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Waiver Wire: Leshoure among top fantasy pickups

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Justin Boone, TSN.ca
9/18/2012 7:26:12 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

Matt Cassel (at Saints)
Last Week - 23/42, 301 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
You could argue that Cassel has done his best work in garbage time after the Chiefs were beaten by the Falcons and Bills, but garbage time production can be fantasy gold. Cassel has great weapons with Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, Steve Breaston and two solid pass-catching backs in Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis. Coming off a 300-yard effort, Cassel gets to face the 0-2 Saints, whose defence hasn't adjusted to their new scheme yet. Even if New Orleans rights the ship, Cassel could rack up yards playing catch-up.

Andy Dalton (at Redskins)
Last Week - 24/31, 318 yards, 3 TDS, 1 INT
Despite opening the season with a forgettable game against the Ravens, Dalton is top 10 in passing yards after two weeks. Although his first read is often A.J. Green, as it should be, Dalton has begun to use the other members of his receiving corps like the emerging Andrew Hawkins. Cincinnati will now travel to Washington to take on a Redskins' defence that just lost its top pass rusher Brian Orakpo and a very good defensive lineman Adam Carriker for the season.

Others to consider - Alex Smith (at Vikings), Sam Bradford (at Bears), Ryan Fitzpatrick (at Browns)

RUNNING BACKS

Mikel Leshoure (at Titans)
Last Week - Suspended
Kevin Smith had a tough week against the 49ers' defence, but it seems like the team is hoping that Leshoure can return from suspension and give their rushing attack a boost. After injuring his Achilles' in his rookie season, LeShoure is not a guarantee to run wild in Detroit and is mainly a lottery ticket for fantasy owners, but it's worth the low risk investment. If Leshoure shows well in his return, he could quickly take over as the Lions' lead back.

Andre Brown (at Panthers)
Last Week - 15 touches, 90 yards, 1 TD
When Ahmad Bradshaw went down, it wasn't first round pick David Wilson that entered the game, it was Brown. Wilson remains in Tom Coughlin's doghouse, while Brown delivered for the Giants. Bradshaw missed practice on Monday and appears to be in danger of missing at least this Thursday's game against the Panthers. In his absence, Brown could be a nice play with RB2 upside.

Others to consider - Pierre Thomas (vs. Chiefs), Kendall Hunter (at Vikings), Daryl Richardson (at Bears), Bilal Powell (at Dolphins), Lamar Miller (vs. Jets) 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Danny Amendola (at Bears)
Last Week - 15 catches, 160 yards, 1 TD
I can't quite believe that stat line myself, but it's a reality. Amendola had the fourth most fantasy points among wide receivers this week and doesn't look like he will be challenged as Sam Bradford's go-to target. Amendola is especially valuable in PPR leagues where his steady reception totals will guarantee WR3 status. Bradford is a good quarterback looking for someone to help him move the ball downfield and Amendola has stepped into that role.

Brandon LaFell (vs. Giants)
Last Week - 6 catches, 90 receiving yards, 25 rushing yards
LaFell generated a lot of buzz in the pre-season as a skilled young receiver playing in a high scoring offence with a strong-armed quarterback. That potential turned into a reality this week as LaFell posted numbers worthy of a fantasy starter. The Panthers are looking to get the ball in his hands, as proven by the handoff which he took for 25 yards.

Donnie Avery (vs. Jaguars)
Last Week - 9 catches, 111 yards, 7 rushing yards
As long as Austin Collie remains sidelined with a concussion, Avery can be a viable player in fantasy. It's early in the season, but Avery currently ranks in the top 25 in targets, receptions and receiving yards. The Colts are a team that will be playing from behind often and that will force them to take to the air. 

Brian Hartline (vs. Jets)
Last Week - 9 catches, 111 yards
Hartline's value is almost identical to Avery. The Dolphins' number one receiver is a surprise name among the league's receiving leaders after two weeks. The Dolphins' offence looked much better against a Raiders squad traveling cross country on a short week. We will have to see if Ryan Tannehill can continue to improve, but last week half of his completions went to Hartline.

Others to consider - Andrew Hawkins (at Redskins), Leonard Hankerson (vs. Bengals), Greg Little (vs. Bills), Jon Baldwin (at Saints)

TIGHT ENDS

Dennis Pitta (vs. Patriots)
Last Week - 8 catches 65 yards
Off the field, Pitta is very close with his quarterback Joe Flacco and so far in 2012 the pair have found chemistry on the field as well. Pitta has the fifth most targets of any player in the league and is number one in that category among tight ends. The results have been 13 catches for 138 yards and a score. The Ravens are looking to throw the ball more and Pitta has been the early beneficiary.

Martellus Bennett (at Panthers)
Last Week - 5 catches, 72 yards, 1 TD
Bennett was a part of Eli Manning's 500-yard day as the Giants avoided falling to 0-2. The former Cowboy is getting his chance to be a full-time starter in New York and has found the end zone in each of his first two games there. Aaron Hernandez owners who are looking for a replacement tight end for a few weeks would do well to pickup Bennett.

Others to consider - Scott Chandler (at Browns), Heath Miller (at Raiders)

Mikel Leshoure (Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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