Prospecting - Week 16
by Will Grant and Stephen Holloway
December 19th, 2012

The purpose of this column is to spotlight deeper roster moves that could pay off big over the course of the season. Unless stated in a player's write up, we're not looking for one-week wonders here, but shark moves that could really strengthen your team down the road.

Prospecting focuses on low risk players that could be huge payoff roster moves that you might be able make before the guys in your league think about it. The aim of this column is to make you look like a genius to the other owners in your league. When news breaks and the other owners are scrambling to make a waiver wire move, we want them to be upset time and time again that the player is already on your squad.

We will be breaking this down into three major sections:

  • Golden Nuggets - For shallower leagues (10 teams or fewer, 18 or fewer roster spots - About 180 or fewer players that are already rostered in the league). When IDP is included, we will be looking at players that are of use for leagues that use only a handful (1-5) IDP players.
  • Panning For Gold - For medium size leagues (12 teams, 18-20 roster spots a team - About 200-240 players that are already rostered in the league). When IDP is included, we will be looking at players that are of use for leagues that use a moderate amount (6-8) of IDP players.
  • Digging Deep - For large size leagues (14 or more teams and/or 21 or more roster spots a team - Over 240 players that are already rostered in the league). When IDP is included, we will be looking at players that are of use for leagues that use a full setup (11) of IDP players.
  • Let's get started!

    Golden Nuggets - Shallower Leagues

    Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis Rams

    Why did he catch our eye?


    Gibson had three catches for just nine yards, but had two receiving TDS back in week 11 against the Jets. Then Gibson disappeared from the stat sheet for two weeks, and most fantasy owners dismissed him. However, over the last two weeks, he's really come on strong, posting six receptions in each of the last two games and 176 yards and 1 TD to go along with the 12 catches.

    Current Situation

  • Team info: #3 Wide Receiver for the St. Louis Rams
  • Age: 25
  • Drafted: Sixth round pick for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009
  • College: Washington State
  • Contract info: Signed a four year contract with the Rams in 2009 and will be a free agent by the end of the season
  • Time Frame

    If you have a roster spot available, Gibson is a guy worth stashing on your roster now. The Rams probably won't make the playoffs this season, but they are going to want to finish the season strong, and Gibson is going to be a part of it.

    Final Thoughts

    Gibson is a free agent at the end of the season, and he'll be looking for a long term contract, either with the Rams or another team next season. He's going to be a strong play for the rest of the season, and he's worth picking up if you have an extra roster spot to carry into the offseason.

    Rod Streater, WR, Oakland Raiders

    Why did he catch our eye?


    After being blanked in week 12 against the Bengals, Streater has been on a tear. Over the last three games, Streater has posted 12 receptions for 258 yards and a TD. He's blown hot and cold this season, but seems to have settled into the offense for the Raiders now.

    Current Situation

  • Team info: Backup Wide Receiver for the Oakland Raiders
  • Age: 24
  • Drafted: Undrafted rookie free agent this season for Oakland
  • College: Temple
  • Contract info: Signed a three year rookie contract. Free Agent in 2015
  • Time Frame

    Streater is another guy that you should grab now if you have the roster space. The Raiders are probably going to make some changes on offense next year, and Streater could be playing for a starting job in 2013 and beyond.

    Final Thoughts

    The Raiders are a huge question mark going into the off season. Will Palmer be their QB of the future? What will they do at running back? Will Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey be back? It could get really interesting in the off-season. Streater is a rookie who has shown some solid potential. His performance over the last three weeks has been worthy of a starting fantasy wide receiver. Look for Streater to continue that performance the rest of the way, and possibly play himself into a starting role for 2013.

    Panning For Gold - Medium Leagues

    Javier Arenas, CB, Kansas City Chiefs

    Why did he catch our eye?

    Arenas has already posted career best stats this season, and with two weeks to go, he's peaking at the right time. Over the last two games, Arenas has 14 solo tackles, 2 assists, a forced fumble and a pass defense. In three of the last four games, Arenas has posted more than 10 fantasy points. He's worth keeping an eye on the rest of the season.

    Current Situation

  • Team info: Starting Cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs. He also returns kicks and punts
  • Age: 25
  • Drafted: 2nd round pick in 2010 for the Chiefs
  • College: Alabama
  • Contract info: Signed a four-year rookie contract in 2010. He is a free agent in 2014
  • Time Frame

    Javier has done well over the last few weeks, but he really hasn't been consistent enough to warrant a roster spot just yet. Keep an eye on him over the last two weeks to see if this trend continues. He might be worth adding before the end of the season.

