Week 2 Waiver Wire Reportby Bob Henry, Exclusive to
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It is like a reunion tour for Bledsoe since he's reunited with Terry Glenn and Bill Parcells from New England and Peerless Price from Buffalo. Bledsoe stood in the pocket and delivered ball on target very well throughout the day. He connected early and often with Patrick Crayton, including a 20 yard TD strike, and also found Keyshawn Johnson twice for touchdowns. On the day, Bledsoe completed 18-of-24 for 226 yards with three TDs and no interceptions (but one lost fumble). He even scrambled four times for 7 yards. The Cowboys have a nice blend of depth and youth at the skilled positions. It's conceivable that Bledsoe could have a renaissance season of sorts, but we won't get carried away after just one week. He was still sacked four times. For Bledsoe to be consistently productive, the Cowboys need to protect him considering that he's never been very mobile.
In the season opener, Harrington started strong, but struggled through the second half finishing just 15-of-28 for 167 yards with 2 TDs and no interceptions. The Packers put constant pressure on Harrington rarely allowing him time in the pocket. He scrambled for 14 yards on three runs. Harrington went undrafted in quite a few leagues and he no longer has Jeff Garcia as a threat. The dynamics of the Lions QB position have changed - for better or worse. The upside is that Harrington got the team into the end zone twice, without good protection or time to setup plays downfield. The downside is that he's still not producing the kind of numbers we expected. Roy Williams and Charles Rogers failed to make an impact against a suspect defense on paper. In reality, maybe the Pack's pass defense is slightly better than expected under new DC Jim Bates. Harrington could improve your team's depth and give you serviceable option during your bye week. If the Lions young offense gets into a groove later this season, Harrington's value could rise even further.
Rattay is doing his best Drew Brees impression. He kept the starting job by clearly outplaying Alex Smith. Next thing you know he'll lead the upstart 49ers to the playoffs. We're not ready to go that far yet. Despite losing a fumble in the early going, Rattay played well. He didn't make critical mistakes and he threw a pair of touchdowns while completing 11 of 16 passes for 165 yards with no interception. With continued good health, Rattay promises to be a solid, top 15 to 20 potential fantasy QB that will give you a solid backup and depending on the particular matchup, a good bye week fill-in and maybe a little more.
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Dilfer looks like he'll have a reasonable opportunity to be a productive quarterback this year. The Browns defense will be challenged in Romeo Crennel's first year as they get settled in their new 3-4 scheme. They're likely to struggle and give Dilfer ample opportunity to throw as they may be playing from behind more often than not. Dilfer completed 26-of-43 for 278 yards on Sunday including a 68-yard TD strike to Frisman Jackson. On the flip side, Dilfer threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. The Browns appear to be talented and deep at receiver with Antonio Bryant, Dennis Northcutt, Braylon Edwards and even Frisman Jackson. Dilfer's job is secure, too, but if the Browns season gets away from them, they'll almost certainly throw rookie Charlie Frye into the mix.
It's hard to say how long Gus will be able to sustain the level of play he produced this weekend, but so far so good for the Dolphins. Frerotte's been productive in the past, but he's also been marred by inconsistency and turnovers. In the season opener, Gus completed 24-of-36 for 275 yards with two TDs and one interception. He connected with Marty Booker for a 60-yard TD and found TE Randy McMichael earlier in the game for a wide-open 2 yard TD. If the Dolphins running game continues to struggle Frerotte will have a chance to be productive, but it's difficult projecting him to be a consistent 250 yds/gm quarterback. As such, he's a solid waiver wire pickup to add depth and a bye week fill-in if the matchup is right that week.
The Bills QB of the future won his first career start completing 17-of-28 for 170 yards with a TD. Losman is mobile (rushed for 31 yards on 6 tries) and he played with confidence and displayed a command of the Bill's offense. He's going to be up and down, like most young starting QBs, but he's blessed with great receivers and a great back who will keep defenses honest. His running ability is a bonus as he'll probably add 2 to 4 points per game with his legs. The Bills excellent defense may limit his productivity simply because the Bills, like the Steelers, may not need to throw the ball as often as other teams in the 2nd half of games. Losman probably won't crack the top 12 quarterbacks often each week, but he'll be good enough most weeks to serve as a backup and potential stop-gap if your starter gets hurt.
