Well, if you’ve been following us and our advice on add drops – you’re going to know that 3 of this week’s higher waiver adds in standard leagues are guys we recommended either last week or the week before. So if you’re looking for why you should pick up WR Josh Gordon or WR Santonio Holmes after their monster weeks – well, good luck competing with your entire league for them. I tried to warn you last week 🙂 Similarly, albeit with less authority I am not going to bring up RB Brandon Bolden as a potential add this week – b/c I advocated him in deeper leagues during week 1. He gets a bump to Level 2 type of guy this week.
As always what we’ll do here is make recommendations on 3 levels. Level 1 guys are so obvious that they were either drafted in your league on draft day already, or you will have to fight with other owners over them on the wire. Level 2 guys are decent risks that may not always pan out, but more of them may be available in your league to serve your purposes. And finally level 3 guys are more of the longshot homerun guys – but if your need is great, or if you play in a deep league – these might be the only guys you have a chance at….
RB Fred Jackson – I believed in CJ Spiller more than most, I bought the hype. Fred Jackson just continues to hang around though and look like the better runner. Spiller is flash and talent – Jackson is a plodding workhorse – but for the Bills after 3 weeks Jackson seems to be what they need. Spiller is banged up a little right now (and I’m not advising Spiller owners to panic), but even when healthy Jackson gets meaningful work. 3 games is a large enough sample size for this guy to be owned – so if somehow he’s available in more shallow leagues…pick him up.
RB Bilal Powell – Powell was likely drafted in your league, but maybe some owner got frustrated with him and tossed him out. This is the time to get him, because with Ivory hurt for the 1,000th time in his career, Powell has job security and is producing. Powell is a lot like Fred Jackson – he seems to be a plodder, but unlike the hype for his backfield mate, Powell is producing quietly and fighting for every yard. The Jets offense is not going to light teams up most weeks, but Powell could start for your team as an RB2 if you’re having issues at the position.
WR Kenbrell Thompkins – Thompkins appears to have beaten fellow rookie Aaron Dobson for playing time and for targets. Most importantly he seems to have shaken off an erratic week 2 and will remain in the Patriots’ plans. He needs to be owned in all leagues, and if someone else hasn’t done it – it should be you based off his future potential as a high end WR3.
TE Heath Miller – Quietly Heath Miller is returning to action for 2013. His 3 catches for 35 yard debut may have also gone unnoticed in your leagues….just as I’m sure people forgot that in 2012 Miller had over 800 yards receiving and 8 Td’s. I know Pittsburgh’s offense is bad, Miller is slower, he may have to block more etc…. but the fact remains Miller and Big Ben have a chemistry together over many years and the Steelers will be throwing the ball a lot this season. Pick Miller up if you need TE help – put him on your bench for a week or two more and then in under a month you may have a top 5-6 TE week to week. That’s a good deal.
RB Jason Snelling – I’m a buyer of this guy on the news that Steven Jackson may be out another 3 weeks or more. Snelling is just a better RB than Jacquizz Rodgers and he may get more goalline work than him before long. Rodgers may be owned in your league, or even higher on some’s waiver priorities – use that to your advantage and take Snelling as a potential flex play. Then, you can laugh while Rodgers gets tackled for a -1 loss every 3rd time he touches it. Snelling won’t light the fantasy world on fire, but with Jackson out and older – by year’s end Snelling could become a very viable flex or bench player for you.
RB Jonathan Franklin – Ugh, here we go again with Green Bay’s backfield. Look here’s what we know – Ed Lacy will be back in the picture as early as this week. James Starks was slated over Franklin, and Franklin had a late game fumble against the Bengals that pretty much cost Green Bay the game. Now here’s what works in his favor: he’s healthy. Starks has a knee sprain and may be out multiple weeks, Lacy will be back but coming off a concussion, so it’s tough to see him getting the lion’s share of the workload right away. So for at least a few weeks Franklin will have an opportunity to work this thing into a full time split. So the question you need to ask is do I need to ride this situation long term? Do you believe Franklin will beat Lacy out for touches by the end of the year? I don’t – but if you need a flex play for the next 2-3 weeks in a bad way….then you might as well try this lotto ticket.
WR Nate Washington – Washington had a big day in Week 3 with 8 catches for 131 yards, more importantly he seems to have taken the Wr1 role in Tennessee (from Kenny Britt – who we advised you last week to drop in standard size leagues). The Titans are not going to light it up very often, and Kendell Wright and Justin Hunter are young players the team will want to take looks at (and targets toward) – but Washington clearly has a role and that means some measure of weekly production. He’s worth an add if you’re currently unhappy with your WR3 or Wr4 situation and are willing to deal with some inconsistency.
