Waiver Wire: Dolphins' Hartline among top fantasy pickups

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Justin Boone, TSN.ca
10/2/2012 3:03:42 PM
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Each week, TSN.ca NFL Editor Justin Boone will run down the top waiver wire pickups with a focus on the coming week and rest of the season.

QUARTERBACKS

Andy Dalton (vs. Dolphins)
Last Week - 20/31, 244 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Dalton is one of those borderline players that may already be rostered in your league. If he is still available and you're looking for a bye week replacement for Matthew Stafford or Tony Romo, Dalton is ideal. Dalton gets to face a Dolphins defence that allowed Kevin Kolb to burn them for 324 yards and three touchdowns in Week 4. With A.J. Green firmly established as an elite receiver, combined with Andrew Hawkins and Jermaine Gresham as solid secondary options, Dalton is an ideal backup this week.

Ryan Tannehill (at Bengals)
Last Week - 26/41, 431 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Entering a matchup with one of the league's hottest defences, Miami's offence was expected to struggle. However, Tannehill played with poise and moved the ball well, nearly leading the Dolphins to the win. The emergence of Brian Hartline will only help draw coverage away from Miami's other receivers and Tannehill has shown that he is comfortable working through his reads. The Dolphins will travel to Cincinnati to face a Bengals secondary that has been banged up early in the season.

Others to consider - Matt Hasselbeck (at Vikings), Kevin Kolb (at Rams), Alex Smith (vs. Bills)

RUNNING BACKS

Rashard Mendenhall (vs. Eagles)
Last Week - Bye
This is more of a reminder as Mendenhall should definitely be on a roster by now. The Steelers running game has been almost non-existent through three games and coming off of their bye week, Pittsburgh plans to hand the ball back to Mendenhall, who is returning from an ACL injury. With Adrian Peterson showing that a rusher can come back from a similar injury and produce right away, there is hope that Mendenhall will revive the Steelers rushing attack.

Jackie Battle (at Saints)
Last Week - 19 touches, 81 yards, 2 TDs
You have to feel bad for Ryan Mathews owners, who were forced to watch as Battle led the team in touches in Week 4. Mathews did, however, get in on the action late and nearly doubled Battle's average yards per carry. Battle is not a prolific talent, but he may continue to fill a Mike Tolbert-like role in the Chargers offence. It's tough to predict how Norv Turner will use these backs moving forward, but Mathews should dominate touches with Battle sprinkled in. As we saw with Tolbert in past years, a limited role in the Chargers backfield can still be productive and if Mathews were to get hurt again, Battle would take over.

Ronnie Hillman (at Patriots)
Last Week - 12 touches, 63 yards
It took a while, but Hillman may have wrestled the Broncos backup job away from Lance Ball. Hillman was drafted to bring a new element to Denver's backfield and he showed some of that ability in Week 4 against a soft Raiders front seven. Willis McGahee will lead the team in carries as long as he is healthy, but Hillman could excel if given an opportunity.

Others to consider - Brandon Bolden (vs. Broncos), Joique Bell (Bye), Kendall Hunter (vs. Bills)

WIDE RECEIVERS

Brian Hartline (at Bengals)
Last Week - 12 catches, 253 yards, 1 TD
Hartline was the shock of Week 4 with his outrageous stat line. With two big games in the last three weeks, Hartline is now on pace for 100 catches and 1,820 yards on the season. While his numbers may be unsustainable, Hartline has a connection with his rookie quarterback, who is looking for him all the time. Hartline is a strong WR3 going forward.

Donnie Avery (vs. Packers)
Last Week - Bye
Avery is a forgotten man coming off his bye week. He had double digit fantasy points in the first two games of the season, including a nine-catch, 111-yard effort in Week 2, before Austin Collie returned before the bye and cut into Avery's playing time. With Collie now out for the season, Avery will continue to serve as the Colts second receiver. With Andrew Luck at the helm, Avery will have some nice weeks moving forward, beginning with a shootout against Green Bay this week.  Others to consider - James Jones (at Colts), Leonard Hankerson (vs. Falcons), Andre Roberts (at Rams)

TIGHT ENDS

Scott Chandler (at 49ers)
Last Week - 4 catches, 62 yards, 2 TDs
When the Bills lost David Nelson to a season-ending injury, someone else on the offence needed to step up. So far, Chandler has filled that void with four touchdowns on the year. At 6'7", Chandler is a dangerous red zone target and he is currently on pace for 700 yards and 16 TDs. Chandler is a high end TE2 with TE1 upside.

Greg Olsen (vs. Seahawks)
Last Week - 6 catches, 89 yards, 1 TD
Olsen has been in the conversation in 2012, but with so many other tight end options popping up on the waiver wire, he may still be available. In his last two games he has 13 catches for 167 yards and a score. In three of his four games this year, he has at least six catches for over 50 yards. All those numbers add up to a strong add this week.

Others to consider - Heath Miller (vs. Eagles), Coby Fleener (vs. Packers)

Brian Hartline (Photo: Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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