Posted: Tuesday October 19, 2010 11:14AM ; Updated: Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:12PM
Dan McQuade
Dan McQuade>FANTASY FOOTBALL WAIVER WIRE

Wide receiver injuries require a wide-ranging search for new talent

Story Highlights

Unlike running backs, wide receivers usually don;t have established backups

Danny Woodhead has emerged as good producer in running and receiving games

Marques Colston has yet to catch for 100 yards or score a touchdown this season

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danny-woodhead.jpg
After playing the preseason in New York, Danny Woodhead has become a regular-season breakout star for the Patriots.

On a Sunday full of big hits, the one DeSean Jackson took might have been the biggest. The Eagles wide receiver -- who returned to his 2009 form with two long touchdowns in the first quarter -- took a hit from Dunta Robinson Sunday that left both players with concussions.

Jackson will be out for a while, but it's unclear if anyone else available on the Eagles is a quality fantasy option. No. 2 wideout Jeremy Maclin is already a fantasy starter. Brent Celek has been disappointing this year, but is still also probably starting in most leagues. Does anyone on the Eagles' offense improve? It's unlikely Andy Reid will run the ball much more, and No. 3 wide receiver Jason Avant isn't likely to put up huge numbers every week. If he does, it's probably too risky to waste a roster spot on him right now.

If you're a Jackson owner, you're going to have to look to another team for a replacement, which is common. Wide receivers aren't like running backs; they don't usually have a clear backup who will come in after a serious injury and carry the load. In most cases with wide receivers, it will be at least a week until we're sure who will get more catches in Jackson's absence.

Once again this week, look for players on the hot seat; this week's crop is full of stars who are underproducing and are options to be traded if you're looking to shake up your team.

Quarterback

Does your league use a team quarterback? Lucky you, at least if you have the Eagles. Kevin Kolb, just a few weeks from being benched in favor of Michael Vick, had the best game of this young career: 23-for-29, 326 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT. Andy Reid says Vick is the starter when he comes back from injury, but Reid says a lot of things.

If Vick doesn't return next week and Kolb has another good game, we're set for full two weeks of quarterback controversy in Philadelphia with the Eagles' bye in Week 8. If your quarterback situation is bad -- or you have Vick and plan on him being your starter for the second half of the season  and you have the roster spot, pick up Kolb.

Chad Henne (23-of-39, 231 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT): He's not an ideal option for next week against Pittsburgh, but a nice game against the injured-but-talented Packers pass defense makes him an attractive option who's available in most leagues.

On the hot seat: Brett Favre. The Vikings were able to edge Dallas, but Favre didn't put up anything approaching fantasy-starter numbers: 14-for-19, 118 yards, 1 TD. At this point, Favre isn't a starting fantasy QB. Keep him on the bench.

Running back

One can almost picture Bill Belichick laughing maniacally in his office. Maybe he does that all the time, but this week it'd be due to the performance of Danny Woodhead. The castoff from the Jets looked to be a player only known to fans of Hard Knocks. Instead, he's averaging 7.3 yards a carry. Sunday, he carried 11 times for 63 yards and caught 5 passes for 52 yards (on 7 targets).

Woodhead probably won't put up double-digit yards every week, but after three weeks it's clear he has a relatively large role to play in the Patriots' offense. His numbers might even continue increase. If your team is in need of a running back Woodhead could be the surprise of the second half of the season. He'll be splitting carries with BenJarvus Green-Ellis but his receiving threats make him a starter if you're a little desperate.

Chris Ivory (15 carries, 158 yards): Ivory might already be gone in your league, Pierre Thomas will be coming back, and Ivory won't be facing the Buccaneers defense again anytime soon. But he might be a good guy to stash on your bench or even be a third running back in a huge league when Thomas comes back; Thomas' ankle injury is also worse than originally expected, so you can use him confidently until then.

Donald Brown: The Colts' backup didn't play Sunday night but Joseph Addai was injured for the second straight game. The Colts have a bye next week, but Addai's injury didn't look good and he could end up being out for several weeks. It might be worth it to try to steal Brown if you have the roster spot.

On the hot seat: Michael Turner. The Falcons stuck to the running game despite falling behind 21-0 to the Eagles, but Turner still had just 45 yards on 15 carries. Unless your team is stacked, he's still someone you'll probably have to start, but with only one touchdown this year you might want to think about trading him if you get a good offer.

Wide receiver

The Patriots re-acquired Deion Branch from Seattle after trading away Randy Moss and he returned to the Pats in style, catching 9 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown in Week 6. Tom Brady targeted Branch 12 times, one ahead of Wes Welker for most on the team. Sure, he could just be a one-week wonder once teams get more film of him with the Patriots, but there's reason to think Branch can keep this up: He knows the system and is obviously comfortable with Brady. You'll feel pretty foolish if you need a receiver and don't pick him up.

Anthony Armstrong (5 catches, 46 yards): Donovan McNabb's favorite young target this year in Washington appears to be Armstrong. The 27-year-old rookie caught a 47-yard TD in a win over Green Bay, then was targeted seven times against the Colts Sunday night. More good news: The Redskins finally had a running game in Week 6, so the passing game should be opened up a little more.

Patrick Crayton (6 catches, 117 yards): San Diego lost both Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd to injuries Sunday, so Philip Rivers targeted Crayton seven times on the day. Gates' injury isn't as serious as originally feared but Floyd will almost certainly miss this week's game. Crayton is a decent fantasy option as long as Floyd is out.

On the hot seat: Marques Colston. What's up with this guy? The Saints star doesn't have a 100-yard game, he hasn't scored a touchdown and he has just 340 yards over six weeks. Again, he's a guy you're going to probably continue to start unless you have an incredibly deep wideout corps, but be on the lookout for trade partners.

Tight end

Heath Miller hasn't done much this year but finally got into the end zone courtesy of the return of Ben Roethlisberger. Miller was targeted four times and caught a 24-yard score. If Roethlisberger is going to target him near the red zone, his value goes up a little. It's not until Week 15, though, that the Steelers face a defense that guards the tight end well. Miller's production could end up going way up.

Owen Daniels (5 catches, 79 yards): Daniels had his strongest game of the season; his five catches in Week 6 were a third of his season total. Daniels was the top tight end in the league before tearing his ACL last year; although he says he's 100 percent, his production has been nowhere near last season's levels. The next two weeks Daniels and the Texans face teams (Indianapolis and San Diego) who don't cover the tight end very well. He's a sleeper bye week fill-in against either one.

On the hot seat: Jason Witten. He's had a decent season, but nothing approaching his draft position. He was targeted five times for 52 yards Sunday and has just the one touchdown. Same advice here: Keep him, but don't hesitate to let him go if the deal is right.

Defense

The hot NFL team this week? The Minnesota Vikings, who are 2-3 but are suddenly the hot pick to win the NFC North. The Vikings' defense has been incredibly disappointing and might have been dropped in your league. They might be worth picking up: The rest of the season schedule isn't impossible, with five more games against suspect (or injured) NFC North teams.

Kicker

The kicking carousel continues in New Orleans, as Garrett Hartley returned to the Saints' lineup Sunday. He hit a 27-yard field goal and missed a 33-yarder, but Sean Payton said after the game that Hartley was his kicker going forward. Whoever kicks for the Saints is a starting fantasy kicker, no matter how many missed chip shots. Hartley's the guy for now.

 
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