There is already some depth chart movement at the running back position in Cleveland and in Green Bay, so we’ve listed a couple of guys that will have an immediate impact at that position. Everyone will be on the lookout for this year’s Miles Austin, and we’ve got eight wideouts listed in this week’s story. Many of these guys will also have an immediate impact and are viable fantasy starters. We’ve got a few tight ends listed as it’s never too early to be on the lookout for a backup to the tight end stud that you selected on draft day. Defense and kicker won’t be ignored this week, and we’ve got some extremely deep guys for those of you that are running on the dynasty circuit.
Just a reminder, we’re doing our best to mention players that we think are available in most leagues. In some leagues, the players listed here won’t be available, especially in the ‘Smokin Hot’ area. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to jump down to the next list or two and try and get ahead of the curve. Take a chance on a guy listed as a ‘Solid Pickup’ or ‘On the Radar’ as these are often the players that jump into the ‘Smokin Hot’ list the following week. This is especially important if you plan on going undefeated this season and will not have the chance at getting one of the top players on the waiver wire. Also, every week we’ll try to dig extremely deep and put some guys on the ‘Deep and/or Dynasty Only’ list. As its moniker suggests, only deep and/or dynasty leagues should be looking here.
On to this week’s waiver wire wonders …
RB Brandon Jackson, Green Bay
Filling in for the injured Ryan Grant, Jackson finally showed some signs of life in week one, rushing 18 times for 63 yards. The Packers had been talking up Jackson from the start this season, saying he was going to see some significant playing time, and the Grant injury has accelerated that process. Perhaps the front office was hoping that this would be the year that the youngster would finally perform on the field during an actual NFL game – which hasn’t happend since Green Bay drafted him. Reports coming out of Green Bay are that Grant is going to be out for the entire season, which makes Jackson not only the sole starter in the Packers backfield, but if on your waiver wire, he is now the unquestioned number one selection.
RB Peyton Hillis, Cleveland
Jerome Harrison was a major Week 1 disappointment, yielding not only the starting spot to Hillis, but most of the red zone carries. The first week of the season tends to be a little strange, so Harrison owners shouldn’t be giving up on him yet. Week 1 can also be an indication of things to come and it is apparent that Hillis is going to play a role in the Browns’ offense, the only question being how much. At minimum, it looks like a split situation so Hillis won’t be on your league’s waiver wire for very long. Another player like Jackson that can step right into your fantasy starting lineup.
WR Greg Camarillo, Minnesota
The Vikings’ offense struggled the first week of the season. Without Sidney Rice, Brett Favre looked early and often to Visanthe Shiancoe, with a lot of early success. When it became apparent that Percy Harvin and Berrnard Berrian were not on the same page as the aged one, Shiancoe was shut down by the defense and so was the Vikings’ offense. For the few plays that he was in the game, Favre not only looked at, but threw to newly acquired Camarillo. Though it was clear Camarillo doesn’t quite know the playbook yet, it was also clear that Favre is showing signs of putting his trust in him. One of the Vikings’ wideouts will need to step up, and look for Camarillo to be that guy. Grab him this week before he moves into the WR1 position for Minnesota.
WR Eddie Royal, Denver
Eight catches for just less than 100 yards is almost an automatic to get a mention in the weekly waiver wire story. If Royal slipped past everyone in your league on draft day (and I see that in many leagues he went undrafted), jump on him quickly in this week’s waiver wire period. What is most encouraging is that the Broncos kept him as the slot receiver for the entire game. He led the Broncos with 10 targets the first week, and working out of the slot will have him as an active target on a weekly basis. Even though guys like Demaryius Thomas will be clouding the picture, Royal establishing himself as the slot guy is key to him being a fantasy presence from this point forward.
WR Legedu Naanee, San Diego
In difficult conditions during Monday night’s game, Naanee has stepped up in Vincent Jackson’s absence in a big way. Another guy that put up more than 100 yards on opening day, Philip Rivers looked to him in key situations all game. With Antonio Gates drawing the bulk of the defensive coverage, Naanee will be a viable fantasy starter. Plus, cool name.
K John Kasay, Carolina
That’s right, we’ve got a kicker on this week’s hot list. All Kasay does is connect on field goals, going 3-for-3 in Week 1, including a 40 yarder and a 50 yarder. Carolina is a team that’s going to be in field goal range a lot this season, so grab Kasay with confidence as your starter.
