Another week, another big injury as explosive Packers wideout Randall Cobb suffered a broken leg last week and will miss basically the rest of the regular season. It is the second major blow for fantasy owners at the wide receiver position, coming just a week after the season-ending injury to Julio Jones. As we inch ever closer to the midway point of the fantasy season, it is time to start shoring up your bench in anticipation of the stretch run and playoffs. That means possibly cutting loose or trading off guys at the edges of your roster to try and secure your running back handcuffs. For those of you 2-4, or worse, there isn't any more time to wait for struggling players to turn it around. You may need to swing for the fences in search of a win this week. There are more than a few names on this week's list that could help you get back in the win column if you are willing to spend and have nothing to lose but some unspent FAAB.
Week 7 Byes: New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders
Nick Foles, PHI – Don’t look now, but we may have a bona-fide quarterback controversy on our hands in Philadelphia. Foles looked great in his start at Tampa Bay, passing for 296 yards and three touchdowns. He also chipped in a rushing score to cap off a monster day in a matchup that didn’t look that great coming in. He looked better in the pocket than Michael Vick has all year, taking less hits and not turning the ball over at all so far. We mentioned last week that Foles was worthy of picking up because Vick’s injury could linger, thus giving Foles the opportunity to shine. The status of Vick’s injured hamstring still isn’t totally clear, and after last week all signs point to Foles getting another start against the Cowboys this week. If he shines again, he could keep Vick on the sidelines the rest of the year. Don’t forget that Vick is in the last year of his contract and Foles is clearly the future of the franchise. He is an absolute get this week for Vick owners, but anyone who needs a boost should think about bringing Foles on board because if he takes the job he’ll be worth it, either in production or as a trade chip.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA – Tannehill has been a fixture on this list all season long, which speaks to his growth as a passer, but also to the fact that he hasn’t quite had the breakout day to force owners to hang onto him as their backup QB. Coming off the bye week, he gets a home date against a Buffalo Bills defense that just made Andy Dalton and Brandon Weeden look good again in back-to-back weeks. The Dolphins offensive line is still giving up too many sacks, and the schedule gets pretty darn tough the next few weeks (@NE, CIN, @TB), so think of Tannehill as a viable Drew Brees replacement this week.
Josh Freeman, MIN – We mentioned last week that Freeman would be the likely starter by Week 7, and Matt Cassel did his part to hasten the move to the former Bucs signal-caller by throwing two costly interceptions in a drubbing by the Carolina Panthers. While I don’t really recommend hitching your wagon to Freeman’s arm in shallower formats, he absolutely has to be owned in all two-QB leagues since he has the skills to succeed and a pretty nice collection of playmakers surrounding him in Minnesota. Freeman’s greatest asset may ultimately come from his ability to breathe some life into the production of Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph and perhaps even Cordarrelle Patterson.
Mike Glennon, TB - Glennon bounced back pretty nicely last week in his second start, but it was against the Eagles' forgiving defense, so we can’t get carried away just yet. Nonetheless, it was a solid step forward for the young quarterback, who has this job all to himself going forward. There is talent on this team that just hasn’t gotten on track yet (yes we are looking at you Doug Martin), and Glennon should continue to improve as the year goes along. He’s still relegated to really deep or 2QB leagues, but the arrow is pointing upwards.
Thaddeus Lewis, BUF – You have to tip your cap to the journeyman quarterback for stepping in off the practice squad and acquitting himself pretty well in a hard-fought, overtime loss to the Bengals. He accounted for three touchdowns (two passing/one rushing) and looked in control rallying the team from 14 points down to force overtime. He injured his foot, and concerned the team enough that they signed Matt Flynn as insurance. This week’s tilt against the Dolphins isn’t a great matchup, but those in really deep leagues might not have many better options to choose from.
T.J. Yates, HOU – Yates is on the radar due to the troubles of Matt Schaub, who added injury to the insult of his inconsistent play. Yates was terrible in relief of Schaub last week, and you don’t really want any part of him in his start at Kansas City this week.
Week 6 Update
Brandon Weeden, CLE – We gave Weeden the top spot on the list last week, mainly because he looks like he will have a starting job by default for the time being and a pretty good matchup against the Lions. Despite displaying all the lousy traits that help teams lose football games, including one of the most ridiculous interceptions of the year, he still managed to put up 292 yards and two touchdowns. The schedule is brutal going forward, but he could eke out another solid day against the Packers this week.
Chad Henne, JCK – Henne will get another start this week at home against the Chargers, so his value as a spot-starter is intact for another week.
Andre Ellington, ARZ – Ellington has finally climbed his way up to the top of the waiver list, and appropriately so. He has been slowly chipping away at Rashard Mendenhall’s touches. He got a season-high 12 touches last week, and he made them count to the tune of 96 total yards and his first rushing score of the year. The upcoming schedule (SEA, ATL, Bye) likely keeps him as primarily PPR-Flex for the time being, but after the bye he could ascend to low RB2 status, thanks to a string of positive matchups and the likelihood that he will further cement his place as the most dynamic back on the roster.
Joseph Randle, DAL – DeMarco Murray has suffered his yearly injury, this time a sprained MCL that will keep him out for at least a couple of weeks. Lance Dunbar was the handcuff of choice for many to start the year, but he has a hamstring injury that should give Randle the job to himself with a tasty meeting with the Eagles on the docket. I am not as high on Randle as some may be this week, since I don’t really see as much long-term value as some are forecasting, but he will likely be the hottest commodity in most leagues this week. The matchups are right, and until others return, he’s slated to get the bulk of the work, which could translate to nice numbers in the Cowboys' high-scoring attack.
Brandon Jacobs, NYG – I have to admit that I was one of the many disgruntled David Wilson owners who took to Twitter last Thursday to bemoan the fact that Brandon Jacobs was gashing the injury-ravaged Bears defense, and that I hadn’t picked him up and plugged him in my lineup. It was a great performance to be sure, but don’t get sucked into thinking the yardage total will be an every-week occurrence. Jacobs will have the Giants' starting job without competition for a few more weeks at least and his prowess at the goal-line makes him a viable starting option, at least until Andre Brown can return in Week 11.
Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE – Ogbonnaya had his best game of the season last week, returning from a concussion to grab seven passes for 61 yards and score while adding another 24 yards on the ground. That’s a decent Flex day in any format, but a really solid one in PPR leagues. He’s not going to become the primary rusher for this team, but in weeks where the team will be forced to air it out, he will get lots of balls thrown his way as Brandon Weeden looks to his safety valve. Green Bay fits the bill, and gives the Browns fullback some decent plug-and-play value in those formats this week.
Khiry Robinson, NO – We have been writing about Robinson ever since he pushed Mark Ingram off the roster, mainly because the kid keeps making plays. I think Ingram is done in New Orleans, and Robinson can be owned in deeper leagues with the confidence that he should at least keep his current role. He can make noise in weeks where the Saints jump out front and massage their leads late.
Chris Ivory, NYJ – The season-ending injury to Mike Goodson clears the way for Ivory to get back into the mix with an increase in touches behind Bilal Powell. It was supposed to be the other way around when the season began, but now Ivory will have to prove that he deserves more important carries. Locking up the goal-line job would be the first step in setting a decent floor for his weekly production.
Week 6 Update
Zac Stacy, STL – Stacy had another solid, if unspectacular, week as the Rams' leading rusher. He should be able to hold onto the gig, but as I mentioned last week, the schedule is not very running back friendly before or after the team's Week 11 bye. He needs to be owned, and is worth starting if you need him, preferably as a flex.
