If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that after last week's edition of Running the Wire, you were probably sifting through the wire on Friday and Saturday, hoping your league overlooked some highly-sought-after player. And if I had to venture another guess, you probably didn't find that player. Instead, you were leftover with scraps. And for that, I apologize. The injury report didn't exactly take too kindly to my recommendations last week. Koren Robinson and LaMont Jordan caught the injury bug last Sunday. In reality, I should've guessed that Robinson was going to get hurt; he plays for Seattle and he's a wide receiver—how could I have missed it? So I decided to bump back the publishing of this article a day to allow for some extra time on things like the injury report. Anyway, I hope that the guesses I venture this week will be much more accurate than last weeks. If you're in a pinch, here are some guys to whom to turn to.
Gold Wire pickups
(Author's note: Not too may strong "Gold" options out there. A few injuries this week, but there's hardly anyone too noteworthy out there this week. An ominous start to this article.)
- Rashard Mendenhall/RB Pittsburgh: After a very quiet first three weeks—just 10 carries for 28 yards and a couple of kickoff returns—the rookie gets to show what he's made of. Granted, he has a pretty tough matchup against the Ravens, but keep in mind they are without DT Kelly Gregg, and there are a couple of things going for him. Steelers' coach Mike Tomlin stated in his press conference that Mendenhall would be the main back while Parker is out. I'm sure after last week's debacle in the running game, the Steelers would like to get back to their roots and pound the ball. If you want Mendenhall, you better put in your waiver claim ASAP. He's only available in a little over 25-percent of leagues.
- Tampa Bay's #2 WR: Provided that Joey Galloway plays, that guy would be Antonio Bryant. If Galloway is still hobbled by his injury, it'd be Ike Hilliard as the #2 wide receiver for the Bucs. While Green Bay has had a pretty good secondary thus far, Al Harris is out indefinitely. That leaves a big gaping hole at the number-two cornerback spot for the Packers. Bryant came up big last week in Galloway's absence, hauling in 10 receptions and leading the team in targets. Ike Hillard is a consistent and dependable target. Bryant is only owned in 10-percent of leagues while Hilliard has only been picked up in a little over 12-percent of ESPN leagues.
Copper Wire pickups
- Josh Reed/WR Buffalo: Roscoe Parrish is out 4-6 weeks with a thumb injury, and James Hardy hasn't exactly been lighting it up this year. That leaves an opportunity for a guy like Reed to step up. Don't expect him to be spectacular, but with a rising Trent Edwards and a cupcake matchup against the Rams this week, Reed should produce.
- Kerry Collins/QB Tennessee: Justin Gage is back. Good news. The Titans are going against the Vikings pass defense. Even better news. If you're a guy that has no one to replace a Marc Bulger-type, Collins is worth a look. He's only owned in a bit over 17% of leagues.
Chicken Wire pickups
- Trent Green/QB St. Louis: (*Insert concussion joke here*) For whatever reason, the Rams figured that benching Marc Bulger for Trent Green will solve all of the Rams' problems. Note to St. Louis: You have way bigger problems than QB. If you're as desperate as Scott Linehan, show Green a little love.
- Steve Smith/WR New York Giants: Before all the hate mail (actually, I'm fine with hate mail—our inbox here has been bone-dry) and the "You're an idiot!" jabs begin, this isn't a pickup for this week. The Giants are on a bye this week. However, before the crazy rush for Smith pickups next week, try to stash him on your roster if you have the space. Eli has been looking good, and in case you haven't heard, Plaxico Burress has been suspended for Week Five's game for missing a Monday practice.