The 2011 NFL season is off and running, and the completion of Week 1 brings our first installment of the ‘Waiver Wire Wonders!’ We start the season with an extra large helping of players that are likely to be available in your league. Yes, it’s only been one game, but it will be worth your while to scrutinize your roster to see if you can make an upgrade at any position. You don’t want to give up early on guys, especially the high draft picks, but if the last guy you drafted is already dinged and isn’t going to see the light of day, then cut bait. Plenty of players got hurt in Week 1, too, so check your league rules to see if you can stash them on injured reserve while you scoop up a hot player. Whether you stumbled in Week 1 and have one of the top picks, or your draft went like clockwork and you posted your league’s high score of the week, there is plenty to look at on this week’s waiver wire.
The depth charts in St. Louis and New Orleans have already seen upward movement. The Rams lost their top two offensive weapons, and the Saints are likely to be without their top two wideouts. Speaking of wideouts, this is a great week to jump in and grab some receivers that had breakout performances in Week 1. Many of them are looking at an immediate increase in playing time, which will translate into fantasy success for those that are able to grab them for their team.
As in year’s past, we’ll be doing our best to mention players that we think are available in most leagues. In many leagues, the players listed here won’t be available, especially those in the ‘Smoking Hot’ area. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to jump down to the next list and try to get ahead of the curve by taking a chance on guys listed as ‘On the Radar.’ Players in this area often jump into the ‘Smokin Hot’ range the following week, so grab them before they become white hot. We’ll also dig extremely deep and put some guys on the ‘Deep and/or Dynasty Only’ list for those of you that are in, well, deep and/or dynasty leagues.
On to this week’s waiver wire wonders …
RB Cadillac Williams, St. Louis
The Rams had no reservations about putting Williams right to work when Steven Jackson went down, and he responded well. Nineteen carries for 91 yards, and six catches for 49 yards on top of that. Reports are that Jackson will be out for at least a week, and probably longer, Williams will have an immediate fantasy impact.
, New Orleans
Mark Ingram is the workhorse back for the Saints, and Sproles is not going to challenge for that role. Based on the first week, coach Sean Payton is going to be true to his word when he said that Sproles will have a role similar to that of Reggie Bush. He only had a couple of carries, but with the Saints playing from behind, he caught seven passes for 75 yards. That’s fantasy gold for those in points per reception leagues. In addition, he is going to be active on special teams, as evidenced by a touchdown on a punt return.
, New Orleans
We stay in the Bayou to talk about one of the actual wideouts for the Saints. In place of the injured Lance Moore, Henderson had a great Week 1, catching six balls while hitting the century mark in yards. Though Moore is expected back soon, New Orleans lost Marques Colston to a broken collarbone, an injury that will likely keep him out for over a month. That will thrust Henderson into a starting role in an offense that loves to pass the ball. He will have an immediate fantasy impact for the foreseeable future.
, Green Bay
Even though James Jones and Donald Driver are ahead of Nelson on the depth chart, don’t expect that to last very long. He is clearly outperforming Jones, catching six balls for 77 yards and a touchdown (and nearly had a second). Jones only saw one pass thrown his way the entire game while Driver had a handful of catches for minimal yards. Traditionally a two wideout team, the Packers frequently spread the field and had three on the field, with Nelson leading the team in targets. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is already in midseason form, and we are confident that Nelson is a viable WR2 in any format.