Big Ben didn't throw a lot of passes, but he completed 9-of-11 for 218 yards with 2 TDs. and ran three times for 5 yards. The Titans defense looks like it's still a bit challenged so we'll see how Roethlisberger holds up against stiffer competition. The Steelers strong defense and running game is a blessing and a curse. It takes pressure off Roethlisberger, but limits his opportunities at the same time. Roethlisberger may not throw more than 5 or 10 passes in the second half of a lot of games this year, and the reality is that he's probably already drafted in most leagues with 12 or more teams.
It looks like Kyle Boller won't be down as long as it originally looked on Sunday night. Boller suffered a hyperextended big toe and he's not expected to be out long-term, but he could be out for the short-term allowing Wright an opportunity to shine. Wright entered the game as the Ravens were forced more into a pass-first offense in an effort to catch up to the Colts on the scoreboard. Wright completed 19-of-31 for 214 yards with two interceptions and a lost fumble. He threw a 17-yard TD to Daniel Wilcox with 13 seconds left in garbage time. Neither QB looked outstanding, but Wright initially looked like a slight improvement over Boller. Wright has a live arm and decent mobility, but he'll need to cut down on the turnovers and make more big plays for the defensive-minded Ravens.
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Orton finished his first career start in the NFL going 15-of-28 for 141 yards with an interception. Grim, really. But there's a chance the Bears offense could come around by midseason under Orton. They have a young, but solid group of receivers led by veteran Muhsin Muhammad and a pair of talented backs to keep the chains moving. The Redskins were a particularly tough defense for a rookie to encounter on the road in his first career start, so take that into consideration. Things can only get better for Orton. He has to be better than Chad Hutchinson or Craig Krenzel, but that's not saying much. If he's not better or doesn't improve then Jeff Blake will get a crack at it.
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Patrick Ramsey was knocked out of the first game of the season. Mark Brunell doesn't have anything left and Campbell was drafted in the first round. It's not hard to figure out who the Redskins will be looking towards in the near future. Here's a not-so-subtle hint. It won't be Brunell and Ramsey's window of opportunity is closing fast. Campbell may be given the opportunity to start sooner rather than later, especially if the Redskins struggle to a losing record, but don't expect any big fantasy numbers here for the immediate future. Campbell is strictly a forward looking option at this point, who may be serviceable as soon as next year.
Frye performed extremely well in preseason action. He was named the top rookie of his class in the NFL Preseason, and should get a chance to start for the Browns before the end of the season. Trent Dilfer is the team's starter, but if he gets hurt or the Browns struggle badly, then Frye would almost certainly get a chance to run the offense to finish the season. The Browns have a promising, young receiving corps and Frye could emerge next year as a solid fantasy sleeper, if not a deep, deep sleeper later this year.
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Mike Anderson was forced out of Sunday's game after carrying just four times for 5 yards with a rib injury. Anderson will undergo an MRI on Monday to see if there's a fracture that would keep him sidelined for a longer period of time. It's noteworthy that Bell was active and saw all of the carries in Anderson's place since Mike Shanahan made Ron Dayne inactive. That might not be the case if Anderson is inactive next week and it's quite possible that Shanahan could give a lot of carries to Dayne and use Bell as a change-of-pace back. Honestly, there's no guarantees what Shanny will do, so take your changes wisely. Bell probably isn't available in any serious league anyway, but in smaller leagues (Yahoo!) there's a slim chance you could snag him. Bell ran 13 times for 47 yards against a tougher than expected Dolphins defense while catching one pass for 13 yards. Bell broke loose on one play for a 30 yard run displaying his big play ability, but Dayne's presence bears watching and could continue to limit Bell's opportunities.