Roy Helu, WAS – Helu saw plenty of action last week, thanks in part to the team playing catch-up. He’s holding steady as a high-upside handcuff and PPR emergency play for now.
Keenan Allen, SD – He was my top target regardless of position last week and he backed up that endorsement with another strong performance. Hopefully, you got him last week, because he’s locked in now as the WR1 on one of the more proficient passing offenses in the league. As I mentioned last week, he has some great matchups the next few weeks (@JCK, bye, @WAS, DEN) and an equally enticing playoff schedule (NYG, @DEN, OAK). He might still be out there in your league, and if so don’t be afraid to bid aggressively.
Harry Douglas, ATL – We wrote up Douglas last week, but since the Falcons were on bye, he is still out there in a ton of leagues. He’s not really a very gifted receiver, but the Falcons throw the ball a lot, and with Roddy White still hobbled, Douglas could be the WR1 by default this week. Regardless of his talent deficit, that will mean a lot of targets and some potential red-zone looks. The bye week may have put him off enough radars that you can still get some decent production at a discount rate.
Jarrett Boykin, GB – The injury to Randall Cobb means Boykin will see an increase in playing time for basically the rest of the fantasy season. James Jones also got hurt last week, so the table is set for Boykin to put up some sneaky numbers against the Browns this weekend. Boykin is a big kid (6’2”, 220) and you can expect that Aaron Rodgers will figure out a way to help get him up to speed in the offense as the season progresses. He is worth speculating on in most leagues this week.
Kris Durham, DET – Durham finds his way onto the report again after stepping up and possibly taking control of the No. 2 job for the Lions. He’s not that dynamic, but Nate Burleson already proved that you don’t have to be to put up respectable numbers playing across the field from Calvin Johnson.
Aaron Dobson, NE – I profiled Dobson back in Week 3, since there was an opening for someone to emerge as Tom Brady’s weapon of choice, and Dobson had the pedigree worth speculating on. After some lackluster weeks, Dobson is back on the radar after last week’s game. He only caught six passes for 63 yards, but the bigger takeaway was the fact that he was on the field more than any other receiver. With Danny Amendola hurt yet again, Dobson has another chance to get back on fantasy rosters. He just needs to stop dropping so many catchable balls.
Riley Cooper, PHI – Cooper had his best day of the year by far with four catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. I am not really sold that this is the beginning of a long-term trend, but Nick Foles looked his way more than Michael Vick has all year, and the Cowboys' secondary at least provides the opportunity for Cooper to make plays again this week. Deep leaguers can take a shot and see what happens.
Brandon LaFell, CAR – LaFell will get picked up based on his 107 yard, TD performance, but those that do likely will fail to see that without a somewhat fluky 79-yard scoring play, the rest of his day was decidedly average.
Kenny Stills, NO – There won’t be many weeks when Stills is the leading receiver for the Saints, but last week was one of them. He only caught three passes (on three targets), but one of them was a big 34-yard touchdown on third and 20. Injuries, age and ineffectiveness of others could be opening the door for Stills to really emerge in the second half. His big-play ability makes him a worthwhile stash in deep leagues.
Marvin Jones, CIN – Jones is starting to emerge in the battle for the coveted No. 2 spot across from A.J. Green in Cincinnati. Mohamed Sanu still caps his upside, but Jones’ 107 yard, TD day should at least get him some attention in deeper leagues this week.
Week 6 Update
Terrance Williams, DAL – Miles Austin returned to the lineup and ate into Williams' snaps. However, the rookie made a nifty touchdown grab while Austin came up empty on the day. He should be stashed while we wait for Austin to re-aggravate his hamstrings.
Percy Harvin, SEA – Harvin is now officially eligible to return from the PUP list this week. While he isn’t back yet, the news will likely see him scooped up in the remainder of leagues where he isn’t already stashed. This is last call on the best injury stash candidate out there.
Jordan Reed, WAS – I’ve been pumping Reed the last few weeks, so this week I will stick with him again as my favorite guy to pluck off the waiver wire to cover Jimmy Graham’s bye/injury concerns. Reed looked really good and all that is missing is the breakout game to get him owned in more leagues. While that might not come this week against the Bears, this is a player on the rise who is quickly gaining RGIII’s trust.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN – A favorite of mine last year, Rudolph has been dragged down by the lousy quarterback play for the Vikings this year. He finally lit up the scoreboard and the imminent switch to Freeman does give me more confidence that he could have more days like this in the future.
Tim Wright, TB – Wright has flourished with the move to Mike Glennon, catching 12 passes for 132 yards. A former wide receiver, Wright has good size (6’4”) and speed and should continue to serve as a solid security blanket for his quarterback.
Joseph Fauria, DET – Fauria was a red-zone monster on Sunday and at 6’7’, he figures to continue to be in the mix any time the Lions get in close. It’s hard to bank on a basically touchdown-only player, but if you are in a pickle in a TD-heavy league, he is worth considering.
Week 6 Update
Ryan Succop, KC – Succop’s best games have come when his team has been able to force turnovers and create extra scoring chances. The Texans have serious ball-control issues and Succop will get the chance to trot on the field plenty this week.
Adam Vinatieri, IND – The old veteran has quietly been on a roll the last few weeks and should be busy in this week’s game against the Broncos.
Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are coming off their bye, and get the Bills at home with the prospect of potentially facing Matt Flynn under center. Expect lots of sacks and multiple turnovers in this one.
San Diego Chargers – The Chargers get the Jaguars this week, which means you have to consider streaming them, although Jacksonville had their best showing of the year last week against the Broncos.
Minnesota Vikings – Eli Manning has been giving gifts away all season, so if you feel lucky you could take a shot that another pick-six will be in the offing.
By now, you have heard the devastating news that Julio Jones will likely miss the remainder of the regular season with a foot injury. There will be nothing for his owners to do but grin and bear it, and try to find someone to plug into the lineup to try and replace some of what the explosive Jones brought to your lineup. There is no way to replace a second-round talent, but if you had been constantly churning the back-end of your roster, always looking to improve your depth, you just might have an Alshon Jeffery on hand to at least make it sting a little less. There are a couple more wideouts to take a chance on, so get to work and figure out who to bid on this week. On the bright side of the fantasy ledger, those owners who have been waiting for TE Rob Gronkowski to finally return to the field will finally get their wish this week. Tom Brady shares in your joy and elation.
Week 6 Byes: Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins
Brandon Weeden, CLE – The season-ending injury to Brian Hoyer hands the keys of the offense back to Weeden, likely for the rest of the season. While the former first-round pick showed the rust from his time missed due to his thumb injury early in last week’s victory against the Bills, he did settle in as the game progressed and flashed some of his deep-ball skills, including a nifty 37-yard TD strike to Josh Gordon. Weeden still held onto the ball too long, stared down his receivers and took unnecessary sacks, and while he lacks the decisiveness of Hoyer, his cannon arm is a better fit for Norv Turner’s vertical offense. While he is not a guy you want to ever force into your lineup, with the weapons at his disposal and a lack of a consistent running game, Weeden is worth a roster spot in deeper leagues as a bye week/injury replacement.
Nick Foles, PHI – We recommended Foles as a deep-league stash candidate for multiple weeks, because it was never really a question of if Michael Vick would get injured, merely a matter of when and for how long. So if you are a Vick owner, hopefully you have him on hand to get you through the next few weeks. Foles showed that he can handle Chip Kelly’s offense, even if he doesn’t bring the same dynamic element to it that Vick can with his rushing ability. He has a tough matchup in Tampa Bay this week, but he is worth picking up anyway in case Vick’s injury lingers.
