Whether you arelooking to replace some duds or are in need of spot starters now that bye weeksare beginning in the NFL, you're going to have to dig into the free-agent poolsoon. Although early breakouts such as Giants wide receiver Mario Manninghamhave likely been snapped up, there's still value to be found in the discountbins. Take Ravens wideout Kelley Washington, for example. The seven-year vet isowned in fewer than 10% of all leagues but is a hot target in Baltimore'ssuddenly high-powered passing attack. Through three games the former Bengal andPatriot was thrown to 13 times, making 12 grabs (including one for a TD). Thatties him with Derrick Mason, the Ravens' widely owned fantasy starter, for theteam lead in catches.
Here are someother lightly held properties that can add value to your roster:
Malcom Floyd, WR,Chargers
The decline ofChris Chambers, 31, has created an opportunity for the sure-handed Floyd, whohad two catches for 65 yards against Miami on Sunday. Snap up this soon-to-bestarting No. 2 wideout in one of the league's better passing offenses.
Jamaal Charles,RB, Chiefs
If ineffectivequarterback Matt Cassel, the prize pickup of Kansas City's off-season, is onnotice from coach Todd Haley, can disappointing veteran Larry Johnson (2.5yards per carry) be far behind? For this team in transition the versatileCharles (6.3 yards per touch) should soon be given a bigger role in the Chiefs'offense.
Mike Wallace, WR,Steelers
The blazing-fastrookie from Ole Miss (4.28 in the 40), deemed a reach in the third round bymany draft experts, has since drawn praise from coordinator Bruce Arians forbeing a quick study. With his first 100-yard game last week against theBengals, Wallace has shown that he deserves to replace the disappointing LimasSweed as the No. 3 wideout. Wallace's value will only increase as BenRoethlisberger gets more comfortable looking for him.
Andre Caldwell,WR, Bengals
By catching afour-yard TD pass in the Steelers game on Sunday, Caldwell not only providedthe Bengals with an upset win but he also tied Chad Ochocinco for the team leadin receptions with 14. It was widely believed that Chris Henry would be Cincy'sthird wideout, but he's been relegated to backup split end, which has meantmore opportunities from the slot for last year's third-round draft pick.
Joe Nedney, K,49ers
With top kickerslike Jason Elam, David Akers and Robbie Gould coming up on byes the next twoweeks, this veteran is an excellent replacement. Among the league's topscorers, with 25 points, Nedney plays for a conservative, defense-oriented teamthat settles for a lot of field goals.
Only the mostdevoted Bengals fan would have thought about taking this unit on draft day. Butso far the defense has held three good offenses (Denver, Green Bay, Pittsburgh)to an average of only 18.7 points and is a big reason Cincinnati is one flukeplay against the Broncos from being 3--0. Facing the Browns this week, theBengals merit a spot start, at least.
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The return of two-time 1,000-yard rusher MarshawnLynch (below) from a three-game suspension is good news for Buffalo butpresents a dilemma for fantasy owners—of both Lynch and his replacement, FredJackson. In Lynch's absence Jackson gained 425 yards from scrimmage, leadingthe Bills in rushing and receiving. Though Lynch has been the team's offensivecornerstone since arriving from Cal in 2007, Jackson has played too well thisseason to be pushed aside and should at least keep a share of the workload.With Buffalo's run-friendly offense, it's safe to continue putting Jackson intoyour weekly lineup, albeit as a flex option. It surely disappoints those whodrafted him high, but for now the same advice also applies to Lynch.
JAMES LANG/US PRESSWIRE (WASHINGTON)
ROCKIN' RAVEN Baltimore's improved aerial attack has brought unexpected value for Washington.
JEROME DAVIS/ICON SMI (LYNCH)