Do. Not. Overreact.
If there’s one piece of advice I can give you following Week One, that’s it.
If a player on your roster had an off week (yeah, I’m talking to you DeAngelo Williams), ask yourself whether you would dump them if they did the same thing in the middle of the season. If so, cut away. Otherwise, trust your draft research and strategy for another week or two. Now, if you took a few late-round fliers and see someone on the waiver wire you like more, go for it.
If you missed the $250 MSF Week 1 Freeroll Challenge at FanDuel, shame on you.
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As always, I’m looking only at players owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver Wire Pickups: Quarterback
Ryan Fitzpatrick (46%), Buffalo
No team laid a bigger egg than the Chiefs on Sunday, and Fitzpatrick took full advantage, throwing for 208 yards and four touchdowns. Keep in mind that he got off to a hot start once he became the starter last season, throwing for 11 TDs in his first four games. The other 12 scores came over a nine-game span, so consistency isn’t necessarily his strong suit. Still, Fitzpatrick has Oakland next up on the schedule, which makes him an option if your other matchups are bad or you had the misfortune of drafting Peyton Manning.
When you see gaudy yardage totals like the 422 passing yards that Newton hung on Arizona in his first game as a starter, you may be inclined to chalk it up to garbage time. Not the case here, as Newton was effective and productive throughout before coming up just short on the final drive. In addition to the passing yards, Newton was used at the goal line on consecutive runs, the second of which he converted after diving over the pile like a running back. A date with Green Bay next week may provide some “Welcome to the NFL” moments, but Newton has solidified his status as a QB2 and potential matchup play against the right opponent.
Rex Grossman (6%), Washington
Grossman has been basically a pigskin punchline, but over his last four games with Washington, he’s thrown for 1145 yards and nine touchdowns. Who knows how long he remains the starter for the ever-fickle Mike Shanahan, but for now, it’s Rex’s gig. Grossman faces the Cardinals next week – yes, the same Cardinals defense that gave up 422 yards to a rookie QB making his first start. That’s fantasy gold for those in two quarterback leagues as well as those desperate for a starter in other formats.
Update: Since we pride ourselves on getting this out early, I submitted the Week 2 waiver wire advice column prior to the Monday night games. When applicable, I will submit updates to the column with any waiver-worthy players from Monday night.
So don’t start going Ron Jaworski on me and cussing about missing these games! I’ve got you covered.
As luck would have it, only one man stood out among the fantasy neglected on Monday night. And that man was none other than…Chad Henne of the Miami Dolphins.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver Wire Advice: Running Back
Ben Tate (43%), Houston
With Arian Foster inactive, both Tate and Derrick Ward ran for touchdowns against the Colts. Ward tweaked his ankle, so Tate got the bulk of the carries and finished with 116 rushing yards. Foster is expected back next week against the Dolphins, but he’s one more hamstring issue away from missing a significant portion of the season. It’s also not inconceivable that Gary Kubiak eases Foster back into the mix, which means more work for Tate and/or Ward. With such a large lead, the Texans took the cautious approach with Ward this week, so the true extent of his injury is unclear. However, if I’m going after one of these guys, it’s Tate at this point.
Deji Karim (10%), Jacksonville
I listed Karim last week due to my lack of faith in Maurice Jones-Drew’s knees. That’s still a factor here, but even with MJD at full strength (albeit on some kind of snap count), Karim had 17 touches. He ran 14 times for 33 yards and caught all three of his targets for 39 more. The Jags ran the ball over 40 times, and if they continue to use that game plan (not a bad idea with Luke McCown at QB), Karim should see double-digit touches on a weekly basis. Next week’s date with the Jets isn’t ideal, but his involvement in the offense proves Karim is worth owning in more than 10 percent of leagues.
Cadillac Williams (7%), St. Louis
Steven Jackson got the Rams’ season off to a quick start with a 47-yard TD scamper on their first play from scrimmage. Unfortunately, he injured his quad in the process, which opened the door for Cadillac Williams to roll up 140 total yards. He ran 19 times for 91 yards and caught six passes on a team-high 10 targets for 49 more. If Jackson misses any time, Williams is in line to be the workhorse. That workload only increases if Sam Bradford’s finger injury puts him on the shelf. Next week the Rams take on the Giants, who surrendered 97 total yards and a TD to Tim Hightower in their first game.
Earnest Graham (1%), Buccaneers
This one is only for those in the deepest of PPR leagues, but Graham had eight receptions for 58 yards to go with 13 rushing yards in Tampa Bay’s loss to the Lions. After falling behind, the Bucs went to a pass-heavy attack which rendered LeGarrette Blount virtually useless. Graham has established himself as the team’s third-down back and was targeted nine times, mostly on short dump-off passes. Keep an eye on him in the coming weeks to see if he’s able to sustain this kind of involvement in the offense.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver Wire Advice: Wide Receiver
Devery Henderson (22%), New Orleans
It’s getting tough to find healthy wideouts for the Saints these days with Lance Moore missing the opener with a groin injury and Marques Colston out for at least a month with a broken collarbone. Enter Devery Henderson, who most fantasy owners have rostered at one point or another, thinking he’s finally ready to become a consistent producer. Many of you may even be in some Devery Henderson-related support group at this point based on the way he’s treated fantasy owners over time. Anyway, he led the Saints with 100 receiving yards and a TD in the opener, and even if Moore is back this week, Henderson will remain a factor against Chicago. Fellow wideout Robert Meachem missed the cut here since he’s owned in 54 percent of leagues, but he’s another strong waiver option if he’s still out there in your league.