Chad Henne, JCK – We welcome Henne back to the report this week, as he will start in place of the injured Blaine Gabbert for the next couple weeks, and potentially longer. Henne is no great shakes, but as we have written previously, he has shown that he can put up numbers in this offense. He is kind of an intriguing desperation plug-and-play option this week against the Broncos, since garbage time should come pretty early in that contest. He’s worth grabbing in deeper leagues for bye week depth.
Josh Freeman, MIN – Freeman was signed by the Vikings this week, and since they are paying him more than either Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel, it’s only a matter of time before he takes over as the starter. It won’t happen this week, but Week 7 seems likely. He has some upside in this offense, with Adrian Peterson to take the heat off him. At the very least, he should be able to breathe some fantasy life into all of the receivers on the roster once he takes over. He is definitely worth a stash in two-quarterback leagues at the very least.
Thaddeus Lewis, BUF – The knee injury to starter E.J. Manuel will keep him out multiple weeks and is a serious blow to the Bills' passing offense overall. Jeff Tuel was completely overmatched in relief of Manuel, so the team has promoted Lewis off their practice squad to start this week against the Bengals. Owners of Manuel in two-quarterback leagues can grab Lewis, but be aware that the offense will likely be scaled down significantly.
Week 5 Update
Mike Glennon, TB – Glennon didn’t really impress in his first start, turning the ball over three times, but if you are looking for some bye week help in two-quarterback leagues, the matchup with the Eagles at least gives him some decent upside for one week.
Terrelle Pryor, OAK – Pryor proved again that he is going to continue to be a solid matchup play all year, and as he continues to mature, he could make a case for being an every-week starter. With Kansas City and a Week 7 bye coming up, his ownership will likely still remain too low, but coming out of the bye he could get on a nice roll that could make him an every-week starter when all is said and done.
Zac Stacy, STL – My advice to drop Isaiah Pead outright last week prompted one of our readers, Tybs, to advocate on his behalf, and at least got me to mention Stacy, even if it was in the comments section. He took advantage of the date with the Jaguars to rush for 78 yards on 14 carries, before exiting with a rib injury. He should be okay to go this week, and should be able to hang onto his role as the lead back in the Rams' committee. Daryl Richardson will slide into the number two slot. If Stacy wasn’t grabbed yet, he should be owned in all leagues, just be warned the schedule (@Hou, @Car, Sea, Ten) is pretty brutal the next few weeks. Stacy should be able to manage flex-worthy stats, just don’t go expecting miracles.
Andre Ellington, ARZ – Ellington keeps moving up the list each and every week as he keeps eating into Rashard Mendenhall’s workload. The coaching staff saying that they want to cap his workload at current levels may keep some from buying in, but I just don’t see how they will be able to keep him on the sidelines if they actually want to try and win some games. He is still best suited to PPR leagues, but if he can work his way up to 15-20 touches a week, he’ll be an asset in all leagues.
Marcel Reece, OAK – We targeted Reece as a stash in Week 4 in anticipation of the impending Darren McFadden injury, and it actually came right on cue. Of course, Reece got banged up in the same game, making Rashad Jennings a hot pickup last week. Jennings pulled his own hamstring last week and McFadden isn’t expected back this week either. That opens the door for Reece to step in and do what he does when given the chance, produce really decent PPR numbers, regardless of matchups. He might not carry a ton of long-term value, but if you are in a jam this week, he is worth the gamble.
Roy Helu, WAS – We are going to mention Helu again this week, despite the fact that Alfred Morris is expected to return from his rib injury. Regardless, Helu is worth hanging onto if you have him, or even grabbing in case Morris suffers a setback in practice this week. His expanding role as the third-down back makes him a decent flex gamble in PPR leagues, as Morris may not be ready for a full workload in his first game back.
Brandon Bolden, NE – Bolden caught six passes for 40 yards last week and also dropped an easy pass that would have added to those numbers. He is locked into his pass catching role, and should be on the field a lot in the game against the Saints.
Shonn Greene, TEN – Greene is slated to make his debut in Week 6, and if he does he will immediately become the short-yardage back for the Titans. He will be a desperation flex most weeks, but if he runs well he could begin to eat into Chris Johnson’s carries down the road.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR – I will likely keep listing Stewart until he makes it back in Week 7. He continues to make progress, and when he makes it back will get a chance to try and add some life to the Panthers offense.
Donald Brown, IND – The season-ending injury to Ahmad Bradshaw has resuscitated the value of Brown, who now is the clear backup to Trent Richardson. In fact, he has looked better than the guy they just traded a number one pick for, even stealing, and converting, a goal-line carry last week. At the very least, he has a chance to retain last week’s share of the workload and is worth owning now that he is only a Richardson injury away from being a solid every-week starter.
Da’Rel Scott, NYG – David Wilson doesn’t look like he will be able to suit up for this Thursday’s game against Chicago. Scott was re-signed and will see plenty of snaps if that is the case. Just don’t expect him to do much with them. You’d have to be pretty desperate or in a very large league to need to rely on Scott this week.
Week 5 Update
Danny Woodhead, SD – Woodhead had another very good PPR performance last week with nine catches for 58 yards and another TD. It’s time for PPR owners to stick him in their lineups and enjoy the ride.
Keenan Allen, SD – Allen kind of got buried in last week’s report, but we were right in our take that he had the opportunity to emerge as the primary outside threat in this offense. In a breakout performance, Allen played every snap and hauled in six passes for 115 yards and a TD. He also had another touchdown overturned on a replay. One look at the team’s upcoming schedule (Ind, @Jac, bye, @Was, Den) and you will see that the stage is set for him to be a real difference maker the next few weeks. If you just lost Julio Jones, this could be the guy who could help you survive that potentially crippling blow. He’s my top target this week, regardless of position.
Rueben Randle, NYG – Hopefully you followed my advice to hang onto Rueben Randle through his lean weeks. He took advantage of the attention Victor Cruz got last week to the tune of six catches, 96 yards and two touchdowns. That’s just an inkling of what he can do if he ever ascends into an every-down role. With the season slipping away for the Giants, the chances of Hakeem Nicks getting traded will only increase. Even in his current role, Randle is a viable Flex start, but he really needs to be owned since he will explode if fate creates the opportunity.
Vincent Brown, SD – Brown was overshadowed by Allen on Sunday, but not by much. His eight catches for 117 yards were easily his best numbers on the year, and he too lost a touchdown (this time on a penalty) which would have given him a monster day. Brown was the most highly regarded Chargers receiver coming into the season, so it was nice to see him finally produce. I personally like Allen a little bit more, but with the Chargers throwing as much as they are, there are more than enough targets to support both of these wideouts. Brown could have more value than Allen in PPR leagues, so I wouldn’t blame you for bumping him up there.
Terrance Williams, DAL – Williams filled in for Miles Austin again last week and was one of many players to fill up the box score. There are no guarantees that Austin will be back this week to face the Redskins, so the rookie is slated for enough work to find his way into some fantasy lineups. Another good showing and he may push Austin down the pecking order, regardless of injury.
Harry Douglas, ATL – Douglas could very well be the number one WR for the Falcons this week with injuries to Jones and Roddy White. He is going to get every-down snaps, so he will be worth grabbing in deeper formats, but he’s not going to suddenly become something he’s not, and that is an explosive playmaker. Still, he should be good for moderate production and a place at the end of your bench.
Jeremy Kerley, NYJ – Kerley did about as well as anyone could have hoped for filling in for the injured Santonio Holmes, and if you started him in desperation you were rewarded with a 5/68/1 line. He is a tough player for his size and will continue to be asked to make plays and will continue to be a sneaky flex as long as he is starting.
