The Wide Write staff feels terrible because we think we jinxed President-elect Barack Obama’s hometown quarterback. While recommending Kyle Orton to you last week, we wrote the following:

“Anyone thought about Rex Grossman during the last two months? Probably not.”

Next thing we knew, Orton was spraining his ankle on Sunday, and might be out for a month. King Rex is back in the saddle for the Bears, but we won’t be pushing him on you this week. You never know what to expect from that guy. And since he’s playing the Titans this week, his slogan should be, “NO, WE CAN’T!”

(On the other hand, if you believe in reverse jinxes for smart-aleck fantasy pundits, bet on a 300-yard barrage from Grossman.)


Shaun Hill, 49ers – In honor of VP-elect Joe Biden, Hill is the first of three backup QBs we’re high on for Week 10. Now that the turnover-filled reign of J.T. O’Sullivan (11 interceptions, six lost fumbles in eight games) is over, Hill gets the start Monday night against the mediocre Arizona pass defense. In three games last season, Hill threw for 501 yards with five touchdowns and one interception, and you could use a guy like that for a week. He’s going to be a “manage the game” type, but so what? We’ve got Hill down for 200 yards and a score, and if you need someone to plug in for Jason Campbell, here you go.

Brady Quinn, Browns – That Derek Anderson pick didn’t work out for you, did it? We think Quinn could be pretty good. Despite his draft-day tumble last year, he was highly regarded coming out of college, and part of the reason Anderson was so good in 2007 was that he had good talent around him (Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, Jamal Lewis). Quinn gets a nice matchup at home this week against the Champ Bailey-less Broncos.

Sage Rosenfels, TexansMatt Schaub got hurt again? NO WAY! Enter Rosenfels, who threw 15 touchdowns in nine appearances last season, and has 470 yards with three TDs in a little less than two games this year. Sure, he’s a turnover machine, but for one game – even if it’s at home against the Ravens – he’s worth a shot.

Running Back

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – Charles is the last man standing in the Chiefs’ backfield, with Larry Johnson suspended again this week, and Kolby Smith out for the season with a knee injury. When the Chiefs turned to Charles last week, the rookie ran 18 times for 106 yards against the Bucs, and this Sunday he faces the mediocre Chargers’ run defense. For a little background, Charles was a third-round draft pick out of Texas, where he ran for 1,665 yards and 18 TDs in 2007. That sounds comforting, doesn’t it?

Ray Rice, Ravens – There’s a Rutgers degree hanging on the walls of the Wide Write offices, so we’re definitely partial to Mr. Rice, who ran for 154 yards against the Browns in Week 9. The Ravens seem to be leaning toward a timeshare between Rice and Willis McGahee, which makes them just like most other teams in the NFL. If you start three running backs or have a flex position, sliding Rice into your lineup could pay some good dividends this week.

Ryan Torain, Broncos – How do you say “Mea culpa” in English? We recommended Torain last week, noting that we saw him as a lottery ticket. We were right – and like with most lottery tickets, we looked at his three-carry, one-yard performance after the game and said, “Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope, and the Powerball … nope.” It happens.

Things are a little different now, as the Broncos have placed both Michael Pittman and Andre Hall on injured reserve, and Selvin Young is still nursing a groin injury. Though Mike Shanahan loves to mess with fantasy owners, he probably doesn’t have a choice other than to give Torain the ball 15 or 20 times. You know those 154 yards Rice got last week? They were against the Browns, against whom Torain gets to run on Thursday. Giddy-up.

Receiver (WR/TE)

Greg Camarillo, Dolphins – Camarillo is available in more than 80 percent of leagues, and it’s time for that number to go down. The former Charger has 43 receptions for 483 yards on the season, and has become quite the Welker-esque possession receiver. He caught 11 passes for 111 yards against the Broncos in Week 9, and seems to be a perfect fit for the intermediate-armed Chad Pennington. By the way, we’re going to keep using the term “intermediate-armed” to describe Pennington until it catches on. Terry Bradshaw, are you listening?

Personally, the 26-year-old Camarillo is a study in contradictions. His bio notes that he has an engineering degree from Stanford, where he was a three-time Academic All-Pac-10 selection. It also says that his favorite TV show is “Saved by the Bell.” Hmm …

Matt Jones, Jaguars – Jones has had a suspension looming over his head for a couple of weeks, but if we haven’t heard anything by the time you read this, then all systems are go for Week 10. Jones started the year pretty well, but has really come on strong lately, with 22 catches for 255 yards and a TD in his last three games. We’re not sure why Jones is owned in only a third of leagues right now, but as long as he’s still active, he’s a good play. The fact that Jones and the Jags get the good fortune of visiting the awful Lions this week is a nice bonus.

Shaun McDonald, Lions – Yes, we just said the Lions are awful, but that doesn’t mean their players can’t put up good stats sometimes. As we noted in this brilliant piece of fantasy prognosticating, McDonald had zero catches for minus-seven yards in the first game after Roy Williams got traded. Since then, he’s caught 11 passes for 133 yards and a score in two contests. Whether Daunte Culpepper, Dan Orlovsky or Rodney Peete is at quarterback this week for the Lions, their passing game is likely to follow this four-pronged strategy:

1. Throw the ball to Calvin Johnson when he’s double-covered

2. Throw the ball to Calvin Johnson when he’s triple-covered

3. Throw the ball to Calvin Johnson when he’s quadruple-covered

4. Throw the ball to McDonald and Mike Furrey

Since McDonald is the hot hand in Part 4 of the strategy, we’ll suggest him as a flex play this week.

Reminder: The Broncos and Browns play Thursday night, so you might need to set your lineups early. Also, don’t forget your byes this week – the Bucs, Bengals, Cowboys and Redskins are off. How can we be expected to enjoy a Brooks Bollinger-less weekend of NFL action?

John Halpin covers fantasy sports for, writing a morning fantasy blog Sundays through Fridays and baseball columns once or twice each week, depending on the season. His "Wide Write" appears every Thursday during the NFL season on Send him an e-mail at

For more fantasy sports coverage, visit