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Surrounding talent may make Leinart, Young helpful fantasy cogs


Matt Leinart, fantasy stud?

On a busy Monday of injuries, the biggest news was that Matt Schaub will likely miss the rest of the season. The Texans' offense has been strong all season despite missing Andre Johnson for most of the year. Schaub is in the top 10 in fantasy points.

Can Leinart replicate any of that success?

The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner hasn't started a game since '09 and was a backup during most of his time in Arizona. He lost his job to Derek Anderson last year. He hasn't been a successful starter in his NFL career.

And yet, Leinart doesn't have to be good or put up a good completion percentage to have good fantasy value. The Texans have a lot of weapons, and Houston isn't going to start running the Tim Tebow offense even with a running game of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. After the bye this week, the Texans face the Jaguars, Falcons, Bengals, Panthers and Colts. None of those teams are the Monsters of the Midway on defense.

Schaub was able to put up solid numbers despite Johnson going down in Week 4. Texans coach Gary Kubiak expects the star receiver back after the bye.

No one should expect Kurt Warner 1999 numbers from Leinart, but he has a favorable schedule, a returning stud wide receiver and a similar offense to the one he ran at USC. Leinart could literally win people fantasy championships this year. Who knew?

Leinart's most famous game was the '06 Rose Bowl, where USC was edged by Vince Young and Texas for the national championship. Coincidentally, Young will likely start this weekend against the Giants. Of course, Michael Vick's broken ribs aren't expected to keep him out for that long, so Young is a stopgap one-week solution. But not a bad one.

The Eagles were unable to move the ball in the air against a shaky Cardinals' pass defense on Sunday, but with DeSean Jackson back against the Giants on Sunday the Eagles should be better through the air. It doesn't matter how well Young plays; his fantasy numbers are what's important. And the Eagles, without Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on Sunday, still threw the ball 34 times. Young will get his chances for yards and touchdowns.

Carson Palmer, Raiders (39 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues): He looked decent on Thursday night in just his second start this season, and the Raiders have an easy schedule the rest of the way. He might be your safest bet going forward.

Andy Dalton, Bengals (39 percent): The rookie struggled a bit against the Steelers, especially once A.J. Green was lost due to injury. While the Bengals don't have a great schedule the next few weeks, this pickup could pay off down the road: In weeks 15 and 16, Cincy plays St. Louis and Arizona. That means Dalton could be winning some fantasy championships.

Kendall Hunter, Niners (20 percent): Yes, Frank Gore's injury is nothing serious and he'll play Sunday. But even in relief of Gore against the Giants, Hunter had 6 rushes for 40 yards and a score. (Gore, meanwhile, had 6 rushes for 0 yards.) Hunter is too promising of a backup to leave on the waiver wire.

Lance Ball, Broncos (9 percent): With Tim Tebow starting, the Broncos are going with a run-first offense, throwing the ball only eight times on Sunday. With Knowshon Moreno out for the year with a torn ACL, Willis McGahee ailing and a short week -- the Broncos play the Jets on Thursday -- on 30 carries in relief on Sunday. He'll carry the load if McGahee can't go. While the Jets' defense is good, anyone getting that many carries will have a chance to produce in fantasy. Grab him for this week if you need a running back.

Earl Bennett, Bears (34 percent): Bennett caught all six passes thrown his way for 81 yards in the Bears' rout of the Lions. That's two decent weeks in a row for Bennett since coming back. It looks like he's Jay Cutler's favorite target. It's rare a guy who could be a No. 1 is on the waiver wire this late in the season.

Vincent Brown, Chargers (7 percent): The Chargers might not have Malcom Floyd back for Week 11, and Brown has taken the most of his opportunities so far: He caught five passes for 97 yards and a score on Thursday a week after catching four passes for 79. He was targeted a team-high nine times. With Floyd continuing to be a question mark, Brown is a guy who's producing. He's a nice pickup.

Damian Williams, Titans (7 percent): Williams now leads the Titans in touchdowns this season, and was tied for the team lead in targets with Chris Johnson at seven. He caught five passes for 107 yards and a score on Sunday. The Titans' passing offense hasn't been great, but with Johnson starting to get going, the pass may open up a bit more for Tennessee.

Ed Dickson (14 percent): Dickson was finally out-targeted by fellow tight end Dennis Pitta two weeks ago; he responded with the best game of his career: 10 catches, 79 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 targets. The Ravens run a ton of two tight end sets and Dickson won't always see that many looks, but he's an intriguing option out there.

Jacob Tamme, Colts (2 percent): With Dallas Clark out and the Colts shifting quarterbacks (to Dan Orlovsky) again, Tamme is a sneaky option. He obviously won't be as valuable as he was last time Clark was out, but quarterbacks not comfortable in the offense often look for the tight end. Tamme could score OK points in points-per-reception league. He caught six passes for 75 yards on eight targets on Sunday.

Mike Nugent, Bengals (44 percent): Every week, Nugent puts up a passable point total and still sits on the waiver wire in most leagues. Plus, the Bengals still have excellent matchups in Weeks 15 and 16 of the season, likely the semis and finals of your fantasy league.

Nick Folk, Jets (27 percent): He had an inexcusable 24-yard miss on Sunday, but the Jets face a Broncos team this Sunday that's giving up a lot of points to kickers. He should do better this week and is a decent one-week play.

Tennessee (20 percent): The Titans impressed early in the season then fell off the radar. The run game's improvement takes some pressure off the 'D' and the Titans have put up good point totals in two of three weeks. They're just outside of the top 10 among fantasy defenses.