Carson Palmer, QB, Darren McFadden, RB, Denarius Moore, WR, OAK - First thing I have to do this week is call attention to the excellent remaining strength of schedule breakdown from my fellow Footballguys staffer Ryan Hester on his Football and Brackets blog. Hester shows us that Oakland has the second easiest schedule against the pass and fifth easiest schedule against the run. A peek at their upcoming opponent confirms that, with soft underbelly defenses like Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, New Orleans, Carolina, and Cincinnati still to come. Palmer has been playing very well, on pace for over 4500 yards with only three interceptions despite having a weak offensive line and revolving door at wide receiver. With Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey healthy, and adjustment to help Darren McFadden in the running game via more fullback-lead downhill runs, the Oakland offense is about to take off. Grab a seat while you can.
Reggie Bush, RB, MIA - Hester's work illustrates brightly that the Dolphins have the best remaining schedule left against the run. In fact, they have six good matchups left out of nine, with only a week 12/13/14 speed bump vs Seattle, New England, and San Francisco to slow Bush down. His knee should be feeling better after the bye. Remember, Bush looked like one of the best backs in the league before his injury - and that was also before Ryan Tannehill was showing us how precocious he is in his rookie year with only 19 career collegiate starts under his belt.
Tony Romo, QB, Miles Austin, WR, DAL - Romo has fallen down to bye-week fill-in status at quarterback, and Austin is no longer considered a top 20 wide receiver in some circles. Both dips in production are temporary. Romo still has a terrific set of weapons and a maturing offensive line. The target distribution of 28 for Dez Bryant and 11 for Austin over the last two weeks can't last. Both players have been playing well for the most part and show no erosion in skills from previous years. Get in while you can.
Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN - Peterson looks fierce. If you cued tape of his runs vs. the Redskins last week, you'd see the power cuts, explosive burst, and refusal to go down that made Peterson a fan and fantasy favorite from day one. Any week now, he is going to rip off one of his 200+ yard bloodbaths against a stunned defense, and then you'll never get him in a trade.
Demarco Murray, RB, DAL - Speaking of Peterson, Demarco Murray was flashing Peterson-esque power, burst, and determination before he hurt his foot and had to leave against the Ravens last week. His foot injury doesn't seem serious, but they never do until a back misses his sixth consecutive week. That's exactly why you have a shot at getting him. Once he's practicing again, the door shuts. Hester's chart reveals that Dallas has the fifth easiest remaining schedule against the run, with only mildly tough matchups against the Redskins and Steelers as major obstacles for Murray once he returns. With the Cowboys running game finally on track, Murray could be a top five back in the fantasy playoffs.
Brian Hartline, WR, MIA - Hartline isn't an NFL quality #1 receiver, but he's the Dolphins number one. That means against real shutdown corners like St. Louis's Cortland Finnegan, Hartline is, well, going to get shut down. Hartline draws Antonio Cromartie in week 8 and Richard Sherman in week 12, but otherwise he is poised to have good WR2/WR3 level numbers the rest of the way as Ryan Tannehill's top target. Miami's bye week is the perfect time to target him in a trade.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB - I have to admit that Blount looks as good as ever. He is light on his feet with a great burst and all of the power that comes with being a 250-pound running back. The Buccaneers are going to try to be simple on offense, and there's not much more simple than a big pounder at running back hammering opposing defenses. Look for Blount to not only get short yardage work, but also establish himself as a 1A back while Doug Martin is playing small in his rookie year.
Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS - This one only applies to dynasty, as Garcon's value for the rest of the season looks dubious now that his foot is getting worse, not better. The die has been cast for a prolific relationship between Garcon and Robert Griffin III when they hooked up for over 100 yards and a touchdown on only eight plays in week 1. If you can afford to give up a solid WR option to the Garcon owner (assuming they are in need), you might be able to steal this future stud.
Martellus Bennett, TE, NYG - The Black Unicorn has been about as popular as the Unabomber with his owners the last three weeks, putting up only five catches for 41 yards, after posting touchdowns in each of the first three weeks. He is getting healthy after his knee injury, as is Hakeem Nicks, which means that Bennett will get a lot of the middle of the field to work with in one-on-one coverage. This week, he draws the Redskins, who have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in all but one game this year. Bennett should pick up where he left off in week 3 this Sunday.
Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ - There may never be a better example of a sell high than Shonn Greene this week. You might even be able to turn him into something decent because Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell are both hurt, giving Greene great opportunity in theory going forward. The problem is that Greene only seems to have value when the Jets have a blowout win, and who knows when that will happen again.
James Jones, WR, GB - Jones obviously knows how to get open in the red zone and he is also prominent in Aaron Rodgers progressions in that all-important part of the field. Still, Greg Jennings should be back soon, and Jones isn't doing much in the downfield passing game to give him value outside of his red zone prowess. You might be able to get WR2 value for him in redraft leagues, and a 1st round pick or a valuable addition at a position of need in dynasty leagues.
Christian Ponder, QB, MIN - Ponder has had four good fantasy games out of six this year, but two have come in furious fourth quarter comeback attempts. The Vikings want to play it more conservative on offense, and Ponder has been successful finishing drives with passes to Kyle Rudolph. Adrian Peterson is getting better every week, and he is going to be the one finishing some of those scoring drives even though he hasn't scored since week 1. Ponder is merely a bye/injury fill-in quarterback even though he looks like he could be more.
Andy Dalton, QB, CIN - Like Ponder, Dalton benefited from the number generating situation of being down multiple scores in the fourth quarter last week. Dalton has put up elite numbers in four of six weeks, but as Hester's matchup article shows us, he has one of the toughest schedules left against the pass, including hard matchups against Dallas, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh in the fantasy playoffs. A team with Philip Rivers or Michael Vick may bite on Dalton this week if he is your QB2.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN - Gresham looked sluggish on his 55-yard catch and run touchdown. He put on a good move to get free after the catch, but poor tackling was the main element that made this play into a score. Gresham looked like his was going to break down in the fashion of a defensive lineman inside the 10. He is an average athlete, and as players like Andrew Hawkins, Marvin Jones, and Mohamed Sanu continue to develop, Gresham will surely never become more than the barely adequate TE1 option he is right now. You might get more than that value for him this week coming off of his big play.
As always, thanks for reading. Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org.