Leonard Hankerson, WAS – Hankerson hasn’t made much noise since Week 1, but he is getting the snaps and targets and this week gets to work against a Cowboys defense that continues to get torched through the air. If you are looking for a horse to bet on this week, you could do worse than lay a wager on Hankerson finding the endzone.
Austin Pettis, STL – Pettis scored his third and fourth touchdowns of the year last week, but despite that fact, isn’t really putting up the big yardage numbers that you look for in an every-week starter. His production is all the evidence you need that the Rams don’t have a clue. However, as long as the team can’t figure out how to get the ball into the hands of Tavon Austin or Chris Givens, I guess Pettis will continue to be the most reliable WR on the roster.
Percy Harvin, SEA – I have resisted listing Harvin in the report, since all we have had is rumors about his eventual return. But, with the injury to Julio Jones this week, it seems like the right time to talk about finding a spot on your bench to stash him. He might not be back until Week 10, but if you can survive until then, he could be a boon for whatever teams own him for the stretch drive.
Week 5 Update
Alshon Jeffery, CHI – Now that is what I call a follow-up performance. A week after topping the WR list, Jefferey came out and set a team record for receiving yards with 218 on ten catches. With Brandon Marshall continuing to draw double coverage, I may have been incorrect in my assumption that his production would be hard to predict going forward. I think you throw him in your lineup with confidence until further notice.
Justin Blackmon, JCK – Blackmon made his much anticipated return to the field and rewarded patient owners with a 5/136/1 day. It will be much easier for owners to start both Blackmon and Cecil Shorts with Henne back under center.
Nate Washington, TEN – Ryan Fitzpatrick took the wind out of Washington’s sails last week. With Seattle, San Francisco and then the bye week, I might try to peddle him off or drop him for someone else if I needed the roster space the next few weeks.
Garrett Graham, HOU – Owen Daniels broke his leg and will miss 4-6 weeks. Graham was already splitting targets and touchdowns, so he gets a nice boost in value on a team that loves to feature the TE in the red zone. The tilt against the Rams only makes him an even more attractive pickup if you need a plug-n-play TE this week.
Jordan Reed, WAS – Reed was quietly pushing Fred Davis to the bench prior to getting injured in Week 3. He could be the best option for those of you in deeper leagues looking for some TE depth. He could have a breakout game against the Cowboys, so if you like to speculate ahead of time, Reed fits the description.
Week 5 Update
Charles Clay, MIA – Clay delivered another score last week and rewarded anyone who plugged him in. He is on bye this week, but will continue to be a reliable, if somewhat boring, option going forward.
Brandon Pettigrew, DET – We gave Pettigrew a pretty tepid endorsement last week, but he delivered another solid performance. He should be able to keep it up with Nate Burleson gone, so PPR owners can start him with some confidence again.
Cleveland Browns – I said it last week, and I know I may have just sounded like a homer, but I hope you cashed in on the Browns' big week. If you did, I suggest you consider letting them ride for another week. They will be at home against a Lions team that gave up five sacks last week and will have a less than 100% Calvin Johnson at their disposal.
Arizona Cardinals – The Cards defense is coming off two very solid performances and made Cam Newton’s life miserable last week. San Francisco has been anything but scary on offense lately, and Colin Kaepernick has been turning the ball over. If you are fishing in deeper leagues, the Cards could be your best bet this week.
Week 4 has arrived and with it the first of the bye weeks are upon us. This week, Green Bay and Carolina will get the week off and owners will have to find replacements for Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton, as well as the various other position players for the first time this year, which could lead to some desperation plays in deeper leagues. As the bye weeks continue, and the teams affected each week increases, you’ll want to make sure you try to plan ahead when you can to ensure you have a quality replacement ready and thus avoid having to battle your league mates for the best options when you really need them. I know it is rudimentary advice, but it never hurts to hear it again. Take a look at your bye weeks this week, and see what your backup plan looks like. With that out of the way, let’s get on to this week’s report.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT – I poured a little ice water on Big Ben a couple weeks back when I said that I would dump him for Sam Bradford in a heartbeat. After two straight stinkers to open the year, Roethlisberger showed that he can still be a difference maker in fantasy as he passed for 406 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, he also threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles as well. If you drafted Big Ben in a deeper league, the chances are you have stood by him, but his ownership in standard leagues is as low as it’s been in years. This week brings hope of another solid performance in the form of the Minnesota Vikings defense, which is giving up big chunks of yardage through the air. Funny how these things work, but in the one league I own Rodgers in, I drafted Bradford as my backup, and I am thinking of switching to Roethlisberger, who was dropped, to get me through the bye week.
Jake Locker, TEN – Locker gets his first mention in the report coming off his strong game against the Chargers where he passed for 299 yards and a touchdown. The real eye opener was his six rushes for 68 yards and a touchdown. The biggest knock against Locker usually is the conservative offense he plays in, but if the team starts to take the reins off a bit more and let Locker use his athleticism, he is capable of more days like this and at least is worthy of a roster spot in deeper leagues again due to some tasty matchups that arrive later in the year.
Geno Smith, NYJ – Smith bounced back from his lousy performance against the Patriots by gashing the Bills for 331 yards and two touchdowns through the air and chipped in another score on the ground. Yes he’s raw, but he’s also shown he’s pretty fearless. He’s still too inexperienced to really trust, but he’s definitely worth hanging onto or grabbing in really deep leagues.
Brian Hoyer, CLE – Hoyer got a mention last week, but after leading the Browns to a victory last week and tossing three touchdowns in the process, he may have just stolen Brandon Weeden’s job for good. The Browns have no running game anymore, but they do have two exciting playmakers in Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, which at least gives Hoyer some appeal in two-QB leagues.
Nick Foles, PHI – After watching the Chiefs deliver the hits to Michael Vick last week, I just wanted to once again mention his backup as a guy that two-QB leaguers should scoop up. The Vick injury could arrive at any time.
Week 3 Update
Terrelle Pryor, OAK – If you held onto Pryor as we suggested last week, then you had to like what you saw last week against the Broncos. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion late in the game that may prevent him from missing a tasty matchup against Washington this week.
Philip Rivers, SD – On the surface, last week’s 184 yard, one TD day doesn’t look so great. But Antonio Gates got tackled just short of the end-zone and Eddie Royal had another potential touchdown called back by penalty. Focus instead on the fact that he completed 83% (20-24) of his passes and didn’t turn the ball over.
Bilal Powell, NYJ – In our blurb on Powell last week, we acknowledged his performance to start the year and pointed out the boost he would get if the injury-prone Chris Ivory got hurt again. Well, the injury to Ivory came sooner than I expected, and Powell took full advantage, rumbling 27 times for 149 yards against the Bills. While he is unavailable in almost all deeper formats, his ownership was only about 50% in standard leagues. He has this job to himself for at least the next two weeks and should be picked up everywhere he is available this week, even if it means just keeping him off your opponent's roster. Those who own him should feel comfortable inserting him into their flex spot the next two weeks.
Brandon Bolden, NE – My goal with the report beyond highlighting the obvious names each and every week is to try and provide some names for you to speculate on cheaply before they make a splash. This is the best way to try and improve your roster in deeper leagues and save FAAB bucks in the process. Bolden topped the Digging Deeper section in Week 2, as we identified him as the guy to speculate on in the wake of the injury to Shane Vereen and the struggles of Stevan Ridley. Sure enough, in his first week back he likely locked down at least the third-down job and finished the day as the most productive back ahead of Ridley and LeGarrette Blount, who split the early-down work. He is best suited to PPR leagues for now and should keep this role until Vereen returns.
