Week 3: Pickups of the Week
(Updated 8:15 p.m.)
This week's Pickups article comes with subtext: Buyer beware. Several impressive statistical performances took place this past week from waiver wire types. Some are new to the fantasy relevance scene (like Miami's Charles Clay), while others have previously proven more trick than treat when relied upon.
In preparation for drafts, fantasy owners have more easily accessed information available -- more and more information is provided for fantasy players preparing for drafts, there are also fewer interesting free agent options available on a weekly basis. For me that has meant taking a more aggressive approach with free agent bids when potential several week starters like Julian Edelman and Julius Thomas are available. Hording dollars won't help when the waivers are picked even cleaner.
The thing is, just because a player is an NFL starter doesn't mean they will produce like a good one in our fantasy realm. That might seem obvious, but desperate times call for overspending on players who might not be more than a one-week fix. Because the current free agent talent pool is so shallow, it can be hard recognizing the contenders from pretenders.
That doesn't mean the likes of James Starks cannot help a 0-2 team sporting a backfield of David Wilson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Eddie Lacy. Let's just say I'm intimately familiar with this scenario. Snaps are snaps, touches are touches. Yet in other cases, I see little reason to fork over a large amount of my FAAB for a player unlikely to keep the job for the long haul. Patience isn't just a Guns and Roses song, it's also an important piece of any fantasy owner's arsenal.
Understanding when it's no longer time for tolerance with insufficient production is as well.
Just making sure: Josh Gordon, Knowshon Moreno, Bernard Pierce, Sam Bradford and Alex Smith are among those that should already be on rosters in most-sized leagues and definitely should be considering their Week 3 matchups (or in the case of Gordon, his return from suspension).
1) Sam Bradford
2) Philip Rivers
3) Ryan Tannehill
4) Terrelle Pryor
5) E.J. Manuel
6) Nick Foles
Notes...Only Bradford is worth more than one percent of FAAB. ...Statistically speaking, looks like Rivers found the way-back machine, though it's looking like Philly will give up gobs of passing production each week. The thing is, San Diego's upcoming schedule isn't that scary so more goodness should comes Rivers' way...For those Ben Roethlisberger owners, Tannehill and Manuel are looking better as season-long options while Pryor is for Week 3. ...The Foles mention goes out for those relying on Michael Vick. The way the Eagles are moving the ball, expect success for Foles if he should enter on a regular basis.
1) Bernard Pierce
2) Bilal Powell*
3) James Starks*
4) Jason Snelling
5) Jacquizz Rodgers
6) Isaiah Pead
7) Jordan Todman
Others: Brandon Jacobs, Jacquizz Rodgers, Da'Rel Scott, Justin Forsett, Felix Jones
Notes: The asterisk is because Starks' role is dependant on Lacy's status, whereas Powell is solidly part of the Jets backfield with a likely chance for more whenever Chris Ivory suffers an injury. The fact that Green Bay faces Cincinnati this week limits Starks to Flex consideration in 12-team league - and just a few spots in the weekly rankings ahead of Powell at this moment. ...Unless I owned Eddie Lacy AND were desperate for a RB this week (and believe Lacy's concussion keeps him out for a while), adding Powell/ or Snelling for likely half or 3/4 of the cost is a better multi-week plan.
1) DeAndre Hopkins
2) Marlon Brown
3) Eddie Royal
4) Aaron Dobson
5) Kendall Wright
Others: Cordarelle Patterson, Stephen Hill, Santonio Holmes
Notes: Win lose or draw, don't expect Brown on this list a fourth straight week, not after he scored in Baltimore's first two games. ...Wright is a legitimate playmaker stuck with a quarterback incapable of making consistent plays in the passing game. ...Same sentiment could apply to Hill and Holmes, though we at least give Geno Smith somewhat of a pass for the rookie thing. ...Rather than focusing on Dobson's drops last week, let's focus on the targets and opportunities. Danny Amendola's prognosis looks like he could miss a few weeks and Rob Gronkowski might need at least one more week off. Factor in Tom Brady vs Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Geno Smith and I'll easily take Dobson over the names behind him on this list.
