Hey kids, did you sleep well this weekend? I bet you counted Peyton Manning touchdowns sailing over your head like sheep, right? Anyway, with the early games of week 1 in the books it's time to assess the fallout, good, bad and just plain ugly. This year's waiver wire incarnation is called "Pickups & Hiccups." Pretty self explanatory, you pick up player X and evaluate (hiccups) players who should have done better, but for some reason dropped a deuce in your lineup. I'll discuss buy low trade targets, and sell high aberrations. Lets get busy!
Julius Thomas: In last week's "Beer Goggles & Bombshells," as well as the 2Mugs & Living the Stream podcasts, I was bullish on the big tight end out of Portland State. The former power forward is certainly an athletic mismatch in one on one coverage, and I don't expect that to change much going forward. While his production is TD dependent, he did score two on Thursday night, and could still be a solid red zone target all season. The question is, how much? With several mouths to feed in Denver, and Peyton off to a blazing start, we could see alternating big weeks for the wideouts. I'm not selling at this point, because you likely got him for nothing, and there's still value here given that teams will readily shift coverage to Demaryius Thomas and Welker, and Decker to a lesser extent. If you have waiver priority, make him your top option. If your league uses FAAB, I'd wager a good 15-20% of your budget on him in standard leagues.
Marlon Brown- Another "Beer Goggles & Bombshells" star from last week, he clearly benefits from the freak punt return injury (I dubbed the #PuntBumble) that Jacoby Jones sustained in week 1. We've been pounding the table for you to pick up Brown and stash him, as he's clearly the better prospect than Jones, despite being lower than Jones on the depth chart. Door is now open for the young man, even with the inexplicable love that Jim Caldwell has for the "Cocoon 2" wideouts of Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark. Don't be surprised if this kid emerges in Victor Cruz-like fashion in a few weeks.
Julian Edelman- Nobody saw it coming, but with Amendola missing part of the first half with an aggravated groin, Stevan Ridley putting the ball on the ground twice, and Thompkins and Sudfeld gorging on "rookie cookies" all game, the veteran utility man caught 7 passes for 79 yards and 2 TDs. If he's out there, make him a priority on the waiver wire. Bill Belichick rewards accountable, mistake free football. I wouldn't be surprised to see Thompkins lose snaps to Edelman going forward.
Jermaine Kearse- Seattle's WR4 was the lone bright spot in an otherwise defensive snoozer of a football game. He didn't grab a ton of volume here, but he was the lone TD score on a 43 yard hookup with Russell Wilson. Like Marlon Brown, he just needs an opportunity.
Joique Bell- Granted, he's not likely available in deeper leagues, but in smaller league he's still out there. A perfect handcuff for Reggie Bush, and his goal line work (Mikel LeShoure is done, like we told you on the podcast) gives him weekly value. The way he's being utilized in the passing game, is not unlike having an additional WR (ie. Vereen), so get him if you can.
Terrelle Pryor- Hat tip to the @LateRoundQB, @CDCarter13 & @LordReebs who were all big advocates for using Pryor in daily fantasy leagues. His low cost and high output this week made him a great 2nd QB in two quarterback dailies. Next week? He faces the juggernaut Jags who put up 2 whole points vs. the Chiefs.
Anquan Boldin- Surprisingly Boldin went undrafted in many leagues, as some believed him to be done or just a good fit for the Baltimore offense. He's the WR people love to hate. No TDs, and little yards after the catch. However, he's reliable, is exactly where his QB wants him to be, and gobbles up double digit catch totals.
The following players are good buy low/trade candidates based on their week 1 production, and expected upticks going forward.
Stevan Ridley- He put the rock on the ground twice, which in Belichick Land earns you a trip to the Doghouse Bed & Breakfast. Vereen looked outstanding in his absence, so Vereen's price goes up, Ridley's price plummets. Lets remember that Ridley rushed for over 1200 yards last year, and that Belichick usually gets the message sent loud and clear when he benches a veteran player. If you're a Vereen owner, I'd look to steal Ridley from scared fantasy owners. NOTE 9/9/13 @JayGlazer is reporting that Vereen broke a small bone in his hand, and will need surgery (missing a few weeks). This blows the very small window to grab Ridley on the cheap unfortunately. Ridley's workload is safe going forward.
