So, we’ve reached the end of Week 1. It was a rocky one for sure, but that is pretty expected for fantasy football on opening weekend.
Take, for instance, that the highest scoring wide receiver was Kevin Ogletree, who began the season owned in .4 percent of leagues. That is 4 out of every 1000 leagues, people.
Or maybe that the highest scoring running back was C.J. Spiller, busting out for 169 rushing yards on 14 attempts… against the N.Y. Jets defense.
And let’s not forget that both Mark Sanchez and Blaine Gabbert finished as a top ten scoring quarterback this week.
And on the other end of the spectrum, a huge amount of marquee players fell flat fantasy-wise. Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Lloyd, Torrey Smith, Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, Victor Cruz, Vincent Jackson, Greg Jennings, Hakeem Nicks and Wes Welker all scored six points or less.
At running back, Chris Johnson, Michael Turner, Trent Richardson, Ronnie Brown, Isaac Redman, Roy Helu, Cedric Benson, Fred Jackson, Peyton Hillis, Beanie Wells and DeAngelo Williams couldn’t even manage to break the four-point barrier.
But it was just Week 1. Things come and go. I wouldn’t worry too much about the low scoring stars, they always bounce back. The sleepers are the interesting kids. Here are my thoughts on the players worth picking up, and those that seem a little too good to be true.
Here is my list of some waiver wire names that I like to either continue their scoring trend or to drop off. Let’s get to my Like’em or Leave’em.
Alex Smith – Like’em
I’d take him as a backup if you feel that you need one. The Green Bay Packers aren’t necessarily a great passing defense, but you have to argue in Smith’s favor. Keeping his cool in Lambeau and putting up a pretty good stat-line is nothing to dismiss. Seems that with the added receiver talent, the 49ers could be more than just a run-heavy offense that relies on the big time defense to win games for them.
Mark Sanchez – Leave’em
Smells like a fluke to me. The Buffalo defense, the one that everyone thought would be pretty dominant this season, looked miserable. Also, I have to look at his past and take into account that he has never been a fantasy darling. I commend him on shaking off all the off-season drama, and really putting up one of the best QB performances in the league this week. But you know that he will drop off and have bad games. And you know that when that happens, everyone in New York, the greater Gainesville area and the Bible Belt will be chanting “Tebow! Tebow!”
C.J. Spiller – Like’em
Similar situation as last season. Fred Jackson gets hurt and C.J. Spiller is the man to step in. Except this year, he looks a hell of a lot better than he did last year. More than 10 yards per carry, a couple catches out of the backfield, a touchdown and all against the Jets defense. Not too shabby. The chances that he is available are pretty slim, but if you have him. I’d consider him RB2/Flex material.
Dexter McCluster – Like’em
Let me first state that this is for deep leagues, and that even in a deep league, I would expect a repeat performance before even fathoming putting the man in my starting lineup. But he is a running back that you can play as a receiver, which can be nice. And six receptions on 10 targets for 82 yards is impressive. Especially PPR leagues.
Knowshon Moreno – Leave’em
Touched the ball five times. Managed to score on one of them. Short of a McGahee injury, I would leave Moreno right where he is. Even then, he’ll be splitting carries with two other backs, since he is listed fourth on the depth chart. Had he not found the end zone, he’d have ended the game with one point.
Shaun Draughn – Leave’em
Essentially the same notes as Moreno. Likely it’s a good bet that if you’ve never heard of him before, he is best left where he is. Would have had three points if not for finding the end zone.
Alfred Morris – Torn
He did great. He had 30 carries for nearly 100 yards and two scores. It’d be a moron to say Leave’em. But on the other hand, he is going to be a huge headache. The ‘Skins will likely rotate with Roy Helu and Evan Royster. And there will be no source of rhyme or reason to it because, apparently, Mike Shanahan despises fantasy owners. If you have room or someone to drop, then go ahead and take him. Just expect that in a single game he could get you 20 points, or he could literally not touch the ball.
Kevin Ogletree – See here
Stephen Hill – Like’em
I’m buying it. There is really not a huge amount of competition at the position. You have Holmes to deal with and Kerley might actually be an issue some weeks (he’s a leave’em, by the way), but overall, I think that Sanchez just likes throwing to him. Holmes was targeted two more times than Hill, but Hill beat him in receptions and touchdowns. He’s a guy that I would be more comfortable having on my bench than having in another team’s lineup.
Alshon Jeffrey – Like’em
I told you guys about this kid. You can’t go wrong lined up next to Brandon Marshall. I wish he had a few more targets and receptions, but 80 yards on three catches is never a bad thing.
Randall Cobb – Like’em
And, to counterbalance my Jeffrey post above, I’ll admit that I was wrong about Cobb. Thrown to nine times, caught the ball nine times. With numbers like that, his yardage is going to be through the roof on some weeks. Don’t count on the return touchdowns to be frequent, but some receiving ones could be in the future. He was helped out though by having Jennings off the field.
Andrew Hawkins – Give it a minute
Keep your eye on him. He is going to be under the radar, so don’t worry about leaving him on the list of free agents for now. But he was targeted nine times, caught eight of them for 86 yards. Whether that was just because the Bengals had to pass a lot from behind, we’ll leave that for next week. Just pay attention here.
Jeremy Kerley, Cecil Shorts, Brandon Gibson, Aldrick Robinson – Leave’em
I’m going to need to see another similar performance from each of these players before doing anything like adding them. They had good games, each of them. But none of them are high on the depth chart, they all have a good amount of competition on their team for catches, and none of them have particularly trustworthy quarterbacks.
A little anecdote before this section. Last year there were 106 defensive touchdowns all season long. That is 6.235 each week. This week there were 10. Just chew on that for a little while.
My tactic for fantasy football defenses is something I like to call Shuffling Defense Strategy. Basically, you treat the free agency market like it is your own personal defensive bench. Each week, you drop the defense you used, and replace them with the one on waivers that has the best matchup. Because you only have (usually) nine other people in your league... that means that you have a field of more than twenty defenses to choose from.
So, my favorite SDS defenses going into next week are:
Cleveland Browns (1.3% owned)
Dallas Cowboys (43.3% owned)
Minnesota Vikings (7.9% owned)
New England Patriots (16.9% owned)
San Diego Chargers (1.7% owned)
Oakland Raiders (2.5% owned)
Washington Redskins (2.9% owned)