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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fantasy football: Carson Palmer analysis, plus Week 7 waiver-wire picks

Late Monday night, I wrote about how rare big-name trades were in the NFL.

About 12 hours later, the Bengals and Raiders made that paragraph appear more dated than a sports broadcast in standard definition.

Ladies and gentlemen, Carson Palmer is a Raider -- all logic, and high draft picks, be damned.

Yes, Palmer threw for 3,970 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. He also threw 20 interceptions.

In 36 games since the start of the 2008 season, he has 50 TD passes and 37 picks.

Even in 2007, when he threw for a career-high 4,131 yards, he tossed 20 interceptions.

His only truly elite years were 2005 and '06, when he had a combined 7,871 yards passing, 60 touchdowns and 25 interceptions.

Now he will be force-fed a Raiders offense that is run-first, led by the electric Darren McFadden (610 yards rushing, 5.5 yards per carry, four TDs on the ground).

Oakland has rushed for 960 yards and 10 TDs in six games. The Raiders are averaging 5.1 yards per carry.

It is no wonder, then, that Jason Campbell, prior to his injury Sunday against the Browns, had thrown for a pedestrian 1,170 yards and six TDs.

Palmer isn't going to be asked to save the Raiders. He will be asked not to screw them up -- a feat of which Oakland obviously believed Kyle Boller was more than capable.

In Oakland, Palmer will have Darrius Heyward-Bey, once maligned as another terrible Al Davis draft pick, as his top target. Heyward-Bey has 17 receptions for 296 yards and one TD in his last three games.

After that, it's Denarius Moore (who had five catches for 146 yards and a TD against Buffalo, but has eight receptions for 62 yards and a score in his other four games), tight end Kevin Boss and the running backs.

All of which is a long way of saying don't expect Palmer to provide a big boost to your fantasy team.

He should be considered a high-end backup at best, and a decent bye-week fill-in depending on the matchup.

The upside: You won't have to give up a first- and second-round pick to acquire him on the waiver wire.

While we're on the subject, here are five more waiver-wire candidates this week. All are available in more than two-thirds on the leagues on

1. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys (owned in 3.3 percent of the ESPN leagues): Felix Jones will miss at least this week, and likely more, with a high ankle sprain, leaving Murray and Tashard Choice to share the carries. Of the two, Murray should receive the most work. The rookie, a third-round pick from Oklahoma, had 10 carries for 32 yards and one catch for 7 yards last week. Choice, meanwhile, had five rushes for 14 yards and three catches for 16 yards. He is the better receiver of the two.

Murray is a quality play this week against the Rams, who own the league's worst run defense at 163 yards per game. The latter number is so bad Choice should be a flex candidate in deeper leagues if you need bye-week help.

2. Bernard Scott, RB, Bengals (owned in 5.0 percent of the ESPN leagues): You'll have to wait a week, since Cincinnati is on a bye, but Scott should be the Bengals' featured back in Week 8 against Seattle. Cedric Benson had his three-game suspension reduced to one Tuesday and likely will serve it next week. Scott should get most of the work against Seattle, which, surprisingly, ranks seventh against the run (97.8 yards per game). The Seahawks -- attention owners of Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty -- are allowing a league-low 3.1 yards per carry.

3. Greg Little, WR, Browns (owned in 8.0 percent of the ESPN leagues): He's clearly the Browns' No. 1 receiver (insert your joke, or insult, here), and the rookie has six receptions in each of his last two games. He's not going to score seven or eight TDs (heck, he has yet to reach the end zone once), but in point-per-reception formats, Little could be worth 12 to 15 points per game because of the amount of targets he should receive.

4. Jerome Simpson, WR, Bengals (owned in 36.0 percent of the ESPN leagues): OK, so he might not be the best role model (allegedly), or the smartest guy around. But he does have two 100-yard games in his last five, including a six-catch, 101-yard performance last week. Who needs Palmer when you have Andy Dalton? (Remember, the franchise formerly known as the Bungles has this week off.)

5. Ronnie Brown, RB, Lions (owned in 15.0 percent of the ESPN leagues): I'll be blunt: Brown is of value only if Jahvid Best is forced to sit because of concussion-like symptoms. If that's the case, Brown should share the load with Maurice Morris on Sunday against the Falcons. Brown had a disappointing 2010 and had 13 carries for 38 yards (a 2.9 average) with the Eagles this season. At best, he's a flex play for running back-needy owners if Best is inactive this week.

Past waiver-wire picks who remain undervalued: Tim Tebow, QB, Broncos (owned in 40.6 percent of the ESPN leagues); Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks (12.2 percent); David Nelson, WR, Bills (45.9 percent); Jackie Battle, RB, Chiefs (26.3 percent); Donald Brown, Colts (1.6 percent).

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