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Sunday 23rd Apr 2017

Week 4 of the Waiver Wire Report ushers in the bye weeks, with six teams taking this week off. On top of those missing players, more key producers went down last week, highlighted by Danny Woodhead, Dennis Pitta and Kyle Rudolph. The host of injuries and players on bye will test owners' wits this week and should get trade talks started in a bunch of leagues as owners scramble to fill holes. If you have built up some depth, this could be a great week to try to peddle some of it away to a team in need. 

 

Bye Weeks: Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, Seattle


QUARTERBACKS


Blake Bortles, JCK - The Jaguars finally pulled the plug on Chad Henne during Sunday’s loss to the Colts. We mentioned the rookie the last two weeks as a speculative add, and if you stashed him, you will have surely saved yourself a few dollars this week. Once he finally entered the game, he brought an immediate spark to the Jags offense. It was an up-and-down performance, highlighted by two touchdown passes sandwiched around two bad interceptions. Jacksonville figures to be playing catch-up all year long, so there will be plenty of passing and garbage time stats, just be aware that Bortles gunslinging mentality is going to lead to some sloppy games. Still, he’s my choice this week if you are looking for a boost at your backup spot.


Teddy Bridgewater, MIN - The Vikings have their own rookie taking the reigns of the offense in the 6’2” product out of Louisville. The loss of Adrian Peterson unfortunately isn’t great news for his upside, and the injury to Kyle Rudolph takes away another key producer, and likely security blanket for the time being. He still has two quality targets in Cordarrelle Patterson and Greg Jennings, and while he didn’t make any big plays in his NFL debut, he also didn’t make any mistakes, protected the ball and played within himself. The choice between chasing Bortles or Bridgewater this week sort of comes down style, and which you have more faith in. But truthfully, I can make compelling arguments for either QB. If your league penalizes for INT’s, then you might prefer to place your bets on Bridgewater. The offense is clearly going to run through his arm and feet, and Norv Turner will turn him lose more and more as the season progresses.


Mike Glennon, TB - Josh McCown’s thumb injury is a blessing-in-disguise for a Buccaneers offense that has struggled to find consistency out of the gate this year. The injury forced the coaching staff’s hand, and allowed Mike Glennon to get into the game and immediately perform better than the veteran has all season. The best thing going for Glennon is having Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans to throw the ball to, and their owners are happy to see McCown out of the lineup. The second-year quarterback isn’t a world-beater, and doesn’t have near the upside of the high-profile rookies above him, but he can be a very effective backup quarterback, thanks to his ability to protect the football. If you don’t want to get into a bidding war this week, then Glennon is a worthy option.


Digging Deeper


Austin Davis, STL - If the Rams weren’t on bye this week, and Jeff Fisher wasn’t the coach, I would likely be higher on Davis this week than I am. Especially after a week where he torched the Cowboys defense for 327 yards and three touchdowns. The Rams will have a decision to make coming out of the bye, and I would love to say they will turn things over to the exciting Davis rather than go back to veteran Shaun Hill, but there is a chance it doesn’t happen. You could still make a cheap play for Davis, since he won’t be a priority for QB-hungry teams since he is on bye, and he could pay nice dividends in two-quarterback leagues.


Eli Manning, NYG - Eli continues to put his opening week stinker against the Lions behind him, and as that defense continues to make other quarterbacks look mortal, it doesn’t seem quite so awful anymore. He tossed two touchdowns for the second week in a row and finally didn’t throw any picks. The offense is getting better, and a prime-time matchup against Washington could provide him the platform to take another step forward. If your starter is on bye and you are just looking for a replacement then Peyton’s little brother looks like he can get you through the week with his third straight respectable showing.


Brian Hoyer, CLE - He’s on bye this week, so there won’t be any rush to go out and get him, but he looks like he is going to hang onto the starter’s job for the time being. He is playing pretty well considering his two best targets have been largely unavailable to him. Johnny Football isn’t stealing his job anytime soon, so he’s a worthy backup in deeper leagues.


Charlie Whitehurst, TEN - Jake Locker hurt his wrist, which puts Whitehurst in position for a spot-start this week against the Colts. It would have to be an extremely deep league for you to be tempted to pick him up this week.


Matt Moore, MIA - There have been rumblings in the press about how Ryan Tannehill’s job is in peril, but he got all of the first team snaps to open the week. Moore is a very capable backup, and while I think there is a chance the team could turn to him in relief if Tannehill struggles again, I don’t see them making the switch just yet.


Week 3 Updates


Kirk Cousins, WAS - If you are in a league where Cousins is still available, then by all means throw a sizable bid at him this week. He is the real deal and is playing in a system that is good for fantasy production. Last week’s top choice surely didn’t do anything to hurt his chances of keeping this job even once RGIII returns later in the year.


Geno Smith, NYJ - I have been one of Smith’s biggest supporters this season, but even I can’t deny he had a very shaky performance on Monday Night against a Steeler defense that has looked less than dominant early on. The Lions defense is looking elitte to start the year, so Smith could be in for another long day, meaning there is a chance we could even see Michael Vick in action. The NFL is a crazy league, and things can change on a dime.


RUNNING BACKS


Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL - Taliaferro looked dominant at times against the Browns, rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries. He definitely looked better than Bernard Pierce has and could have just staked a claim to the starters job on a team that needs this type of running back grinding out yards to be successful. The problem is that coaches rarely like to trust rookies unless they have to, meaning Pierce will likely get yet another shot, and Justin Forsett continues to look good as well, meaning whoever does win the feature spot with continue losing touches when the team wants the reliable Forsett on the field. Taliaferro is worth rostering in hopes that he eventually becomes the “man” in this backfield.


Alfred Blue, HOU - Arian Foster was a late scratch and Blue came out and finally answered the question as to who the real handcuff was in Houston. He got almost all of the work last week, leaving mere scraps for Ronnie Brown and Jonathan Grimes. He is a must-own player, since Foster’s injury woes are likely to continue off-and-on for the rest of the season, meaning Blue will get more starts and make noise with them, especially in favorable matchups. Just don’t get fooled into thinking he is on the same level as Foster.


Isaiah Crowell, CLE - I have written enough about the potent Browns rushing attack to begin the year, but it has been difficult for fantasy owners, since it is a three-headed beast, making is difficult to know who to trust any given week. The Browns are on bye this week and Ben Tate is expected to return to action in Week 5. Crowell continued to look like the most talented back on the squad. He was much more decisive than Terrance West last week, and the later had two costly mistakes that factored heavily in the team’s defeat. He is worth grabbing-and-stashing, since Tate will get hurt again and Crowell should continue to gain the coaching staff’s trust, especially near the goaline.