C.J. Spiller- He won't be cheap, but cheaper after the Patriots fairly stout run defense kept Spiller from eclipsing 50 yards on 17 carries. Spiller faces the now tough Carolina front seven, so his price could fall even further if he comes up small in week 2.
Cam Newton- Against the beastly Seattle defense, Newton put up pedestrian numbers (125 passing/1TD & 38 yards rushing). Newton faces Buffalo and the Giants in successive weeks, and should be able to exploit their aggressive fronts that give immobile QBs like Brady trouble. Believe in his talent, the track record is a proven one.
Lamar Miller- No, I'm not kidding. Sure hobo with a shotgun, Daniel Thomas, scored a cheap goal line TD, but he's still a bum. Next week, Miller faces the "get right" defense of the Colts, who made Terrelle Pryor look like Marcus Allen, and subsequently leaving Todd Christiansen in tears.
Roddy White- A high ankle sprain can strike fear in the hearts of some fantasy owners, and the double tough Roddy White played through the injury vs. New Orleans. Unfortunately, he produced like a guy with a high ankle sprain (2 catches for 19 yards). If you can pry him away in trade from a nervous owner and stash him for depth, get it done. He's a high end WR2 when healthy.
Eddie Lacy- We knew he'd run into the buzz saw that is the Niner defense , but he did flash at times on a few runs, and did score. Owners might be willing to send him your way for pennies on the dollar, so get him in a trade now as his schedule gets easier, especially late in the year for your fantasy playoffs.
These are guys you might be tempted to acquire off of the waiver wire, but trust Uncle Rummy, these are aberrations of the highest order.
Jackie Battle- The lone TD scored by the rush-centric Titans was scored by the journeyman running back. Next week the Titans face the stout Texan defense, and Battle won't sniff six, and he needs TDs to be relevant. Bad money.
Kellen Winslow- Seven catches, 79 yards, 1 TD. This will not happen again. This is Kellen Winslow. You are welcome.
Fumbles here! Get your red hot fumbles here! Man, the turnovers in the Dallavs vs. NYG game made the Pats/Bills game look a master class in football execution. Eli Manning threw three interceptions, but more importantly, David Wilson fumbled not once, but TWICE. Straight to the doghouse he went, giving way to Da' Rel Scott. To be honest, Scott looked pretty Andre Brownish, so if that puts lead in your pencil, go pick him up off waivers. Best case scenario for him is that he steals goal line carries from Wilson. The fallout for Wilson? Some scared owners will be looking to unload him, much like Stevan Ridley. Remember kids, its week 1, you have to weather the potholes and bet on talent. Both Wilson and Ridley present good buy low opporunities, so get those trade offesr in ASAP.
Victor Cruz looks like a beast once again after an early preseason injury, clocking three TDs vs the DAL secondary. On the flip, Hakeem Nicks has me a litte worried. Don't let the numbers fool you, Nicks is not the same guy. After the catch? He's like a car with the gas tank on "empty". Maybe it's his health, or maybe that's just who he is, and we need to accept the obvious. The problem is, he's a big play WR, so if he's not getting red zone targets, he's barely a WR3 some weeks. Reuben Randle on the other hand, looked more dynamic than Nicks, and hopefully the Jints brain trust agrees. I don't know that he has every week flex value, but i've rostered him in several leagues, and he's an opportunity guy waiting to happen. Be patient.
