The point of emphasis of this column is to go somewhat outside the box in regards in waiver wire pick-ups and beyond the usual recommendations. Another objective is to indicate whether certain players are worth a substantial bid in FAAB formats. As always, all feedback is very welcome in the comments forum.
At this exact point last year Michael Vick wound up being a godsend for those who missed out on a top-flight QB on draft day…if he was still on your waiver wire and you ponied up the appropriate FAAB $$$ for him. The closest facsimile to Vick this time around would be Newton.
You know he is going to start, has already proved himself with an unprecedented first game out of the box as an NFL rookie, and even in games where he may struggle through the air, Cam can bail you out with some rushing yards, like Vick.
In all standard waiver wire formats he’s worth a claim even if set at QB. The agenda is a bit different in a FAAB format however. If you already have an elite QB (Rodgers/Brady/Brees/Rivers) don’t bother making a bid. But if you are in need Cam’s worth a $35-$40 bid out of a $100 FAAB allotment.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB-BUF)
This would be the cheaper, less extravagant option to Cam. And some day I’m going to come to realize that the man is actually more than a halfway decent QB. Fitzpatrick now has 27 TD passes in his last 14 appearances. You can do far worse than that and can be had with a reasonable FAAB bid if available.
Chad Henne (QB-MIA)
Fourth QB in league history to throw for 400 yards and rush for 50 yards in the same game. Even if not convinced that he is following in Tom Brady’s Michigan footsteps, he can always dump off to Reggie Bush, and is a nice QB2 at the very worst.
Christian Ponder (QB-MN)
I don’t know what is smelling more out of the state of Minnesota right now, the Boundary Waters fire or Donovan McNabb’s magnificent 39-yard debut. Could the Vikes end up turning to Ponder sooner than anyone expects??? I would suspect they would at least be THINKING of it…
Ben Tate (RB-HOU)
I boldly predicted a 150-yard rushing game out of Tate last weekend, and wasn’t far off. I was this confident because I was asleep at the switch with the FA pick-ups for Week 1 and he was actually still available in a 10-team league I’m in.
And no, it wasn’t going to take too long for Tate to supplant Derrick Ward on the depth chart. Maybe in the long run Tate still ends up behind Arian Foster, but then again who was Arian before Week 1 last year??? In fantasy football trash becomes treasure and vice versa very fast. Those who were begging Arian to get back on the field the past few weeks should had instead been busy fitting a set of handy-dandy wrist warmers and using Tate as a handcuff.
Cadillac Williams (RB-TB)
Without trying to play doctor on just how bad Stephen Jackson’s injury is, the fact is he is ALREADY ruled out for next Monday Night. The Rams also have a Week 5 bye. Add those two facts together and you are ensured that Cadillac should be the STL’s featured back if healthy the next three weeks. If all goes well, Jackson would be eased in for Week 6, but re-aggravation risks could linger the entire season.
There is a ceiling on Cadillac’s potential as a starter, but worth a $15-20 bid if in need of a RB – but look at his employment with you as a three-week ‘temporary’ assignment.
Deji Karim (RB-JAX)
Good news is there isn’t a Brandon Jackson this year to blow 60% of a FAAB budget in Week 2 (remember, he was going to go nuts on those Buffalo Bills), which leaves some cheaper more speculative picks available. Even in the best case scenario, Maurice Jones-Drew will have a pitch-count this year, so I see Karim getting ten or so touches per game. Bad news is a lot of fantasy owners are already on him, saw him flying off a lot of 12-team formats last week.
Dexter McCluster (RB/WR – KC)
I actually drafted/bidded him as a handcuff to Jamaal Charles in a couple of leagues. If Charles were to get hit by a bus, Thomas Jones would gets some carries, but Dexter would then get a lot of Charles’ current workload. Another plus with McCluster is multiple-position eligibility in many formats, not unlike how some players in fantasy baseball prove valuable.
Alex Green (RB-GB)
I am thinking a few moves ahead here. Ryan Grant is, Ryan Grant. James Starks is decent but his ceiling is limited as well. I would not be shocked to see the final pick of the third round see significant time by November or December. If you have a slot to stash him he’s worth it, before he does something that gets him noticed. Yes, I know he didn’t do much in pre-season (16 carries/23 yards) but small sample size.
Early Doucet (WR-AZ)
Devery Henderson is obviously on a lot of waiver wire columns as well with Marques Colston down, so I will focus on Doucet, who like Henderson has been derailed trying to get his career off the ground. But Doucet did have a moderate breakout game in Week 1 (3 catches/105 yards) and somebody has to step up as a #2 receiver with the Cardinals. Don’t go too nuts on a FAAB bid, I would had been more impressed with a 6-72 stat line which would show that the receiver was getting more targets. Doucet and the Cards do get a nice Week 2 matchup v. Washington.
Good news is Cobb is still under the radar fantasy-wise even after incredible knockout debut. Bad news is GBP players come at a premium in the fantasy realm. And Cobb is still only #5 on the depth chart, although there is always plenty of balls to go around in Packerland, Aaron Rodgers completed passes to ten different players in the opener. Still I see Cobb getting 2-3 catches per game and is worth a stash, especially in deeper leagues – think poor man’s Percy Harvin.
Fred Davis (TE-WSH)
If you don’t have an elite player at this position, TE is a very difficult position to fill on the waiver wire – unless you have Jacob Tamme stepping in catching passes from Peyton Manning last season. For that reason I would definitely jump on Davis after his 105-yard day v. NYG. Chris Cooley’s best days are behind him and going forward he is lukewarm at best. And Davis isn’t exactly new on the scene, he caught 48 passes in 2009.
Nick Novak (K-SD)
If you need a kicker this is your man after Nate Kaeding tore his ACL making the mistake of making a lunge at Percy Harvin on his opening KO return. Novak has been signed by the Chargers and has experience, so he has a good chance at being a top-ten kicker for the balance of the season.
Sebastian Janikowski (K-OAK)
Not available on the waiver wire but still fun to watch. Most kickers who have the opportunity at a 63-yard attempt would have to pull driver out of the bag. SeaBass?? He just takes out the six-iron, clears the crossbar by plenty, and probably would had even released on a golf green. The record-tying kick was no surprise, I was actually more impressed by a would-be game winning 52-yard FG that he missed in Denver four years ago. That ball ended up hitting the TOP of the upright. No kicker is worth the first-round choice Al Davis spent on him years ago, but that leg remains freakish – but still glad that Tom Dempsey’s original 63-yarder continues to stand the test of time.