Digging Deeper


Darrin Reaves, CAR - DeAngelo Williams should be ready to play this week against the Ravens, but Reaves is solidly on the radar and the only truly healthy back on the roster at the moment. Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert won’t be returning for awhile and Williams couldn’t go last week.


Brandon Oliver, SD - You may be looking at the last two names and catch yourself audibly saying “Who?”  Oliver is in much the same boat as Reaves, with multiple injuries decimating the depth chart ahead of him. Oliver looked good in preseason and at 5’7”, is best suited to try and fill Danny Woodhead’s role in the offense. He’s not a bad flier in deep leagues and could even have some flex appeal in PPR leagues this week against the Jaguars.


Jerick McKinnon, MIN - Matt Asiata isn’t a good or exciting running back. McKinnon is young and the coaching staff isn’t ready to trust him yet. The move to Teddy Bridgewater could help the team turn to the obviously more gifted McKinnon eventually, so he is worth hanging onto or buying into in hopes than he gets his shot and makes the most of it. It is worth noting that the team signed Joe Banyard off it’s practice squad, which could signal that they are tiring of Asiata, but not ready to trust McKinnon in pass protection just yet.


Week 3 Updates


Donald Brown, SD - We listed Brown here last week, and he was likely scooped up in all but the shallowest of leagues. He gets a boost in value thanks to Danny Woodhead’s injury, which will thrust him into an every down role for the next few weeks. He isn’t sexy, but he is guaranteed a sizeable workload until Ryan Matthews makes it back on the field.


Knile Davis, KC - Davis delivered the goods in the place of Jamaal Charles, but with Charles already back on the field practicing, he may have to wait for another injury to be truly relevant again this season.


WIDE RECEIVERS


Jordan Matthews, PHI - The talented rookie was a popular sleeper pick of many this year, but may have been cut loose by an impatient owner after a slow start to the season. Last week he broke out with eight catches and two touchdowns, which highlights what he can bring to this explosive offense. The problem of course is that he is still playing behind Riley Cooper and until he unseats him to win the No. 2 job, his production could be hard to gauge. He worth a roster spot everywhere based on the upside, and is a solid flex-play with the bye weeks upon us.


Allen Robinson, JCK - Blake Bortles should be able to start opening up this offense and that is good news for Robinson’s fortunes. He’s looked like the best receiver on the team and should be the primary deep threat for a team that will be hoisting it up in garbage time plenty. He is a good bet to breakout this week, and worth taking a shot on if you are looking to make a change at the backend of your receiving corps.


Jeremy Kerley, NYJ - I meant to write up Kerley last week, and somehow neglected to in the wake of Erik Decker’s hamstring injury. Hopefully you were savvy enough to grab him on your own in PPR leagues, since you were rewarded with a nice day from Geno Smith’s most reliable target. If Decker is limited again, Kerley could see a lot of balls come his way again, but the matchup against the Lions doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.


Marvin Jones, CIN - I will list Jones again as a cheap pre-emptive add this week, with the Bengals heading into their bye. He should be ready to go in Week 5, but Mohamed Sanu has been solid enough that the Bengals won’t rush him into full-time duty right away. He should be able to slowly wrest more playing-time away, so stash him and wait and see how he looks once he hits the field. There is big touchdown upside here.


Digging Deeper


John Brown, ARZ - The Cardinals rookie makes another appearance on the list after scoring two more touchdowns last week. Bruce Arians is clearly designing a couple of plays every week to take advantage of Brown’s speed, so there is a chance he can take one to the house any given week. Still, he is third in the pecking order behind Larry Fitzgerlad and Michael Floyd, so he is still a boom-or-bust play any given week, and doesn’t have an elite quarterback hoisting the ball for him.


Kenny Britt, STL - Austin Davis finally breathed a little life into Britt’s season, by targeting him deep a couple times last week. If Davis remains under center, then perhaps Britt can emerge as the rookies favorite downfield target. A bye this week will help keep the price to speculate low this week.


Donte Moncrief, IND - Moncrief took advantage of an injury to T.Y. Hilton to see extended action last week and made a solid case for more with some very solid play. He looks far more explosive and exciting than Hakeem Nicks has so far, and could begin to eat into his snaps soon. Moncrief is a comer on a team that can support three receiving options. He’s worth a speculative bid in deeper leagues.


Odell Beckham, NYG - The Giants first round pick is finally rounding into shape, and could finally see the field this week. The Giants love to run with three WR’s, and Beckham will get a chance to make plays once he is fully healthy. Rueben Randle has left the door wide open for Beckham to walk through as well.


Week 3 Updates


Brian Quick, STL - Quick finally scored last week to keep his strong start to the season going. However he did see a dip in targets with more balls finally going Kenny Britt’s way. You may want to see what you can get for him this week from a WR-needy team.


Rueben Randle, NYG - Randle needs to make some noise this week, or he could find himself losing snaps to Odell Beckham,


TIGHT ENDS


Travis Kelce, KC - With more starting tight ends going down this week, I am confident that this is the last time I will have to right about Kelce in this column for awhile, if not for the rest of the year. His snap count continues to rise and he finally found the endzone last week. The Chiefs will have to start feeding him the ball more and if they finally do he will keep ascedning the ranks at the position.


Larry Donnell, NYG - It’s kind of a repeat of last week’s TE list, as I have another repeat in the Giants starter. He isn’t a truly gifted receiver, but he is getting a bunch of targets every week and hauling them in and putting up decent stats.


Digging Deeper


Owen Daniels, BAL - Dennis Pitta is done for the year again, which thrust the veteran Daniels into his familiar role as the starting TE in Gary Kubiak’s offense. He doesn’t have the same burst he had before his injury, but as the starter for a team that loves to use the TE you could do worse at your backup spot.


Jared Cook, STL - Cook would get more love if he wasn’t on bye this week and if last week’s nice game hadn’t come against the Jaguars. He’s a bye-week fill-in with some upside, just obviously not this week.



Week 3 Updates


Nile Paul, WAS - Jordan Reed is going to miss at least another week, so Paul becomes a viable fill-in candidate for at least another week.


Eric Ebron, DET - So much for the rookie’s emergence in Week 2. He faded right back into the woodwork in Week 3. Toss him back if you took a chance.


DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS


San Diego Chargers - I would have liked this call even better if Josh McCown were still the quarterback. But Blake Bortles is still a rookie, and as such he is prone to mistakes. That could mean a pick-six as well as healthy sack numbers. The Jags have been extemely generous to opposing DST’s to open the year.