Unbelievably, the elder statesman of the Panthers backfield is back from micro-fracture knee surgery and looked reasonably good in the Panthers' season opener. Davis drew the start over DeShaun Foster and looked no worse for the wear. He carried 13 times for 81 yards including a long run of 39 yards while scoring from 1 yard out on another run. The key to everything with Davis is his health. He's always been a productive back when given the opportunity. Unfortunately, he's not been able to complete a full season for several years and he's on the wrong side of 30 years old coming off a major knee surgery. If Davis falters, DeShaun Foster will be there to pick up the slack, and there's always Nick Goings or Jamal Robertson as a last resort
Unlike last year, if Barlow isn't up to the task of being the 49ers featured back, then Frank Gore is eagerly waiting in the wings for his opportunity to shine. By drafting Gore, the 49ers markedly improved their quality of RB depth behind Barlow. Gore is quickly putting his multiple knee injuries in the rear view mirror and appears to be running with confidence, quickness and power. He didn't always shows those qualities last year at Miami. If completely healthy and the opportunity presents itself, Gore could be huge. He ran four times for 17 yards on Sunday against the Rams but also made his mark as a receiver catching two balls for 21 yards. Barlow didn't look great and if he is forced to sit due to injury, Gore might take his job and never look back. Pick him up immediately if he's available in your league. Barlow's grip on the starting job is as loose as any back's in the league.
If your league allows pre-season waivers then it's quite likely Parker was snatched off the wire before the season started when it became apparent that Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley would both be inactive in the season opener. "Fast" Willie Parker hit the ground running against Tennessee and it wouldn't be a surprise if he keeps the job after running for 161 yards on 22 attempts with an 11-yard TD. Parker exploded for a pair of big plays. He had a 45 yard scamper and a reception that was good for 48 yards. Parker looked a little like Ahman Green. He's super fast and can take it the distance if he see daylight, but he also showed great balance spinning and breaking tackles routinely. When Bettis is healthy, he'll almost certainly resume his role as the goal-line back limiting Parker to some extent, but it's questionable whether Duce Staley will see the field now. Bill Cowher said in his post game interview that he doesn't see any reason to make a change right now, and frankly, why would they? If Fast Willie stays healthy, he could be an impact player in the Steelers offense.
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Dayne was inactive in week one, but with Mike Anderson's status up in the air with a rib injury, the door swings wide open for the former Heisman Trophy winner to emerge. Let's assume (since we don't know anything yet) that Anderson sits out next week or longer. Dayne could split the carries with Tatum Bell, or even get a bulk of the carries and be utilized in the red zone more often than Bell. The opportunity is great in Denver, but Dayne has never shown he has the desire or power that one would expect from a bigger back. The jury remains out on him, but his preseason success is a good indication that maybe, just possibly, there's something there. Dayne's teammates and the Broncos coaches give him rave reviews for his play so far, if he's available you could do much worse than add a Broncos back who has a legitimate chance to play.
After a strong preseason Jacobs role in the first week went just as expected. He carried six times for 39 yards including a strong 5 yard TD run while also breaking loose for 21 yards on another run. Jacobs is known for his size and power, but he's also deceptively fast and can get to the corner well for a back his size. Tiki Barber remains the man in the Giants backfield, but Jacobs has a nice role, too. He'll get his fair shake of opportunities near the goal line and should see 5+ carries each week, too. In leagues that score more heavily towards TDs, Jacobs is an impact player worth picking up. In other leagues, Jacobs is a solid addition for depth and especially as a handcuff for Barber.
Heading into the season opener it'll be interesting to see who plays a larger role - rookie Ryan Moats or newcomer Lamar Gordon, who was claimed off waivers from the Dolphins. Moats had a strong preseason. He's a better runner between the tackles than generally given credit. He's on the small side, like Westbrook, but more physical and a bit thicker through the legs and hips. Moats can turn the corner and has adequate speed to provide big plays as a runner and receiver. At worst, he'll be an integral part of an Eagles three-headed monster. At best, he could emerge as the team's featured back if injury strikes. Most likely? He'll split time with Westbrook and the team will utilize both to keep Westbrook healthy, though Gordon could steal the thunder of both backs if the team uses him at the goal line because of his size advantage.
In what proved to be a mirage, there was some concern before kickoff that Rudi Johnson wasn't starting because of a disciplinary measure. Chris Perry did start, but Johnson was on the field after one series and never looked back. Johnson's not going anywhere, but it's important to note that Perry has a definite role in the Bengals offense serving as both a third down back and as a change-of-pace back for Johnson. In leagues that reward points for receptions, Perry is much more valuable. He could catch more than 30 or 40 passes this year even in his current role, but if Rudi were to get hurt, then Perry's value would skyrocket potentially into the top 10 in regular scoring systems, certainly within the top 10 in PPR leagues. Perry caught five passes for 37 yards and carried five times for 11 yards. He's fast, elusive, agile and difficult to tackle in the open field.
