It didn’t take long for the waiver wire to heat up in the Fantasy Football 2012 season. Savvy players will grab fantasy sleepers that fall onto the waiver wire while desperate owners will fall for the flavor of the week. Which one will you be this week?
This is the best time of the season to find quality starters on the wire. Of course there is a lot of guesswork here because it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a one week fantasy wonder that took advantage of a bad defense or the consistent producer. That is why you will find more options in the early weeks than you will in the later weeks.
Keep in mind, there aren’t any real locks on the list this week. Last year you had some real gems like Cam Newton emerge on Week 1. This week there are a lot of potential studs, but nobody I’d call a sure bet like Newton was. So consider these pickups more of an investment of depth or trade bait later in the season.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens - There are two words to remember about Joe Flacco this season. Contract year! There was a lot of buzz coming into this season about the high-powered Baltimore offense. Flacco and the Ravens offense lived up the hype with a masterful performance this past Monday night. I don’t think it is a fluke. I think Flacco’s big season continues and I am all on board if you need a QB.
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets - Welcome back to the waiver wire list Mark Sanchez. Sanchez is probably available in every league after a horrendous preseason. Sanchez had a fantastic game with three TDs and only one interception in the opening. Maybe Tim Tebow is magical after all? I am still not a fan of starting a QB who is coming out frequently in a game. At the same time, it is hard to ignore what Sanchez did to one of the sleeper defenses coming into the NFL season.
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans – Down goes Locker! Jake Locker is hurt and Hasselbeck will be temporarily taking over starting duties in Tennessee. Locker is expected back in Week 2 but you never know with a shoulder separation. Hasselbeck was pretty good early on last year for Tennessee and he’ll have Kenny Britt back this week. Monitor the injury report and if Locker is out and you need a QB, I’d certainly take a shot on Hasselbeck. All signs point to Locker playing, but you won’t know for sure until Sunday.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins –Proceed with caution! Objects in your rear view mirror are further away than they appear. Morris looks like a waiver wire gem this week. Morris racked up two TDs against the Saints on Sunday. Morris looked like the starter going into the week regardless of what Mike Shanahan said. Call me crazy but as shiny as this gem looks, I am passing. I expect Morris to have similar games sprinkled throughout the season, but he won’t do this week to week. Plus, he played no part in the passing game. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. We know how this ends in Washington and it’s rarely good for the running back.
Jonathon Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers – Dwyer ran like a maniac on Sunday night. Dwyer backed up Isaac Redman and eventually fought his way into the majority of the carries. Prior to the Steelers pronouncing Rashard Mendenhall was on his way back, Dwyer was a sneaky sleeper in drafts. The problem here is that Mendenhall will be back and will be the starter at some point. If for whatever you reason you need a running back for a few weeks, I’d certainly take a flyer on Dwyer. Otherwise he may wind up sitting on your bench for the majority of the season once Mendenhall comes back. Unfortunately it’s slim pickings right now at running back so you may be better off passing on any of these backs for the time being.
Stephen Hill, New York Jets – Who would have guessed that Stephen Hill would have a bigger fantasy week than Calvin Johnson in Week 1? Wide receiver is deep this week on the wire, so your chances of getting Hill are very good if you want him. Hill will be the number-two lined up next to Santonio Holmes and that makes him a lot more appealing than anyone else here. I really loved the toughness Hill showed at times during the game as well. Wide receiver is far and away the deepest position in fantasy football this year. If you are in a 10 or 12 team league, you probably have better options than Hill either on your team or available. If not, I’d absolutely grab him.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers – Remember what I said about Morris? Fool me once, etc, etc? Well it’s Groundhog Day with Cobb. Cobb looked great last season in the opener against the Saints and scored a TD. Everyone was hot on Cobb as their waiver wire gem and what happened? Cobb had no more touchdowns the rest of the season. All reports out of Green Bay indicate that the Packers are looking to get Cobb more involved in their offense. I’d like him a lot more if not for his falloff last season, but I am certainly intrigued. Especially with Greg Jennings questionable status for Thursday.
Kevin Ogletree, Dallas Cowboys – I already wrote a lengthy blog on Ogletree last week so I’ll keep it short. I’m not buying it. I’d much rather take a flyer on the slot receiver facing the Giants defense on a week to week basis before I take Ogletree. He’s had four years to emerge with plenty of opportunities and did nothing. Once Witten and Austin are back to form, I think Ogletree will become a wasted roster spot on your team. I could be wrong but I am seeing more Torrey Smith 2011 here than Laurent Robinson.
Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers – LaFell made my waiver wire list last year early after scoring against Green Bay but wound up finishing the season with only two more TDs. LaFell was a hot “sleeper” pick in the offseason but I am still skeptical. LaFell did have a TD Sunday and it does appear that he and Newton have some chemistry. I think LaFell has the best chance to be a regular starter in deep leagues, but I need to see it for a couple of more weeks before I am convinced. He is certainly worth a roll in deeper leagues.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs – McCluster like many on this list is seeing his second season as a waiver wire buy. There is no doubt that he is the most versatile player on the team. He led the team with 10 targets in Week 1. I would be a little more skeptical if this wasn’t the case all throughout the preseason as well. It is obvious that McCluster will be a big part of the Chiefs offense. He is much more valuable as an add in PPR leagues than standard scoring. Although of all the receivers here, he has the best potential to give you weekly points.
Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers – Big Heath always winds up my waiver wire at some point and after seeing Sunday night’s game, he is back this year. One thing was crystal clear to me watching the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers and the brand new Todd Haley offense. Heath Miller is the number one red zone option! He scored a TD Sunday but was a go-to He is only going to snag 3-5 catches a week, but so what? If one of them is a touchdown, what more do you need from your tight end?