Even if you emerged from the draft with a stellar squad top to bottom, you always want to be mindful of talent that may have eluded selection on draft day. You can rationalize scanning the waiver wire for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, making a play for that surprise performer that flew under the radar in the pre-season. It happens! Some are your fly by night variety, while other players can really make an impact. Second, if you want to build bench strength in the event of an injury or to increase your bargaining power if you find yourself in the midst of trade negotiations. Lastly, if you just want to keep that player off your opponent’s roster. After all, it is a competition, right? Lets take a look.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals – With the depth at the quarterback position this season, Dalton was either an incredibly late round selection in drafts or was ignored altogether. Despite a few turnovers committed against a Chicago Bears defense that is one of the best in the business in that category, Dalton made a solid fantasy statement completing 26 of his 33 pass attempts for 282 yards and two touchdowns to his best friend, WR A.J. Green.
Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Not every waiver wire player is going to have a banner game. Sometimes you have to look beyond a subpar performance, and I am doing that with Freeman. Realize that despite the Jets issues, pass defense is really not one of them and it was obvious in week one. That said, Freeman has a game changing player in WR Vincent Jackson, another quality set of hands in WR Mike Williams, and of course a balanced attack courtesy of RB Doug Martin. With New Orleans, Arizona, Philadelphia and Atlanta looming, Freeman’s stock will rise.
Joique Bell, Detroit Lions – The Detroit Lions made it loud and clear yesterday. Bell is not only the clear handcuff option to RB Reggie Bush, but he’ll also be the team’s goal line option. He not only plunged in from one and two yards for scores, he put together 92 yards of total offense. He’s definitely worth adding to your squad especially for Bush owners and in touchdown only formats.
Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos – Probably the best pass blocker of the bunch, the willingness to get into the trenches and succeed will bode well for Moreno for the foreseeable future. The Moreno/Hillman/Ball three-headed monster RBBC is not overly attractive, but Moreno’s role in the offense is set and he could be the most productive of the bunch for at least a few weeks.
Michael Turner / Willis McGahee, Free Agents – Now that the opening week is in the books, safe to say there are a few teams that could be looking in this direction. New York Giants? New York Jets? New Orleans? Pittsburgh? While neither will set the fantasy world on fire, I could see one or both making a positive impact. To me, the more attractive option is Michael Turner. He is a solid running back, only 31 years old and could be a nice fit in Pittsburgh, New Orleans or maybe the kick in the pants in New York that RB David Wilson needs. If you have the room on your roster, it couldn’t hurt to grab one of these guys and wait. If you wait for one or both to sign, then obtaining either could prove much more difficult. If you can, try this proactive approach, it just might be fruitful. News is the Giants are bringing in McGahee and RB Brandon Jacobs for a tryout. Stay tuned!
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots – While everyone was trying to be slick with the sleeper pick of WR Kenbrell Thomkins, only grabbing four of his fourteen targets was very telling in regards to the youngster. In the meantime, Edelman was a model of efficiency, with 7 receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns. If that production continues, the QB Tom Brady to Edelman connection could be an ongoing thing this season.
Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins – If week one was any indication, the receiver Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is building a rapport with is Hartline, not newly acquired WR Mike Wallace. Now bear in mind, Hartline teased like this in prior seasons, so take this game with a grain of salt. That said, being targeted 15 times resulting in 9 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown is hard to ignore.
Nate Washington, Tennessee Titans – Not a sexy pick by any means, but while WR Kenny Britt continues to flounder, QB Jake Locker continues to look towards the sure-handed savvy veteran. He only had 4 receptions for 46 yards, but his targets speak volumes in regards to Locker’s continued confidence in Washington.
Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers – While his yardage totals were nothing to get excited about, it was obvious that QB Phillip Rivers definitely looked in the direction of his diminutive wide receiver when the Chargers were in the red zone, much to the chagrin of TE Antonio Gates owners.. It is certainly something to take notice of.
Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins – Look for this guy to make a real push to usurp veteran WR Santana Moss. He is younger, bigger, faster and as evidenced by his production on Monday night against the Eagles, will be a solid option in the Redskins attack. He is worth keeping a close eye on, and could come close to matching teammate WR Pierre Garcon’s numbers for 2013. Yep, I said it.
Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders – While his teammate WR Denarius Moore garners the lion’s share of attention downfield, Streater could find himself on the receiving end of things week in and week out. Moving from the #3 spot to now a starting position, he could very well turn a few heads as the season progresses. Despite not finding the end zone, Streater was the most efficient Raider wide receiver this past Sunday afternoon against the Indianapolis Colts.
Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens – It was expected that he would give WR Jacoby Jones a run for his money at the #2 receiver spot and when Jones went down with the knee injury, Brown showed everyone why. With Jones on the shelf for 4-6 weeks, Brown has every chance to put a stranglehold on the job.
Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos – I joked with Paul Greco as we were preparing for our weekly FP911 Google+ Hangout that we have our week one Waiver Wire Top Selection Du jour. As Thomas continued to show some skills on Thursday night, it was hard to deny. It is no surprise that Broncos QB Peyton Manning greatly values the TE position, as evidenced by targeting Thomas seven times. The third year professional out of Portland State responded with five receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns. While he should most definitely be on your WW radar, keep in mind he is one of many sets of hands in Denver this season, and Thomas could be hard-pressed to continue this pace. Look at the swing in production from TE to WR in the second half. Something to note.
Brandon Myers, New York Giants – Many thought it would take a while for Myers to get situated in the New York Giants passing game. As I mentioned in a piece last week, I disagreed. Myers possesses hands of gold, and that is a welcome chain-moving sight for QB Eli Manning when things are starting to break down. Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, Myers hauled in 7 receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. While he is no legendary Mark Bavarro, Brandon Myers will be a highly utilized asset in this offense with results.
Dallas Clark, Baltimore Ravens – So he may be long in the tooth, but isn’t Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez? Prior to his arm injury a few seasons ago in Indianapolis, Clark was one of the best in the land at his position. Throw out his forgettable tenure last season in Tampa Bay, and Clark looks like he is reasserting himself in Baltimore. In last Thursday’s loss to Denver, QB Joe Flacco looked Clark’s way early and often and the veteran TE responded with seven receptions for 87 yards on 12 targets. Like TE Dennis Pita, Clark is a far superior talent to TE Ed Dickson and shouldn’t be ignored in this offense.
Kellen Winslow, New York Jets – Despite playing on a terrible team, Winslow has a few things going for him. He is healthy, and when healthy he can be a force. Also, rookie QB Geno Smith needs someone to throw to, and Winslow is a big sure-handed target. Notice that Smith looked Winslow’s way eight times Sunday against the Buccaneers. If he can stay on the field, Winslow could very well repeat his solid week one stat line with 7 receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown.
I’ll be here every week with some insight, suggestions and general hilarity.
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