Every week in the NFL there are some guys who peak for the season. Early on in the season you need to differentiate between guys who are good pickups and guys who are flukes and have already had their best game of the season. When your getting guys off the waiver wire there isn’t a whole lot of risk though. So if you want to scoop everyone up while trying to catch lightning in a bottle then do it. It’s all about consistency in fantasy sports, so anyone who performs two straight weeks may really have value. Last year at this time guys like Brandon Lloyd began to perform and nobody believed he would stay consistent right away and become an elite WR. Once he was consistent he was scooped up right away. So finding these players early is the goal. It’s the best way to make a good team championship quality, or to make up for bad drafting. I will attempt to differentiate between good pick ups and week 1 flukes. And by the way, how funny is it that in the intro to my last article I said “Nobody can ever predict the day that Mike Tolbert rushes for 3 TD’s” and then Tolbert scores 3 TD’s in week 1??? So in case my article intro has some sort of magic, let me try to help one of my own guys. Nobody can ever predict the day that Ryan Mathews rushes for 3 TD’s.
Week 1 Flukes:
Cam Newton (QB CAR)- Sorry, I don’t see it. Breaking a rookie record for passing yards? 422 yards with 2 TD’s? Not happening again. Especially from a rookie, who will struggle, plays for an awful team, and doesn’t have a great WR corp. Of anyone on my list Newton could be the one to prove me wrong, but I don’t think he will be fantasy worthy many more weeks. I don’t blame you for picking him up and I’m not saying don’t take a chance on him. What I am saying is that it is unlikely that he produces for your fantasy team even 1/4 of the weeks.
Matt Hasselbeck (QB TEN)- I listed him as a good start in my last article because I really liked his splits against Jacksonville and the matchup. And he put up pretty good numbers. I don’t like his upcoming matchups. I don’t feel like he is a quality backup to own. He just isn’t good enough.
Early Doucet (WR ARI)- 105 yards and a TD. This is a guy who just peaked for the season. I do like Arizona’s offense, and I do like Kevin Kolb, but there are better WR’s in front of him. Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts are both better.
Randall Cobb (WR GB)- Not sure whey everyone was picking him up after Thursday night’s game. Sure he’s quick and he may have another 2 or 3 kickoff return TD’s this season, but that doesn’t get you many points. Aside from that the guy only had 2 catches for 35 yards and a TD. And that was during a shootout!!!! What is he going to do during a week where Aaron Rodgers doesn’t throw for over 300 yards? The answer is nothing. I can’t think of a situation where I’d feel comfortable starting a #5 WR on my team.
Brandon LaFell (WR CAR)- No No No No No. Cam Newton.
Doug Baldwin (WR SEA)- Who? He had 83 yards and a TD. And I would still rather start Randy Moss, hoping that he signs Sunday morning, over him. Is that too harsh?
Darren Sproles (RB NO)- He had 82 combined yards and a punt return for a TD. The bad news is that he only rushed for 7 yards. That was good enough to be 3rd on his own team. He will continue to be 3rd in the running game behind Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas. Since punt return TD’s are rare, that means his only value is in the receiving game. And he hasn’t had this many receiving yards in a game since early 2009. Last year he only averaged 32 receiving yards per game. So during a normal week expect 30 receiving yards and maybe 10 rushing yards. If 40 combined yards is what you want then pick him up. If you want to win then don’t. Once in awhile he will bust out high receiving yards, but it’s impossible to tell when he will do it.
Ricky Williams (RB BAL)- He had 63 yards rushing on 12 carries. How often will Baltimore be up that much where all they need to do is run? Baltimore typically plays in close games and utilizes the run, but in a normal game he won’t get that many carries. Because he is a backup his play will be too erratic.
Scott Chandler (TE BUF)- The Bills scored 41 points and their Tight End Scott Chandler scores 2 TD’s in his second game ever. Guess how many other games I think Scott Chandler will score multiple TD’s in again this season? Zero. Furthermore, I still don’t trust him to even get catches every game or to put up consistent numbers. Sure he will have a few more good weeks where he is a good waiver wire add, but I think there will be klunker weeks where he has 1 catch for 11 yards and would really hurt you.
Fred Davis (TE WAS)- 105 yards for Davis in a career day. Because the Redskins are primarily a rushing team I wouldn’t bother adding him. Plus there is the fact that Chris Cooley is their true #1 TE. Davis won’t sneak up on teams in the future.
Jeremy Shockey (TE CAR)- Again, No. #1 Cam Newton’s big day. #2 The real TE on that team is Greg Olsen. Enough said.
Houston Defense- Do I really need to explain why? 3 words. No. Peyton. Manning. Coming up in the next few weeks they face New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB BUF)- I kinda already liked him a little before the season, but now I like him like him. No, he’s not going to throw for 4 TD’s every week. But he is a very solid backup QB to own. I would take a chance on him if you need a good backup. He should be good enough to start sometimes as well.
Mark Sanchez (QB NYJ)- If he’s available pick him up. I think he’s going to have a nice season. 335 yards and 2 TD’s in the opener. He has plenty of weapons and plays for a great team.