WR Mark Clayton, St. Louis
Clayton quickly established himself as the go to guy in St. Louis, catching 10 balls for 119 yards in the season opener. The Rams will be playing from behind a lot this season, so look for Clayton to be a very solid fantasy WR2 or WR3 going forward.
WR Louis Murphy, Oakland
The Raiders didn’t do a heck of a lot in the air in Week 1, but they are also a team that will be playing from behind a lot this season. He’ll be under the radar this week, having only caught four passes for 28 yards, but if you are low on the waiver wire totem pole having routed your opponent in week one, Murphy should be available and has the potential to be a seven-catch, 70-yard guy on a weekly basis.
WR Mike Williams, Seattle
The Seahawks surprised many by grabbing a Week 1 victory, and they are going to be an active team offensively all season. Like Louis Murphy, Williams will be under the waiver wire radar this week, but he will emerge as the top threat in the air for Seattle. Grab him before he becomes ‘Smokin Hot.’
WR Danny Amendola, St.Louis
Another under the radar guy, Amendola will also be a solid fantasy player going forward. The Rams are playing him in the slot, so he will be very involved. Six catches for 67 yards in Week 1 is a solid performance, and his activity on special teams adds a little more to his fantasy value.
WR Mike Thomas, Jacksonville
Starting opposite Mike Simms-Walker, Thomas enjoyed a very productive Week 1 with six catches for 89 yards. The Jaguars primarily play two wideouts, so look for Thomas’ production to continue all season.
On The Radar
TE Bo Scaife, Tennessee
For those fantasy owners that drafted a single tight end, the first few weeks of the season are a prime opportunity to take a look around for your bye week backup. Scaife isn’t going to have huge numbers, but he’s a very adequate backup and will be a steady low end fantasy performer. The Titans look to him often in the red zone, as evidenced by a touchdown in week one.
TE Todd Heap, Baltimore
Heap is another guy that is a capable fantasy backup. I’d have him listed above Scaife, but he came out of Monday night’s game with a shoulder “tweak.” Joe Flacco looked to him often, to the tune of six catches in Week 1. There are plenty of options in Baltimore, keep an eye on Heap for your bye week fill in.
TE Mercedes Lewis, Jacksonville
Don’t let the Week 1 point total fool you, as his two touchdown catches inflate the numbers. However, on the lookout for your TE2, as a red zone target, Lewis is a solid fantasy backup.
QB Derek Anderson, Arizona
Quite a few quarterbacks took it on the chin in Week 1, some literally, and many are going to be questionable heading into Week 2 action. Of the backup guys that will be playing in Week t2 and the undrafted starters, Anderson is the guy that I would target if you have a need at the position. He didn’t look good, and the Rams defense could have made him pay, but with a week under his belt as the starter and Larry Fitzgerald on the field, Anderson is a decent stop gap for your fantasy squad.
Tennessee Titans Defense
Tennessee’s defense likely went undrafted in your league, but from the looks of their Week 1 performance, they are going to be a good fantasy start regardless of the matchup. They welcome a depleted Pittsburgh Steelers this upcoming week which should give them another week of above average fantasy numbers. Look for week-to-week consistency regardless of the matchup out of this unit.
New England Patriots Defense
Looking a little further down on the defenses that are likely available, the Patriots are probably on your waiver wire. This unit is going to give up some yards, and they will probably give up quite a few points, but where it matters in fantasy is the turnovers and finding the end zone. With their prolific offense putting up a ton of points, opponents are going to have to take chances to try and keep up with them. This was the case in Week 1, and the Bengals were not up to the task. And in the process of trying, the Patriots generated some turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown. New England also has some great speed on special teams, as evidenced with them finding the end zone on a kickoff return. Sometimes in fantasy you have to look deep at the numbers to see who has staying power, and the Patriots are worth consideration especially if special teams scores are awarded to the defense.
Deep and/or Dynasty Only
RB John Kuhn, Green Bay
Technically a fullback, if Ryan Grant is unable to go for an extended period of time, that leaves Brandon Jackson as the only healthy running back. Kuhn has already grabbed a goal line score, so keep an eye on the Green Bay depth chart.
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona
With Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells out of action, Stephens-Howling came through in a backup role for the Cardinals. Ten touches and 65 yards of offense is worth keeping an eye on in very deep leagues. When Wells comes back, his role will be reduced, but those is a roster spot and a need could do worse at the running back position on the waiver wire.