NFL Fantasy Football Week 1: Last-Second Moves To Start Your Year Right
So, you've done your draft and you're ready for Thursday night's kickoff, or are you? A careful inspection of your roster reveals that your starting quarterback is hurt, one of your starting running backs was benched, your tight end has hands of stone, and one of your wideouts was suspended for drinking cough syrup and sprite while driving (Oh, wait, that was JaMarcus Russell. Sorry.).
Well, fear not, because we have a list of 10 last-second additions to your fantasy team who are guaranteed to make a significant impact. To make this list, they have to be unowned in more than half of all leagues. So, let's begin, shall we?
10. Mario Manningham, WR, New York Giants
Manningham is the third wide receiver in the Giants system. He's got decent size, speed, and hands, and is an excellent slot option. On top of that, second wideout Hakeem Nicks hasn't proven anything of yet, and the run game in New York is inconsistent, meaning the Giants will probably be throwing quite a bit. He's got some value, and definitely merits a pickup if you need help at wideout.
9. Fred Davis, TE Washington Redskins
Fred Davis is the Redskins' backup tight end. But he's also got better hands than Washington's current second starting receiver (Devin Thomas), and has the perfect combination of size and speed to be successful in the NFL. Look for the Redskins to run starting tight end Chris Cooley as a wideout on occasion to help Davis see the field more.
8. Brian Westbrook, RB, San Francisco 49ers
If we learned one thing from Westbrook's tenure in Philly, it's that he doesn't have the physical stature to withstand the rigors of being an every down back in the NFL. Fortunately, the 49ers have a back who does possess that kind of size in Frank Gore.
In other words, for the first time in Westbrook's career, he will be utilized correctly, as a third down, big play threat.
7. Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Cleveland Browns
Massaquoi is easily the best wideout on a terrible, terrible Browns team. Sure, he doesn't have anyone throwing him the ball, but he's going to manage some big games this season, in spite of the quarterbacks in Cleveland.
6. John Carlson, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Carlson is, hands down, the most underappreciated tight end in all of football. He's been rock solid for two seasons now, yet can't garner enough support to crack the 50 percent owned plateau. He's also the best receiving option the Seahawks have, now that T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been given his walking papers. Play him with confidence.
5. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, New England Patriots
"The Law Firm" might be the most talented back New England has in its stable right now, but head coach Bill Belichick seems intent on giving perennial underacheiver Laurence Maroney yet another chance to rush for 650 yards and four touchdowns this season.
At some point this year, Green-Ellis will get a legitimate shot at the starting job. When he does, you'll be ready.
4. Jabar Gaffney, WR, Denver Broncos
Every once in a while, a quarterback and receiver overcome one or the other's lack of talent to establish a profitable connection. This season, that connection was made between the Broncos' Kyle Orton, a better than you think quarterback, and Jabar Gaffney, a journeyman wideout.
Feel free to exploit this connection as you see fit.
3. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
Gresham is a promising rookie tight end with the hands, speed, and size to be an elite NFL receiver. Plus, he's got a good quarterback in Carson Palmer, some protection from Terrell Owens and Ochocinco, and a strong running game. What's not to like?
2. Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Smith is poised for the breakout year we've been waiting for since he was drafted first overall in 2005. He's got a strong arm, good mobility, and his decision making skills have improved drastically in the past season or two. He's got the tools and he's got the knowledge of his system he was missing early in his tenure. Look for a big year from him.
1. Nate Burleson, WR, Detroit Lions
Burleson might be the most underappreciated second wideout in the league this season. He's got the talent to put up big numbers, and with Calvin Johnson opposite him drawing all the double teams, he should be open quite a bit this season. He's definitely going to make teams pay for it all season long.