If you’re in a 12- to 14-team fantasy football league, chances are your waiver wire is drier than an aquaphobic person’s swimming trunks.
But fear not, brave divers. There’s still talent to be found at wide receiver heading into Week 2, even in the deep end of larger fantasy football pools.
By now, you likely have heard of the hot names at wide receiver. Some that come to mind include Kevin Ogletree, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Alshon Jeffery, Stephen Hill and Dexter McCluster.
And chances are that either you have already proven to be a diligent fantasy manager by scooping up one or more of these players or you were late to the party and are scrounging for leftovers.
If your case is the latter, this article is for you. The following players aren’t superstars and likely won’t be in 2012. They are, however, useful pickups to help you out at wide receiver if you’re in a pinch in deeper leagues.
Slot receiver David Nelson tore his ACL in Week 1 and is out for the rest of the season, as first reported by Adam Schefter on Twitter. That position will now be filled by Donald Jones.
The Bills run a spread offense under head coach and offensive-guru Chan Gailey, and while Gailey didn’t prove to be much of a guru against the Jets in the opener, you can be sure he’ll be out to redeem himself in front of his home crowd against the Chiefs this week—and for the rest of the season.
Jones is an athletic, versatile receiver who has spent most of his time in Buffalo lining up outside. But in fact, he may actually be a better fit in the slot due to his skill set.
In 2011, David Nelson caught 61 balls for 658 yards and five touchdowns from Ryan Fitzpatrick while lining up in the slot. Those numbers should now go to Jones.
Go ahead and scoop him up now before he has a breakout game in Week 2. He already had five catches for 41 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, and those numbers are almost certain to improve.
A dynamo that many casual fans likely didn’t know about prior to Week 1, Andrew Hawkins is starting to garner some attention out in Cincinnati.
After leading the team with eight catches for 86 yards against the Ravens on Monday night, the 5’7”, 180-pound weapon should be a valuable commodity moving forward, especially in PPR leagues.
The Bengals now have a sturdy running game behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and second-year quarterback Andy Dalton loves himself a healthy dose of A.J. Green. But these factors should actually strengthen the case for Hawkins, who should benefit from more space and single coverage.
Hawkins can move around on the line and create opportunities on underneath routes. His strong performance in the opener should earn him more looks on offense. And he doesn’t have a lot of competition behind Green for targets.
Cincinnati will get back on track after losing in Week 1, and that will only mean good things for Hawkins.
It’s no secret the Atlanta Falcons are becoming more of a pass-first team. Quarterback Matt Ryan is emerging as a top-tier passer, and veteran receiver Roddy White now has a dynamic youngster in Julio Jones to complement him.
Meanwhile, Harry Douglas is waiting in the wings.
The 27-year-old has shown flashes in the past, but he hasn’t had enough opportunities to truly be a factor, especially with running back Michael Turner logging over 300 carries in each of the last two seasons.
That’s all set to change.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta has been working on featuring three-wide-receiver sets as the base offense. And Douglas is this explosive offense’s third wide receiver.
In Week 1, Julio Jones had six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Roddy White added six catches for 87 yards. At some point, opponents will spend so much time focusing on shutting those two playmakers down that Douglas is going to explode, much like Kevin Ogletree did for Dallas last week.
Don’t be the one talking about how he was on your watch list all season before that breakout performance. He plays in a dynamic offense with a quality quarterback, and that alone is more than you can say about most players on the waiver wire in deep leagues.
Oakland Raiders speedster Jacoby Ford underwent foot surgery on Wednesday, per CBS Sports’ Eric Gilmore. Per Gilmore’s report, “there is no timetable for his return.”
Playing without Ford and Denarius Moore in Week 1, the Raiders offense admittedly struggled. McFadden notched 13 catches, and Carson Palmer suffered from a lack of a deep threat. He did, however, get undrafted rookie Rod Streater involved.
Streater had four catches for just 27 yards, but he did record Oakland’s only touchdown. At 6’3” and 200 pounds, he has a nice frame and positions his body well enough to make the kinds of catches Carson Palmer will make under pressure or when downfield looks are taken away.
The return of Moore will only help Streater’s production, since Moore will help take the tops off of defenses. As a result, Streater should have more room to operate, and Palmer should have bigger lanes in which to throw.
He’s a low-risk/high-reward pickup if you are desperate at wide receiver.
Another name that likely caught you by surprise, wide receiver Cecil Shorts had himself a great week against the Minnesota Vikings.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert found him for four catches, 74 yards and a touchdown, despite Shorts only playing 15 snaps, per Rotoworld.com. That strong outing has apparently earned him a bigger role moving forward.
Jaguars sportswriter Mark Long reported via Twitter that head coach Mike Mularkey “might find ways to get WR Cecil Shorts more involved.” That’s good news for folks looking for help at wideout in fantasy.
Gabbert isn’t an elite quarterback, and the Jags offense isn’t explosive. But things look to be improved so far under Mularkey, and Shorts could take advantage of the opportunities that come his way.
Rookie Justin Blackmon, veteran Laurent Robinson and tight end Marcedes Lewis are all threats for targets, and running back Maurice Jones-Drew should see plenty of carries. But there’s no harm in taking a chance on Shorts, who could put up decent numbers for you in a jam.