Well, if you went hog wild and grabbed the likes of Jets WR Stephen Hill, or Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster or Week 1 Thursday Night darling, Cowboys WR Kevin Ogletree, you became witness to the instability and insanity of the fantasy waiver wire. Walking it is a crap-shoot and if you are not patient, you may very well find yourself scrambling for a player you hastily dropped to pick up the Waiver Wire Player du jour. Pssssst – don’t do that.
Patience is a key facet of this hobby. So indeed be mindful of the free agents in your league, just don’t panic and mortgage your season on an unknown commodity. Understand, while RB Jamaal Charles, RB DeMarco Murray and Giants WR Victor Cruz were once waiver wire picks, these gems are few and far between.
But when you dust off the gem and are blinded by the shine, it makes it all worth it, no?
Let’s see if I can blind you with some potential diamonds this week!
QB Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs – say what you want about Mr. Cassel, but there is no ignoring his numbers over the first two weeks of the NFL season. This past week against the Bills, Cassel threw for 301 yards and two touchdown strikes. Thus far, he’s thrown for 559 yards, three touchdowns and added one on the ground as well. He’s not glamorous, but he gets the job done and puts up solid numbers while doing it. The Chiefs possess a solid offensive attack with plenty of options, and if you faltered on draft day at the QB position, Cassel might be exactly what your squad needs.
QB Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns – After a disastrous outing against the Eagles, Weeden really got his act together in Week Two against the Bengals. He pretty much picked their secondary apart, throwing for 322 yards and two touchdowns. As is the case with most rookie quarterback, don’t get overly excited as this is in all likelihood the start of an interesting roller coaster ride of inconsistency as he cuts his teeth in the NFL. Basically I am not suggesting you run out and pick him up in most formats, just keep a close eye on Weeden’s development. If these type games continue, he could possibly be a decent bye week fill-in, depending on the match up.
RB Andre Brown, New York Giants – After starting RB Ahmad Bradshaw left the game with a neck injury, surprisingly it was Brown who grabbed the bull by the horns against Tampa Bay. He certainly made the most of his opportunity, gaining 90 total yards and adding his first NFL touchdown from two yards out. Look for the Giants to be extremely careful with Bradshaw, as a neck injury is nothing to mess around with. If he sits again, Brown could be thrust into the spot light again and could post decent numbers. In regards to rookie RB David Wilson, as long as he holds onto the ball, he’ll get his looks. If not, he’ll be watching Brown from the bench.
RB Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams – This one could be worth monitoring as the story with starting RB Steven Jackson is pretty unclear. After receiving an imbecilic un-sportsman-like conduct penalty for spiking the ball in dispute of being denied what he thought was a goal-line touchdown, Jackson interestingly enough came down with a groin injury that cost him the balance of the game. It seemed strange though that Jackson never received treatment for said injury, nor did he ever make his way to the locker room. Was he benched? Hurt? Whatever it was, RB Daryl Robertson came into the game in relief and performed pretty well rushing the ball 15 times for 83 yards. Reports are “Jackson expects to heal very quickly from his injury” (go figure….) so consider Richardson nothing more than a quality handcuff. But if valid, groin injuries tend to linger (RB Fred Taylor anyone?) so Richardson’s value could dramatically increase.
RB Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins – While I was hopeful that RB Daniel Thomas would find a way to reassert himself into the lineup, it is the 4th round pick out of Miami that is making a strong play to be the primary backup to RB Reggie Bush. Granted it was “garbage time” but Lamar Miller still carried the ball ten times for 65 yards and scored a 4th quarter touchdown. This situation is worth watching, especially for those who acquired the services of Bush on draft day.
RB Jackie Battle, San Diego Chargers – Yes, RB Ryan Matthews will be back in a week or so, but Battle has been a goal line beast for the Chargers. This past weekend against the Titans, the ex-Kansas City Chief ran the ball 14 times for 69 yards and punched two touchdowns in from the one yard line. With this type of success from in close, I would imagine the Chargers brass will air on the side of caution with Matthews and continue passing the goal line duties on to Battle. He’s is worth stashing on your bench in most leagues, and could actually warrant a start in TD-only leagues.
