Though there are still two games left to play in the first week of the regular season, the rest are in the books, and there are lots of players who had big games. Of course, Drew Brees and Adrian Peterson already occupy a slot on someone’s roster in your league, but some of the big game producers from week 1 are still available. As such, we’re here to break down the top players that may be available in fantasy leagues, analyze why they can help your squad and let you know what owners should be targeting said individuals. Without further ado, here is the Weekly Waiver Wire article for week 1.
Take Note: Not all players that had strong week 1 outings are on this list, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have value. If you have any questions about free agents not discussed in this article, then head over to the forums and we’ll help you with the answers.
QUARTERBACKS - PICK THEM UP
Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)
Apparently his play in the preseason was no fluke. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has clearly grown as a quarterback since being a rookie last year when he was asked just to not lose games. In week 1 against the Chiefs, Flacco went 26-for-43 for 307 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Watching Flacco, it’s evident how much he has matured. He is much more comfortable in the pocket and decisive on his throws. He also appears to have a much better command of the offense than he did last season. The Ravens are still going to run the ball a lot and rely on their defense, but Flacco makes for a good backup in any size of league.
Brady Quinn (Cleveland Browns)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn barely edged out Derek Anderson for the starting quarterback job and his performance in week 1 was not good enough to cement himself in that position for the rest of the season. However, Quinn did overcome a slow start to throw for 205 yards with one touchdown and one interception on 21-for-35 passing. What’s more important to note is that he completed 60% of his passes, which is a good sign from a guy who only completed 50% of his throws last season. For now, Quinn should only remain an option in deeper leagues, but he does have some potential. A patient owner who stashes him on the bench could likely be rewarded later on in the season.
Brodie Croyle (Kansas City Chiefs)
First and foremost, Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback, Brodie Croyle, should only be picked up in the following situation - a) Matt Cassel is unable to return to action in week 2 and b) you’re in a deep league and need a spot start in week 2.
Against one of the league’s top defenses in the Baltimore Ravens, Croyle went 16-for-24 for 177 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Combine that good play with a favorable match-up against the Oakland Raiders this coming weeknd and Croyle could make for a good spot starter. Again, though for Croyle to have any value to you as a fantasy owners, the two stipulations above need to be met.
RUNNING BACKS - PICK THEM UP
Mike Bell (New Orleans Saints)
With Pierre Thomas out of action with a sprained knee, New Orleans Saints running back Mike Bell got the call against the Detroit Lions, and he made the most of his opportunity. Bell rushed for 143 yards on 28 carries in the win over the Lions. Bell is a good fit in the Saints’ offense and is a good option in any size league, but his value would take a tremendous hit if Thomas is able to return for week 2. Thomas was questionable most of the week leading up to the game with the Lions and was ruled out late in the week, so it’s clear the Saints are hoping he’s ready to go for week 2. If he isn’t, then Bell is a good play, though he would be facing the Philadelphia Eagles defense.
Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants)
Though he is the clear backup to starter Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw got nearly the same amount of carries (12) in week 1 as did Jacobs (16). And, with those carries, he did more than Jacobs as he rushed for 60 yards compared to 48 for Jacobs. Now, 12 carries for 60 yards is not a great stat line by any means, but it’s important to note that Bradshaw will see regular carries for the Giants this season, and behind that offensive line that’s a good thing. For now, Bradshaw may not be the best option to start in 10 or 12 team leagues, but if you can clear a bench spot for him, it might be well worth your time.
Tim Hightower (Arizona Cardinals)
After drafting Chris Wells in the first round and then seeing him play well in his limited action during the preseason the Arizona Cardinals decided to remain with Tim Hightower as their starting running back. That decision was rewarded well as Hightower had a combined 136 yards in the loss to the 49ers. Of those 136 yards, 121 of them came on 12 receptions, so it’s nice to see Hightower become such a force as a receiving option. The bad, however, is that he gained just 15 rushing yards on eight carries. Hightower only averaged 2.8 yards per carry last season, so it would be surprising if he doesn’t start to lose time to Wells, who had 29 yards on seven carries. Still, Hightower would make for a good flex option or backup until Wells takes over.