The Cardinals running game never got going against the Giants. J.J. Arrington started but he was ineffective rushing eight times for just 5 yards while Shipp carries seven times for 10 yards. The important thing to note here is the distribution of the carries was almost equally divided between Shipp and Arrington. The Cardinals offensive line didn't generate much push at the point of attack and the Giants defensive front seven was quite active all day long. It's hard to say whether the Cardinals line was the problem or if the Giants d-line was that good. It was probably a little of both. It's just one week, but it might be time to downgrade Arrington slightly and bump up Shipp slightly. Of course, if either one gets hurt, the other would benefit greatly.
The messy RB picture in Minnesota continues this year. Mike Tice seems to try his best to make the Vikings running game as difficult to predict as any in the league. Michael Bennett was completely ineffective and Williams seems to be the team's safest back. He's the best bet to see goal line carries and occasional third down duties, at least if Mewelde Moore isn't completely healthy. Williams caught two passes for 32 yards on Sunday while rushing six times for 15 yards compared to six rushes for -1 yard by Bennett. Each week Tice could throw fantasy leaguers a curve ball, so it's extremely difficult to project what might happen. However, if any of the Vikings backs are safer than the others it would be Williams. Mewelde Moore might have the most upside potential, Bennett certainly has the most speed (though it's hard to say what else he brings to the table at this point) and Ciatrick Fason has good all-around skills, too.
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Clinton Portis was sidelined briefly in the opening week against the Bears in what proved to be a tough matchup for the Redskins ground game. Portis returned and rushed for 121 yards, but it's important to note that Joe Gibbs made frequent use of Betts throughout the game. Even if Portis remains healthy, expect Betts to see a decent amount of carries from week to week. Betts had 14 rushes for 41 yards. Neither back caught a pass out of the backfield. If Portis misses any time, Betts' value would rise significantly. He's bigger and stronger than Portis, but lacks his big play ability. Betts did a nice job of running between the tackles and making would-be tackles miss with subtle cuts while maintain a north-south running style and he seems to fall forward for a couple extra yards after initial contact consistently.
Stephen Davis is tough to rely on long-term and so is DeShaun Foster. Both backs are long on talent but fall short when it comes to durability. Foster would garner the lion's share of touches if Davis goes down again, but Goings would be in-line for a lot of touches in that scenario, too. Jamal Robertson lurks as a deeper sleeper after having a strong preseason, but Goings proved himself last year as a tough, durable and versatile option for John Fox, who can be trusted to carry the load.
Tonight's game will be interesting to watch as far as how the Eagles distribute the football amongst their running backs. Gordon was claimed off waivers from Miami and could immediately figure into the Eagles running game. He's the biggest back on the Eagles roster (excluding the fullbacks) and could vie for goal line touches and serve in the same role that Correll Buckhalter was expected to fill the last two years. On the downside, Gordon's struggled to stay healthy in his career, too, and Ryan Moats looks very capable of being the Eagles other primary back aside from Westbrook.
Lee Suggs can't seem to stay healthy and William Green has made a strong impression on his new coaching staff. He's still firmly behind Reuben Droughns on the depth chart, but if Droughns were to get hurt, it's possible Green could re-emerge as the Browns starter at some point. Green only carried the rock four times for 12 yards against the Bengals, but keep him in mind. He's one of the more talented NFL backups that are likely to be available in most league's on the waiver wire.
There are some backup RBs in the NFL that are worth watching closer than others. Vernand Morency is one of those players. Domanick Davis hasn't been able to play a full 16 game slate since entering the NFL. He's undersized, resilient and tough, but he's also always nicked up a lot of the time. If Davis missed any time this year, look for Morency to get the call instead of Jonathan Wells or the disappointing Tony Hollings. Morency didn't touch the ball this week, but don't let that fool you. Morency is sitting on the waiver wire in many leagues, but knowing Davis' history of missing a game or more each year, Morency could have both short-term value at some point this year, or more.