    Final Thoughts

    In leagues where a cornerback is required, Arenas is someone you can think about adding before the end of the season. He's poised to finish the season strong and if that trend can continue into next season, Arenas would be worth having on your roster. His value increases even more in leagues that award kick and punt return yards and TDS to defensive players.

    Janoris Jenkins, CB, St. Louis Rams

    Why did he catch our eye?

    Jenkins saw action from the opening bell this season and has performed well for a rookie cornerback on a poor team. Over the last four weeks though, he's really posted solid fantasy numbers. During that span he has 19 tackles, 2 assists, one fumble recovery, two interceptions, three pass defenses and three touchdowns. Defensive TDS are not something that you can count on, but Jenkins is proving to be a solid tackling source as well.

    Current Situation

  • Team info: Starting cornerback for the St. Louis Rams
  • Age: 24
  • Drafted: 2nd Round pick for the Rams this season
  • College: North Alabama
  • Contract info: Four-Year rookie contract. Free Agent in 2016
  • Time Frame

    Buy and Hold. Jenkins is currently ranked 11th among fantasy cornerbacks, and he's only 24 years old. He has a long career ahead of him and he has the potential to put up solid numbers over the next several years.

    Final Thoughts

    The Rams are still mathematically in the playoff hunt, but it would take a literal miracle for them to make it. However, until their torch is snuffed out, they are going to play hard and fight to the end. With Cortland Finnegan on the other side of the field, Jenkins is going to see a lot of action come his way, and he'll have plenty of opportunities to continue making solid plays and racking up the tackles. Pick him up now and look for even more progress next season.

    Digging Deep - Deep Leagues

    Vontae Davis, CB, Indianapolis Colts

    Why did he catch our eye?

    Davis missed several games this season due to injury, but since he came back in week 13, he's been a man on a mission. He has 22 tackles, 1 assist, a sack and a pass defense over the last three games and he's a big part of why the Colts are doing as well as they are on defense. For the season, Davis has five or more tackles in five of the eight games that he's played in and with two games to go, he should finish with some of his best numbers since his rookie season.

    Current Situation

  • Team info: Starting CB for the Indianapolis Colts
  • Age: 24
  • Drafted: 1st round draft pick (#25 overall) by the Miami Dolphins in 2009
  • College: Illinois
  • Contract info: He is still playing under five year rookie contract that he signed with the Dolphins. He is a free agent in 2014
  • Time Frame

    Buy and Hold. It's late in the season, so it's time to take a few shots for next year. Davis is a guy who didn't really fit in back in Miami, but he is playing well in Indianapolis when he's healthy. If you project his stats over a full 16 game season, he would be a starting caliber fantasy DB.

    Final Thoughts

    There's always a danger in grabbing a guy that was drafted in the first round but was traded to another team very early in his career. While the Dolphins claimed that Davis wasn't a fit for their defense, is that just a smoke screen for saying the kid couldn't play or had other issues? He's clearly putting up solid numbers in Indianapolis so far, but it's hard to get a read on him when he has missed so much time. He's done enough, and has enough long term potential to warrant a roster spot. However, be willing to cut him if he flames out the rest of the season or during the playoffs.

    Isa Abdul-Quddus, FS, New Orleans Saints

    Why did he catch our eye?

    His name alone makes him an interesting guy to have on your team, but Abdul-Quddus has played well as of late. Over the last two games he has nine solo tackles, three assists, two interceptions and three pass defenses.

    Current Situation

  • Team info: Starting Free Safety for the New Orleans Saints.
  • Age: 23
  • Drafted: Undrafted free agent in 2011
  • College: Fordham
  • Contract info: Signed a three year rookie contract. Free agent in 2014
  • Time Frame

    Waiver Wire Speed Dial. Abdul-Quddus hasn't done much this season, but he's come on strong over the last two games. He needs to show more consistency in his performances though before he will warrant a spot on your roster.

    Final Thoughts

    Abdul-Quddus is young. He's already in his second season with the Saints, and he's just 23. He's played well as of late, but he still has a long way to go. However, with two games to go, he's already doubled his stats from last season and he's been named the official starter the rest of the way. Keep an eye on him these last two weeks to see what he can do, and target him in free agency over the summer if he continues to perform well.

    Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome to grant@footballguys.com and holloway@footballguys.com. You can also follow Will on Twitter.

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