Raiders' Palmer headlines waiver wire additions after Week 9
The uncertainty surrounding Darren McFadden's backups means none are useful
Vick Ballard is in line for a big day against a weak Jaguars defense in Week 10
With Donnie Avery sidelined, T.Y. Hilton is in line to be Andrew Luck's No. 2 target
There's no fantasy injury worse than the dreaded high-ankle sprain. A guy might miss a few weeks -- or he might not, but he will play hobbled by injury. It makes it tough as a fantasy owner to know whether to start a guy. On Sunday, two different Raiders backs suffered the injury.
First was Darren McFadden, going down on one of his first carries He stayed in until halftime, rushing seven times for 17 yards and catching two passes for 0 yards. Meanwhile, Mike Goodson, the backup to McFadden, is now also dealing with a high-ankle sprain he suffered in Sunday's loss.
McFadden hasn't been having a great season, but he was still probably a starter on a lot of fantasy teams. Marcel Reece (owned in four percent of Yahoo! leagues), the fullback, got a majority of the looks on Sunday -- but that was all through the air. He caught nine passes for 95 yards and a score. If neither McFadden nor Goodson can go, the starter will likely by Taiwan Jones (two percent owned).
Even if they play, the Raiders will likely throw a lot with their top two backs hobbled (and with a defense that's putting them behind in games). No Oakland backup is likely to be worth grabbing unless your situation is dire, so it's best to look elsewhere if you need a fill-in.
Carson Palmer, Raiders (50 percent): With the Raiders way behind, Palmer got a ton of chances to throw on Sunday after Darren McFadden went down. He went 39-for-61 for 414 yards for four touchdowns and three interceptions. With McFadden possibly out, Palmer should continue to get a bunch of opportunities. This week the Raiders play the Ravens, who aren't great against the pass this season but have been stingy fantasy-wise; Oakland should throw enough to get Palmer decent fantasy stats.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (8 percent): Need a fill-in for Aaron Rodgers this week? Tannehill is likely available everywhere but dynasty leagues and faces the leaky Tennessee Titans defense. He went 22-for-38 for 290 yards and one score on Sunday. If you're stuck he should put up a fantasy score in the teens this week.
Mikel Leshoure, Lions (78 percent): If your league doesn't have a waiver system, someone undoubtedly picked up Leshoure while he was scoring three first-half touchdowns against the Jaguars on Sunday. But if he's available, you should grab him; Leshoure had his breakout game of the year last week, rushing 16 times for 70 yards and three scores. No great matchups the next few weeks, but he could be a good flex play.
Vick Ballard, Colts (32 percent): Donald Brown may still not return this Thursday, which means Ballard would get the start again. He rushed 16 times for 80 yards and caught three passes for 38 yards (on six targets) on Sunday against the Dolphins. Against a weak Jaguars defense, he should have a big day.
Andre Brown, Giants (58 percent): If he's available, it's worth taking a chance on Brown if you're an Ahmad Bradshaw owner or if you're in a particularly deep league. Bradshaw is still banged up; Brown carried seven times for 20 yards, but got another goal-line score for the second-straight week.
James Starks, Packers (12 percent): The Packers are on bye this week, but Starks got more carries and yards (17 for 61) than Alex Green (11 for 53) on Sunday, so if you're looking for a speculative pickup for depth, go ahead.
Beanie Wells, Cardinals (15 percent): Currently on injured reserve, the Cardinals say he's on target for a Week 12 return. You can probably leave him on the waiver wire for now, but if you're in an incredibly big league or have an empty roster spot he should be the starter come fantasy playoff time.
Brian Hartline, Dolphins (58 percent): It's been boom-or-bust for Hartline this year, and Sunday was a good day: eight catches for 107 yards on 12 targets. Hartline's groin didn't seem to bother him in Week 9, and he could have more big days with the Titans and Bills coming up the next two weeks.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (52 percent): Heyward-Bey is finally starting to pick things up since returning from injury, being targeted 16 times in the last three weeks. Against Tampa, he caught five passes for 74 yards. With Oakland likely throwing more, he could continue to get more looks.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts (7 percent): Donnie Avery had a decent game on Sunday, catching five passes for 108 yards. But he exited with a hip injury and was listed as not practicing on Monday. The No. 2 wide receiver behind Wayne would fall to the rookie Hilton, who caught six passes on 11 targets for 102 yards and a score.
Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (6 percent): Also suffering an ankle sprain on Sunday was Antonio Brown. Sanders caught two passes for 20 yards and a score against the Giants last week, but he's only for the desperate. Jerricho Cotchery (0 percent owned) caught four passes for 40 yards for the Steelers. There are probably better options than these two.
Brandon Myers, Raiders (21 percent): Hey, he finally scored! The No. 2 guy on the Raiders in targets had 13 more of them Sunday, and caught eight passes for 59 yards. That's about the usual for Myers, but he also had two touchdowns on Sunday. Myers gets a ton of targets every week; if he and Palmer start connecting in the red zone, he'll be one of the top fantasy tight ends in the league.
Joel Dreessen, Broncos (24 percent): He caught all four passes thrown his way Sunday for 38 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, his fourth of the season. Dreessen has another tight end, Jacob Tamme, taking looks away from him in Denver, but he's been Manning's target in the end zone.
Connor Barth, Buccaneers (24 percent): The Buccaneers' offense is humming along, scoring over 30 points in its last four games. Barth only kicked six extra points on Sunday, but Doug Martin won't break out huge touchdown runs every game and the Bucs will have to settle for field goals. Barth should be a worthy starter the next two weeks against San Diego and Carolina.
Adam Vinatieri, Colts (13 percent): The Colts are another team stringing together some offense in the last few weeks; if you need a one-week fill in, a game against the woeful Jaguars defense should produce a good fantasy day.
Dallas Cowboys (9 percent): They're playing the Eagles' bumbling offense, which has an even more patchwork offensive line after Monday night's loss. There's a great chance the Cowboys will get a bunch of sacks and maybe even a few turnovers.