WR Davone Bess – We’re big fans of Bess here at the artofscore, but it’s only really this week that he becomes worth consideration for a roster spot. For one thing, Brian Hoyer shocked us all this weekend – and looked a little competent (more on him below), and the bigger factor is that with the Browns supposedly shopping Greg Little and Josh Gordon, Bess could be a defacto WR1 by season’s end. He has already beaten Little out for the Wr2 job. Optimism for the real player is capped a little by Hoyer and the rest of the Browns offense which for now includes Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron – who will probably account for 80% of the Browns’ passing scores going forward. But in the end, Bess could be a very consistent Wr3 especially should Josh Gordon leave town.
TE Jordan Reed – Reed may not have officially beaten out Fred Davis for the starting TE job in Washington, but the writing is on the wall. Reed is currently banged up so check on his status before making the add, but this is more of a long term buy anyway. Reed has looked much better in the offense than Davis, and while the 2 may oscillate looks for a few weeks – Davis is on the last year of his deal, and as the team falls out of contention Reed should take more and more of the work – as he already seems more dynamic. He’s an add if you’re desperate for a 2nd TE, and a guy like Heath Miller isn’t available…maybe by the end of the year he’s more than that.
QB Brian Hoyer – Over 300 yards and 3 Td’s. Shocking. One of them was a game winner! Lost in the celebration (rightfully) of Cleveland backers this week is 2 fold..1 Minnesota’s pass defense was awful, they may wind up being in the bottom 5 in the league this year. And 2ndly, we need to see it again before we add him for fantasy. Hoyer has no dependable history and despite the performance had some troubling signs – like the 3 Int’s he threw. If he struggles against better defenses can he even keep the job? Has he even won it? Brandon Weeden is not in favor in Cleveland for sure, but will the Browns put him back in to showcase him for other teams, or to give him a last chance to advocate for his roster spot in 2014? These are questions that are very legitimate and not to be swept under the rug of Hoyer-mania….if there is such a thing. Anyway, in very deep leagues I suppose Hoyer is worth an add as a backup fantasy QB, especially with guys like Terrel Pryor getting hurt etc..but in most leagues we need to see it at least twice to make him worth a pickup.
WR Ryan Broyles – I love Broyles’ talent and his situation, I just hate his knees. Broyles was finally used in a game this weekend and is working his way slowly back from injury. He looked quick and strong, and remains my pick to easily out work Nate Burleson by the time the season ends. In average leagues you may not need to grab him this week – just monitor him….but in deep leagues the time to grab him is before he’s played too many games and shown too much of his comeback. (Edited on the news that Nate Burleson has broken his arm – Broyles is now a high level 2, or low level 1 add for this week – b/c he will be the 2 WR almost immediately in the wake of this news)
WR Terrance Williams – I don’t particularly like Williams as a talent, but very quickly he could be in a very good situation. WR Miles Austin is battling again with his hamstring…and even though right now he’s not scheduled to miss time, with his history that’s not a good sign for him. For Williams if Austin were limited or out that would be pretty fantastic considering Dallas’ upcoming opponents are horrific against the pass: Chargers, Broncos (the one tough matchup), Redskins, Eagles, Vikings, Saints, Giants, and Raiders. I mean look at that schedule! You’d start anyone starting against those teams right? Well Williams may be a starter for some or all of them and this will be a chance to buy low on that speculation.
RB Bryce Brown – McCoy got dinged up on Thursday night, and he came back fine….but the lesson should not be lost. Bryce Brown is talented and would step into a fantastic situation should McCoy have to miss time. If he’s not owned in your league based off this speculation, it may be time to add him. I just don’t know how Chip Kelly’s high volume offense is going to affect his players after say the season mid-point. Will he burn guys out, or expose them to injury risk? I’m not selling the Eagles short here, I’ve been impressed…but the questions about health will begin to creep in. Brown could be your insurance or your lottery ticket.
Players to Drop
TE Fred Davis – Jordan Reed has cut into his passing looks, and even Logan Paulsen saw time Sunday as the inline blocker TE over Fred, while Fred was “hurt”. Davis may be hurt, but I’d say it’s not only due to injury that he’s sliding down in playing time. Those who drafted him thinking he had top 10 position potential – I agreed with that. I no longer agree, even if Fred holds his starting job I have a tough time imaging Washington will use him if they continue to lose b/c Davis is on the last year of his deal (something that at the start of the season could’ve been very helpful to him) and they will want to see more of Reed in the attack. Davis’ shot at even being a top 15 TE this year look bleak and there are likely better options on your waiver.
RB James Starks – From add one week to potential drop the next – these are the days of our Greenbay Fantasy Football Lives. If you are desperate at RB in a deep league keep him, otherwise it’s time to move on. Starks is injured (again) and now with Jonathan Franklin emerging and Lacy returning it’s tough to think of him as any more than RB3 on his own team.
TE Brandon Pettigrew – Much like Fred Davis, Pettigrew looks lost and unused in this offense. Hell, he played this week against Washington and had the same # of catches as Fred Davis who didn’t play. Think about that.