1) Tyler Eifert/Jermaine Gresham
2) Coby Fleener
3) Charles Clay
Others: Jordan Reed, Delanie Walker, Garrett Graham
Notes...Even though he's listed at the bottom, Clay has the clearest path for playing time and consistent targets. Gresham and Eifert are quality players that steal from each other. Same for Fleener and Dwayne Allen, who missed Week 2 with an injury. If Allen remains sidelined another week, Fleener is the number one waiver claim. Owners with a longer view can snag the rookie Eifert. ...
2) NY Jets
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Release Mark Ingram, Ronnie Hillman, Vick Ballard, Shonn Greene, Denarius Moore, Fred Davis…and Ben Roethlisberger.
Seeing as Bradford is owned in over 80 percent of MyFantasyLeague.com leagues, this mention serves more as an excuse to highlight St. Louis' passing prowess.There was a healthy amount of garbage time points this week, but for the second straight game, Bradford displayed the depth of playmakers at his disposal. After unleashing Jared Cook in the season opener, the Rams QB found Chris Givens deep, Austin Pettis often and Tavon Austin twice for touchdowns. Bradford ranks sixth with 651 passing yards through two games. At this point, he should be owned in all leagues, at least until the Rams develop a consistent ground attack.MyFantasyLeague availability: 100%
At this moment, Steven Jackson's status remains murky after the veteran back suffered a thigh injury in Atlanta's Week 2 win over St. Louis, but an NFL.com report puts Jackson out 2-4 weeks. No Jackson essentially means no running game for the Falcons, at least nothing consistent. What it would mean is more Jacquizz Rodgers in the passing game and more Jason Snelling around the goal line. Because Atlanta would turn more to the passing game with Jackson, Rodgers picks up the extra snaps. However, he bombed when given an expanded role last season. Also note the more rugged Snelling caught at least 26 passes in each of the previous seasons and admirably filled in as the lead back when called upon, though it has been a while. Even though Snelling provides greater all-around potential, target him in standard with Rodgers in PPR leagues.MyFantasyLeague availability: 90%
The trickiest name on the board. Obviously, Starks rocked his Week 2 opportunity after the Redskins' Brandon Merriweather rocked Eddie Lacy out of the game, racking up 132 yards on 20 carries. Initial reports suggest Lacy could miss Week 3, meaning another heavy workload chance for Starks. However, next is Cincinnati, a far stingier run defensive challenge (for those looking ahead, Green Bay's ground games faces all kinds of stiff challengers in the coming weeks). Also, the Packers have a bye in Week 4, adding to the belief that the starting gig won't last more than one game. There's another factor: Starks simply hasn't been very good ever since his strong outings during Green Bay's Super Bowl run. Let's not forget why the Packers went out and selected Lacy and Johnathan Franklin this year: because their current RB options weren't getting the job done. For those sitting pretty with running back depth, don't enter more than a nominal waiver claim. For owners (especially those at 0-2) saddled with injured or struggling runners, spending around 30-50 percent of your FAAB is not advisable, but again, desperate times and such. Just hold your nose while doing it.MyFantasyLeague availability: 5%
The majority of NFL pundits touted other rookie wide receivers in the context of the greater long-term potential. Many agreed DeAndre Hopkins landed in the best possible situation: playing opposite Andre Johnson as Houston's No. 2 receiver. On Sunday against Tennessee, Hopkins moved up a rung on the depth chart after Johnson exited with a concussion and delivered the game-winning TD catch in overtime. On the day he had seven receptions for 117 yards. Adding the 6-foot-1 target is more about the long haul than the short term, especially with Baltimore, Seattle and San Francisco on the schedule the next three weeks. Regardless, add away.MyFantasyLeague availability: 93%
Guess it's time to take notice of the bolt of touchdown production taking place in San Diego. After scoring twice in the season opener, Royal posted a TD hat trick in Week 2 against the Eagles. I'm not ready to consider this scoring a trend a lasting one - little in Royal's recent statistical past suggests this is more than an anomaly - but those looking for receiver help on the waiver wire shouldn't dismiss it either.