KICKER


Shaun Suisham, PIT - The Steelers offense is coming off a huge game and comes home to face the Bucs. Suisham should be in for another busy week.


Last week was one of those times when you almost want to turn the television off and not watch any football for fear of seeing another one of your players limping off the field or riding to the locker room on the back of a cart grimacing. It was a tough day for running backs as well as some other big names around the league. But while injuries are a bummer, there is no denying that there isn't anything that makes for an exciting waivers period than a spate of red crosses on the player's update page. Rather than rehash the carnage from the weekend, let's just dive in and see who stands to benefit most this week and going forward.

QUARTERBACKS

Kirk Cousins, WAS - With the latest devastating injury to Robert Griffin III, the door has opened for Cousins to take control of the offense for at least the next month. If he performs well, he has a chance to keep the job even after Griffin returns from injury, which could linger beyond the current 4-6 week timetable. Beyond RG3’s recovery time, the real wildcard in the equation is Jay Gruden, Washington’s new head coach. Gruden’s version of the West Coast offense relies on precision, with the QB staying in the pocket and making quick reads and getting rid of the ball. There were plenty of rumors prior to the start of the season that Cousins was the coach’s preferred quarterback all along. Andy Dalton showed last season what a solid passer can achieve when he works within the framework and takes what the defense gives him. If you just lost Griffin or are getting concerned about Tom Brady, then Cousins could be a nice short-term option with games against division rivals (@Phi, NYG) the next two weeks.

Geno Smith, NYJ - Since one of my goals in this column beyond breaking down the week’s obvious pickups is to key you into players ahead of the curve, I inevitably will revisit players I have highlighted in previous weeks until they reach the point where they are more universally owned. I tapped Smith as one of my breakout players of 2014 and last week he started to reward my faith in his ability with some excellent play against the Packers on Sunday. Were it not for an unfortunate turnover prior to halftime as well as the now infamous timeout that wiped a 40-yard touchdown strike to Jeremy Kerley off the board, Smith would have been one of last week’s top performers. The silver lining is that most people don’t look behind the final numbers and will likely instead focus on his spotty play in the second half as the Packers mounted their comeback, so Smith is still available in a ton of leagues. He is making plays with his legs, and should continue to gain confidence as the season progresses. Eric Decker’s hamstring injury takes a little shine off the next few weeks, but Smith is locked in as a rock solid QB2 when he has all hands on deck.

Digging Deeper

Josh McCown, TB - The Bucs sluggish start to the season has cooled the sleeper buzz that surrounded McCown prior to the season. A date with the Falcons could be just what the passing offense needs to to get untracked a bit. It also wouldn’t hurt if the coaching staff would let him take a few more shots downfield to his huge wide receivers. He’s a cheap plug-and-play option that could pay off this week.

Teddy Bridgewater, MIN - Last week, I highlighted Blake Bortles in this section as a guy to speculate on ahead of the crowd, and after Matt Cassel imploded with a four-interception disaster, it officially started the clock on the talented rookie’s potential arrival date. Bridgewater looked better than his veteran counterpart in the preseason and has better weapons at his disposal than any rookie quarterback we will see under center this season. He’s worth a grab-and-stash in leagues that use two quarterbacks.

Week Two Updates

Jake Locker, TEN - Locker didn’t really deliver the goods against a suspect Cowboys pass defense, although he did have a late touchdown pass to Nate Washington wiped out on review. He faces a Bengals defense that cooled off Matt Ryan last week,  so you might want to look elsewhere for QB2 help this week.

Carson Palmer, ARZ - News of Palmer’s shoulder woes broke after last week’s column went to press, and unfortunately it’s an injury that can be hard to gauge. He could miss a week, a month or even longer. He’s probably worth hanging onto in really deep leagues, but he can likely be safely dropped in shallow leagues for the time being.

RUNNING BACKS

Knile Davis, KC - Jamaal Charles suffered a high-ankle sprain last week, which will shelve him for at least a couple of weeks depending on the severity. As such, Davis will be the first handcuff to see extended duty this year and is worthy of a sizable bid in any league that the Charles owner did not lock him up. Personally, I think the Chiefs could very well sit Charles until after their Week 6 bye, rather that rush him back to face a team like say the ‘Niners in Week 5. Charles’ owners will be your primary competition in any leagues he isn’t owned in, and they will likely spend pretty big now to secure the backup to a lynchpin of their fantasy teams. Davis ran well in relief last week, racking up 79 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while hauling in six passes on the side and should put up solid numbers in Charles’ stead. Davis should be the top RB target this week, since he should see a bigger workload than the other options down the list. Just be aware that he’ll slide right back into his backup role once Charles returns and faces three pretty solid defenses (@MIA, NE, @SF) the next three weeks.

Khiry Robinson, NO - Mark Ingram will miss a month with a broken hand, just when he was showing signs of finally figuring it out as a pro. It’s a bad break, literally and figuratively, for his owners and a boon for the prospects of the elusive Robinson to get a bigger share of the Saints backfield duties. He makes for a better play in standard formats, since Pierre Thomas will still serve as the primary pass-catching back.

Ahmad Bradshaw, IND - Although I talked about Trent Richardson as an undervalued commodity prior to the season, he never slid far enough in any of my drafts that I actually was tempted to pull the trigger on him this year. Instead, I was able to place some bets on the other side of the coin by obtaining Bradshaw in a couple of leagues at bargain basement prices. Of course, this was based on the opposite notion that T-Rich would continue to be a plodder and a waste of a first round pick by two different teams. The Colts are showing no signs that they are ready to concede failure yet, so for now Bradshaw will have to be content with being the more effective half of this RBBC. His two-touchdown game last week will get him scooped up in most leagues he is still available in and if Richardson continues to put the ball on the ground, then Bradshaw could begin to steal even more red zone work.

Donald Brown, SD - Brown continues the string of running backs to prioritize in this week’s waiver run thanks to an injury to the starter in front of them. The Chargers signed Brown in the offseason as insurance for the always injured Ryan Mathews, and he will step right in as the Chargers' lead runner. He isn’t a big drop from what Mathews brings to the table, but Danny Woodhead will likely see more action as well and will push Brown to the sideline on passing downs and in the hurry-up offense. Woodhead is the better start this week for sure against a Bills defense that is tough against the run and things don’t get much easier for Brown with the Bucs and the Jets run defenses to follow. Still, he will see enough work to merit flex consideration and should be added in all formats since Mathews' knee injury will keep him out anywhere from 4-6 weeks.

