As per the usual, week one was full of surprises and disappointments that rendered even the most dedicated fantasy fan’s draft strategy useless in two solid days. Peyton Manning made at least one owner a week cry for a solid six hours and another hug absolute strangers he/she met in the supermarket Friday morning. C.J. Spiller just made people cry with sadness period. And those who went all-in on Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia offense were elated as Monday night won them their opening week match-ups. But, as many a wise sage has stated before, there is always room for improvement. This is where the waiver wire process comes in. If you are the fortunate one to have stunk so much worse than everyone else in your league, ANY player you desire is yours to claim. So who should the man be that you choose to save your rapidly falling season? Here are some options.
Carson Palmer, Arizona
Name a Cardinals receiver besides Larry Fitzgerald that got serious draft consideration last season. If you said nothing, you are exactly correct. Substitute Carson Palmer for the platoon of clipboard-carriers the Cards trotted out last season, and Andre Roberts & Michael Floyd are both bench players along with the must-start Fitz. While Palmer doesn’t deserve to start every week, he is now officially a solid back-up option, or starter against a team horrible against the pass.
Montee Ball, Denver
Ball will be the starter in Denver this year. Smarter organizations don’t invest second rounders in guys they plan on sitting on the bench all season. Ball’s value is likely as low as it will be, given that he is splitting with not one back, but two. A trade would still cost someone with some bench value, but Ball will be a starter by crunch time, when running backs are nowhere to be found on waivers (but receivers who can score are).
Julian Edelman, New England
Who called Danny Amendola tweaking something in his first game this year? Anyone? Anyone? Likely most of you raised your hands at that question. But do you know what the Patriots will always do? Throw the ball with Brady. And Brady always targets his slot guy for points. With no more Welker and Amendola one solid tackle away from breaking a few things, Edelman is in a great position to succeed this year. Get him now before he is gone.
Kenbrell Thompkins, New England
Two New England receivers on my list of pick-ups? Seems like a stupid idea, right? Well let’s factor in that Wes Welker & Donte Stallworth were close to being out of a job when they got to New England. Brady made them both stars (in Stallworth’s case, it lasted only as long as he was with Brady). Thompkins was good enough to earn a starting spot, which means he will get his targets, especially if Amendola is hurt again. Owned in less than half of ESPN leagues as of this posting, Thompkins is a must-have until he proves which end of the spectrum he will play towards.
Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville
Blackmon won’t be active for another three weeks, just to let anyone know who goes after him. But when he comes back, he is one of the starting receivers for Jacksonville’s team. If you are in a three-receiver league or incredibly desperate, a guaranteed starter won’t hurt.
Andre Roberts, Arizona
This is more of a hunch pick than a statistical observation. Roberts’ average is lower than a higher-end receiver (5-6 points vs. 8-10), but if you watch the match-ups, Roberts could be that guy your opponent underestimates, only to get destroyed by.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland
Multiple football analysts went to Twitter to say that Cameron was Cleveland’s only reliable receiver, and by the end of the game, Brandon Weeden knew it too. If Weeden remembers, Cameron is a steal. If Weeden forgets, by the third quarter his receiving corps. will remind him of that lesson again.
Delaine Walker, Tennessee
This is a bye week pick-up only. I do not envision Walker scoring double digit points often, nor catching redzone scores with Tennessee’s three running backs pounding them all in. But if you are just trying to find a bye week guy to get you more than one point, Walker is as safe a bet as you can get to score you four or five per week.
Brent Celek, Philadelphia
Remember the days when Celek was one of the top five fantasy tight ends, and never left your starting line-up? He isn’t the same scorer as he once was, but Chip Kelly’s offense is allowing for lots of scoring to whomever is fortunate enough to get the ball. With no pattern visible to determine who scores, Celek has a good chance every week to get you more points than other tight end options.
Let me tell you a story. In one of my two paid leagues, I was laughed at by my opponent for staring the Dolphins D against him. 17 points later, he asked me how I did it. The methodology is simple: add a waiver wire D with the best match-up each week. Miami played Cleveland last week, and Baltimore has them this week. I imagine Brandon Weeden is good for at least a pick a game, which is points for you.
