Another week, another opportunity. Last week we told you to get out ahead on guys like WR Kenbrell Thompkins, WR Nate Washington and TE Heath Miller – who will all be higher priority adds for teams looking for depth and starting options during the bye weeks. WR Terrance Williams and WR Robert Woods we advised as a deep buys – ( in Woods’ case 2 weeks ago!!)…to me they both get bumps towards a level 2 guys right now. They are great WR 4 plays (and Williams a potential Wr 3 for a few more weeks) if you need one. Also, we gave a tentative endorsement to QB Brian Hoyer – I would say you now have to upgrade that endorsement on the back of a 2nd strong game. Hoyer can be thought of as a borderline “level 1” guy in waivers this week – but if you already have a good fantasy backup QB – target some of the other players 1st – it remains to be seen if Hoyer can sustain this longterm. We’ve got a great record with our recommendations so far in 2013 so take note and keep reading…
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 Le’Veon Bell – Bell is probably not available in a ton of leagues, but if he’s there he’s a must grab. I thought Bell would start slow at best, and even recommended sitting him this past weekend to see what he was about. Well, 57 yards and 2 TD’s later it’s safe to say Bell is an option at RB going forward. Now the Steelers are on bye coming up this week, and he won’t have the luxury of 2 TD’s bailing out an under 100 yard performance every week either, but Bell has RB2 potential – especially in 12 team standard leagues. If you need him and he’s free, I hope you’re #1 on the waiver order this week.
WR Justin Blackmon – Just as we saw with Josh Gordon 2 weeks ago, a potential #1 WR is coming off suspension this week and has the potential to be just sitting out there on your league’s waiver wire. Last year as a rookie and with a subpar QB, Blackmon had 865 and 5 TD’s. Now, Blackmon doesn’t have as good a situation as Gordon (how does that feel Jacksonville? Hoyer > Gabbert/Henne!)….but Blackmon makes an intriguing add based on the sheer amount of targets he’s likely to see this season. I warned you about a slow start on Josh Gordon which turned out to be wrong, but I think with Blackmon you really will have to get him now and wait 2-3 games to see a return. I don’t see him as consistent enough to be a WR2 for you, but WR3 or flex play with high upside is possible depending on the week.
RB Danny Woodhead – Now Woodhead was probably drafted in your leagues, but if you play in a league with a short bench some stupid owner (read as myself) may have let Woodhead go for a gamble elsewhere. Now Woodhead is nowhere near the priority of trying to get Le’Veon Bell – his production isn’t going to look like 80 all purpose yards and 2 TD’s every week. Woodhead however can be a valuable flex add and even RB2 if you have injuries or bye week issues. Unfortunately, based off of Week 4 you will be fighting many owners to get him if you are in a league where he’s free, but you may grab him as a consolation prize to Bell or Blackmon. If you do, hold him through his ups and downs…
RB Roy Helu – When Alfred Morris left the game this weekend with a rib injury, people were briefly reminded why 2 years ago the Redskins thought their RB of the future was Helu. Helu fits the one cut Shanhan scheme, and adds a pass catching element that may help the Redskins struggling offense even more. Morris’ injury doesn’t sound too bad, and the Redskins have a bye in week 5 to help – but rib pain can be a lingering and tricky issue so Helu is worth an insurance pick in most leagues. It’s possible that the Redskins involve Helu even more just to keep Alf a little healthier even in the games where Morris is able to play. Helu is a grab now, before Morris is ruled out of any action – b/c by then it will be way too late.
RB Rashad Jennings – It may not be that much of a surprise that starter Darren McFadden is dealing with injury. What you may have missed though is that RB/FB Marcel Reece is also struggling with a knee injury. This frees things up for a larger temporary workload for Jennings – b/c even if McFadden is able to suit up Jennings will have no competition for spell touches. In deeper or even average size leagues with bye week issues, Jennings could be a risky flex start to help stop your team from bleeding dry. Pick him up if you have a need at RB4 on your roster and monitor the injury reports on McFadden coming out of Oakland to determine if you start him.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Jake Locker’s hip injury opens the door for Fitzpatrick for a month or even two. So, if you have a bad QB situation and want to take a gamble – you could do worse than rostering him and seeing what develops. Locker was pretty terrible, but it wasn’t due to him having a lack of weapons. I’m not saying Fitzpatrick is any better (he very well could be though), but anytime you have Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, and Justin Hunter to look at you could stumble into some good fantasy weeks. Hell, imagine if Fitzpatrick can find a way to involve Kenny Britt?!! Tennessee has too much invested in Locker not to bring him back as the starter when he’s ready to play again… but in the meantime Fitzpatrick may see action in as many as 8 games enough to have him worth considering should you need help there.
WR Jeremy Kerley – Just as the Jets passing game was starting to solidify a little around Santonio Holmes’ return and Stephen Hill’s promise – both get injured. Holmes has a hamstring issue – which as we know can be the most troublesome to predict injury a player can have…followed closely by a concussion which is the injury Hill suffered this weekend. Now Kerley himself had a concussion in week 2 this season, however he passed his test and has played the last two weeks without issue. I think with Holmes and Hill slowed, or potentially out week to week here, Kerley has a chance to come back to his WR3 fantasy type of potential. He’s a dependable WR who knows the offense and that can help Geno Smith out – as Smith continues to learn the game. Kerley isn’t going to wow you in real life often, or in fantasy most weeks – but he can give you that 7 or 8 point ffl production when you have roster issues, and to me he’s worth owning at least until Holmes and Hill are considered back to full strength.
