There is actually a good grip of players that are potentially solid pickups in fantasy football after Week 7.
PICKUPS AFTER WEEK 7
Josh Freeman – QB – Tampa Bay – Freeman continues to impress with his 3rd strong performance in a row and undoubtedly his best of the season. This week Freeman posted 420 passing yards while throwing for 3 TDs and would have had one more if Vincent Jackson could have mustered out two more yards on what would have been a 97-yarder. What's even more impressive for Freeman is what he's done over the last three weeks throwing for a total of 1,047 yards, seven TDs and only two INTs. Freeman has a tough match-up on Thursday night this week going up against the Vikings in Minnesota, but has a pretty nice schedule the rest of the way playing @Oak, vs. SD, @Car, vs. Atl, @Den, vs. Phi, @NO, vs. Stl and @Atl in Week 17. If anything, he's at least a reliable bye week replacement and is quickly becoming a sneaky starter the rest of the way.
Santana Moss – WR – Washington – Moss (no, not Randy) is still doing his thing out there as he takes advantage of the fact that Pierre Garcon can’t get back on the field. Santana showed his ability to make the big play again this week putting up two TDs and finishing with three catches for 67 yards. In fact, Moss is averaging three catches for 64 yards and a TD over the past three weeks, so what he did on Sunday wasn't just a one-time thing. With Fred Davis lost for the season, Moss should see an increase in targets going forward as RGIII will need to lean on his veteran presence out there down the stretch. As a savvy veteran with a knack for finding the endzone, Santana could be a useful WR3 or flex play in the second half of the season.
Chris Cooley / Logan Paulsen – TE – Washington – With Fred Davis done for the season, the Redskins immediately went out and re-signed their ex-tight end of eight year, Chris Cooley. Because Cooley already knows the offense, he should have no problem jumping right into the fire and maybe even get the start against Pittsburgh in Week 8. If not, Logan Paulsen is certainly worth taking a look at after filling in nicely for Davis catching four out of his six targets for 76 yards after he went down. Neither one will be a fantasy game-changer for your team, but could be a nice bye-week fill-in if necessary.
Joe Morgan – WR – New Orleans – Morgan is more of a deep league sleeper and won't be a real consistent threat in fantasy this season, but hey, did you see that freaking catch he had this week?!?! It might go down as the play of the year and possibly one of the best Ninja moves ever (flipping a guy, staying on his feet and then taking it to the house). If you didn't see it, check out this youtube highlight of the catch…simply amazing!!! That being said, once Jimmy Graham is back as the Saints main target, Morgan will slide back into obscurity - but WOW did he live up his 15 minutes of fame this week!
Donald Jones – WR – Buffalo – It seems that every few weeks, Jones puts up a double-digit fantasy performance like he did on Sunday (four catches for 47 yards and a TD) as he's done so now in Week 1, 4 and 7. The Bills will be on a bye next week, but Jones is starting to become a more active participant in the Bills passing game (as evidenced by his steady increase in targets) and could be a decent flex play depending on the matchup. His production will be inconsistent for the rest of the season, however, and is really only recommended as a pickup in deeper leagues.
Chad Henne – QB – Jacksonville – Henne could be taking over one of the most feared offenses in football... "feared" as in the Jaguars "feared" they would actually have to use this guy as their starting quarterback. He is NOT recommended as a serious add, unless you are in a league that has a 60-man roster and in that case, I think he is still on the bubble. It is not clear just yet how bad the injury to Gabbert’s shoulder is, but if he does miss some time, Henne will be the starter. The Jaguars could also be without MJD for an extended period of time and would have to rely on their passing game…hah…I can’t write this without having a little chuckle. Let me repeat: DO NOT pick this guy up.
Rashad Jennings – RB – Jacksonville – The only true threat of the Jaguars offense, MJD, is now injured and with no timetable on his return, his season could be in doubt. If so, it will give Rashad Jennings another chance to show the world he is ready to be an every-down back. The only problem is that he'll have to do it within the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars offense. Jennings squeaked out just 44 yards on 21 carries against the Raiders this past week, but he did manage to rush for a TD and did some nice damage receiving finishing with seven catches for 58 yards. If Jones-Drew misses time, Rashad will be the focal point of the offense as well as a safety valve in the passing game and could be viable in fantasy lineups... even though he is on the Jags.
Kyle Williams – WR – San Francisco – Williams has yet to scorch the Fantasy score sheet, but the 49ers obviously need some need help in revving up the passing game and Williams has some big-play ability, so the puzzle pieces seem to fit. He can stretch the field with his speed and has great moves in the open as he clearly displays in the return game. With the 'Niners becoming a bit predictable, Kyle could see an increase in his role in the offense as the 49ers look for more ways to score points.
Tiquan Underwood – WR – Tampa Bay – Underwood may best be known for his fly “Kid” from Kid and Play high-top fade. I can't understand how he fits that hair into his helmet... Maybe he had it made by the same company that put together Don Beebe's helmet years ago. Anyway, Underwood was targeted six times in Week 7 yet had just two catches for 35 yards, though one of those catches was a 13-yard TD pass from Josh Freeman. Underwood will continue to see 1-on-1 coverage with Vincent Jackson drawing double-teams and has a chance to put up some nice games, especially if Freeman continues to develop as a passer. He might be worth the risk here with his arrow (and hair) pointing straight up.
Shane Vereen – RB – New England – Vereen had more touches in Week 7 than he had all season long and looked real good with the extended opportunity. He had eight carries for 49 yards and added a catch for another 10 yards while filling in for the injured Brandon Bolden. The problem for Vereen when it comes to fantasy is Bill Belichick, a coach who will continue to confuse/annoy you as an owner by using all of his running backs during each game. With his Week 7 performance, though, Vereen should see more carries the rest of the way.
Josh Cooper – WR – Cleveland – Cooper has the benefit of knowing his quarterback (Brandon Weeden) very well as they played together back at Oklahoma State. Cooper saw eight targets from his college buddy this past week and came down with four catches for 53 yards. This is not the first time we've seen an undervalued player start to put up fantasy points due to the familiarity of college teammates (i.e. - Jay Cutler and Earl Bennett). I feel Josh Cooper may end up being a similar player to Bennett (who coincidentally returns for the Bears this week) in that his prior relationship with his QB earns him additional looks each week. In PPR leagues, Coop has a chance to be a nice waiver wire addition.
LaRod Stephens-Howling – RB – Arizona – Stephens-Howling surprised many of us in Week 7 getting the majority of rushes (20) for the Cardinals over assumed starter, William Powell (4). The move seemed to pay off for Arizona as Howling took those 20 carries and ran for 104 yards against a very stout Minnesota defense. As usual, he was also an active participant in the passing game adding four catches for 45 yards as well. It would appear that LSH may be the lead dog for Cardinals right now, but at a slight 5’7” and only 185-pounds, it will be interesting to see how he deals with the rigors of being a starting running back in the NFL.
David Thomas – TE – New Orleans – With Jimmy Graham missing Week 7 for the Saints, David Thomas was asked to start in his place and received four targets from Drew Brees that were turned into two catches for 27 yards and a 20-yard TD. If Graham continues to miss time, then Thomas will stay the starter for the Saints, but don’t expect him to see the same type of attention from Brees that Graham gets. However, Thomas will be a solid play for some consistent points for as long as Graham as out, but he has a low ceiling, even in this high-flying Saints offense.
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BY HOUDINI (email me)