Bobby Rainey, TB - There won’t be many weeks where I am compelled to feature this many running backs in the top section, but that is the case after last week’s carnage. We warned Doug Martin’s owners last week to get Rainey on the roster and sure enough Martin sat the weekend out and Rainey turned in a stellar day, rushing for 144 yards and adding another 30 on three receptions. If Josh McCown hadn’t vultured two touchdowns, he would have been the story of the week. The only thing keeping him this far down the list really is the fact that Martin is slated to return this week, and Lovie Smith will unleash some form of RBBC that clouds both players' values. As such, I would rather take my shots on the players listed above, but Rainey is a worthy conditional bid who has clearly increased his stock with the strong showing and a viable flex-play against a Falcons defense that is giving up tons of fantasy points to opposing RB’s to start the year.

Digging Deeper

Danny Woodhead, SD - If you are in a PPR league, it is unlikely Woodhead is sitting on your waiver wire. In fact, he isn’t available in any league I play in. I mention him more for those who might own him or those who may be looking for a reasonably priced guy to target in trade talks to get you through the next few weeks. He is going to see more touches in the wake of Ryan Mathews’ injury and won’t come any cheaper than he will right now. He’s not a game-changer, but he is capable of double-digit point weeks with the extra looks he’ll be getting.

Matt Asiata, MIN - News of the entire Adrian Peterson mess broke late last week and created a feeding frenzy for Asiata and to a lesser degree Jerick McKinnon. Peterson has been reinstated by the team, but the situation is very fluid. He could get suspended by the league at a moment's notice. If you spent big on him, hang onto him for now, but due to the fact that he’s not a very talented back, you might be better served by calling the Peterson owner in your league and seeing what they will give you for him. McKinnon is the real talent here and will surely get his shot somewhere down the line.

C.J. Anderson, DEN - Anderson is emerging as the preferred handcuff to Montee Ball. He hasn’t seen that much action, but when he has gotten carries, he has looked pretty good. If Ball goes down, then Anderson’s stock will soar. Since he’s a heartbeat away from being in the middle of the league’s best offense, he’s a lottery ticket worth speculating on.

Week Two Updates

Justin Forsett, BAL - Forsett did about what I expected last week, but clearly played second fiddle to Bernard Pierce. He will still have value, but he won’t be a season-saver. That said, he will be a serviceable flex option whenever the matchups are right.

Terrance West, CLE - West and fellow rookie Isaiah Crowell (also featured last week) both performed well in relief of the injured Ben Tate. They will continue to split the workload, with the scales tilted in West’s favor. West is likely the safer flex play for now, while Crowell is the special talent who could explode if he ever gets the bulk of the carries. Both guys need to be owned since the Browns running game is very much for real with perhaps the league's best run blocking O-line.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Brian Quick, STL - I guess I undersold Quick last week, but I can’t lie and say I really want to rely on any part of the Rams passing game on a weekly basis. But, results are results, and Quick is clearly the number one target in St. Louis right now, and as such he may be the most reliable option available to many of you this week. He’s not a game-breaker, but sometimes you just want to know the guy you put in your lineup is going to get the ball thrown his way. Quick fits the bill in that regard, and as such could be a safer option as your WR3 or Flex player. He certainly hasn’t done anything to not warrant getting onto someone's roster after two solid games to start the year.

Mohamed Sanu, CIN - Sanu was back on the radar after Marvin Jones broke his foot in preseason, and since then Tyler Eifert went on the PUP list and A.J. Green injured his toe. He will be the best option for Andy Dalton this week, and based on volume alone should be one of this week’s best options to plug into your lineup. However, he has a bye in Week 4, and we could see both Green and Jones returning soon after, which could relegate Sanu to backup status again.

James Jones, OAK - I’m never really a fan of having to rely on receivers on lousy teams, but I can’t deny that Jones has clearly emerged as Derek Carr’s top option in the passing game. Since they will be playing catch-up virtually every week, Jones has a chance for garbage time points every week. He should be owned in all leagues and makes a pretty good option if you are waiting for a struggling rookie to get untracked or looking to cover for an injury.

Davante Adams, GB - I touted Jarrett Boykin last week, since the Packers are one of the few teams that can support three quality WR options on a weekly basis. The problem is I have tabbed the wrong guy, as Adams looks like he has leapfrogged Boykin on the food chain in Green Bay. With their issues at the TE position and the fact that both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have seen their share of injuries, deep-leaguers who are looking for a depth play with upside might want to make room for Adams and see what happens.

Digging Deeper

Rueben Randle, NYG - Expectations were high for Randle as Eli Manning’s likely red zone target. The two finally connected last week and the Giants offense finally showed some signs of getting on track. He is worth holding or grabbing if his owner got impatient after one week of lousy football.

Marvin Jones, CIN - If you don’t need to cover a hole this week and are looking instead for depth that will pay off later on, then grab Jones before he makes it back on the field. He will once again become a regular target near the goal-line.

Kenny Stills, NO - Stills returned in Week 2 and right away ate into Brandin Cooks' targets. He’s a Boom-or-Bust option worth a look as the Saints return home to the dome to face the Vikings. Drew Brees will be motivated to get a victory, which means at least a few shots downfield in Stills' direction. Dallas also looms in Week 4, so if you like to look ahead, that is as tasty as it gets for a WR of Stills’ ilk.

Allen Robinson, JAX - Robinson made some plays last week and could really emerge once the team makes the move to Blake Bortles. He’s a better prospect than Hurns and worth speculating on in deeper leagues.

Week Two Updates

Allen Hurns, JAX - Hurns got hurt last week and thus did not reward anyone who paid full price for last week’s waiver darling. There are better pure talents on the roster and if he misses time, he could get passed on the depth chart. If you dropped a chunk of change on him, you can hold him for now, but don’t let it keep you from picking up anyone who could be a real difference maker.

Andrew Hawkins, CLE - Really this is an update on my update from last week. Hawkins is seeing double-digit targets, a trend that should continue as long as Jordan Cameron is banged up and Brian Hoyer sticks to the gameplan.

TIGHT ENDS

Travis Kelce, KC - Kelce is still flying slightly below the radar, but that is going to change very soon. I guess I will keep writing about him here until the Chiefs unleash the best option in their passing game on opposing defenses. If you have Jordan Cameron or lost Jordan Reed, then gamble on Andy Reid to continue the trend of increasing his snaps again this week. The breakout game is coming soon.

Larry Donnell, NYG - Donnell had another solid game and is the most reliable option for Eli Manning right now. It is enough to recommend him more strongly this week for anyone desperate for production this week.

