Waiver Wire Week 2: Trendy Players You Need to Avoid
Fantasy football's snake oil salesmen are at their most conniving, their most convincing and alluring after Week 1. Fake football nobodies outscored your first-round running back, or your stud receiver. I get it. It stings.
A whole raft of Week 1 fantasy phenoms will be floating around your league's waiver wire this week, appearing so enticing, so irresistible, making you question how many times a guy can give conventional thinking a forearm shiver to the mouth.
I say beware, fellow fantasy freak, because many of these salesmen of fleeting fantasy success should be left in the dungeon on your waiver wire. Turn away, no matter how gorgeous a stat line they posted this week. Be strong. I know you can.
Here are four guys whose snake oil I will not be purchasing this week.
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Packers wide receiver James Jones has done this to you before.
He's posted a solid stat line, drawn a few clutch throws from Aaron Rodgers and flashed hands and agility that make you wonder how he hasn't established himself as a top-25 pass catcher. But his targets are never consistent enough in the potent Green Bay offense, and his hands have betrayed him just enough to keep Jones a fourth or fifth option.
Jones caught four balls for 81 yards against the 49ers on Sunday and scored on a late touchdown when the Packers were in all-out hurry-up mode. A fine day for Jones, sure, but he was thrown to just six times—four Packers pass catchers saw more targets against San Francisco. Jones' opportunities, once again, won't be there.
Standout second-year receiver Randall Cobb, who astounded Green Bay beat writers during offseason workouts and training camp, was used in all kinds of inventive ways on Sunday, including a frequent spot with Rodgers in the backfield. Rodgers targeted Cobb nine times. The Packers aren't going to delay Cobb's development and usage so Jones can have a few more snaps.
Jones is a decent flier in deep leagues—14 teams or more—but let him be for now. Barring an injury to Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson or Cobb, Jones' fantasy value remains negligible, at best.
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Brown played miserably for much of the game at Chicago on Sunday, missing key blitz pickups early in the contest and dropping a wide-open screen pass that had potential for many, many yards. He would go on to drop another pass from Andrew Luck in the first half.
Brown looked slow in the first half as he was swallowed by the Bears' swarming front four. Greg Cosell, an unassailable authority on all things game film, has warned fantasy owners about Brown's lack of lateral agility.
The guy has good long speed, but he struggles to break free from defenders and get into open space. Lateral agility makes the difference between mediocre running talents and the league's elite backs.
Brown finished the day with 48 yards on nine rushes and the 18-yard score. Colts rookie runner Vick Ballard didn't do much to make his case for the starting gig (four carries for six yards), but I expect Ballard to chip away at Brown's role as top dog in the Indy backfield.
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If you're in something of a more standard league and find your sanity leaving you as you consider The Sanchize as a viable upgrade to Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton, please close your laptop and go for a walk. Do it now, before you ruin your fantasy life.
The much-maligned Sanchez absolutely roasted the Bills secondary Sunday, throwing for 266 yards and four touchdowns on 19-of-27 passing. Playing with a considerable lead as the Jets defense ran amok against Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sanchez threw with confidence, keeping the Buffalo secondary off balance with continual pump fakes.
The Jets, however, don't have the kind of offensive weaponry for Sanchez to produce these numbers every week. And let's not forget that Jets head coach Rex Ryan is committed—obsessed, some would say—with the ground-and-pound concept, which doesn't leave a lot of room for aerial shows like the one Sanchez orchestrated on Sunday.
If that doesn't convince you to stay away from Sanchez, these two words should: Tim Tebow. He alternated quarterback snaps early in the game, and as the season wears on and the Jets face legit defenses, this quarterback timeshare of sorts will surely eat into Sanchez's already paltry fantasy value.
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This last guy, Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill, isn't as toxic a waiver-wire pickup as the other three players mentioned in this article. Hill, the beneficiary of Mark Sanchez's big day, caught five passes for 89 yards and two scores against Buffalo.
The lanky, speedy rookie is a worthy waiver-wire addition in deep leagues, but you can do better in 10- or 12-team leagues. Hill, during the Jets' atrocious preseason, ran imprecise and inconsistent routes that often affected his timing with Sanchez.
Hill, however, owned Bills cover guys all afternoon, specifically cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Hill, at times, looked unstoppable, but I'm not sure how much of his fantastic fantasy day can be attributed to a horrid Bills secondary.
Hill used his size to box out on sideline catches and a long Sanchez lob into the end zone. Hill has the raw talent to develop into a reliable pass catcher, but picking him up and plugging him into your starting lineup this week is premature.
Stash Hill if you play in a league with a deep bench, but don't release a more consistent receiver to snag the rookie.