For your consideration: 15 fantasy waiver wire pickups

The level of talent available on the waiver wire at this point in the season is questionable, to say the least. In any event, here’s who we have our eye on approaching Week 9…

Javon Ringer, RB, Tennessee Titans: Ringer carried the rock a season-high 14 times on Sunday vs. Indianapolis, which shows us that despite what head coach Mike Munchak is selling, the Titans clearly are disappointed in Chris Johnson’s production. This will continue to be a timeshare situation, but Ringer’s stock is on the rise.

Next up: vs. Cincinnati

Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: In the first legitimate game action of his young career, the former Pitt standout hauled in five passes for 82 yards and a score on eight targets in Kansas City’s Monday night overtime win over the San Diego Chargers. Matt Cassel will continue to be a streaky quarterback, but Baldwin has the talent to warrant a roster spot in leagues with ten or more teams.

Next up: vs. Miami

Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings: We recommended Ponder last week and the rookie from Florida State took a big step forward in his second career start, completing 18 of 28 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown (QB rating: 102.7). Consider him a decent QB2 option in leagues with 12 or more teams.

Next up: Bye

Chris Ogbonnaya, RB, Cleveland Browns: With Peyton Hillis nursing a hamstring injury and Montario Hardesty exiting Sunday’s game with a calf injury that will knock him out of action for two weeks, it looks like Ogbonnaya could be in line for an increase in touches. The former Texas running back struggled against a tough 49ers defense in Week 9 (16 touches, 51 total yards), but could find more success Sunday if given the opportunity to start.

Next up: at Houston

Titus Young, WR, Detroit Lions: The former Boise State standout scored his first career touchdown Sunday at Denver while recording 66 receiving yards on four receptions. However, Young has plenty of competition for targets as a member of the Detroit Lions offense, so consider him a WR4/5.

Next up: Bye

Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers: After a slow start to the 2011 season, Miller has worked his way back to fantasy relevance and now ranks 12th among tight ends in standard scoring formats. He’s averaging 7.7 fantasy points per week over his last four games while racking up an impressive 23 targets in the process. It would have been crazy to think this a month ago, but Miller is now worthy of a starting roster spot in leagues with 12 or more teams.

Next up: vs. Baltimore

Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: Cassel won’t win you a fantasy championship, but the guy has a Week 9 date with a Miami Dolphins defense that is currently surrendering an average of 23.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (3rd-most in NFL). If you’re looking for a bye week replacement or are facing a tough QB matchup in Week 9, this is your guy.

Next up: vs. Miami

Curtis Brinkley, RB, San Diego Chargers: With Ryan Mathews nursing a groin injury suffered in Monday night’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and backup Mike Tolbert battling a hamstring issue, Brinkley could find himself in the starting lineup this Sunday when the Green Bay Packers come to town. The second-year ball-carrier from Syracuse recorded an impressive 67 total yards and a touchdown on just 13 touches Monday night. Brinkley isn’t a viable long-term option, but he could be a nice Week 9 situational play if given the opportunity.

Next up: vs. Green Bay

Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins: We’ve mentioned Helu in this column plenty of times before and understand if you take this with a grain of salt, but current starting running back Ryan Torain has done virtually nothing the past two weeks (10 carries, 9 yards), meaning the former Nebraska playmaker could be headed for the starting lineup. For as bad as Washington’s offense has been as of late, Helu is still worthy of a roster spot in leagues with ten or more teams.

Next up: vs. San Francisco

Braylon Edwards, WR, San Francisco 49ers: After battling a knee injury that’s kept him out of action since Week 2, Edwards returned to the field Sunday against the Cleveland Browns and posted four receptions for 42 yards on seven targets. Nothing special, but quarterback Alex Smith has been playing well this season, meaning Edwards warrants some consideration as a WR4/5 in leagues with 12 or more teams.

Next up: at Washington

Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles: It’s nice to see that Celek still plays for the Eagles. After a brutal start to the 2011 season, the former Cincinnati Bearcat has been on fire as of late with a two-week stat line that consists of 11 receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns on a ridiculous 18 targets. Clearly, quarterback Michael Vick is looking Celek’s way more often. Consider him a decent TE1 in leagues with ten or more teams until further notice.

Next up: vs. Chicago (Monday night)

Kyle Orton, QB, Denver Broncos: This pickup is only recommended for owners in deeper leagues looking for QB depth. With the way Tim Tebow looked on Sunday vs. Detroit, we wouldn’t be surprised if his leash begins to get shorter with each passing day. Orton could be in line for a return to the starting lineup, so be sure to monitor this situation closely.

Next up: at Oakland

Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints: The wide receiver situation in the Big Easy is always hit or miss, but Moore is coming off a solid performance against the St. Louis Rams (7-74-1, 9 targets) and should be owned in leagues with 12 or more teams. Consider him a situational play moving forward.

Next up: vs. Tampa Bay

Oakland Raiders, D/ST: Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has thrown for only 233 yards and three touchdowns over the last two weeks. He’s also been picked off once and has fumbled the ball four times. Guess who the Raiders welcome to town on Sunday?

Next up: vs. Denver

Atlanta Falcons, D/ST: This unit currently ranks 24th among fantasy D/STs in scoring, but has a Week 9 date with an Indianapolis Colts offense that is scoring an average of only 15.1 points per game. Consider Atlanta a solid situational start for Week 9.

Next up: at Indianapolis

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