Digging Deeper

Niles Paul, WAS - Jordan Reed’s injury got Paul onto the field and he certainly had Kirk Cousins' eye on Sunday. Monitor Reed’s health before taking the plunge on Paul, but if he’s starting then Cousins will lean on him in the checkdown game.

Eric Ebron, DET - The rookie showed some signs of life last week and is at least on the radar for deep leagues.

Week Two Update

Dwayne Allen, IND - Allen delivered a big fat zero for anyone who plugged him in last week. Neither he nor Coby Fleener can be trusted at this point.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

New England Patriots - The Pats defense led the way last week and now they get the Raiders at home. If you like to ride the hot hand, Belichick’s boys have another chance to produce.

New Orleans Saints - The Saints always play better at home and will be chomping at the bit to face Matt Cassel this week.

KICKER

Graham Gano, CAR - The Panthers are off to a great start and the Steelers are giving up plenty of points. Gano could have a busy day against an opponent giving up chunks of yards to open the season.

With only one day left for drafting before the football season kicks off on Thursday night, it is time for the first installment of this year’s Waiver Wire Report. Throughout the season, my goal will be to shine a little light on the names you need to have on your fantasy radar each week. We will strive to provide a solid mix of players to suit those in leagues of all sizes. We will try to stick to players whose ownership levels make them reasonable pickups in standard 12-team leagues. Beyond that, we will try and touch upon some names for those of you in deeper formats as well.

For those of you who followed the column last year, you already know that along with the week’s hot pickups, I will mix in some of my favorite weekly plug-and-play calls, as well as sometimes updating last week’s names where applicable. As is the case in columns such as these, I won’t always list a guy you are curious about. If that is the case, please feel free to jump into the conversation and ask about anyone you are interested in via the comments section and you will get some analysis on the player in question. With the short week, this installment is a little lighter than it will normally be. This week, we will just touch upon a few players at each position to consider adding to your bench prior to Week 1. Now, with the introduction out of the way, let’s get onto this week’s report.

QUARTERBACKS

Geno Smith, NYJ - I have already mentioned Smith as one of my sleeper picks this year, and I think he has a great chance to get off to a great start this week against the Raiders. His running ability buoys his value and gives him a nice floor to stand on. I see him making big strides this year and think a lot of people will be grabbing him after a nice Week 1. Beat the rush if you can.

Jake Locker, TEN - Locker has a lot of positives going for him as we start the year. He has a nice trio of wideouts in Kendall Wright, Nate Washington and the emerging Justin Hunter. Ken Whisenhunt is also on board as the offensive coordinator and brings his pass-happy system with him from San Diego. Remember last season how Philip Rivers was revitalized thanks to this offense? Locker and his cannon-arm could be looking at a similar revival this season.

Shaun Hill, STL - Sam Bradford’s injury has opened the door for the veteran Hill to take over. Before you shake your head and write him and the Rams passing game off, just consider that fact that Hill has been a pretty solid starter when given the chance. If you were banking on Bradford being your backup or QB2, then give Hill a look. The Rams will surely dial the passing offense back a bit, but Hill can likely approximate the production Bradford would have given you.

RUNNING BACKS

LeGarrette Blount, PIT - Le'Veon Bell’s owners won’t want to admit it, but from the looks of it, the Steelers are going to start the year with some form of committee in their backfield, and Blount is going to be part of it. Blount isn’t really a threat to Bell’s role as the lead back, and he won’t factor in the passing game. But he looks like he is going to get a handful of carries each and every week as well as seeing action near the goal-line. That makes him a flex candidate out of the gate.

Benny Cunningham, STL - Cunningham made a lot of noise in pre-season, running hard and and well. The injury to Sam Bradford means the Rams may look to run the ball more, and that means an opportunity for the versatile Cunningham to carve out a role in this new-look offense. If Zac Stacy falters, then Cunningham could even move into the starting job at some point.

Isaiah Crowell, CLE - The Browns grabbed Crowell as an undrafted free agent this past spring, but it was only off-the-field issues that caused his stock to drop so much. There are some who have gone so far as to say that Crowell is the most physically gifted back in this year’s class. The Browns released both Dion Lewis and Chris Ogbonnaya, leaving Crowell third on the depth chart behind chronically injured Ben Tate and fellow rookie Terrance West. West has looked lost in the pre-season, while Crowell has looked like a beast. He’s a lottery ticket that could pay off if (when) Tate gets hurt again.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Cody Latimer, DEN - Wes Welker’s four-game suspension for taking extacy, on top of his concussion problems, has pushed the talented rookie one peg closer to being fantasy relevant this season. The Broncos are going to air it out again, and while he is currently no better than fourth in the WR pecking order, he is worth stashing in hopes that he can work his way onto the field and into Peyton Manning’s good graces. Worth stashing now with an eye to down the road.

Andrew Hawkins, CLE - Someone other than Jordan Cameron has to catch the ball in Cleveland, and I would rather take a chance on the speedy Hawkins than rely on Miles Austin staying healthy. He’ll be more of an asset to those of you in deep PPR leagues, but he has the ability to catch 4-8 passes every week no matter who the quarterback in Cleveland is.

John Brown, ARI - I wrote about Brown in the WR sleepers piece a couple weeks back, but since then all he has done is continue to impress in the pre-season. Bruce Arians runs more three-wide sets than just about anyone in the NFL, so savvy owners are grabbing Brown late in their drafts and hoping he can replicate what T.Y. Hilton did in this offense for Indianapolis last year.

TIGHT ENDS

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB - The 6’5” rookie is progressing nicely in camp and it is only a matter of time before he pushes Brandon Myers for more playing time. He should become a red-zone option right out of the gate.

Richard Rodgers, GB - Rodgers is the starting tight end for one of the best passing offenses in the league. Andrew Quarless is still around, but Rodgers has outplayed him all camp and looks like he will be the primary pass-catching TE. Anyone who has a chance to play catch with Aaron Rodgers on a consistent basis is worth our attention.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

New York Jets - The Jets get a tasty matchup out of the gate with the Raiders and rookie Derek Carr at quarterback. It would have been even sweeter if interception-machine Matt Schaub was still under center, but Rex Ryan’s boys should be able to confuse the rookie into a few mistakes of his own.