Rex Grossman (QB WAS)- I think he’s going to have a solid season. And the Redskins play the 29th easiest schedule in the league. He’s not a starter. But he’s a good backup to have on your bench if you don’t have one and not much is available.
Plaxico Burress (WR NYJ)- I doubt he’s available. 72 yards and a TD was all I needed to see. He really might be their #1. I know it’s only 1 week, but who’s to say he’s not as good as before he left? Things are looking good for Burress owners.
Nate Burleson (WR DET)- The Lions are going to be very good. Stafford is a #1 QB. Calvin will put up bigger WR numbers and any in the game. And Burleson will get plenty of passes and yards. As the #2 guy who will get to take advantage of Calvin Johnson double coverage, Burleson has some serious value. He is a rock solid backup WR or maybe even #3 WR at this point. Grab him.
Anthony Armstrong (WR WAS)- He is already their #2 and he may be more talented than Santana Moss. He’s definitely not a guy you can trust right now, but he’s good to have on the bench in case he continues to get better, or in case he becomes their #1. He scored a TD in week 1, so that’s a good sign.
Devery Henderson (WR NO)- I think he is a good pickup for a few weeks. He typically starts strong each season and then fades out by the end. At 29 years old he could still have some decent years in him. The main problem with him has been too many other targets in New Orleans. Now that Marques Colston is out at least 4 weeks, Henderson should get more targets than normal.
Antonio Brown (WR PIT)- He didn’t do a whole lot statistically in week 1, but a whole lot of passes were thrown his way. Ben likes him. And when Pittsburgh’s offense doesn’t play the Ravens defense, and when Ben gets right (which will probably be next week), Brown is ready to breakout. Plus he returns kicks for them. He makes a good bench WR to sit and wait on.
David Nelson (WR BUF)- He finished strong last year with 3 TD’s in the last 3 weeks. Then this season he starts with 4 catches for 66 yards. All of a sudden Fitzpatrick has a weapon to throw to if Stevie Johnson gets double covered. I don’t expect this guy to become a superstar, but in deep leagues he can be a Lance Moore type of guy who puts up 40-50 yds and scores a good bit. Let’s call him a poor man’s Lance Moore who is probably available in your deep leagues. If he continues to develop throughout the season then he could be a legitimate starter by the end.
Cadillac Williams (RB STL)- Steven Jackson is hurt…again…and already. Williams was effective in week 1 rushing for 91 yards on 19 carries and catching the ball 5 times for 49 years. They are some serious numbers. Especially against a good Eagles defense. Cadillac is only 29 years old and could be a Cedric Benson type guy who just simply needed a change of scenery. He had tremendous upside being picked #5 overall in the 2005 draft. If Jackson misses anymore weeks (and he will) Williams is looking like a nice handcuff.
Ben Tate (RB HOU)- I’m not sure how long Arian Foster is out, it may only be this week, but either way Tate is a decent add. He exploded for 116 yards and TD. Even with 12 carries I think he is explosive enough to put up a decent 40-50 yards and have a chance to score. It would be hard to trust him unless Foster is out again, but Foster being banged up this early isn’t a good sign for him. I’d stash Tate for a few weeks as a low risk high reward guy incase Foster’s injury is lingering.
CJ Spiller (RB BUF)- If he’s still there get him. What are you waiting for? I told you to pick him up in my RB ranking article before the season even started. He scored a TD week 1. I’m just saying.
Dexter McCluster (RB KC)- I was high on this guy last year. I really like how versatile he is. I know that the Bills defense isn’t that good, but the fact that he finally showed a little of what he can do is good enough reason to take a chance on him and make him a bench guy for you. I’m really not sure how the position eligibility works in football, but last year he was listed as a WR/RB. If he still is in your league then that is an added bonus. If nothing else he is a low risk guy who has a lot of upside and could continue to put up nice combined yardage totals as me matures in the NFL. By the end of the year you could be looking at an every week starter for your team. There is a chance. I think that chance is worth a free waiver move if you have room.
Ed Dickson (TE BAL)- Tight end’s typically don’t have to do a whole lot to have value. If you don’t have a top guy then 50 yards a game is sufficient. Dickson should do just that. Plus he will catch some TD’s. Flacco likes TE’s. He hit Heap for 11 over the last 2 years, and he was 30 years old. Dickson is only 24.
Tampa Bay Defense- They are underrated. Their next 2 matchups aren’t the most favorable against Minnesota and Atlanta, but it gets easier after that. Donovan McNabb didn’t look that impressive and he will turn it over to Tampa Bay next week. They also get to play Indianapolis and San Francisco coming up soon. It’s weird listing Indianapolis as an easy matchup for a defense, but they now are.
Washington Defense- Much improved. Their matchup against Arizona is scary next week. Their matchup against Dallas is scary in week 3. But after that they have St Louis, Carolina, Buffalo, San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle. All favorable matchups. They do play Philadelphia and Dallas a second time somewhere in the middle of all those teams so don’t think that they get all of those easy matchups in a row.
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