Week 2: Pick-Up Artists (Waiver Wire)
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (Owned 15 % in ESPN Leagues)
I don’t think anybody expected four touchdowns from the arm of Rivers against the Texans Monday Night. However, I will go out on a limb and say he doesn’t match or better that the rest of the season. Don’t go Lady Gaga over the four passing touchdowns as River’s Week 1 overall numbers were as disappointing as their Monday Night loss; his 48.3 Comp % was worst among QB’s and his 195 passing yards placed him in the bottom third of quarterbacks in Week 1. The 10-year veteran had a good first half completing 8-of-14 passes for 112 yards, but the fourth quarter was reminiscent of his 2012 season going 1-for-7 with an interception. Don’t expect too much from Rivers, but he is a good pick up considering RG III threw for more than 300 yards against the Eagles who Rivers faces in Week 2. Rivers is a decent pick up not only because his Week 2 matchup, but because his favorable Weeks 3-7 matchups: Week 3 @ Ten, 4 vs Dal, 5 @Oak, 6 vs Ind, 7 @ Jax.
Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders (Owned 10% in ESPN Leagues)
As a writer, I am skeptical in putting Pryor as a wavier-wire pick up after only one relatively good start. In leagues where passing touchdowns are valued at five or six points, I stay away from Pryor. In leagues where passing touchdowns are valued at four points, I am tempted to go after any QB who runs the ball more than 10 times. I understand the Colts defense is less than stellar, but so is Week 2 opponent Jacksonville. Pryor played well on the road and will play at home in Week 2 against a team who was unable to apply pressure in Week 1 on QB Alex Smith who averaged 6 yards per carry on four attempts. Oakland has a favorable schedule looking forward playing a tough defense in Week 3 at Denver but after that, play at home against Washington and San Diego, then back on the road against KC. Weeks 2-5 are against teams who had a difficult time applying pressure on quarterbacks in Week 1.
FANTASY NOTE: THESE QUARTERBACKS ARE MOST USEFUL IN DEEPER LEAGUES OR IN TWO QB LEAGUES. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO, I WOULD NOT WASTE A WAIVER-WIRE SELECTION ON THESE TWO QBS.
LOOKING AHEAD AT QUARTERBACKS
Andy Dalton, Cincinati Bengals (Owned 41% in ESPN Leagues)
Dalton led the league in Week 1 completing 78.8% (26/33) of his passes on the road against a tough Chicago defense. The two interceptions tainted an overall good day for Dalton who threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns. With a rugged AFC North matchup against the Steelers in Week 2, I wait on Dalton. However, his schedule from Week 3 to Week 7 look like this: Green Bay, @ Cleveland, New England, @ Buffalo, @ Detroit.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (Owned 2% in ESPN Leagues)
With Shane Vereen out and Brandon Bolden Questionable for Week 2, Blount should see a good amount of touches in a short week. Head Coach Bill Belichick had no patience for Stevan Ridley after fumbling in Week 1 benching him the whole second half to see Vereen explode for more than 100 yards rushing. The Patriots ran the rock 30 times in Week 1 and with lack of depth in the receiving core, the two backs, Ridley and Blount, will look to split 30 carries or more. The Pats led the league in rushing touchdowns the past two seasons. If Blount can get touches near the goal line, he will be a viable flex play in Week 2. You might have to be patient with Blount though as Belichick doesn’t like to throw people into the fire off the bat.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets (Owned 33% in ESPN Leagues)
The Bills kept the game close in Week 1 against the Pats with good defense and an effective running game. Rex Ryan and the Jets will have a similar game plan in a short week against Brady and the Pats. I don’t expect Geno Smith to throw it 38 times as he did in Week 1, however, I do anticipate at least 30 attempts on the ground compared to only 22 attempts in Week 1. The running game was ineffective in Week 1 with QB Geno Smith as the leading rusher, but Powell edged out Chris Ivory with a dozen rushing attempts to Ivory’s 10. The Bucs rush defense was tops in 2012, but the Pats rush defense saw the Bills rush for more than 100 yards on 30 attempts from top two backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Like the Bills, the Jets offense is built around the run game and as long as the Pats don’t blow the Jets out the water Powell should get his fair share of carries.
FANTASY NOTE: BOTH THESE RBs WILL BE MOST HELPFUL IN THE FLEX. IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO FILL YOUR NO.2 RB SLOT, I WOULD GO WITH POWELL FIRST BECAUSE HE WILL GET MORE TOUCHES AND MORE LIKELY SCORE.
