his owners.

WR Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh

Looking for a receiver ready to explode? Holmes could have a huge second half for a Steelers club that has passed the ball more often in recent weeks. In fact, Holmes has gained 85 or more yards receiving in three of the past four games. Because he hasn't found the end zone since Week 1 his asking price should be considerably lower than it would have been at the start of the season.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota

Sidney Rice has emerged as Brett Favre's No. 1 receiver in Minnesota, but Shiancoe has remained the steady weapon the team likes to rely on in short-yardage situations. It could be argued that Rice's arrival has opened up even more space for Shiancoe to work in the middle of the field. During Weeks 5 through 8, he caught 13 passes including five touchdowns. Now, though, is the time for fantasy owners to make a move, as Shiancoe is two weeks removed from his last score, and three weeks from his last big-time performance.

RB Michael Bush, Oakland

Bush exploded for 119 yards rushing in Oakland's win over Kansas City. It was his first 100-yard effort of 2009, and likely his last. Darren McFadden will slowly eat back into the team's workload, and Bush won't get to face a team as porous as Kansas City again this season. Plus, more than half of his yards came on one play (60-yard run), telling us he was no better than average the rest of the day against the Chiefs. See if someone in your league is willing to take the bait.

WR Roy Williams, Dallas

Williams single-handily lost the game for Dallas in Green Bay this past weekend, first by fumbling on a play that would have brought Dallas deep into Packer territory, then by dropping a pass that went right through his hands. The Cowboys patience in Williams is wearing thin, and the team has shown a willingness the past two weeks to throw to more secondary receivers, such as Kevin Ogletree. Coming off of his best day of the season (105 yards, touchdown) now would be the time to cut Williams free.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seattle

Houshmandzadeh had a stellar Week 10 performance (nine catches for 165 yards) but it's highly unlikely the stars will align for him again this season. The Seahawks threw to him a ton in a game that was basically a shootout. Houshmandzadeh's mouth has done more work than his hands this year, and through nine games he has just three touchdowns. Not much will change moving forward. The upcoming schedule suggests the Seahawks will keep the ball on the ground as much as they can, and Nate Burleson, Deion Branch and John Carlson won't allow Housmandzadeh to have another 17-target game again.

Mike Beacom is a contributing writer for

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