How bout dem' Cowboys? Okay, they looked pretty awful too, but not all is lost. DeMarco Murray looked like his giddy up is back, and trucked defenders at will. He should have some great weeks ahead, and his 8 catches out of the backfield were a nice bonus. With the sloppy defenses of the NFL East on the docket, he'd be someone moving up my trade target list. The "Vomit Varmint" Jason Witten looked like his old self, but with more red zone love this week. He'll be solid going forward, but I dont expect the TDs to happen in bunches. Trade high candidate? You may want to consider it, especially in standard leagues. Dez Bryant owners can come down off of the ledge, down weeks are what fantasy football is made of, my friends. Any slow witted, impatient owners in your league? Make them an offer for Dez, he'll have more monster games than not, and that ankle tweak didn't look serious, as Bryant returned to action. Tony Romo posted some Flacco-esque numbers. He'll have better weeks. He's a fantasy stud, remember? Miles Austin looks like his old self again, pulling down 10 catches from the slot, making for a nice double digit PPR flex play.
The opener on Monday night was a doozy, with Chip Kelly ripping the lid off of the peanut butter, and spreading the fantasy love around as expected. LeSean McCoy had a monster game, and Ryan and I feel justified in our top 3 ranking of Shady this week (31/184/1TD). McCoy will continue to benefit in this misdirection heavy offense, because he tends to avoid contact, even with a big workload. DeSean Jackson continues to be Mike Vick's binky, ending the day with 7/104/1TD on the day. He's the clear number one target in this high volume offense, and should flourish, as Kelly preferably likes to use Jackson outside of the 20's and away from big hits. It bodes well for his health for all 16 games. Mike Vick clocked in 3 TDs on the day, two through the air, and one with his feet. He was seen limping and holding his groin through the first half, so you still have to have a backup plan should he miss any time (the man still can't slide to avoid contact). Brent Celek grabbed his obligatory TD , and had a low double digit fantasy day. He's not a bad streaming matchup going forward.
Robert Griffin III, on the other hand, had trouble when they started the game out of the traditional offensive set. Things picked up when they reverted to the option, which also opened up lanes for Alfred Morris, who looked a lot like Stevan Ridley with some early brain farts. Morris did score once the offense switched to the option, and hopefully going forward we won't see a "protective" approach of RG3 from the Shanahans, as Griffin's passes were much more accurate on the roll out, vs. in the pocket, where they lacked some zip. Griffin's knee and a hesitancy to set his feet (and weight), might be the reason his pocket passes looked to be misdirected. Leonard Hankerson, a former favorite of the Mugs, benefitted from an attempt to neutralize Pierre Garcon, and scored two TDs as a result. I think Hank is worth a spec add (especially in deep leagues), but I fully expect Garcon to bounce back next week after posting a modest PPR total of 7 catches for 64 yards. I don't see any point in pickups of Santana Moss or Josh Morgan, as their respective week to week production will be hard to trust. Jordan Reed bested fellow TE Fred Davis, but again, neither is rosterable unless you stream matchups.
The late matchup was straight out of a bizarro Superman comic book. Philip Rivers looked rejuvenated early, connecting with Ryan Mathews for a passing TD, with an additonal two TDs to Eddie Royal and one to polarizing fantasy prospect, Vincent Brown. The Chargers looked to be pulling off the upset of the week, but then they just played like, well...the Chargers. Matt Schaub connected with TEs Graham and Daniels (Daniels 2nd on the day) in the 3rd and 4th quarter, and Philip Rivers reverted back to the Rivers of old, and gift wrapped a pick six to Brian Cushing, that sealed the Chargers fate, and put them back in contention for the 1st pick in April. As for pickups? Owen Daniels if he's still out there in smaller leagues, and DeAndre Hopkins in deeper leagues, as he flashed some of that sure handed talent that the draft community has grown to love. If you tried to trade for Andre Johnson prior to last night? Fat chance going forward, as he looked like his old self, snagging 12 catches for 146 yards. The TDs will come, trust me. Arian Foster looked decent, but the Chargers early route took the game out of the running backs hands, and into the air with Matt Schaub. Cap tip to our friends over at @LateRoundQB, who liked Schaub as a viable streaming option this week. He finished the day with 346 yards and 3 TDs.