Blackjack! 21 fantasy waiver wire pickups

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Kendall Hunter, RB, San Francisco 49ers: The rookie from Oklahoma State probably won’t be a reliable long-term acquisition, but with Frank Gore nursing a sprained right ankle, Hunter could get the start Sunday at Philadelphia against a defense that is giving up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (29.7 pts/gm).

Recommendation: Limited long-term upside, but finds himself in a nice spot entering Week 4, should Gore be unable to play.

Mark SanchezICONThe "Sanchize" has developed into a solid fantasy option.

Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets: Through three weeks, Sanchez has already thrown for 330+ yards twice and has tossed at least two touchdown passes in every single start this season. Believe it or not, those numbers have landed him a spot in the top-7 in fantasy scoring at the QB position. He’s not the best of starts at Baltimore this week, but the former USC standout has some solid upside for the rest of the season.

Recommendation: Should be owned in every league with ten or more teams, has developed into a fairly reliable starting QB.

Nate Washington, WR, Tennessee Titans: Matt Hasselbeck has to throw the ball to somebody and with Monday’s news that wideout Kenny Britt is done for the season, it looks like Washington will become “the guy” in Tennessee. The 28-year-old is averaging nine targets per game this season and has recorded 90+ receiving yards in two of three starts.

Recommendation: Should be owned in every league with ten or more teams. Could develop into a reliable WR2 in the near future.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, D/ST: They may not be a top-ten fantasy D/ST at the moment, but the Buccaneers are a great situational start in Week 4 as they play host to an Indianapolis Colts team that currently ranks 29th in the NFL in total offense and 28th in scoring offense.

Recommendation: Long-term upside is limited, but this unit makes for a solid start in Week 4.

Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens: The rookie from Maryland had quite the coming out party against a lousy Rams secondary this past Sunday as Smith hauled in an impressive five receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns on eight targets. Don’t expect that kind of production on a weekly basis, but don’t be surprised if Smith’s role on this offense increases at the expense of Lee Evans.

Recommendation: Will definitely be claimed in almost every league this week. Won’t produce these kinds of numbers consistently, but his vertical speed makes him worthy of a bench spot in leagues with ten or more teams.

Sidney RiceFormer Viking Sidney Rice looked impressive in his debut with the Seahawks.

Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Seattle’s offense looked downright putrid the first two weeks of the season. Then, their prized free agent acquisition made his 2011 debut (8-109-0) and helped set the tempo for a 13-10 win over Arizona. Don’t be surprised if the owner who drafted Rice back in August dumped the former Viking after watching Tarvaris Jackson play terrible football the first two weeks of the season.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues with eight or more teams, is worthy of a starting roster spot in most situations.

LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, New York Jets: Former Iowa bulldozer Shonn Greene has once again been an epic bust (1 TD, 3.3 YPC). Couple that with Tomlinson’s Week 3 performance at Oakland (11 touches, 154 yards, 1 TD) and you can imagine the future Hall of Famer will see an increase in workload moving forward. However, keep in mind the guy is 32-years-old and won’t be a consistent producer, so his overall upside is somewhat minimal.

Recommendation: Greene’s shortcomings have once again opened the door for L.T., who should be owned in all leagues with ten or more teams.

Scott Chandler, TE, Buffalo Bills: The 26-year-old has found the end zone in each of Buffalo’s first three games (4 total TDs) and currently ranks sixth in fantasy scoring at the tight end position. Not only should Chandler be owned, but he should be in the starting lineup each week.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues with eight or more teams.

Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints: Moore entered Week 3 with just one catch under his belt for the season, but torched the Houston secondary for nine receptions (on nine targets) for 88 yards and one touchdown. He won’t be a reliable option week in and week out, but Moore is worthy of a roster spot in deeper leagues due to the high-powered nature of his offense.

Recommendation: Will be hit or miss, but worth a bench spot in leagues with 12 or more teams. Has situational starter potential.

Bernard Scott, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Scott has done next to nothing this year, but keep in mind that starting running back Cedric Benson is likely headed for a three-game suspension in the very near future. Depending on the matchups, Scott could end up in your starting lineup as a nice flex option.

Recommendation: Worth owning in all leagues once starter Cedric Benson gets suspended.

Steve Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: While it’s not as bad as initially feared, starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is battling a hamstring injury suffered during Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants. Should he be unable to go in Week 4, Smith would get bumped into the starting lineup.