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Lamont Jordan is without question the Raiders' featured back, but that doesn't mean Crockett is without value. Crockett continues to run with great power and remains one of the league's best options in short yardage and goal line situations. He's not going to steal all of Jordan's thunder, but he could eat into some of that red zone love. If Jordan gets hurt, Crockett's role would increase while he'd likely share touches with the spindly-legged Justin Fargas. Crockett ran hard against the Patriots rushing three times for 20 yards. In TD-heavy leagues, Crockett's value is decidedly higher and he should be considered a potential impact player if available. In all other leagues, he has some value at the end of the bench, but would be best used as a gamble in deeper leagues for bye weeks on the off chance he finds the end zone. He's a little like Jerome Bettis in that regard.
During the preseason one of the common questions regarding the Patriots backfield was who would be the team's featured back if Dillon were to go down. It looks like nothing has changed in that regard. Cedric Cobbs was waived and Patrick Pass plays fullback, but can also run/catch the ball if needed. The primary benefactor remains Kevin Faulk. As long as Dillon stays healthy, Faulk's role will remain limited. He'll catch two or three passes, depending on the Patriots' game plan as they vary widely from week to week, and run the ball a handful of times. In other words, his primary value is as a handcuff.
The competition for the Bills backup RB job was answered on Sunday when Lionel Gates was made inactive. Williams won the job and saw more carries than anticipated after McGahee had a brief scare early in the game. McGahee left briefly, but returned and ran well in the second half. Williams is quite small, but he's effective as a change of pace runner especially as a receiver out of the backfield. If McGahee were to miss extensive time, Lionel Gates would certainly play a larger role given his size advantage and equally impressive receiving ability. For now, Williams is the primary handcuff, just be aware that if the opportunity presents itself Williams' ability to shoulder the load has to be questioned and Gates would certainly be a factor.
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The former Notre Dame quarterback is the latest converted receiver to make a splash in the NFL. Battle is the team's No. 1 receiver, and surprisingly, he went undrafted in a number of fantasy leagues. Battle made an impact in the season opener by doing a little bit of everything. He caught five passes for 59 yards, including a 6-yard TD, completed two passes for 27 yards and even hard an end around (though it was for a three yard loss). The 49ers appear intent on getting him involved in a number of ways much like the Steelers do with Antwan Randle-El or Hines Ward. Battle has good size, deceptive speed and the ability to make plays after the catch with his athleticism. If the 49ers running game continues to struggle, the team will continue to look towards Battle and Brandon Lloyd more each week. Battle is a waiver wire player with immediate impact potential. Add him if you can get him.
Despite having a productive preseason and flashing big play potential, Crayton managed to fly well under the fantasy radar until his week one breakout performance. Crayton is yet another converted quarterback who is making a splash at receiver. He's over 6' tall with super glue hands, good speed and the ability to run after the catch. He took the Chargers secondary by surprise producing six catches for 89 yards including a 20 yard TD. He was targeted consistently throughout the game, so it's not likely to be a fluke brought on by a mismatch, injury or otherwise. He's of Parcells' guys and he very well could be the team's long-term No. 2 receiver. Don't let Peerless Price's addition sway your opinion. Crayton is well-versed in the team's offense and he's been productive when given the opportunity. He's the biggest reason the team parted ways with Quincy Morgan and the primary reason Price is starting out as the Cowboys No. 4 receiver, too. Given Terry Glenn's penchant for injury and Keyshawn Johnson's age creeping up on him, Crayton's here to stay and is equally good in re-draft and dynasty formats, but especially the later.
Javon Walker appears to be gone for the season with an apparent ACL injury. How unfortunate considering he was playing under a ridiculously low salary and gave up his bid for a long-term contract to be a good teammate. Walker's misfortune appears to be Ferguson's gain. The former Aggie receiver caught one pass for 4 yards against the Lions, but he should emerge as the team's starter the rest of the season with Walker likely sidelined. Opposite Donald Drive, Ferguson could be a player who could crack the top 35 fantasy receivers on a weekly basis. He's long on talent and short on production through his career,. Now that he's got a clear path to a starting job (unless Antonio Chatman somehow derails him this time), Ferguson could finally make an impact. With Favre tossing the rock you'll have a difficult time finding a player off the waiver wire in a better situation.