They’re owned in less than 10% of leagues, but look at their schedule: Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. That’s against Cutler, who is prone to interceptions in closer games, Weeden, who throws picks in any game, and Pittsburgh as a whole, who are on pace to fumble away their season, and if not, have their successful drives intercepted from them (See what I did there?). Ignore the negative points from week one, Minnesota is about to have three weeks of success.
Now I can’t tell you that while your bench can be improved, your line-up is perfect. Odds are, you benched a guy who scored 15+ points, and started a two or three point dud. Or you drafted a guy who was projected (key word there) to start, but now sits third on the depth chart, making $800,000 a year to scarf down Gatorade. Between 90-100% percent of teams have dead weight that needs cut, and here are some places that you can start with (or at least sit this week).
Geno Smith, New York Jets
Why anyone would draft a Jets quarterback for fantasy football is beyond me. Everyone makes mistakes though, and now is the time to alleviate yourself of the burden of Geno. His win was luck, and his stats show that he shouldn’t be on a fantasy bench just yet. With Carson Palmer Philip Rivers, and even Terrelle Pryor performing as far better fantasy players, I would get one of them quick before you are forced in to having Geno as your bye week starter.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay
Let’s face it, neither QB from that Jets-Bucs game in week one looked overly good. Freeman was always a steady fantasy guy, good for one week of play, but not a starter for a fantasy playoff team. If you have him this early on in the season, and are playing in an ESPN standard league that allows you to play one QB only, it is far too early to have Josh Freeman on your bench.
Joique Bell, Detroit
This is more a warning not to pick him up for running back help. Bell is one of the backs who scores fantasy exclusively with goal-line carries. If you want to rely on Detroit having two goalline plays a game, AND Bell converting both of them, then by all means pick him up. But as long as Reggie Bush is healthy, Bell is not worth the spot.
Jackie Battle, Tennessee
I just know someone is going to write about this guy being a good pick-up, and I need to try my best to save fantasy teams from dying an early death. Jackie Battle is a third back in a three running back system. Translation: Battle gets carries ONLY when: Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene get tired, Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene get hurt, or Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene together can not get any rushing yards. Against Pittsburgh, that is excusable. The Steelers are one of the few teams who can shut down multiple running backs. But I do not see many other teams containing Johnson & Greene, meaning Battle will stay on the bench.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta
Rodgers only runs when Steven Jackson is down. In case you never paid attention to St. Louis in the last decade, Jackson is a tank. The odds of him being injured are never high, and he gets winded only long enough for Rodgers to be on the field for a play or two. Owned in almost 90% of leagues, Rodgers is a player you shouldn’t be afraid to part with for a good waiver wire pick-up.
Rueben Randle, New York Giants
This early in the season, you simply can’t give up on a receiver. So why do I have one listed here? If there is a great waiver guy out there unclaimed, someone on your roster has to go. Receivers are the easiest players to replace in a fantasy line-up (the quantity is always there) on an emergency basis, so dropping one that’s already on your bench shouldn’t sting too badly. Randle got picked specifically because he is third on the depth chart, and hardly any third receiver deserves a spot on a fantasy team over a bonafide starter.
I in no way advocate cutting Seattle’s defense. One of the best in the league deserves a bench spot at least, which is exactly what I say to do against a San Francisco team that could turn this game into a two-team shootout just as well as holding it to a defensive struggle. I don’t like fifty-fifty chances in terms of fantasy, so pick up someone else for this week.
So you went after Tampa Bay last week because the played the lowly Jets. Guess who they draw this week? Drew Brees & the New Orleans Saints. If you think the Bucs can churn out fantasy points this week, notify me of what your league name is for next year, because quick wins are hard to come by.
Now I realize that in the beginning of the fantasy year, waiver pickings are pretty scarce, save for a Julius Thomas, and you’re hesitant to give up on guys after one game. As the season goes on, don’t be afraid of some risk, because there’s nothing worse than passing on a guy who is rumored to get a couple less targets this week, only to have the guy behind you on the waiver wire get him, start him, and beat you with him.
Best of luck this fantasy week, and may you be blessed in all your endeavors! And, as always, check out some of the other articles, blogs, and other media on The Sentry’s website, and look for a mobile app coming soon!
God Bless & Have a good weekend!