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Waiver Wire Wonders

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Hopefully you had a shot at some of the guys we had listed last week. Wideouts like Eddie Royal, Mark Clayton, Louis Murphy and Mike Williams backed up strong performances on opening day with solid numbers in Week 2. If they are still on your waiver wire, the time to grab them is now. Tight ends Mercedes Lewis and Todd Heap also backed up their Week 1 performances with admirable efforts in Week 2. Lewis is a low-end starter, and Heap is as well in deeper leagues.   

Quarterback situations are a moving target for nearly a third of the league right now. Michael Vick didn’t make the story last week, and doesn’t get a true mention this week either. I can’t recommend him as a long term grab as the Eagles *have* to give Kevin Kolb a legitimate chance at the job.  The Pittsburgh Steelers are going to be forced to dip even further down their depth chart until Ben Roethlisberger returns, and several teams benched their starters last week. Most are likely to return but will be on a very short leash.

I can’t give a recommendation on picking up whoever ends up starting in Buffalo, Detroit, Jacksonville or Carolina as whoever the quarterback ends up being isn’t likely to put up much in the way of fantasy numbers. Your individual situation will dictate whether or not you need to make a move at the position, from where I sit you can safely give up on Matt Moore and even Carson Palmer. I’d add David Garrard to that list, but his backup was hurt so he has some stability for the next few weeks at least. Look for guys like Brett Favre and Eli Manning to rebound very soon. I’d sell high on Mark Sanchez and Shaun Hill. Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler are holds as I see them continuing their high fantasy production.

A couple of wideouts are in this week’s story at hot commodities, and we also explore the depths of both the running back and tight end position. And yes, we mention a couple of kickers as a solid pickups. Your roster should be a dynamic being – always explore what is available in your league and compare those players to what you have at the bottom of your roster. You never know when the next starter in the NFL is going to go down, be the one that has the backup and enjoy.

On to this week’s waiver wire wonders ...

Smokin’ Hot

WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver
After missing Week 1, the rookie announced his arrival in the league with a performance that included eight catches for close to a hundred yards and a touchdown. The Broncos have been regularly going with three wideouts on the field, look for Thomas’ production to continue on a very high level.

WR Kevin Walter, Houston
The Texans put on another aerial show, with Walter lighting it up to the tune of 11 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. If Andre Johnson is slowed down with his ankle injury, that means even more action for Walter.  The Texans will continue to pass the ball early and often, Walter is a solid fantasy starter.

RB Jason Snelling, Atlanta
I hesitate to put Snelling in this category, but the sheer numbers alone dictate that he belongs here this week. The Falcons took an extremely caution approach with injured starter Michael Turner, and with good reason. The ground game didn’t miss a beat, with Snelling having an incredible afternoon. With Jerrius Norwood out indefinitely due to an injury, Snelling is the sole backup in Atlanta.  Snelling is worth owning in all formats.

Solid Pickups

WR Mario Manningham, New York Giants
There are several leagues out there where Manningham is available. The Giants have found themselves in the position of playing from behind, so this inflates his numbers somewhat, but they have been consistent. Four catches in both games, 85 and 75 yards plus a touchdown in Week 2.

TE Aaron Hernandez, New England
One of a duo of rookie tight ends for the Patriots, Hernandez has shown off his big play capability in the first two weeks of the season. This is going to be a hit-or-miss proposition, but New England does run more than half their plays with two tight ends on the field.  Hernandez is a viable backup fantasy tight end, with the potential of continued development into a low-end starter.

RB Mike Tolbert, San Diego
Ryan Matthews owners would be wise to grab the Chargers’ backup. Tolbert held his own when given the opportunity in Week 2, he has proven that it would be he, and not Darren Sproles that would see action if Matthews is not in the game.

RB Donald Brown, Indianapolis
Another guy that finds himself on the list as a capable backup to the starter. After a goose egg in Week 1, Brown had 80 total yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Joseph Addai owners are advised to scoop him up as insurance.

K Mike Nugent, Cincinnati; and Nick Folk, New York Jets
One half of your brain is telling you that it’s too early to give up on someone like Stephen Gostkowski or Rob Bironas. The other half of your brain is telling you to make the move and upgrade to two of the top performers at the position, two players that probably went undrafted in your league. In one of my leagues, nine of the Top 12 fantasy kickers went undrafted. Take a look at who is out there in your league, especially if you get bonus points for distance.
As for these two guys specifically, both are on teams that are going to be in and around the goal line, so their attempts should be plentiful. And if the first two weeks are any indication of their accuracy, then the sky is the limit. Folk has drilled all five of his attempts, including two in the 40s. Nugent has bagged all six of his attempts, including a boot of over 50 in Week 1. The bye weeks are coming up quickly, so either make a move to upgrade, or make some roster space to pick up a second kicker. Every point is precious, don’t hold onto a struggling and non-performing kicker longer than you have to.

On The Radar

TE Brandon Pettigew, Detriot
This is a player that I drafted last year in many of the dynasty leagues that I participate in. His season last year was cut short due to injury, and the Lions brought in some other tight ends in case he wasn’t ready. After a quiet Week 1, he exploded for seven catches and more than a hundred yards in Week 2. He definitely had a good chemistry going with Shaun Hill, so if he remains the starter, then Pettigrew will continue to get more aerial work over Tony Sheffler. A clear backup fantasy player right now, he’s worth stashing in deep leagues to see if he can be a consistent producer.

RB Keiland Williams, Washington
Normally I’d stash a player like this in the deep/dynasty section, but I’m seeing issues with the Redskins running game. Clinton Portis is already hurt, and Larry Johnson looks, well, slow. Mike Shanahan has been known to drop undrafted rookies directly into starting running back roles, so it might be a good time in deep leagues to stash Williams for when that time comes.

WR Jacoby Jones, Houston
A product of the Texans’ super productive day in the air, Jones had five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Keep an eye on the Andre Johnson situation, if he is indeed banged up, Jones can step in and produce as a low end flex starter.

WR Golden Tate, Seattle
A little bit of a reach here, but the rookie looks like a big-play machine. After an inactive Week 1, the rookie had a tremendous punt return of 63 yards, as well as a 52-yard catch. Look for Pete Carroll to find a way to get him the ball more.

RB Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo
I really don’t understand what is going on in Buffalo.  They have so many capable runners, and yet they don’t seem to want to use any of them. Lynch has been a proven horse for the Bills in the past, and yet now he is rotting on the bench, third on the depth chart. Yet by some miracle, he found the field enough in Week 2 to run for 64 yards on 17 carries. I remain confused because Lynch should be a starter somewhere in the NFL. Could Week 2 have been a trade showcase? If he is traded, his value skyrockets. The reward for those of you having the room at the end of your roster for Lynch will be great when he is finally traded.

Deep and/or Dynasty Only

TE Tony Moeaki, Kansas City
Taking a page out of the Tony Gonzalez booklet, the rookie had a great Week 2 performance. Five catches for close to 60 yards is a pretty good breakout week as far as tight ends go. Matt Cassel is struggling, so that would signal more work for the burly rookie. The Chiefs are showing their confidence in the youngster by lining him up in the slot a few times a game.

RB James Starks, Green Bay
I have a lot of confidence in Brandon Jackson holding onto the starting job in Green Bay. The running back position in the NFL of 2010 dictates that teams split things up so one player doesn’t get burned out. The Packers have Starks waiting in the wings, he’s on the Physically Unable to Perform list and missed all of training camp, but he’s a name to keep an eye on in deeper leagues.