It's doubtful that Randle-El is available in most leagues, but in smaller (8-or-10 team leagues) he could be hanging around on the waiver wire. Randle-El is a proven playmaker as a receiver, runner or even a passer on trick plays. He's also a dangerous return man on special teams. He broke loose against the Titans for a 63 yard TD. He only caught two balls for 89 yards on the day while also rushing once for six yards. How often he's targeted will be his downside. The Steelers are a run-first offense. As long as their defense remains strong (there are no signs of that changing) and their running game effective, the Steelers receivers will play second fiddle and see fewer targets. On the positive side, Randle-El is able to score from anywhere on the field, so he should make up for the fewer targets with a higher percentage of quality plays that affect the bottom line - the scoreboard.
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A few years back, Booker was widely regarded as a top 20 fantasy receiver as a member of the Chicago Bears. After the Bears offense went South and Booker was eventually dealt to the Dolphins, his fantasy value followed him South. Booker's a big, physical receiver with deceptive speed who can make big plays with his legs after the catch. He used to be the king of the quick slant or screen pass, often catching the ball, breaking a tackle and running for good yardage. If the Dolphins can sustain any consistency with their aerial attack this year then Booker could regain some of his value and re-emerge as a decent 3rd/4th/5th receiver worth rostering. Booker had a big game against Denver catching 60 yard TD and finishing with five catches for 104 yards.
The Rams high flying offense never really took flight on Sunday, but Curtis certainly saw his fair share of targets catching seven balls for 63 yards. Curtis is a player to watch. He's extremely fast, intelligent and he'll never see a double team working as the Rams No. 3 receiver with Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt on the outside. In the event of injury to either of the Rams starting receivers, Curtis' value would skyrocket. He's a player worth adding right now even though he doesn't technically start. His upside is solid, but even if Holt and Bruce remain healthy, Curtis could catch 50 balls this year and find the end zone 5+ times.
After being the Seahawks slot receiver for the past several years, Engram is now in the starting lineup replacing the departed Koren Robinson. Engram isn't a speed merchant, but he's a capable possession receiver who has traditionally been strong in the red zone. In the season opener Engram caught eight balls for 79 yards. He could end up the year as the team's leading receiver, but might not lead the team in yards or touchdowns. As such, he's a solid addition as a situational starter for bye weeks and providing quality depth behind your front line receivers.
Jones is just a rookie, but clearly he's a star in the making. He's huge, physical, incredibly fast. and his hands are as soft as they come. Jones is an accomplished runner with the football having played QB in college at Arkansas. The Jags are using him as much as possible on end-arounds and as a No. 3 receiver where he'll routinely create terrible mismatches for the defense. Jones caught 2 passes for 22 yards in the season opener and ran twice for another 28 yards. As his role increases, Jones is going to be a playmaker. His size lends itself to being a red zone maven and his speed and running ability means he's a threat to score from anywhere on the field. As teams are forced to provide more attention to Jimmy Smith, Fred Taylor and even Reggie Williams, look for Jones to emerge as a more consistent playmaker as the year wears on.
Parker is a starting receiver who has been productive, if not somewhat explosive, in previous stints. He caught five passes for 75 yards against the Cowboys and figures to be a solid, if not inconsistent performer moving forward. His downside is staying healthy, the return of Antonio Gates and the possibility Reche Caldwell or even rookie Vincent Jackson could push him for playing time later this season. For now, Parker's a solid addition to the back end of your roster to utilize during bye weeks or when injuries strike.
Taylor didn't make a big splash in this week's game, but he could very well finish the season among the team's leading receivers or targets. Marcus Robinson and Nate Burleson are more proven and well-versed in the Vikings offense, but Taylor could emerge as one of Culpepper's favorite possession receivers during the course of the season. Taylor has the talent and might finally be in the right situation where he could be productive.
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Justin Gage started for the Bears, but gave way to Bradley midway through the game. Bradley finished with one catch for 22 yards. It's not written in stone yet whether Bradley will stay in the starting lineup, but it's a good sign for the rookie who led the NFL in receiving yards during the pre-season. Bradley has the size and playmaking ability to emerge as a solid threat opposite the veteran Muhsin Muhammad. If Kyle Orton gets his sea legs underneath him then his fantasy potential climbs from deep sleeper to solid sleeper quickly.
