Gore's loss is Westbrook's gain
Matt Cassel has tallied at least 17 fantasy points each game since Week 8
Brian Westbrook ran for 136 yards in subbing for injured Frank Gore
Ben Obomanu likely to get more targets if Mike Williams remains out
Despite the Vikings' struggles this season, Adrian Peterson has remained a top fantasy back. He's had just three single-digit fantasy games, is the fourth-highest scorer in standard scoring leagues and got owners 12 points on Saturday. Twelve points isn't a great fantasy day, but it was a lot for a player who went out in the second quarter after rolling his ankle. Yes, Peterson is hurt, and it could be serious. Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier said Peterson has a sprained ankle; further details should come out Wednesday. It's possible Peterson has the dreaded high-ankle sprain, but even a severe regular sprain could keep him out of the lineup this Sunday.
The solution for your fantasy lineup is obvious: Get Toby Gerhart, who rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown after Peterson's departure. What makes Gerhart an attractive fill-in is how Frazier stuck with the run after Peterson's departure. Gerhart averaged only 3.5 yards on his 22 carries, but that he got the ball that many times shows he has the chance to be an effective replacement.
We'll know better on Wednesday if Peterson will play this week, but the injury is troubling enough that Peterson owners should definitely pick up Gerhart. Other owners looking to upgrade their lineup -- or hurt a playoff rival -- should also try to grab him.
Because most fantasy leagues only start one quarterback, there are almost always options on the waiver wire. For example: Matt Cassel, who went 22-of-32 for four touchdowns on Sunday, is available in 46 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues. He's the guy you should target if you want to upgrade; he hasn't had a game below 17 fantasy points since Week 8 and faces some leaky pass defenses in the coming weeks, including a home game against Denver on Sunday.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills (23-of-45, 265 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT): Fitzpatrick's numbers would be even better if God didn't deflect the ball out of Steve Johnson's hands in the end zone in OT. Fitzpatrick has come back down to earth a bit since an incredible midseason run, but he's still putting up quality numbers. He's also thrown a TD pass in every game he's started this year.
Tony Romo, Cowboys You can almost certainly wait on him, but he's begun throwing and could be back by Week 14. It'd be a gamble, but if your league has big rosters, you can stash him and use him in the playoffs.
Frank Gore fractured his hip in Monday night's win over Arizona and is out for the year. Despite coming into the game with only five carries, Brian Westbrook got the bulk of the work in Gore's absence: 23 rushes for 136 yards and a touchdown. The ex-Eagles RB looked like his old self in his first action of the year.
Of course, there's also rookie Anthony Dixon, who carried 14 times for 54 yards and a score. Most of Dixon's carries, however, came in the second half with the game out of reach. Provided he stays healthy, Westbrook should be the starter the rest of the season and is a nice pickup for fantasy playoffs. Arizona's run defense isn't great, but Westbrook looked spry on Monday night. He's worth taking a chance on.
Tashard Choice (1 carry, 1 yard, 1 TD): Marion Barber's calf has improved, but he's most likely to be out for Sunday's game against the Colts with a calf strain. Felix Jones is the top back in Dallas, but Choice is an interesting pick-up for this week facing a horrible Colts' run defense. He'll get some carries and could find the end zone if the Cowboys get some goal-line chances. He's a decent third option if you can't get Gerhart or Westbrook.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (12 carries, 98 yards): There's a chance an owner in your league gave up on The Daily Show due to injuries and a lack of production. Grab him if he's on the waiver wire. While Mike Goodson started Sunday and got more carries (14) and a score, Stewart's 8.2 yards per carry should move him into the starting lineup sooner rather than later.
Jacoby Ford returned the opening kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown, which is probably irrelevant for your fantasy purposes. But he followed that up with a four-catch, 108-yard performance (with another receiving touchdown). He was targeted 10 times in the Raiders' loss. Though just a week ago he had two catches, Ford is definitely coming on. He's a passable third option.
Ben Obomanu, Seahawks (5 catches, 159 yards, 1 TD): With Mike Williams out, Obomanu was the beneficiary, catching all but one pass thrown to him and scoring an 87-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. He has four, five and five catches in his past three games. He's a definite starting option if Williams isn't able to return on Sunday.
Jason Avant, Eagles (8 catches, 83 yards): Avant was targeted a team-high nine times in Sunday's loss. If you need a third wide receiver for the last week of the fantasy regular season in most leagues, Avant is coming on and faces the awful Houston Texans pass defense on Thursday night.
A year after leading the Eagles with 76 catches, Brent Celek has had a disappointing season. Celek had been averaging just 4.7 targets a game coming into Sunday's game. He got eight against the Bears, catching three passes for 50 yards, including a 30-yard TD in the fourth. Michael Vick missed a wide-open Celek on what would have been a touchdown in the first quarter as well. It's just one game, but if Celek is getting involved in the offense, he could end up being a valuable fantasy playoff contributor. He might still be on a roster somewhere, but if he's been released, go get him.
Kevin Boss, Giants (3 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD): With all the injuries to the Giants' wideout corps, Boss was bound to get more looks. Eli Manning threw to him eight times on Sunday; he only caught three, but did have the long touchdown. With Nicks and Smith both expected to be out a little while longer, Boss is a good pickup.
It's been a rough year for Garrett Hartley, but it appears he's returned to form and will be the Saints' kicker for the rest of the year. He's probably unclaimed in your league; the Saints have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way and score a lot of points. Hartley could put up good numbers.
The 49ers were expected to be a top defense this year and haven't lived up to the billing. But they have one of the easiest schedules the rest of the year, and have put up solid fantasy numbers in four out of the past six weeks. They're worth taking a chance on if you're really looking for a defense.
St. Louis: Of course, the 49ers play in Green Bay this week, so if you're looking for a one-week filler to make the playoffs they're not really a great option. Take a look at St. Louis, who plays in Arizona this week. The Cardinals' offense is horrid and appears to be getting worse; St. Louis forces a lot of fumbles (fifth in the league) and has a respectable sack total. They could have a huge game this weekend. Two other options are San Diego (vs. Oakland) and New Orleans (at Cincinnati), though both are probably owned in your league.