Johnathan Franklin, GB – Franklin took over for an injured James Starks and ripped off 103 yards and a score with just 13 carries. While I think he needs to be picked up this week, especially in deeper leagues, there are a couple of factors clouding his prospects. First off is the bye, which arrives this week for the Packers. Next is the status of Starks and Eddie Lacy, both of whom could return to the lineup in Week 5 and send Franklin back to the bench. I think he showed enough to hopefully leapfrog Starks on the depth chart and should at least share the load with Lacy upon his return. Hopefully you didn’t break the bank on Starks, so you can spend some on Franklin this week if you need depth at the RB position.
Pierre Thomas, NO – Thomas was mentioned the last two weeks as we highlighted the fact that he was clearly outplaying Mark Ingram and would eventually eat into his workload. While the results weren’t great this week, the fact that Ingram was scratched with a toe injury and then surfaced in trade rumors confirms what we reported. Thomas saw an increase in snaps last week that should continue and caught six passes. He is trending into flex territory in PPR leagues as long as he can maintain a 50/50 split with Darren Sproles.
Isaiah Pead, STL – We have preached patience with Pead so far this year, and will do so again this week. Pead finally saw some extended playing time with the toe injury sustained by starter Daryl Richardson. He didn’t do much on the ground, but did catch seven passes for 43 yards. He makes for a better target in PPR formats, but with Richardson’s status in question he should be picked up in most leagues while we wait to see how things shake out in St. Louis.
Jason Snelling, ATL – While I profiled Jacquizz Rodgers last week, I gave Snelling only a passing comment as the likely goal-line back in the wake of Steven Jackson’s injury. Snelling proved to be more than that on Sunday, rushing for 53 yards on 11 carries and adding four catches for another 58 yards and a touchdown. Like Rodgers, he needs to be owned in 12-teams leagues and up for the time being. Just bear in mind the matchups aren’t great the next two weeks (NE, NYJ) and Jackson could be back following the bye in Week 6.
Willis McGahee, CLE – McGahee was signed after last week’s column, but we did talk about the Browns backfield on the Blog. He’s old and the rust showed last week, but he should get any goal-line touches that materialize and the bulk of the early-down work as long as he’s able.
Andre Ellington, ARZ – The Cards rotated three backs last week with Ellington, Rashard Mendenhall and Alfonso Smith all seeing action, but Ellington was by far the most explosive and exciting of the committee. The Cards are going to continue to be forced to air it out and that will just increase Ellington’s role in this offense. PPR owners who were unconvinced last week should give him a second look this week. Mendenhall’s value is going to continue to slide and as such Smith could also emerge down the road.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR – Stewart has starting running again and looks to be on track to return in Week 7 and reclaim his role as DeAngelo Williams' running mate. He is sitting out there in a lot of leagues, so it’s time to start thinking about making room for him at the back end of your bench.
Marcel Reece, OAK – We have a soft spot for Reece after he made our year-end list of favorite pickups last year. So we were pleased to see the Raiders finally try to find ways to incorporate him into the offense last week. He caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown on a nice halfback pass from Darren McFadden. Like last year, he is just a McFadden injury away from being a viable flex play, especially in PPR leagues.
Khiry Robinson, NO – Robinson got some late carries after the Saints had the game in hand. He actually looked pretty good, gaining 38 yards on his four rushes. If the Saints finally pull the plug on Mark Ingram for good, then Robinson likely sticks as the new “power” back for the Saints. That’s worth some early speculation in really deep leagues.
Week 3 Update
Danny Woodhead, SD – Woodhead followed up last week’s solid effort with another solid PPR performance.
Ryan Broyles, DET – Readers from last year may remember my man-crush on the Lions receiver. He finally returned to action last week and promptly caught all three balls thrown his way for 34 yards. Nate Burleson suffered a broken arm in a car accident and will be out of action for quite awhile. This will thrust Broyles, gimpy knee and all, into the starting lineup and makes him the top receiving target this week. Those in PPR leagues should bid aggressively since he will rack up receptions as long as his knee holds up.
Stephen Hill, NYJ – We had Hill in the DD section last week, and mentioned his big play ability. He showcased it last week, hauling in a 51-yard bomb to highlight a three-catch, 108-yard day. He should continue to be Geno Smith’s favorite deep target and his big play ability will make him a nice guy to have on the bench through the bye weeks.
Santonio Holmes, NYJ – Back-to-back Jets on the list this week? While I like Stephen Hill's upside better long-term, I can’t deny the performance Holmes delivered, as he was targeted 10 times and exploded for 154 yards and a touchdown. While I might let someone else outbid me this week, he needs to be owned as the number one receiver on this team.
Denarius Moore, OAK – His disappearing act in Week 2 got him dropped in a bunch of leagues and just as it looked like Rod Streater had passed him by, he drops 124 yards and a touchdown to say “Not so fast!” If an impatient owner let him go, scoop him back up and enjoy the resurgence.
Sidney Rice, SEA – Rice took advantage of the matchup against Jacksonville, grabbing two touchdown passes and reminding everyone what a lethal red-zone target he can be. He needs to be owned again in all leagues as we enter the bye weeks.
Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN – The Vikings' season is slipping away, so at some point they are going to have to take the training wheels off their first-round pick. He was my top WR on this list to start the year and is worth stashing in hopes that he eventually gets more touches.
Donnie Avery, KC – Look, I am not a big Avery fan, but he took advantage of the attention Dwayne Bowe got last week to the tune of seven catches for 141 yards. He is locked in as the clear No. 2 option in the offense, but see the bigger picture. The offense is still too conservative and this was against the Eagles pass defense. You can add him in deep leagues if you want, just don’t expect too many repeats.
Davone Bess, CLE – Bess has finally jumped ahead of Greg Little in the pecking order for the Browns, and with Josh Gordon back he had his most productive game so far with seven catches and 67 yards. He’s a possession receiver who can help out in a pinch in PPR leagues. If the Browns somehow traded Gordon, besides me putting my fist through the computer screen, Bess would become the No. 1 guy by default.
Terrance Williams, DAL – Anyone who owned Miles Austin last year can tell you how frustrating his troublesome hamstrings can be. They are predictably acting up again, which puts Williams on the radar as the next in line.
Justin Hunter, TEN – Nate Washington and Kendall Wright are not the only Titans WR’s taking advantage of Kenny Britt’s struggles. Hunter showed that he can go up and get it on the last-second 34-yard pass from Jake Locker to win the game. Yes, he got away with a push-off, but he also put himself on the radar since he’ll take over for Britt if the Titans send him packing.
Week 3 Update
Marlon Brown, BAL – Brown cooled off last week, but should have a good chance to score again in Week 4 against the Bills.
Eddie Royal, SD – Royal came up short on production finally, but he got another red-zone look and would have had his sixth TD of the year if not for a penalty.
Ted Ginn Jr., CAR – Two weeks in a row with another long touchdown. Not getting the volume, but worth monitoring to see if he can keep this up.
Heath Miller, PIT – We recommended stashing Miller in deep leagues to start the year, and again last week. Now that he’s back, you may have competition for his services. Still, he got right back into the mix and as he gets healthier he’ll serve as the safety net Big Ben sorely needs.
Scott Chandler, BUF – Chandler has kind of been a forgotten man, but he made some noise last week with a touchdown and 79 yards on five catches. If you are in a bind this week, he’s worth a shot as a fill-in.
