QB injury replacements headline waiver wire targets after Week 10
Colin Kaepernick's running ability offers big value at the quarterback position
Chris Ivory could score well against the Raiders even if Darren Sproles returns
Cecil Shorts has double-digit fantasy points in three of four weeks since the bye
It was a rough week for quarterbacks. Michael Vick, Jay Cutler and Alex Smith all went down with concussions. Monday night, Ben Roethlisberger hurt his shoulder.
Nick Foles is the new option who's going to make headlines. The Eagles' backup tore up the preseason, going 40-for-63 for 553 yards and six touchdowns, causing Philly fans to start calling for Foles at the first sign of Vick's struggles this season.
Foles didn't look good in relief Sunday, but put up OK numbers: 22-for-32 for 219 yards, a touchdown, a fumble and an interception. Keep in mind, though, that those stats came against a below-average Dallas pass defense.
Vick hasn't been putting up great fantasy numbers this season, and it's unrealistic to expect a rookie with a stripped-down playbook to put up solid stats every week. Foles might be good for spot starts against the Redskins' porous secondary this week on the road and in Week 16 at home, but otherwise he's not going to be a good play this year.
The more intriguing option is Colin Kaepernick, Smith's backup. Kaepernick went just 11-for-17 for 117 yards Sunday, but he also rushed eight times for 66 yards and a touchdown. He's probably not going to put up great passing numbers, but for most of Sunday he was looking for his first read and then running if it wasn't open. That's good news for fantasy owners, since rushing yards and touchdowns are worth more.
Vick will almost certainly miss the upcoming game. With the Niners playing the Bears this coming Monday night, it's more likely Smith returns from his concussion; Jim Harbaugh said his QB was "much better" a day after his injury. The 49ers have to follow the NFL's concussion protocols, so more information won't be available until later in the week.
If you need a guy for one week and there isn't anybody else on the waiver wire, Foles is worth a one-week shot. Kaepernick is a better play, but you'll have to wait until later in the week to see if Smith misses any time.
Neither of the other backups -- Jason Campbell in Chicago and Byron Leftwich in Pittsburgh -- has great matchups coming up or is worth adding on the waiver wire.
Carson Palmer, Raiders (57 percent owned): Oakland is in catch-up mode almost every week, and despite some interceptions, Palmer puts up starter-worthy fantasy scores while throwing the ball 30-40 times. He faces the New Orleans Saints in Week 11, who still give up a ton of points to opposing quarterbacks despite improving in recent weeks. After that it's Bengals and Browns, two more decent matchups.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills (48 percent): He's cooled since a hot start, but he put up good fantasy totals against the Patriots on Sunday: 27-for-40, 337 yards, two touchdowns, one interception. He should put up decent numbers on Thursday against a Dolphins secondary Jake Locker just obliterated, then has great matchups against the Colts and Jaguars the following two weeks.
Sam Bradford, Rams (17 percent): Bradford had his best performance of the year against one of the top passing defenses in Sunday's tie at San Francisco -- and that was without deep threat Chris Givens, who was held out of the game due to disciplinary reasons. The next few matchups aren't great -- vs. Jets, at Cardinals -- but if Bradford's rounding into form he could be a second guy to start in two-quarterback leagues.
Chris Ivory, Saints (11 percent): Ivory didn't play this year until two weeks ago. Now he's the leading rusher for the Saints in consecutive weeks, and he's scored a touchdown in each game -- including a ridiculous 56-yard score weaving through the Atlanta defense. He led the Saints in carries this week, too, and has a good matchup against the Raiders this Sunday. Pick him up; even if Darren Sproles returns, Ivory will likely get a bunch of carries against a bad Raiders run defense.
Marcel Reece, Raiders (32 percent): Taiwan Jones barely played Sunday; Reece is getting the bulk of the work with Darren McFadden out. Reece had a pretty decent fantasy game for a running back whose team lost 55-20: 13 carries for 48 yards and seven receptions for 56 yards on nine targets. Reece led the team in targets on Sunday. With McFadden still out, Reece will continue to be a decent flex play, especially in PPR leagues.
Danny Amendola, Rams (67 percent): He's probably gone, but obviously Amendola should be your No. 1 waiver target if he happens to be available in your league. He returned from injury against San Francisco and was targeted 12 times, catching 11 passes for 102 yards. He should keep getting that many looks every week.
Cecil Shorts, Jaguars (32 percent): Shorts has scored double-digit fantasy points in three of the four weeks since Jacksonville's bye, and he has double-digit targets in three of those four games as well. He has a tough matchup with the Texans this week, but the Titans and Bills follow.
Danario Alexander, Chargers (four percent): Alexander was only signed two weeks ago; Sunday he caught five passes for 134 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, on seven targets. He tied with Malcom Floyd for the team-high in targets. This isn't just a one-game wonder: Norv Turner says he likes Alexander, and the previous week he had three catches for 31 yards on four targets.
Scott Chandler, Bills (35 percent): Chandler was absent from the passing game for weeks, but finally had a strong game against the Patriots on Sunday, catching five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. The Bills' next two games, against the Dolphins and Colts, are good matchups for a tight end, especially in PPR leagues. He should get lots of looks.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens (28 percent): He runs more routes than Baltimore's other tight end, Ed Dickson, and this week's opponent, the Steelers, are middle of the pack in defending the position. Pitta caught all five passes thrown his way for 67 yards and a score against the Raiders last week.
Mike Nugent, Bengals (17 percent): He's been productive most weeks this season, and gets to kick against Kansas City and Oakland the next two weeks. He's going to get opportunities the next two weeks if you're in search of a new kicker for the playoff push.
Greg Zuerlein, Rams (37 percent): His numbers have declined in recent weeks, and he missed a potential game-winner against the 49ers (after his winning field goal in overtime was called off due to a delay of game), but the Rams should be in close games the next few weeks with games against the Jets, Cardinals and the 49ers at home. The Rams let him kick, especially from distance, so expect some high-scoring outputs again from the rookie.
Washington Redskins (11 percent): Yes, the Redskins are bad defensively. But they're playing the Eagles this week, and a rookie's likely to start at quarterback. Go ahead, but only if your league doesn't penalize that much for points scored.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24 percent): A top-10 defense available in most leagues, the Buccaneers should put up fine numbers against Carolina's shaky offense this week. After that, the Bucs face Atlanta and Denver, so it should just be a one-week pickup.