Jacoby Jones (19%), Houston
The Texans didn’t need to throw it much against Indy on Sunday, but it’s worth noting that Kevin Walter has apparently broken his shoulder and is out for at least a few months if not the season. Someone is bound to benefit from all the attention directed at Andre Johnson, and that would seem to be Jones. He’s shown flashes but has been largely inconsistent over the course of his career. Jones did catch at least five passes in the last four games last year, and he’s an excellent return man in leagues that use return yards.
Antonio Brown (27%), Pittsburgh
The bad news: Brown had just two catches for 14 yards, and Emmanuel Sanders caught Pittsburgh’s lone TD. The good news: Brown was targeted nine times. He simply isn’t startable in fantasy leagues at this point, but if you stick with him during the growing pains, it could pay dividends later this season.
Anthony Armstrong (5%), Washington
Armstrong finished with just two receptions for 24 yards on Sunday, but there is reason for optimism. First, one of those grabs was a nice six-yard TD. Second, he dropped a couple bombs that could have pushed his yardage total over the century mark. Armstrong displayed good chemistry with Grossman toward the end of last season, and that continued today. If you’re desperate for help at wide receiver, you could do worse.
Kevin Ogletree (0%), Dallas
Let’s look at a few things. 1) Dallas has virtually no depth at wide receiver. 2) Dez Bryant already got banged up with a quad bruise and leg cramps in the opener against the Jets, and the biggest question heading into this season surrounded his health. 3) The Cowboys are going to throw it a ton. So all that said, Ogletree becomes a guy to put on your watch list just in case.
Greg Salas (0%), St. Louis
Danny Amendola dislocated his elbow and is out for a while, which leaves a huge hole in the Rams passing game. While Mike Sims-Walker should benefit, don’t count out Salas, a rookie from Hawaii. He caught one pass for 21 yards on Sunday, but if he slides into the slot with Amendola sidelined, he’s worth a look in PPR leagues.
Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver Wire Advice: Tight End
Lance Kendricks (34%), St. Louis
I won’t sugarcoat it. The stat line was ugly. The drops (one of which would have been a TD) were ugly. But Bradford wasn’t afraid to go back to him, and with Amendola injured, Kendricks may see even more targets. I’m going down with the ship on this one.
Jermaine Gresham (15%), Cincinnati
There weren’t too many people investing heavily in the Cincinnati passing game heading into this season, and there wasn’t a ton I saw from either Andy Dalton or Bruce Gradkowski to make me reconsider that stance. Except for their second-year tight end who hauled in six catches for 58 yards and a score. He was targeted eight times and doesn’t have a murderer’s row coming up on the schedule. Just another example of how deep tight end is this year.
Ed Dickson (2%), Baltimore
Take a wait-and-see approach here, but Dickson, who was a terrific tight end at Oregon, acquitted himself well in his first start. He caught all five of his targets for 59 yards and a TD. Dickson was unable to gain much separation from fellow TE Dennis Pitta in the preseason, but this performance could be enough. Consider him a TE2 at best for now.
Fred Davis (1%), Washington
After catching a TD in each of the final two games last season, Davis and Rex Grossman picked up right where they left off, hooking up five times for 105 yards. Davis saw twice as many looks than veteran Chris Cooley, and it’s worth noting that Davis did a terrific job when filling in for an injured Cooley in 2009, catching five TDs over one four-game stretch. Again, he can’t be considered more than a TE2, but the upside is there.
Scott Chandler (0%), Buffalo
It seems like every year a tight end goes off in the first week that make everyone go “Who the hell is this guy?” Chandler is that guy this year after catching five passes for 63 yards and two scores. He entered the game with one reception for eight yards in his career. Is it possible he’s a breakout candidate? I suppose, but it’s more likely that the Chiefs were just that horrendous.
Streaming Defense(s) of the Week
I am a huge fan of streaming defenses based on matchups, so each week I will try to throw out one or two for those of you in the same boat.
It was hard to get a true read on just how improved this defense was given the junior varsity nature of their opponent’s play, but there is reason to be intrigued, particularly against the Dolphins.
Save for a TD pass to A.J. Green when the Browns had just started to break the huddle and a late TD to Cedric Benson, the Cleveland defense wasn’t terrible. You know who was terrible? The Colts, who Cleveland plays in Week Two.
Have any questions or feedback? Leave them in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter (@andybottoms).