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (Owned 16% in ESPN Leagues)
In a short week, Danny Amendola is doubtful to return after re-aggravating a groin injury. With nine targets, third on the team in Week 1, Edelman was the top target in the red zone. Without Shane Vereen, Rob Gronkowski, or Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins looking a little lost in Week 1, the signs point to Edelman improving on his 7 catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Without Amendola in Week 2, you can expect the 10 receptions for 104 yards to shift over to Edelman who, most importantly, understands the offense better than any other wide-out.
Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals (Owned 36% in ESPN Leagues)
Do remember all the hype from T.Y. Hilton last year?? Five games with more than 100 receiving yards and eight games with at least six targets. The second-year player will not come close to those numbers this year. I am confident in saying that because Andre Roberts now has Hilton’s OC from last year Bruce Arians. Roberts is very likely to replicate the numbers Hilton put up last year because, like Hilton, he is a slot receiver that can stretch the field. QB Carson Palmer will throw the ball at least 40 times a game, as he did in Week 1, giving Roberts a sufficient amount of looks in the slot. Looking at the Cardinals upcoming schedule adds another feather in the cap for Roberts as the Cardinals play Detroit, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay in the upcoming weeks.
FANTASY NOTE: BOTH RECEIVERS WILL FILL YOUR FLEX SPOT NICELY. THIS WEEK, EDELMAN SHOULD PUT UP NO.2 WORTHY NUMBERS
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns (Owned 33% in ESPN Leagues)
The third-year Trojan led all teammates and tight ends in Week 1 with 9 receptions and 13 targets. Those numbers have Cameron as a leading candidate for waiver wire pick ups in Week 2. Like we saw in San Diego, OC Norv Turner likes to highlight the tight end and with top receiver Josh Gordon out till Week 3 due to suspension, you can feel comfortable with starting Cameron this week and beyond.
Dallas Clark, Baltimore Ravens (Owned 9% in ESPN Leagues)
If you were wondering if Dallas Clark had anything left in the tank, Thursday’s game was a good indication that he is, at the very least, capable of filling your tight end slot. There are a couple reasons why I like Clark moving forward. One, the Ravens used Clark in the slot as a receiver, similar to the way the Pats used Aaron Hernandez, as Ed Dickson was used as their blocking tight end. Two, Jacoby Jones looks to be out for a month. Three, the Ravens still have Ray Rice leaving the play-action and targets open for Clark. With a team-leading dozen targets, 2nd among TE’s, in Week 1, Clark is worth a look.
LOOKING AHEAD AT TIGHT ENDS
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (Owned 12% in ESPN Leagues)
The most disappointing offensive performance in Week 1 goes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, the Jaguars were the only other team to produce under 200 total yards on offense in Week 1 but we expected that from Jacksonville. The Steelers run game was pathetic and it doesn’t help with Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey having season-ending knee surgery. Heath Miller was taken off the PUP list before the season began and should be back by Week 3. In eight seasons, Miller had never averaged under 10 yards per catch and had career bests last year under play-caller Todd Haley with 71 receptions on 101 targets, 816 yards and 8 touchdowns.
FANTASY NOTE: BY THE END OF THE SEASON, ALL THREE TIGHT ENDS COULD VERY EASILY BE TOP 10 IN THEIR POSITION RANKS
Ravens (Owned 60%) vs Cleveland
The Ravens secondary got torched on opening night allowing seven passing touchdowns. Fortunately, the Ravens go from being on the road against one of the best throwers in history to at home against one of the worst in the NFL during Week 2. The Dolphins in Week 1 got to Brandon Weeden early and often sacking the second-year QB six times while picking off three passes. The Browns were down most of the game making them one dimensional relying on the pass and if Weeden throws the ball around 50 times (53 attempts in Week 1), the Ravens should redeem themselves after a dismal first week.
Panthers (Owned 5%) @ Buffalo
I don’t like to go with defenses on the road, but Buffalo is not an explosive offense with Rookie QB E.J. Manuel behind snap. In Week 1, the Bills didn’t have a play that went for 20 yards; their longest play was a 19-yard run by Manuel. To contain Buffalo, you must be able to stop their running game and the Panthers held Marshawn Lynch to 2.5 yards per carry on 17 attempts. As long as the Panthers don’t give up big plays, they should keep the Bills offense at bay.