Week 1 is in the books, and as is the case every year it seems, we have our share of injuries, flops and surprise breakouts to sort through as we look to bolster our various fantasy teams' prospects. They key to assessing who to add, and more importantly who to drop, is to find the balance between not overreacting to one week’s worth of action, while still being on the lookout for potential breakout talents that can help cover up mistakes made at the draft table. It’s never an exact science, and my goal here will always be to provide my take on the key names you will be debating in any given week as well as hopefully helping you uncover some gems ahead of the competition. If you don’t see a guy you think I missed or have a question about anything, please don’t hesitate to post in the comments below. Before we get to this week’s report, we will talk a little about Josh Gordon. As of this writing, we still have no word on a vote on a new drug policy. Rumors are spreading that a deal is in the works and that Gordon will have his suspension reversed. Obviously, this makes him a must add in any league where he is still available on the hopes that he will make it onto the field this year. He is not going to come cheaply, but you almost have to take the chance to get him, and not worry about the costs. You will have to use the knowledge of your particular league to determine how much to bid. Then ask yourself how much do you really want him if he plays and increase your bid if you are really serious.

QUARTERBACKS

Jake Locker, TEN - Last week, we talked about Locker as a guy to consider adding prior to the real games starting thanks to all the positive things he had going for him coming into the season. Week 1 did nothing to put a damper on things as he looked poised and comfortable in Ken Whisenhunt’s new offense. This week, he gets to face the Cowboys swiss-cheese pass defense, which not only sets Locker up for another nice week, it almost means the window to get him at a reasonable price could end this week. If you are looking for an upgrade at your QB2 spot, definitely give Locker a look this week. He has the receivers, he has the arm and he hasn’t even shown his running ability, which is underrated.

Carson Palmer, ARZ - I will be the first one to admit that I was somewhat worried about Carson Palmer’s prospects in the wake of Andre Ellington’s injury news.  But Ellington played, and despite not playing his best game, Palmer did enough within Bruce Arians' offense to hang 304 yards and two touchdowns on the Chargers on Monday. Yes, he got away with some terrible throws that should have been interceptions, but as bad as the Giants looked last week, anyone looking for a streaming option has to be looking Palmer’s way at least for this week.

Digging Deeper

Blake Bortles, JAX - Sometimes, we will advocate grabbing guys early before they really make a splash. The Jaguars quarterback of the future made plenty of noise in the preseason, but the team still decided to open the season with Chad Henne under center. Henne started strong, leading the team to two early touchdowns, but he then helped turn a potential win into a 34-17 defeat with his inability to simply do the things that Bortles actually has the skills to do. It’s not meant as a knock on the veteran, it’s just reality, and it is only a matter of time before the team hands the number one pick the keys to the offense. He can be a difference maker in leagues that start two QB’s, so if you have a spot to speculate with, here’s my number one choice.

Week 1 Update

Geno Smith, NYJ - Smith didn’t have quite the debut that I predicted he would against the Raiders, He was shaky early on, tossing a bad interception, but he settled down and completed 82% (23-28) of his passes and also ran the ball ten times in the game for 38 yards. The amount of rushing attempts supports our contention that Smith will be able to build a solid floor to his weekly value on his legs. So while he didn’t set the world on fire last week, he’s worth hanging onto in deeper leagues for now.

RUNNING BACKS

Justin Forsett, BAL - Ray Rice’s release by the Ravens has put Baltimore's starting job up for grabs, and after Bernard Pierce fumbled early in last weeks game, veteran Justin Forsett took advantage, dashing for 70 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries. He also added another 14 yards on five catches. The unexpected news and performance will undoubtedly make him one of this week’s hottest pickups, especially for RB-hungry teams. But when deciding how much to spend on the 29-year-old, consider a few things before over-spending. First, while Pierce got benched, he will get another chance and is still the best bet to be the lead dog over the course of the season. It doesn’t mean that Forsett won’t have value going forward, or that he won’t remain the starter for the short-term. It just means there are other options here, including Lorenzo Taliaferro, meaning that the Ravens are going full RBBC. Make the move on Forsett, just don’t go overboard. You might get as much production long-term by spending a buck on the third guy in line.

Terrance West/Isaiah Crowell, CLE - We mentioned Isaiah Crowell in the column last week as the most physically gifted back on the Browns roster, and a great lottery ticket to add prior to the season. We also highlighted Crowell as a speculative add, since West was the obvious handcuff to the oft-injured Ben Tate. Tate lasted exactly two quarters of football before sustaining his first injury of the season. West took advantage of the opportunity and the lackluster Steelers run-defense to churn out 100 yards on 16 carries. Crowell made even more noise by rumbling for two touchdowns and looked unstoppable near the goal-line. As long as Tate is sidelined, the Browns will go with their rookie committee, with West being the main “runner” and Crowell being the battering-ram. My opinion on Crowell hasn’t changed. He has the most upside of any back on this roster long-term while West likely will be a little more reliable, and has the edge for at least the next few weeks. When Tate goes down for the season (you know it’s going to happen), Crowell is the guy I want to have on my roster thanks to the TD upside.

Chris Ivory, NYJ - There were plenty of people who tabbed Chris Johnson as one of their bust picks (I wasn’t one of them) partly based upon the fact that Ivory was just more skilled at this point in both of their careers. Ivory didn’t do anything to make those Johnson doubters change their tune after pounding the Raiders for 102 yards and a touchdown on just ten carries. Most of the damage came thanks to a 71-yard gallop to the end-zone, but he was on the field just as much as Johnson and as such will continue to be a solid flex play going forward.

Digging Deeper

Bobby Rainey, TB - The Bucs are not really giving us much information heading into waivers regarding the status of Doug Martin’s health. It means that if you own Martin, you have to go out and secure Rainey this week just in case Martin is hurt more than the team is letting on.

James Starks, GB - Starks is on a lot of rosters already, but he should be on every Eddie Lacy owner's wishlist this week after running well in relief after Lacy exited with another concussion. While it looks like Lacy will make it back this week, his running style leads to the type of hits that put Starks that much closer to the starting job. If he wasn’t a must-have handcuff before, he is now.

Week 1 Update

Benny Cunningham, STL - I am a Zac Stacy owner in more than one league, and I have to admit I am not feeling great about it after one week. Cunningham has forced what looks like a full-blown RBBC for an offense that was a complete disaster in Week 1. I doubt I would look to make the Rams backup a priority add anywhere, and I am even considering cutting him in one league I have him as a Stacy handcuff, since I don’t think he can wrest the job from Stacy, and I don’t see the upside from the committee work he’s going to get. Throw a buck at him in a deep league as a conditional bid if you want, but I am looking elsewhere this week.