Carnell Williams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
After returning from yet another injury, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running back Carnell Williams appears to be healthy again, and he looked pretty good against the Dallas Cowboys. In the loss to Dallas, Williams rushed 13 times for 97 yards and a touchdown. It’s important to note that the starting job isn’t his by any means as Derrick Ward rushed 12 times, just one less than Williams, for 62 yards and a touchdown against Dallas. It appears Tampa Bay will go with a RBBC with Williams and Ward, so for now Williams’ value remains high only in deeper leagues. We’ve seen what he can do when he’s healthy, so if he can avoid injury then perhaps he’s on his way to a good season.
WIDE RECEIVERS - PICK THEM UP
Earl Bennett (Chicago Bears)
Some receiver is going to step up for the Chicago Bears this season, and the early favorite appears to be second-year man Earl Bennett. Bennett lead the Bears with seven receptions for 66 yards in the loss to the Green Bay Packers. Devin Hester remains the deep option for Chicago, but Bennett has better hands than the speedster, so he should see a fair amount of catches. However, with quarterback Jay Cutler tossing four interceptions and just one touchdown, it’s clear the Bears’ passing offense still needs some work. For now, Bennett should only remain an option in deeper leagues.
Davone Bess (Miami Dolphins)
Miami Dolphins’ receivers Ted Ginn and Greg Camarillo are still finding their way in the offense. Ginn is trying to hone his receiver skills, while Camarillo is coming off a season-ending knee injury and isn’t 100 percent. That led to Davone Bess leading the Dolphins with seven catches for 57 yards in the loss to the Falcons. The next closest receiver was Ronnie Brown, who had three catches for just 10 yards. Bess is still young and a bit raw but does have good potential and could emerge as a solid No. 2 in Miami. Still, his value as a receiver for the Dolphins remains low, and he should only be considered right now in deeper leagues.
Justin Gage (Tennessee Titans)
The Tennessee Titans have needed somebody to step up at wide receiver for years now, and it appears that man will be Justin Gage. In the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Gage led the team with seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. That would make him a good option as a No. 3 receiver, but it’s also important to consider that he still hasn’t shed his issue of dropping the ball, especially on routes across the middle, and rookie Kenny Britt looked impressive against Pittsburgh and could eventually become the team’s top receiving option. Also, remember the Titans are a run-first team so scoring opportunities for Gage could be limited - meaning he’s more a risky No. 3 fantasy option.
TIGHT ENDS - PICK THEM UP
John Carlson (Seattle Seahawks)
The Seattle Seahawks passing game looked unstoppable in the win over the St. Louis Rams and tight end John Carlson was a big reason for that. Carlson, who lined up at tight end and receiver, caught six passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. He was often wide open and made good plays on the ball as the Rams maybe focused a bit too much on Nate Burleson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. With a healthy Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback and a healthy offensive line, the Seattle passing game looks like it’s right back on track after a sub-par 2008. As long as that’s the case, then figure Carlson to be a big part of the action as the Seahawks can use him to exploit defensive mismatches. Right now, he should be considered in any size league for those in need of a tight end.
KICKERS - PICK THEM UP
Steven Hauschka (Baltimore Ravens)
The Baltimore offense looks much improved with the growth of Flacco, but the Ravens are still going to have their fare share of hiccups along the way. They appear ready to score more points than last
season as well as threaten to score more often, which means good things for kicker Steven Hauschka. Against the Chiefs, Hauschka was 1-for-2 on field goals with a long of 44 and 5-for-5 on extra points. That’s a pretty decent fantasy performance for a young kicker like that. However, as there are an abundance of good kickers available, and Hauschka did miss one of his field goal attempts, he should only be considered in deep leagues. Once he proves he can be more consistent, and once then Ravens prove they can score more often than they did last year, then Hauschka would become a more attractive option in regular leagues.
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*THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BRUNO BOY CORY STEGER.*