Week 1 is in the books and now it’s time for my favorite part of fantasy football – working the waiver wire.
I’ve always said the best part about playing fantasy football in my opinion is being a faux general manager. Most people love the draft, but for my money working the waiver wire and trying to make trades is the best part about fantasy sports.
So here’s how it works: I’ll list some of the top waiver wire targets of the upcoming week and give you my opinion on whether or not you should go after that player. Then, depending on how accurate I am over the year, you’ll either be hoisting that fantasy trophy or fighting to stay out of the basement.
Now let’s dive into the “Feeding Frenzy” and decipher which players are worth a roster spot and which ones are glorified chum.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina
How was that for a debut?
Newton did in his first game with Carolina what he did all 2010 while at Auburn. He played his best when the lights are on. After struggling all preseason, Newton looked like a 10-year veteran once the games counted. Anyone who follows college football closely shouldn’t be surprised.
Newton played his best at Auburn late in the game or when the team fell behind. The kid has an uncanny knack to stay poised and cool on the biggest stage. I really thought Newton’s year at Auburn was the greatest college season I’ve ever seen. To come from junior college and win a national title with that team was simply amazing.
Look, it was only one week, but everyone knows a special player when they see one. Newton is special. He’ll have his ups and downs this year but he will also have crazy fantasy weeks because of the combination of his running and passing numbers. Plus, it looks like Carolina will be playing from behind a lot because of its defense, so expect the Panthers to be in a lot of shootouts.
If you play in a two-quarterback league or need a backup that can come in and put up a big numbers for you every now and then, Newton should be a high priority for you this week.
The Final Call: Newton should be high on your list this week if you need another quarterback. Expect a lot of wild games in Carolina this season.
Rex Grossman, QB, Washington – It appears Redskins coach Mike Shanahan knows what he’s doing after all. Following a strong preseason, Grossman shined in Week 1, throwing for 305 yards and two scores.
Grossman doesn’t have a strong arm but he did a really nice job of completing the short-to-intermediate throws on Sunday. He also didn’t make any mistakes. I was really impressed with Grossman taking a sack when nothing was open instead of throwing into coverage like he did so often in Chicago.
If you look at what Grossman has done since becoming the starter in Washington, it’s hard to argue with the numbers. Going back to last season Grossman has now gone over 300 yards in three of his last four games. That’s not bad for a backup fantasy quarterback.
Expect Grossman to be steadier than someone like Newton but maybe not put up the wild fantasy numbers due to his team having a much better defense.
Ben Tate, RB, Houston – Tate was impressive on Sunday in running for 116 yards and a score but there are a couple of reasons why we should damper our enthusiasm a bit.
First, Tate was playing the Indianapolis Colts defense. As bad as the Colts can be against the run it’s amazing how the entire team plays worse when Peyton Manning isn’t on the field. So while impressive, it won’t be that easy for Tate every week.
Second, Arian Foster will be back at some point. Once he returns, he will once again receive most of the carries. Now, these hamstring injuries can linger, so Tate could certainly end up being the main ball carrier again in the future but that all depends on Foster’s health.
I like Tate more than Derrick Ward. He’s a powerful back and quite honestly Tate has more physical ability than Ward. Tate definitely has fantasy value but just how much all depends on Foster’s hamstring.
The Final Call: If Tate is available in your league, go get him. Even if Foster comes back next week there’s no guarantee that he’s going to stay healthy all year. If Tate gets his shot he could end up being a breakout fantasy star.
Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams, RB, St. Louis – There’s no question that Steven Jackson has been a warrior throughout his career but a pulled quad this early in the year isn’t a good sign.
Williams played well in relief of Jackson on Sunday, recording 140 total yards. The one thing to like about Williams is that he’s a good receiver out of the backfield and the Rams like to throw to their backs. Those opportunities could increase even more now that possession receiver Danny Amendola is likely out for the season.
I view Williams similar to Brandon Jackson last season. He’s more dangerous as a receiver than a runner between the tackles. Still, playing in offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ wide-open offense Williams will put up some nice numbers if gets the opportunity.
The Rams really got beaten up on Sunday. Jackson, Amendola and most importantly, Sam Bradford, all left with injuries against the Philadelphia Eagles. As I write this we don’t know how long Jackson will be out but I’m guessing it will be at least a couple of weeks, making Williams one of the top waiver wire pickups.
The Final Call: If you have Jackson and play in a points per reception league I would certainly grab Williams as insurance. I have the top waiver wire spot in my PPR league and depending on what we hear about Jackson’s quad, I’m considering using it on Williams.