LeGarrette Blount, PIT - It looked like a committee approach was in the works in Pittsburgh, then Le’Veon Bell went out and ran all over the Browns as a true three-down back. Drop Blount unless you have him as a direct handcuff to Bell.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Allen Hurns, JAX - Hurns is the waiver-wire darling after Week 1, thanks to his four-catch, 110-yard, two touchdown debut on Sunday. Someone in your league will take the bait and spend big on Hurns this week, thinking he just might be the next big thing. It might even be you. If he hadn’t looked so damn good all preseason, I would try harder to talk you out of it. But, the fact is Hurns has looked great and outshined my Marqise Lee, who actually had a pretty solid debut himself. The problem with buying into Hurns too much is the fact that Cecil Shorts missed the game and is expected back soon and that Chad Henne is still the quarterback. But you have to acknowledge a guy when he makes a splash like Hurns did in his first game ever. I can’t in good conscience advise you not to speculate on the undrafted rookie in the same space that I tell you to take a chance on Bortles, who could very well help Hurns reach his full potential. Throw a bid at him if you are unhappy with your WR depth, but don’t force him into your Week 2 lineup, especially if Shorts makes it back to active duty.

Jarrett Boykin, GB - As you may have already read by now, Boykin was matched up all game with Richard Sherman last week by design, meaning better days are ahead for the Packers #3 WR. He's still worth hanging onto in deeper formats and PPR leagues and the turnaround should start this week against the Jets.

Malcom Floyd, SD - I am never afraid to say when I got something wrong and by the looks of last week, I may have written the veteran Floyd off too soon as a viable fantasy asset. He looked very good on Monday, showing no effects from his offseason neck surgery. There still isn’t a ton of upside here, but he is starting and looks like a quality guy to have on your bench as an emergency fill-in.

Digging Deeper

Brian Quick, STL - Kenny Britt laid an egg in Week 1 while Quick may have emerged as the real Rams No. 1 WR. That may not seem like something to get that excited about, but they do get to face the Cowboys in Week 3. He’s really not much more than reserve depth, but he is worth rostering in deep leagues it appears.

Robert Woods, BUF - I am both a Woods fan and a believer. My opinion on him hasn’t changed since I tabbed him in my sleeper column. His four-catch, 78-yard outing I think is a fair baseline for what to expect from him, as he appears to be E.J. Manuel’s security blanket at times. He’s not going to win any weeks by himself for you, but he might just help you eke out some wins when the bye weeks come around thanks to his consistency. Some people liked Mike Williams more entering the season. They should pick up Woods this week, since he is the one on the field and making plays.

Devin Hester, ATL - I have to admit, I loved watching Hester getting involved in the game against the Saints on Sunday. It was a shootout, as expected, and with Matt Ryan logging 43 pass attempts, Hester caught five of six for 99 yards. He brings a dynamic to the offense that Harry Douglas can’t as an underneath option, so he’s worth a what-the-heck add in deep leagues (okay, really deep leagues) this week to see how this evolves.

Week 1 Update

Andrew Hawkins, CLE - Hawkins didn’t let anyone down who grabbed him as a PPR option out of the gate by hauling in eight passes for 87 yards in Week 1. Jordan Cameron’s injury actually only increases his stock in the offense and raises his floor, making him a must-own in those formats for now. If Josh Gordon gets reinstated, he’ll be harder to start, but he looks like a great guy to plug in your lineup this week.

John Brown, ARZ - While Brown looked like a rookie in his first real game action, he caught two balls and scored a touchdown. Larry Fitzgerald’s own coach said he’s no longer the “alpha-dog” in the rotation, so if you bought into Brown as Bruce Arians’ new T.Y. Hilton, you shouldn’t bail on that notion yet.

Cody Latimer, DEN - We called Latimer a stash last week, but with Wes Welker potentially getting back on the field sooner than later, and the fact that the rookie failed to see the field in Week 1, his roster spot can likely be put to better use this week. He's looking like a dynasty league hold and not much more at this point.

TIGHT ENDS

Dwayne Allen, IND - Allen looked like he is finally all the way back from his litany of injuries and really showed his potential upside on his 41-yard touchdown gallop, off a short pass. Coby Fleener, meanwhile, looked pretty average, although he received eight targets to Allen’s five. If you are worried about Jordan Cameron’s shoulder this week (you should be) and looking for someone who could emerge as a viable replacement, then Allen is your guy. I think Andrew Luck will continue to lean on him, especially on third-down, and he could really emerge as a red zone threat. Fleener’s shadow will keep his price tag low for now, but I think Allen has the talent to push him down into a backup role eventually.

Travis Kelce, KC - The Chiefs stunk in Week 1 and Kelce played second fiddle to Anthony Fasano in the passing game. He might get dropped by an impatient owner or overlooked by those looking only at the bottom line. The fact is he looked great in limited action and Andy Reid has already said he was wrong for not using him more. The Chiefs need his playmaking ability and he will start making noise starting this week.

Digging Deeper

Larry Donnell, NYG - As a Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle owner, I wasn’t that thrilled when Eli Manning found Donnell in the endzone for his only touchdown in a forgettable showing. But, he got the snaps, he got the targets and yes, he got the score. The Giants are a mess, but they have a history of working the TE into the offense. It puts Donnell on the TE2 map going forward.

Week 1 Update

Richard Rodgers, GB - Rodgers got hurt and Andrew Quarless looked better in relief. Toss him back for now if you took a shot.

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I replaced the Lions defense with the Bucs last week after I heard Cam Newton wasn’t playing and got nothing in return. I liked them at the draft table, so I am willing to go to the well one more time since the Rams are on the docket.

KICKER

Mike Nugent, CIN - Nugent will get a lot of attention this week coming off his 5 FG day. He should reward anyone who bites with a solid showing against the Falcons.

Since we end up drafting more wide receivers than any other position in fantasy football, it is necessary to dig a little deeper to find viable sleeper candidates. Rather than just list my favorites, we’ll take a look at every team from around the league and give you some names you need to know for the mid-to-late rounds of your fantasy drafts this year. Only one name has an ADP as high as #32, and you’ll find a nice mix of upside second-year starters, hot-shot rookies and under-the-radar options. We will tackle this in two installments. Here is the first batch from Arizona to Kansas City.

Arizona Cardinals

Third-round rookie John Brown has been one of the standouts in Cardinals camp. He has been very solid so far in preseason and has just about locked up the number three spot over Ted Ginn. Bruce Arians runs plenty of three-wide sets, so Brown will have an opportunity to carve out some value as a low-end flex option as the season progresses. He is a late sleeper for dynasty owners.

