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Original Issue

Tight Shot

Being Dallas Clark's backup has been the definition of anonymity, but Jacob Tamme is ready for his close-up

All season Dallas Clark owners have known that the second-ranked fantasy tight end would be sidelined during the Colts' Week 7 bye. But a one-week worry has stretched into a rest-of-the-season nightmare after Clark went on injured reserve with ligament damage in his left wrist. Replacing Clark is unthinkable, but the man who will try leads off this week's list of available players.

• Jacob Tamme, TE, Colts Tamme is along the lines of Clark, in that he is known more for his hands and downfield pass receiving than for his blocking at the line of scrimmage. Until now he's played mainly on special teams, catching just six passes for 47 yards, none of them this year. But since the start of the 2007 season Peyton Manning has averaged 10 throws per game to his tight ends, so with Clark out, there should be plenty of opportunities for his replacement in Indy's attack. Tamme is the leading candidate to get those looks and to make the grabs Clark would have made.

• LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers When coach Raheem Morris said three weeks ago that he would reduce Cadillac Williams's workload, he wasn't kidding. Tampa Bay's feature back had eight catches on Sunday, including the game-winning touchdown against the Rams, but he carried only four times for 12 yards. Meanwhile Blount, who entered the game with 30 yards on 10 attempts, gained 72 yards on 11 rushes. Blount's main competition for backup carries is Earnest Graham, who was inactive last week due to a hamstring pull. Blount will make a good second back in this week's matchup with the Cardinals.

• Steve Johnson, WR, Bills During the last month Johnson has become a must-start fantasy player, having scored at least one touchdown in each of the four games since Ryan Fitzpatrick took over at quarterback. Fitzpatrick has proved to be a capable thrower (374 yards and four TDs against the Ravens last week), so Johnson, who is available in more than three quarters of all leagues, should continue to thrive.

• James Jones, WR, Packers Donald Driver has been a rock for the Pack over the last 12 years, but he's 35 now and nursing an injured quadriceps. He's declined so much that he saw only one ball last week against the Vikings and he failed to catch it, breaking his streak of 133 games with at least one grab. As Green Bay eases Driver out, look for Jones, a fourth-year receiver, to pick up the slack. He had four catches against Minnesota for an average of 26.8 yards and shows improvement each week.

• David Gettis, WR, Panthers The rookie sixth-round pick from Baylor had a coming-out party against the 49ers, with eight catches for 125 yards and his first two TDs. He became the only Carolina wideout not named Steve Smith to surpass 100 yards since 2008. Gettis won't put up those numbers every Sunday, but he's a starter, he's widely available, and he's a good fill-in third receiver for the next three weeks.

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At this point in the season you should know who your reliable scorers are and you should stick with those players, even if their matchup for the week doesn't seem favorable. If you have one or two guys who aren't bringing it for you, it's definitely wise to look for replacements, but I always try to avoid playing more than one untested guy a week. A player who's going to get you a steady five or seven points is more valuable than one who might earn 15 but also might earn none.

Some of the guys I'd look at this week are Jonathan Stewart, who should get most of the carries for the Panthers after DeAngelo Williams hurt his foot on Sunday, and Raiders wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Nick Miller, who will have to pick up the slack if Louis Murphy can't play.



INTO FOCUS Tamme has six receptions in three seasons, but now he should get Manning's attention.