I wanted to take a moment to offer my condolences to the family of Steve Sabol, the man behind legendary NFL Films, as well as to the Smith family for the untimely loss of Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith’s brother Tevin. The world lost Mr. Sabol after the courageous 18-month battle with brain cancer, while Tevin was lost in a tragic motorcycle accident just this weekend.
Speaking as someone who knows all too well what the loss of a sibling feels like, I feel Torrey’s pain. The void is immeasurable. It has been two years since the loss of my sister and quite honestly every day is a battle for my entire family. My thoughts and prayers are with Torrey and his family.
Please hang in there, you are not alone in your sadness. Be strong.
Let’s take a look at some players who may blip across the waiver wire radar in your league.
QB Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals – Safe to say it was quite a banner afternoon for the young Bengals signal-caller. Not wanting to play second fiddle to Robert Griffin III, Dalton threw for 328 yards and tossed three touchdowns passes, en route to handing the Washington Redskins their first defeat of the season. Dalton is extremely unpredictable, so you’ll want to look to him as more of a bye week fill in or situational player at best.
QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts – This performance shocked me as I expected the Jacksonville defense to give Luck more that his faor share of problems on Sunday afternoon. Despite defeat, Luck was unfazed slinging the ball 46 times, completing 22 passes for 313 yards and two touchdown strikes. If you catch the highlights, the kid throws a real nice ball, reminiscent of some other Colts quarterback you might recall. As is the case with any rookie, you’ll want to temper your enthusiasm, but all told, Luck looks like something special.
QB Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans – While I was fairly certain Locker would have to throw the ball to stay competitive in this weekend’s contest against the Lions, he surpassed all expectations with 29 completions for 378 yards and two touchdowns. Since it looks like RB Chris Johnson is taking the first part of the season off, Locker will have to continue to delight if the Titans are going to have any semblance of success in 2012. Keep an eye on how this develops and Locker could be a really nice bye week fill in at QB.
RB Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions –Due to injuries and a suspension that cost himthe first two games of the NFL season, Leshoure may have slipped through in many fantasy football drafts. After his week three performance against Tennessee where he carried the ball 19 times for 100 yards and scored a touchdown and added 34 receiving yards as well. What was really intriguing was the fact that RB Kevin Smith was relegated to non-factor status completely. If by chance Leshoure is available, drop your waiver wire in the water and make a claim.
RB Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins – Reggie Bush left the game with a knee injury and while it is not believed to be serious, Thomas seems to be gaining some momentum and would be a solid add regardless of Bush’s status. Thomas got some goal line looks and was able to gain just under 70 yards rushing and a touchdown yesterday against the Jets. Thomas lost his opportunity when Bush came onto the scene last season and flourished, so look for Thomas to make the most of his chances when they are presented.
RB Tashard Choice, Buffalo Bills – With RB CJ Spiller leaving the game due to a shoulder injury, Choice got the nod and for all intents and purposes did well. But truth be told, every time Choice gets fantasy owners excited he disappears from the fantasy radar as quickly as he appeared. Early reports are Spiller will be out of the mix for Week four, possibly more as tests are coming. So if you are in a pickle at RB, Choice is worth grabbing and hoping he can make the most of the opportunity. Bear in mind that RB Fred Jackson is recovering quicker than expected and would diminish Choice’s value entirely should he return sooner as opposed to later.
RB Bilal Powell, New York Jets – Ok, so his numbers aren’t that much to get excited about. However, he looks to be the better runner out of the Jets backfield when given the chance to carry the ball. He boasts a better yard per carry average and looks to have more burst through the line. It is only a matter of time until the Jets decide to give Powell a shot to unseat the primarily ineffective Shonn Greene and once you are named a starter in the NFL, you instantly gain fantasy viability. Since Choice is basically the third option at RB for Buffalo, how long he’ll be viable remains a big question.
WR Ramsas Barden, New York Giants – If injuries continue to plague the Giants receiving corps, Barden is a guy you’ll want to pay close attention to. With WR Hakeem Nicks out of action this past Thursday night against the Panthers, Barden made his presence felt in a big way. He was targeted a total of ten times and grabbed nice passes for a total of 138 yards. He didn’t score, but if Manning has enough confidence in Barden to look his way 10 times, that should be endorsement enough to warrant a spot on fantasy rosters. Remember, WR Victor Cruz came out no nowhere last season.
WR Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago Bears – Despite the Bears ineptness of offense, something I thing will probably be corrected at some point, Jeffrey is becoming more involved in the offense for Chicago. While is numbers are nothing that will stand out in the box scores, the fact that he was targeted seven times by QB Jay Cutler is something to take note of. With WR Brandon Marshall gaining the lion’s share of attention from opposing defenders, a player with Jeffrey’s talent could really make some noise. Something that WR Earl Bennett has been unable to do so far in 2012.
WR Ty Hilton, Indianapolis Colts – As a young quarterback develops, it is fun to watch his young receivers develop as well. In the case of QB Andrew Luck, we have WR Ty Hilton. We definitely saw big play ability out of Hilton and that in itself makes him an exciting waiver wire candidate. You’ll likely see inconsistency as is the case with any young player, but he’s well worth the grab.
WR Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions – When you are lining up alongside of standout WR Calvin Johnson, the opportunity for some open lanes are pretty decent. With the injury to QB Matthew Stafford you’ll want to scale back your expectations, but if he continues to grab 6-10 passes per game, he’ll be a PPR darling and a solid bye-week fill in option as the season rolls along.
WR Damaris Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles – Keep in mind that WR Jeremy Maclin may very well be returning to the lineup in week four. However, with a depleted offensive line, the Eagles may very well roll TE’s Brent Celek and Clay Harbor back into blocking mode to protect QB Michael Vick. If that is the case, things could open up for Johnson as a third or possibly second option at wide receiver. With Vick running for his life on almost every play, he still managed to target Johnson a total of eleven times. He is worth the gamble.
TE Martellus Bennett, New York Giants – Finally out of the shadow of former Cowboys teammate TE Jason Witten, Bennett is flourishing. Easily the most gifted TE the Giants have possessed in years, Bennett is developing a nice rapport with QB Eli Manning and the results have been solid. In week three, Bennett grabbed six passes for 73 yards and a touchdown and could finish the season in the top ten at the position.
TE Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – The Notre Dame alum is starting to make some noise now that his quarterback is gaining a comfort level behind center. If you are in need at the position, Rudolph is a quality addition that could reap rewards down the road.
TE Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders – Simply, Myers catches everything thrown his way – literally. So far in 2012 Myers has been targeted a total of fifteen times and has managed to reel in all fifteen offerings from Raiders QB Carson Palmer. Myers is rapidly developing into a solid receiver at the tight end position for the Raiders, something they haven’t had since TE Zack Miller.
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