Jordan Reed, WAS – Reed was really starting to emerge before a quad injury knocked him out of the game last week. Keep an eye on his status, because if he plays, I like him much more than Chandler for both this week and going forward.
Week 3 Update
Coby Fleener, IND – Fleener was a victim of the entire Colts passing game taking a week off against the Niners. Don’t jump ship on last week’s top TE and go get him if he is still available and you need to upgrade your backup.
Charles Clay, MIA – Clay is still available in a ton of leagues and will continue to see consistent looks. He’s a solid backup and bye week replacement.
Kansas City – We tabbed the Chiefs as a defense to watch ahead of Week 2, and they have lived up to that billing. They figure to get another chance to make some noise against a Giants team in distress. This could be the last chance to get a share of them somewhere this year.
Tampa Bay – The Bucs can make some noise this week at home against a Cardinals team that can’t run the ball or protect the passer very well.
Ryan Succop, KC – Succop is coming off a big game last week, and the matchup with the Giants sets him up for more success this week.
Bye Weeks: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
Terrelle Pryor, OAK – Coming off last week’s concussion, it is very possible that Pryor will be sitting out there on waivers in shallow leagues this week. His ownership numbers in 10 and 12-team leagues is still shockingly low for an improving passer who already has two 20-point games on the season. This week he faces a Chargers defense that has been one of the most generous to opposing passers so far. He’s a great option for Robert Griffin owners this week.
Brian Hoyer, CLE– Brandon Weeden has been cleared to play, but Hoyer will remain under center this week against the Bills on Thursday night coming off another impressive performance in the victory over the Bengals. He threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, and didn’t turn the ball over. The Browns still can’t run the ball effectively, so Hoyer will continue to lean on Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. If he can lead the Browns to another victory on a short week, then Weeden may never get this job back. Hoyer is a hometown boy who was a two-sport star at my alma mater, St. Ignatius High School, and is quickly becoming a fan favorite. He obviously studied well in his three years backing up Tom Brady, as his growing connection with Cameron in the red-zone illustrates.
Matt Cassel, MIN –In the comments section of last week’s column, we mused about the fact that Cassel would be the next quarterback to find his way into the starting lineup. The next day, it was announced that Ponder’s ribs would keep him out and just like that, the Vikings have a quarterback controversy. Actually, there shouldn’t be any controversy, since Ponder has been terrible and Cassel showed how good the offense can be with someone who can get the wide receivers involved. Since the Vikings are on bye this week, we will have to wait and see who starts Week 6, but my money is on Cassel getting at least one more start.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, TEN – Jake Locker’s misfortune opens the door for Fitzpatrick to start again and as such puts him back on the map in two-quarterback leagues. He’s a limited talent in a conservative offense, so those in other leagues can largely ignore him.
Week 4 Update
Ryan Tannehill, MIA – Things didn’t really go as planned for Tannehill against the Saints on Monday, as four turnovers obscured some more solid football. The offensive line has allowed a league-leading 18 sacks and countless pressures. This week’s matchup against the Ravens doesn’t look too promising, but if Tannehill can find a way to limit the turnovers, he should be able to deliver a serviceable fantasy performance.
Jake Locker, TEN – Just when Locker’s season was looking up and he was finally showcasing some of his tremendous athleticism, he goes down with an injury. Reports say it isn’t as serious as initially feared, but he’s still going to be out for awhile and isn’t worth waiting on in most leagues.
Mike Glennon, TB – Glennon showed some promise in his first NFL start, connecting with Mike Williams for an early touchdown, but he also threw two picks and lost a fumble. It’s clear he has the job for now and gets to face the Eagles defense coming out of the bye in Week 6.
Andy Dalton, CIN – Man, what a stinker of a game for Dalton, who looks like his game is headed in the wrong direction for fantasy purposes.
Danny Woodhead, SD – We highlighted Woodhead as a PPR grab back in Week 3 since it was clear that his role in the offense was solidifying. Last week, he scored two touchdowns, so his big game will get him scooped up even in other formats where his pass catching doesn’t get rewarded as heavily. When I am looking to bolster my bench, I want players who get touches and have the trust of their quarterbacks. Woodhead checks off both of those boxes easily. Sure, you can’t bank on him being a consistent scoring threat, but he’s not going away anytime soon as the Chargers have found their new sparkplug.
Rashad Jennings, OAK – I will state right up front that I am not a big Jennings fan. Part of it stems from getting burned by him last year, but I just don’t think he’s a special talent, which is why I didn’t even mention him when I wrote about Marcel Reece last week. I would have been much more excited to see Reece benefit from Darren McFadden’s latest injury, but instead Jennings will likely get the start against the Chargers and will at the very least make a pretty good flex-play for at least one week. With McFadden’s injury history, those desperate for help can take the plunge, and hope this turns into more than a one-and-done.
Willis McGahee, CLE – McGahee gets a bump up from last week’s tepid endorsement based on him locking down the early-down work for the Browns and drawing a matchup against the Bills defense. As he rounds into shape, he should touch the ball enough to get him into some lineups as a bye or injury replacement the next couple of weeks. I still don’t think there is much long-term value here, but as long as he’s starting he should be owned in more leagues.
Roy Helu, WAS – The speedy Helu made this list to open the year, mainly because I thought he would see more consistent work as a receiver and that he could really break out if Alfred Morris went down with an injury, making him a great stash candidate. After Morris left last week’s game with a rib injury, Helu flashed his playmaking ability and showed that he can handle the job in Morris’ stead. If the team wasn’t on bye this week, he’d be the top name on the list, but since Morris looks like he’ll be back in Week 6, you may need to look for more immediate help. He’s still worth speculating on, in hopes that he can at least start seeing more action on passing downs.
Andre Ellington, ARZ – Rashard Mendenhall’s struggles continued, and that just means the arrow on Ellington continues to point in the right direction. He should continue to be stashed since eventually he’s going to trend into every-week flex territory.
Kendall Hunter, SF – Hunter gets a mention this week after breaking off a nice 29-yard touchdown run late in last week’s blowout against the Rams. Let this serve as a reminder to get your handcuffs in order, particularly if you own an aging and injury-prone power back like Frank Gore.
Johnathan Franklin, GB – The Packers will emerge from the bye week with Eddie Lacy back in his role as the feature back, but Franklin hopefully showed enough in Week 3 to at least get a share of the workload, especially with Lacy coming back from his concussion and James Starks still out.
Mike Goodson, NYJ – Goodson returns from a suspension this week, and should get some touches with Chris Ivory still out. Not a ton of upside here, but he’s worth watching to see how the Jets might utilize his talents going forward.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR – Stewart is still on track to return in Week 7. The closer that date comes, the harder it will be to grab and stash him.
Khiry Robinson, NO –Robinson got more carries than any Saints back last week, but don’t read too much into it. He has basically stolen Mark Ingram’s job in this backfield, and in really deep leagues that could be enough to speculate on.
Tashard Choice, BUF – Choice would be a real desperation play this week against a tough Browns defense, but with a short week and injuries to both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, Choice looks like he’s going to be needed this week.
Week 4 Update
Brandon Bolden/LeGarrette Blount, NE – Stevan Ridley completes the three-man committee which keeps all three RB’s value limited for the time being. Ridley is still the starter, but Blount made the most noise last week, and could get a boost if Ridley gets injured or ends up back in the doghouse at some point. Bolden’s value is limited to PPR leagues and by Shane Vereen’s eventual return in Week 11.
Isaiah Pead – After being a healthy scratch last week, it’s time to drop Pead. The Rams running game is an absolute mess right now.