DEF Browns – This Defense is becoming a good play against most offenses. Now that the offense has shown signs of life it will help put the defense in good position. Joe Hayden is playing as good as any CB in the league and the strong front seven are a formidable as they come. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton is underrated and is one of the best in the league. After watching his time with Arizona, he is very creative and has a great scheme.
RB Benny Cunningham – He’d be even higher for me if the Rams weren’t an absolute mess right now. 1 year after being drafted as their back of the future – Isiah Pead was a healthy scratch in week 4 (more on this later). Starter Daryl Richardson averaged 1.3 ypc last week and for the season is well under 4 YPC. To me Benny Cunningham looks like the most “NFL” rb on the roster, as he runs hard between the tackles and at 5’10 210lbs he’s more built to take punishment than Richardson. I know this isn’t a great situation for any RB right now, and I know that Richardon’s role in the the short passing game isn’t likely to get him fully replaced in the linuep, but Cunningham’s touches have been increasingly the last 2 games. I know 5 touches doesn’t sound too exciting…but, consider that it now appears Cunningham is ahead of both Zac Stacey (remember him?) and Pead…you won’t find too many clear backups sitting on your league’s waiver in Week 5. And if you do, you’re not likely to find a guy with a worse starter in front of him. Benny could be the Rams 1st and 2nd down rb in a few weeks. If you have a need at RB, he’s worth a speculative add.
TE Garret Graham – It’s tough to like guys that are the 2 TE on a team (at least those not convicted of murder), but in a year where guys like Fred Davis, Bradon Pettigrew, and many others have dissapointed – the other TE Graham could be a viable option for you. Graham has caught a TD in 3 out of the 1st 4 games now – so he’s a clear red zone target. Without the TD’s you can only expect 3-5 pts from him weekly, so he is a gamble – but some of you may be at that point where it’s better to bet on upside than to live with disappointment.
TE Mychal Rivera – Want a deeeeeeeeeeeppppppp TE flier? Rivera caught his 1st TD pass of his career this past weekend, and as been averaging just 20-30 yards per game. However, in deep leagues or dynasty leagues Rivera may be worth an add on the speculation that he’ll be the #1 TE receiving threat on Oakland before the midway point of the season. Now that may not translate to too much fantasy love production, but if you pick him up and he starts to get redzone looks than you may have a solid TE2 in a few weeks. He’s probably left best on the wire in your league until we see him catch another TD, but if you have needs and are in a deep league you may not be able to afford to wait. I started him in one league this weekend over Fred Davis, and I was rewarded with a solid 8 points.
WR Keenan Allen – I loved this guy coming out of college. I know he had a knee issue going into the draft, but he was great at high pointing balls, running routes and was an explosive player. He finally looks healthy and has flashed what I saw coming out of college. If you have the roster spot, it might be worth to buy low now and give him a few weeks. If Rivers continues to play great and if Rivers and Allen remain in sync, Allen could become a viable flex play.
TE Sean McGrath – Firstly, he has a awesome beard. Secondly, this Seahawks cast off(cut in the last round of preseason cuts) McGrath has made the most of his opportunity in KC. Last week he had 5 catches for 64 and a touchdown. Now, it will remain to be seen if he keeps getting looks when Fansano and Kelce come back from injury, but he could be worth a look in a deep league. Probably nothing more than a fill in, but keep an eye on him to see if he keeps getting targets. Wait and see on him.
WR- Deonte Thompson – We are going “balls deep” here. The Ravens are still looking for someone to take over for Jacoby Jones as he recovers from injury and even after he returns, they still need a 3rd WR. D Thompson caught 4 balls for 50 yards against the Bills. He is probably only worth a spot in a really deep or dynasty league, but he is one to monitor moving forward if he can grab that WR3 job in Baltimore.
Players to Drop
TE Brandon Myers – I liked Myers in Oakland and assumed that the Giants liked him enough as their Martellius Bennett replacement to involve him heavily in the offense this season. Not only has Myers not been a key figure in the offense, he hasn’t even made an impact in garbage time recently. And when you get blanked on the stat sheet when your team loses 38-7, as they did this past weekend that’s a terrible sign. Myers is probably droppable now in standard size leagues – he’s just a victim of the Giants offense collapsing right now.
RB Isiah Pead/Zac Stacey – Face it. You’ve been holding on to these guys as lotto tickets and they are just about bust for 2013. Pead was a healthy scratch last game on team that has known RB issues, and Stacey who was supposed to benefit from that scratch got no action in the game either. It’s possible both Pead and Stacey manage to eek out a start for the 2013 Rams, with the team just trying to find any answers, but neither is likely to do anything with the state of the Rams run blocking. To top it off to even get these chances they will have to wait til the Rams are done giving Benny Cunningham and Daryl Richardson looks. Unless you play in a very deep league, or a dynasty league there are better prospects on your league’s waiver right now. Drop these dudes and move on, the dream is over.
WR Golden Tate – Tate might have a game here and there this season that makes him worth rostering, or even starting – but good luck getting out the ouja board to figure out when that will be. I’m not saying he’s a clear cut in all formats, but a guy that has under 200 yards receiving and no TD’s in 4 games is not automatically a fantasy bench guy for your team even if he is a starter in real life. Check your waiver wire, and if a WR with some upside is sitting there that you feel intrigued by – cut Tate without much hesitation.
TE Zach Miller – With all the injuries to Seattle’s O-line, Miller will be blocking quite bit. I would drop him for just about anyone at this point. Keep an eye on him later in the season, but as of now, free up that roster spot if you haven’t already and cut him. Those 2 touchdowns in week 3 were a mirage.
-Ron and Mike