WR Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – It goes without saying that 2011 was a forgettable year for Williams, after a record-setting rookie campaign in 2010. However, with the addition of WR Vincent Jackson, things are starting to look up for the second-year wideout from Syracuse. As I had hoped, with the attention paid to Jackson, Williams is benefitting. In just his first two games, Williams has almost more touchdowns (2) in 2012 than he scored in all of 2011 (3). He is a quality option and should be added to fantasy rosters immediately.
WR Donnie Avery, Indianapolis Colts – Despite the fact that his teammate WR Reggie Wayne grabbed the touchdown reception, it is almost impossible to ignore Avery’s numbers. He was targeted a team high 11 times by QB Andre Luck, catching nine passes for 111 yards However, staying in the lineup and steering clear of the injury bug has always been an issue for Avery. . If Avery can stay healthy, he stands the chance of a real solid 2012.
WR Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams – Assuming WR Danny Amendola is long gone in most leagues, Gibson seems to have locked down the #2 receiver spot in St. Louis. He’s found the end zone twice already in two games, and could be a serviceable option off the bench for a team that will be throwing the ball a lot in 2012. Admittedly, I’ve showcased Gibson in previous season’s, only to be left wanting more when all is said and done. Could 2012 be different?
WR Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins – With any young quarterback, you want to pay close attention to the receivers that get the majority of looks and overall attention. If you took notice of the stat line for Hartline, he was a PPR monster with nine receptions (12 targets) and 111 yards receiving. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill may very well have his “guy”. Hartline is clearly the best receiver for the Dolphins and is worth grabbing and placing on your bench.
WR Jason Avant, Philadelphia Eagles – If the Eagles are without WR Jeremy Maclin or the diminutive Desean Jackson, Avant, like his teammate TE Brent Celek all of a sudden become fantasy viable. Realize that Avant is purely a situational play, but if the timing is right, he could be a solid bye week option or injury fill in.
Word of Caution: Before going free agent crazy over any of the receivers in the Browns / Bengals contest, you might want to wait a week and see how things transpire in week three. While Cleveland Browns wide receivers Mohamed Massaquoi and Greg Little posted solid numbers, QB Brandon Weeden is still a rookie, and both receivers are the epitome of inconsistency. I wouldn’t expect to see these type performances week in and week out from these two. For the Bengals, be wary of WR Brandon Tate and WR Andrew Hawkins. Hawkins scored a touchdown and posted 56 receiving yards, but 50 of those yards came on the touchdown pass from QB Andy Dalton. As far as Tate? Let’s wait for consistency from all these guys until the proverbial gun is jumped. Unless you have one Adriel Jeremiah Green, move along for now.
TE Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers – After the upper echelon players at the position are gone, you are left scouring for tight ends that contribute. That is the best way to describe the workman-like performances from Miller over the first two weeks of the season. In each of the Steelers games thus far, Miller has caught a touchdown pass. He is in no way a yardage monster, but if he continues to get into the end zone frequently, he is more than worth roster consideration.
TE Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens – I refrained from mentioning Pitta last week, only due to the uncertainty of fellow Raven TE Ed Dickson. After watching the game against the Eagles, Ravens QB Joe Flacco’s preference is obvious. Pitta was targeted fifteen times to Dickson’s four. Also, Flacco looked to D-Pit in the end zone frequently and during pivotal points of the game. If these trends continue, Pitta is worth making a play for. D-Pit? Why not, I like it.
TE Martellus Bennett, New York Giants – Ok, so when your quarterback throws for over 500 yards, his receivers are more than likely going to pack on solid yardage totals. That said, Bennett has proved himself quite a solid target for QB Eli Manning. Emerging from the shadow of TE Jason Witten in Dallas, Bennett could be a real quality option at the position down the stretch. If you saw a modicum of fantasy viability in the likes of TE’s Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard, you’ll love the physically superior Bennett.
TE Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles – When the Eagles have injury issues at WR, Celek is moved out of blocking mode in the max-protect scheme, and into more of a role as a receiver option for QB Michael Vick. Granted he was a late round score in many leagues, but if not, and the Eagles are without the likes of WR Jeremy Maclin for any period of time, Celek is a fantastic option.
See you next week!
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