Alshon Jeffery, CHI – Jeffery finally stepped up and had his first breakout game of the season. If he was dropped in your league, then the price to get him this week might not really be worth it unless you really need help to navigate the byes this week. Still, he is locked in as the guy across from Brandon Marshall and we’ll see more days like this as the season progresses. It just won’t be easy to predict where or when they will occur.
Justin Blackmon, JCK – Blackmon returns from suspension this week, and the news will get him picked back up in the shallow leagues where he was potentially dropped. Still, with Blaine Gabbert back under center for the Jags, it’s hard to get that excited about his return. Still, he’ll reclaim his spot as the team’s top wideout, and will likely personally lobby for Chad Henne to get the starting job back.
Nate Washington, TEN – I haven’t really given Washington much love this year, but it’s time to recognize that he has filled the void left by Kenny Britt. He doesn’t have as much upside with Fitzpatrick under center, but he’s clearly the only Titans receiver worth considering starting at this time.
Jeremy Kerley, NYJ – With both Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill injured, Kerley is going to see an increase in playing time and production. Don’t expect miracles from the diminutive speedster, but he is worth grabbing for the next few weeks and maybe even starting this week in PPR leagues.
Robert Woods, BUF – Woods makes it back on the list this week after hauling in four passes for 80 yards and a touchdown in Week 4. His connection with E.J. Manuel is gaining momentum, and as we mentioned the last time we wrote him up, he is emerging just as the bye weeks arrive.
Terrance Williams, DAL – We mentioned Williams last week, and he had a pretty good showing as Miles Austin’s replacement. Yes, he lost a bad fumble near the goal-line that killed Dallas’ comeback attempt, but he’ll get better as the season goes along and Austin’s bad hamstrings will give him more opportunities to make positive plays.
Keenan Allen, SD – Allen put himself on the radar in deeper leagues with his eight-catch, 110-yard day against the Cowboys. Philip Rivers is playing well, and with all the injuries to the receiving corps, the opportunity is there for Allen to emerge as the primary outside threat.
Week 4 Update
Ryan Broyles, DET – Talk about a letdown. As mentioned above, Durham prospered most last week in the wake of the Burleson injury. He was on the field plenty, but he just didn’t see the targets. You can’t force him into the lineup until we see some results, but I would still hold for now in PPR leagues.
Donnie Avery, KC – Avery promptly fell back to earth after his big day against the Eagles.
Charles Clay, MIA – He’s been here before and he’s back because he’s likely the best possible name out there in standard formats this week if you have a need. He’s not going to be elite, just a steady guy to plug in on your bye week.
Brandon Pettigrew, DET – Pettigrew had his best game of the year last week with Burleson out, so if you are desperate you could plug him in and hope for a repeat. He is a poor bet to score, so save your desperation plays for PPR leagues if you can.
Kellen Winslow, NYJ – Winslow, like Kerley above, will be more involved in the offense with the injuries to other key Jets.
Mychal Rivera, OAK – Rivera is the main tight end for the Raiders, thanks to injuries, and scored a touchdown last week. Put him on the watch list for now. Grab in two-tight end leagues for depth.
Week 4 Update
Heath Miller, PIT – Miller caught six passes for 80 yards last week. He’s back and doing what he does for the Steelers and Big Ben.
Jordan Reed, WAS – He’s on bye and should return from his injury in Week 6. He’ll be higher on the list next week for sure.
Browns – It’s time to concede that Ray Horton’s defense is for real. They make a real sneaky play this week getting Buffalo on a short week.
Rams – The Rams have been awful lately, but the Jaguars come along at just the right time.
Nick Novak, SD – It’s time to give Novak a go against the Raiders this week. Rivers keeps moving the ball and that has provided Novak with plenty of opportunities to start the year.
Injuries were the big stories of Week 2 as Ray Rice, Andre Johnson, Eddie Lacy, Steven Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, Malcolm Floyd and Maurice Jones-Drew all left their owners in the lurch last week, and possibly scrambling for some help this week. The key of course is not only identifying who to target, but also determining how much to spend and how much long-term value they can deliver. While this week figures to have a couple fairly high priced names, I think the better long-term plays will come from those further down the ranks. With that in mind, let’s get to this week’s report.
Philip Rivers, SD – I panned Rivers heading into the season coming off last year’s performance, but through two weeks it’s clear that he has found new life under Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt’s offense. Antonio Gates looks healthy again, and the schedule has some tasty matchups with games against Oakland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Washington on the horizon. I still am leery of trusting him too much, but can’t deny that he is looking much better than I first thought.
Alex Smith, KC – Smith was one of my QB value picks prior to the season, and for what it likely cost to acquire him, he has more than lived up to expectations. Andy Reid is going to keep chucking the ball, and this week’s matchup against the Eagles should allow Smith to produce another solid performance.
Nick Foles, PHI – It’s likely only a matter of time before Michael Vick gets hurt in Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense. If you are in a very deep or two-quarterback league and have a roster spot to play with, why not stash Foles away and wait. He will play at some point this year, and when he does he’ll produce.
Brian Hoyer, CLE – With Brandon Weeden out, Hoyer surprisinglywas named starter over Jason Campbell. With the depth at the position this season, anyone outside of two-quarterback leagues can ignore him.
Week 2 Updates
Ryan Tannehill, MIA – Tannehill took another step forward against the Browns in Week 2, getting Mike Wallace involved and finishing with 319 yards and a TD. He should be able to put up some decent numbers the next two weeks against the Falcons at home and on the road against the Saints.
Terrelle Pryor, OAK – Pryor wasn’t asked to do much in the win against the inept Jaguars. He rushed for 50 yards on 9 carries, but only passed for 126 yards and 0 touchdowns. If I owned him as a backup, I might hold and see how he performs against the Broncos before cutting bait.
Geno Smith, NYJ – Smith looked every bit the rookie last week completing fewer than 50% of his passes and throwing three interceptions.
Chad Henne, MIA – Henne got some garbage-time stats to salvage something last week, but with Seattle coming up this week, I hope you have other options.
James Starks, GB – Starks took advantage of Eddie Lacy’s concussion and the porous Washington defense to rack up 132 yards and a touchdown, making him one of the hottest pickups this week. But my advice is to let someone else pay the price, since the Packers have a tough matchup against the Bengals and then a bye. Lacy should be back by Week 5 and relegate Starks to handcuff status again. We mentioned him as the handcuff to own in last week’s column, so if you are a Lacy owner in a deep league hopefully you got him on board last week, because the price won’t be right this week unfortunately.
Bernard Pierce, BAL – I just put a claim in on Pierce in one of my shallow leagues, and frankly was surprised to see him available even in a 10-team league. The injury to Ray Rice should get him scooped up in more leagues, which is how it should be since he has a chance to be a stud if Rice misses significant time. If Rice doesn’t play this week Pierce is a Top 15 RB easy.
Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL – Steven Jackson will miss 2-4 weeks with his thigh injury leaving Rodgers and Snelling to shoulder the load. I actually cut Rodgers in a 12-team league with a short bench and honestly I am not rushing to pick him back up this week. He underwhelmed again last week after Jackson went down, managing only 17 yards on 11 carries. He also ceded the goal-line work to Jason Snelling. The best place to take a shot on Rodgers is in PPR-leagues.
Bilal Powell, NYJ – It’s time to give Powell a little plug, since he has looked pretty good to start the year both running and catching the ball. He is getting enough work to be a viable flex play in PPR leagues that could get a nice boost in value if Chris Ivory gets hurt again.