Atlanta Falcons

Harry Douglas performed admirably for the Falcons last season in the wake of injuries to Julio Jones and Roddy White. He is one of the more dependable WR3’s in the league, but it will take more injuries for him to be worth considering drafting. Still, the retirement of Tony Gonzalez means Douglas won’t totally disappear in the offense. There just isn’t much upside here to be found.

Baltimore Ravens

Marlon Brown enters his second season as the third man on the WR totem pole thanks to the addition of veteran Steve Smith. The 6’5” sophomore’s best chance to make an impact will come in the red zone or if the seemingly ageless Smith finally runs out of gas. The Ravens won’t throw it enough to provide Brown many opportunities to make a difference, so he’s best left as waiver-wire fodder.

Buffalo Bills

The buzz surrounding rookie Sammy Watkins has taken the spotlight off of sophomore Robert Woods, and creates a nice buying opportunity. Watkins and Mike Williams will work on the outside, leaving Woods to man the slot. One thing working in his favor will be his chemistry with E.J. Manuel as both enter their second year together. He won’t cost those of you in deep drafts more than a late round pick to see if he can take the next step this season. Plus, it’s always fun to bet against Mike WIlliams.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers receiving corps is such a mess that talented rookie Kelvin Benjamin is likely to be the only member to even merit consideration on draft day. Benjamin is likely penciled in to the starting lineup, but you don’t want to rely on the raw rookie as anything more than a WR4 to start the season. At 6’5”, he will immediately become one of Cam Newton’s primary red zone targets, but as with any rookie, growing pains should be expected.

Chicago Bears

This spot was reserved for Marquess Wilson, who was having a terrific training camp and slated to be the slot man working underneath Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery until breaking his collarbone in practice. He could miss up to three months, which takes an intriguing late-round flier off the market. It also puts his position up for grabs with Eric Weems, Michael Spurlock, Chris Williams and possibly Santonio Holmes in the mix. There are targets to be had for whoever can seize the opportunity, but the best option now is to avoid the mess until the smoke clears.

Cincinnati Bengals

The injury to Marvin Jones takes their best sleeper option off the table for drafters, leaving Mohamed Sanu as A.J. Green’s running-mate to start the year. Sanu has underwhelmed in his brief career, but he could provide some value in deep leagues until Jones is able to return. Foot injuries can be very problematic for receivers and unless you can stash Jones in an IR slot, the best course of action is to throw your late-round dart at someone else and monitor his recovery once the season begins.

Cleveland Browns

There isn’t a lot to get excited about when looking at the Browns WR’s. Word on Josh Gordon’s possible suspension should come any day now, and Miles Austin cannot be trusted to make it through one game without pulling a hamstring. That leaves newly acquired Andrew Hawkins as the closest thing the Browns have to a reliable option. He will work primarily out of the slot, and makes more sense in PPR, since his lack of size (5’7”, 175) limits his upside. If you are looking for a really deep sleeper, keep an eye on Charles Johnson. Drafted by the Packers in 2013, Johnson has good size and speed and has been making plays in the preseason. He could easily take advantage of the opportunity to surprise.

Dallas Cowboys

Terrance Williams is locked in as the starter opposite Dez Bryant, and he will look to build on a very solid rookie season (44, 736, 5). He is a solid WR4, with upside, as long as Tony Romo stays on the field. He is currently being drafted right around the time the top rookie names come into the conversation. I would rather bank on the second-year player taking the next step than I would a rookie hitting the ground running if given the choice. Cole Beasley is a late-round name for deep PPR leagues after catching 53 balls out of the slot last year.

Denver Broncos

Emmanuel Sanders' move to Denver has made him one of the trendiest sleeper picks since the day it was announced. His stock has risen so much already that he is now being drafted as a WR3, meaning he isn’t really a true “sleeper” anymore. Still, with Peyton Manning throwing you bombs in this offense, he still has upside as a WR3 who could crack the Top 20. The true sleeper here is rookie Cody Latimer. Wes Welker could be one more concussion away from retirement, which opens the door for the 6’5” rookie. He is a guy to target in dynasty leagues and keep on speed dial in redraft leagues should Welker go down.

Detroit Lions

Golden Tate doesn’t have much competition to be the secondary option behind Calvin Johnson. He also doesn’t really possess the upside of many of the names in his tier of receivers. He’ll be a more reliable option in PPR leagues, since he should see a fairly reliable amount of targets in this pass-happy offense each and every week.

Green Bay Packers

Jarrett Boykin will take over from the departed James Jones as the No. 3 option in this prolific passing offense. That role alone should translate to 50-60 catches and 5-7 touchdowns. He’s late round depth for deep leaguers, but has upside if either of the guys ahead of him goes down with an injury.

Houston Texans

DeAndre Hopkins should take another step forward in his second year in the league. Andre Johnson’s return actually helps buoy his value, since he will see plenty of single coverage. The place where Hopkins can most easily increase his value is by becoming a more dependable red zone target. There is also a very real chance that Johnson could get traded during the season, which would thrust Hopkins into a bigger role. There is plenty of upside here, and once again the second-year player rule is in effect.

Indianapolis Colts

Hakeem Nicks certainly qualifies as a sleeper candidate coming off two straight injury-plagued seasons. But, that is the problem, the upside is clouded by the risk. He is worth a late flier to see if he can blossom with Andrew Luck throwing him passes. If Nicks proves brittle again, second-man Da’Rick Rogers and rookie Donte Moncrief are next in line.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars used back to back second round picks on Marqise Lee (60) and Allen Robinson (61), and it’s a good thing since Justin Blackmon is facing a year-long suspension and Ace Sanders will miss four games with a suspension of his own. That leaves Cecil Shorts and the two rookies to fill the void. Lee would have been a first rounder were it not for a shaky final year at USC, and he has the opportunity to make those who doubted him regret passing on him. Robinson is bigger (6’2”, 220) and should get plenty of work in the red zone. Lee has more buzz, but Robinson could end up being the better choice. You can wait and take a chance on one of them in the endgame.

Kansas City Chiefs

Dwayne Bowe’s stock is heading in the wrong direction with news that he will not only miss Week 1 of the season, but also the fact that his finger is “shot” and he is having trouble catching the ball. Some may quip that Bowe has always had trouble in that department, but the fact is no one seems to want any part of him. In an ongoing PPR draft, Bowe slid to the 11th round (129th overall) as the 51st WR selected. While that actually makes the enigmatic receiver look like a bargain, third-year pro Junior Hemingway may be the closest thing to a sleeper in this corps, with only Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins as obstacles to playing.

That's enough names for today - we'll follow up with the second batch soon!

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