Recommendation: Limited long-term upside, but could make for a decent start if Maclin can’t go in Week 4.

Cleveland Browns, D/ST: The Browns are barely a top-20 fantasy D/ST through three games, but they play host to a Tennessee Titans team in Week 4 that has lost starting wide receiver Kenny Britt for the season (torn ACL). Prior to Britt’s injury, the Titans ranked just 24th in the league in total offense, so Cleveland could make for a nice situational start this weekend should you need help at the D/ST position.

Recommendation: Decent start option for Week 4, little value moving forward.

Chad Henne, QB, Miami Dolphins: He’s downright awful in the red zone and most likely won’t be a starting quarterback in the NFL after this season, but Henne has somehow managed to work his way into the top-8 in fantasy scoring at the quarterback position. The former Michigan signal-caller is averaging 280.3 passing yards per game in 2011 and currently ranks second behind Michael Vick in rushing yards gained by a quarterback (100). I hate to say it, but the guy is worthy of a roster spot and should garner serious consideration for a place in the starting lineup.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues with ten or more teams.

Montario HardestyICONWeek 3 marked the first time Hardesty was a featured running back since his days at Tennessee.

Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns: In the first legitimate action of his two-year career, Hardesty touched the ball 17 times for a total of 86 yards (vs. Miami). Those numbers won’t jump off the page at you, but keep in mind that Cleveland head coach Pat Shurmur recently stated that he plans to lighten running back Peyton Hillis’ workload in an effort to keep him fresh for 17 weeks. That means more love for Hardesty.

Recommendation: Insurance for Hillis owner, worthy of a bench spot in leagues with ten or more teams.

Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis Rams: Through three games, Gibson (12-157-1) has emerged as the No. 1 receiving option in St. Louis. That’s not saying much, but the guy sees enough targets to warrant a bench spot in deeper leagues.

Recommendation: Bench player for owners in leagues with ten teams, WR3 for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers: Olsen currently ranks ninth in targets among NFL tight ends (20), is averaging 56.3 receiving yards per game and is outscoring all but nine tight ends in terms of fantasy production. Touchdowns may be an issue, but the former Chicago Bear is getting enough love from quarterback Cam Newton to warrant a bench spot at the very least.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues with ten or more teams.

Vince Young, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: Starting quarterback Michael Vick has already failed to finish two of Philadelphia’s three games this season. That is not a fluke. Owners in deeper leagues as well as owners in need of serious QB help are advised to target Young now, before Vick ends up suffering an injury that knocks him out of commission for an extended period of time.

Recommendation: If you own Vick and don’t have a solid backup, are really struggling at the QB position or play in a league that starts two QBs, this is a decent pickup.

Donald Jones, WR, Buffalo Bills: The second-year wideout from Youngstown State was targeted ten times (5-101-0) in Buffalo’s pass-happy win over the New England Patriots this past Sunday. While this could certainly have been a fluke, the Bills have made it quite clear they plan on slinging the rock all over the gridiron this season. Stevie Johnson needs some help and if it isn’t David Nelson, it looks like it could be Donald Jones. (Note: Jones is only an advised pickup for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams).

Recommendation: Possible fluke, but could make for some nice depth in leagues with 12 or more teams with deep benches.

Michael Jenkins, WR, Minnesota Vikings: He caught nine passes on 11 targets for 88 yards in Minnesota’s 26-23 overtime loss to the Detroit Lions this past Sunday. With the way Donovan McNabb and the Vikings have looked this year, we can’t say we have an abundance of confidence in Jenkins. However, if you play in a league with 14 or more teams, he’s probably worthy of a spot on the roster.

Recommendation: Limited upside, worthy of a bench spot in leagues with 14 or more teams.

Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants: The 24-year-old from UMASS turned three receptions into 23 fantasy points this past weekend at Philadelphia (3-110-2). Cruz’s value will take a hit when Mario Manningham returns to the starting lineup this weekend, but don’t be surprised if the Giants find a way to keep getting this guy the football.

Recommendation: WR depth (with upside), for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams.

Alfonso Smith, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Beanie Wells has once again failed to impress while free agent acquisition Chester Taylor is averaging 2.2 yards per carry. SOMEBODY HAS TO RUN THE BALL IN ARIZONA! Why not Smith, who posted 54 yards on 17 carries Sunday at Seattle? The upside here is limited, but since it’s the running back position we felt Smith had to be mentioned.

Recommendation: RB depth for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams (bench player).

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