Danny Woodhead, SD – Woodhead finally got some touches last week and promptly showed that he needs to be a bigger part of the offense going forward. He caught eight passes for 37 yards and chipped in another 27 on the ground. It’s possible an impatient owner dropped him in your PPR league, if so he’s a worthy grab as depth to help you navigate the bye weeks.
Isaiah Pead, STL – Pead returned to the lineup and although he didn’t do much on paper, he was on the field a lot as the Rams went into comeback-mode. Don’t drop him just yet in deeper leagues as Daryl Richardson’s grasp on the starter’s job is tenuous at best.
Brandon Jacobs, NYG – Jacobs returned to the Giants and promptly resumed his old goal-line job, scoring a touchdown, with little else on the day. Still, as long as he is around and getting goal-line looks, he rates as at least a desperation play.
Andre Ellington, ARZ – Ellington has grabbed the third-down back job in Arizona and offers some nice upside as a pass-catching back in a Bruce Arians offense. He showed what he can do last week with a nice 36-yard touchdown grab last week. Rashard Mendenhall isn’t known for his durability, so grab Ellington now in hopes that he can continue to expand his role in the offense.
Jordan Todman, JCK – Maurice Jones-Drew injured his surgically repaired ankle on Sunday which puts Jordan Todman on the radar not only for this week, but potentially longer if the injury is worse than expected. He’s just a stash for now, but he looked good in preseason and would likely get the goal-line work in any time-share with Justin Forsett should MJD miss significant time.
Felix Jones, PIT – Jones led the Steelers backfield in touches last week, thanks to Isaac Redman getting banged up on the opening kickoff. The Steelers running game is a mess, so no reason to mess with it against the Bears this week.
Week 2 Update
Knowshon Moreno, DEN – Moreno continues to take advantage of the struggles of Montee Ball, who fumbled in the red-zone in Week 2. If he is still out there on your waiver-wire he should be scooped up since he should continue to see the bulk of the work for the Broncos until Ball snaps out of his funk.
Joique Bell, DET – Bell topped our RB list last week, because he could be a PPR-monster if (when?)Reggie Bush goes down. Bush got banged up again last week, meaning Bell will continue to get more work regardless going forward.
Pierre Thomas, NO– Another week where Thomas outplayed Ingram, a trend that should continue this week against Carolina. He’s a hold in deeper leagues in hopes that he’ll finally push Ingram to the sidelines completely.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU – Hopkins stepped up after Andre Johnson was knocked out of last week’s game, helping the team prevail in overtime. He showed that he is more than ready to fill Johnson’s shoes as a WR1 if the former goes down again at any point this year. This is the last week he should be on any waiver wires.
Marlon Brown, BAL – The rookie got the start last week in place of the injured Jacoby Jones and delivered a nice game scoring another touchdown for the second week in a row. I recommended him last week for deeper leagues, but now he’s looking like even a viable flex-play in standard leagues the rest of the way as I believe he can hang onto this job all year. The Ravens have little else behind Torrey Smith, so the targets should continue to be there going forward.
Eddie Royal, SD – Okay, I openly joked about Royal after his Week 1 heroics, only to be forced to eat my words this week. Three more touchdowns? Yeah, everyone saw that one coming. By now you have already heard that he’s already matched his career high from his rookie year in 2008. With the injuries to the Chargers wideouts, even I have to admit he should continue to have value, particularly in PPR-formats in the new Chargers offense.
Nate Burleson, DET – Burleson is like a rash that keeps coming back. Just when you think it’s time to forget him, he catches another seven passes. He is a decent plug-and-play option this week against the Redskins.
Aaron Dobson, NE – One of the takeaways for me from last week’s sloppy Patriots game, is that despite dropping far too many passes and getting yelled at by Tom Brady, he showed flashes of talent that could make him a waiver-wire darling at any moment. Kenbrell Thompkins stole much of his sleeper appeal, but Dobson is the more highly regarded prospect. Get him now if he was dropped in your league and see if he can figure things out. Brady will feed whoever catches the ball, and if that happens to be Dobson the sky is obviously the limit.
Robert Woods, BUF – Woods in the number two guy in Buffalo, which doesn’t give him much appeal in standard leagues, but as the Bills expand the playbook for EJ Manuel, his workload should continue to increase. He’s a WR5 at this point, but he could emerge as the bye weeks arrive.
Stephen Hill, NYJ – Hill is locked into his role as the deep-threat for a Jets team that will continue to play catch-up this year. It makes him worth a roster spot as the bye weeks approach.
Austin Pettis, STL – Pettis surprised people with his 8/78/1 game against the Falcons, but it was a byproduct of the blanket coverage on Jared Cook. Congratulate him on his nice game and look elsewhere for help this week.
Ted Ginn, CAR –Ginn is still just a specialist, despite his eight target game that saw him haul in a 40-yard touchdown.
Ace Sanders, JCK – Greg Morgan mentioned the rookie yesterday, and I agree with the assessment that Sanders could put up some sneaky numbers since garbage-time in Jacksonville usually arrives at half-time these days.
Markus Wheaton, PIT – Wheaton isn’t seeing the field very much in the early going, but with the Steelers playing so poorly, they need to get their best playmakers on the field and that means Wheaton. He’s worth stashing in deep leagues to see if Mike Tomlin finally gives the speedster a look.
Week 2 Update
Rueben Randle, NYG – Randle had a quiet week, but don’t drop him because he just an injury away from being an every week starter.
Rod Streater, OAK – Streater is clearly the number one option in the Raiders passing game right now, and he could deliver some garbage time stats this week against the Broncos making him a decent gamble in deep leagues.
Jerome Simpson, MIN – Ah, that’s the Jerome Simpson we all remember.
Coby Fleener, IND – Fleener finally had a breakout game and perhaps is ready to stake his claim as the top TE in this offense. Obviously Andrew Luck knows him well from their time together at Stanford, and without Dwayne Allen around he should continue to see more targets going forward.
Tyler Eifert, CIN – Eifert returns to the list this week as a player on the rise who should continue to be an integral part of an improving Bengals defense. The Bengals are running two TE sets all the time, and moving Eifert all over the field.
Charles Clay, MIA – Clay gets a bump up this week after his five-catch, 109 yard effort on Sunday. He even got a rushing touchdown as the fullback. The Dolphins offense has improved enough to allow Clay to continue to be a factor. He’s looking like a solid TE2 with matchup upside.
Zach Ertz, PHI – This week it was the rookie Ertz who got the TE production for the Eagles offense. They are scoring and moving the ball so much, it makes sense to grab a piece of it if you can, and Ertz seems like the better long-term bet than Brent Celek.
Week 2 Update
Kellen Winslow, NYJ – Winslow fell back to earth last week, but it’s worth noting he would have had his second touchdown of the year had he not gone to the ground to catch a pass late in the game.
Alex Henery, PHI – If the Eagles kicker hasn’t already been scooped up in your league, then you should rectify the decision if you are looking to make a change based on the same logic we applied to Zach Ertz above.
Caleb Sturgis, MIA – The first kicker taken in this year’s draft is off to a strong start, nailing all four of his field goal attempts, including one from 54 yards last week. I like him on the road, in the dome against the Falcons this week.
Bills – The Bills defense has been playing very well against elite quarterbacks and this week they get to face Geno Smith and the Jets. Granted, it’s on the road, but more turnovers and sacks seem like a sure thing.
Titans – I know San Diego has been hot, but they travel to Tennessee, where the Titans will slow the game down on offense and put pressure on Philip Rivers all day. Would it surprise you that much to see Rivers chuck a couple interceptions this week?