Fantasy Football Sleepers 2013: Waiver-Wire Options with Favorable Matchups
Choosing a fantasy football lineup from week to week can be a daunting task, especially when one or more of your players has a tough matchup to deal with.
It's such a tough decision to sit players you drafted to be starters in Week 1, but sometimes it's necessary to do so in order to avoid disaster. But fear not, there are plenty of great options on the waiver wire to help fill the void if it becomes logical to make a switch.
While some of these options won't be season-long players on your squad, that doesn't really matter. All that matters is Week 1 and coming away with a victory to start the fantasy campaign.
Let's take a look at some waiver-wire options who are a smart pickup thanks to favorable matchups.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis Colts
After being cut by his former team, the Oakland Raiders, during the offseason, Heyward-Bey and his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, will welcome the silver and black into town in Week 1.
Heyward-Bey spent four seasons with the Raiders and never had any standout years for them. His best season came in 2011 when he caught 64 balls for 975 yards and four touchdowns. The undeniable theme of his tenure in Oakland is simple: He never had a really good quarterback throwing him the ball.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will end up being the best signal-caller Heyward-Bey has ever worked with. On top of that, Heyward-Bey is listed as the Colts' No. 2 receiver on the depth chart ahead of T.Y. Hilton, so he figures to be very involved in Indy's pass-first offense.
The Raiders are set up to have a horrific season on both sides of the ball, but let's focus specifically on defense. Aside from veteran safety Charles Woodson, the Raiders secondary is far from reliable and the jury is still out on rookie cornerback DJ Hayden.
Even if the Colts offense doesn't get it going right away, the Raiders will start inexperienced signal-caller Terrelle Pryor. That should help give the Colts plenty of chances on offense as the second-year QB struggles, and that means plenty of extra drives for Heyward-Bey to have a huge day.
According to ESPN.com, Heyward-Bey is owned in about 20 percent of fantasy leagues, so it's more than likely he's available now. But grab him before he has that big game that sends your fantasy opponents running to the waiver wire to scoop him up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST
Tampa Bay will be the first team to meet the inept New York Jets in 2013-14 and that presents a great matchup for both the Bucs themselves and your fantasy unit. If you are skeptical in any way about your starting defense/special teams unit this week, go to the waiver wire and grab the Bucs.
New York will be sporting a rookie quarterback this season in Geno Smith, and while the Bucs were horrid against the pass last season, they added star cornerback Darrelle Revis to shore things up. Not to mention, the Jets have zero weapons on offense for Smith to throw to.
The Bucs did have the No. 1 rush defense last season and this year's team looks to do much of the same. Bilal Powell will be running the ball for the Jets, so they aren't exactly sending an elite running back out there.
For a rookie quarterback like Smith, turnovers are inevitable. The same will be the case in Week 1 and the Bucs will benefit from that fact as well as the overall lack of talent on the Jets roster. And, there's even a chance the Bucs make a big play or two on special teams as the Jets are nothing special in that area, either.
Amazingly, not all owners have caught onto this little gem as the Bucs are owned in just 50 percent of fantasy leagues, per ESPN.com, although they have seen an add increase of about 25 percent over the past week.
Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Let's keep piling on top of the Jets, shall we?
It may be difficult for you to sit your starting quarterback the first week of the season, but there's no shame in it if that signal-caller is going up against a top defense.
Freeman's Week 1 opponent certainly doesn't qualify as a top defense because it's the Jets defense. Granted, there are plenty of people out there giving the Jets some kind of credit for their defensive unit, but there is reason for skepticism in this particular game.
The Jets may have a solid front seven, but they will be focused on stopping the run by stacking the box in anticipation of running back Doug Martin, who compiled over 1,400 yards last season. That approach should help the Bucs passing attack as there will be more room to operate downfield.
As far as pass defense goes, the Jets are looking pretty thin nowadays. Revis is now with Tampa Bay and that leaves Antonio Cromartie as the team's best corner. While he's a nice player, he's no Revis and neither is anyone else in the Jets secondary.
First-round pick Dee Milliner is still unproven and Kyle Wilson now looks to be his backup. With guys like Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams alongside the team's newest receiver, Kevin Ogletree, Tampa Bay is deep at the position and that will give New York plenty of matchup problems.
According to ESPN.com, Freeman is owned in about 22 percent of fantasy leagues. He is a perfect one-week option for your roster.
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