Brown is one of those veteran receivers that seems to hang around forever. He caught six passes for 51 yards in the season opener and appears to be the Patriots 2nd or 3rd best receiver in terms of fantasy potential. The problem is that Tom Brady spreads the ball around so much and the Patriots game plans tend to change drastically from week to week making Brown a potentially inconsistent option. This much is clear though, Brown is dependable, versatile and can help the Patriots in a number of ways whether it's playing defensive back or returning punts.
Davis is mostly forgotten right now as a backup receiver on the Patriots. However, both Deion Branch and David Givens have struggled to stay healthy in past years and Davis is just the kind of speedy, big play receiver who could benefit if given the opportunity to play regularly with Tom Brady. For now, he's probably sitting on the waiver wire in your league and he may be a guy you let sit out there for a while. If you're in a deeper, more competitive league, then you may consider moving on him a bit earlier.
After yesterday's game a lot of folks are asking themselves, "Who the heck is Frisman Jackson and how did he catch 8 ball for 128 yards with 68-yard TD?" Jackson is simply a player the Browns have developed slowly over the past few years that emerged in the season opener by making some big plays. The team is loaded with young, talented receivers including Antonio Bryant, Dennis Northcutt and Braylon Edwards. How much opportunity Jackson gets from week to week remains to be seen. He doesn't start for the Browns, but will play extensively when they go to 3 and 4 receiver sets. Jackson is probably the team's No. 4 receiver as Edwards will rise to the starting lineup sooner rather than later and Northcutt is a natural in the slot. That means Jackson will be on everybody's short list to pick up after blowing up in week one, but it's questionable whether or not he'll be able to sustain any consistency from week to week. Every year a couple players blow up early and then go away never to be seen again. We're not saying he's the next Quincy Morgan, rather there's a lot of competition in Cleveland for those targets and we're not convinced Jackson will see a bulk of those on a consistent basis.
Jurevicius has the size and playmaking ability to be one of the team's best deep threats. He caught three balls for 64 yards with a TD on Sunday. The problem with Jurevicius is his inability to stay healthy. Every year he succumbs to injury, but at least he's in a productive offense where he's likely to be utilized in the red zone as long as he is healthy. If he somehow reverses his karma and benefits from another player's injury, Jurevicius could emerge as a solid sleeper, but we remain slightly skeptical as to how consistently he'll be productive.
Like Kevin Curtis, the shifty, speed McDonald benefits greatly playing alongside the Rams many talented receivers. He reeled in seven catches for 73 yards in the first game of the season and also provides a spark for the team as an explosive punt returner. McDonald's opportunities are obviously limited by his playing time, but like Curtis, if injury strikes, his value rises to the point where he could become a consistent producer from week to week. For now, he's mostly a sleeper with big play potential.
Price is worth stashing on a roster in the event that Keyshawn Johnson or Terry Glenn do down with an injury. Patrick Crayton isn't going anywhere and Price is behind him on the depth chart as the team's No. 4 receiver. If you have a roster spot worth using, Price might be worth the wait, but for now his role appears to be limited until he picks up the offense and an opportunity presents itself.
Welker is an interesting player. He caught four balls for 60 yards for the Dolphins against the Broncos. He's been used mostly on special teams so far in his career. He's a dynamic playmaker with good speed and the ability to separate, but he appears to the Dolphins slot receiver and possibly even more. David Boston is always a question mark and the team parted ways with Derrius Thompson. For now, Welker will work the slot, but if Boston goes down, then Welker could grow into an even larger role and have some decent value.
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Just about everybody assumed that Doug Jolley would be the Jets starting tight end after he was acquired via trade from the Oakland Raiders. Jolley seemed to be the handpicked player for OC Mike Heimerdinger's TE friendly offensive system. Somewhere along that road Jolley got lost in the shuffle because incumbent Chris Baker did the unthinkable and held off Jolley's challenge in the preseason to win the job. If the first week is any indication of things to come, Baker better be on your short list of tight ends likely to be on the waiver wire. Baker exploded with a huge game catching seven passes for 124 yards and a 23 yard TD with 29 seconds left (in garbage time). We probably won't see many other games of that magnitude, but Baker is clearly a great option to add if you can do it. The Jets offense features their tight end(s) as frequent targets so Baker should be able to sustain a reasonable level of production moving forward.
The Lions have a plethora of receivers with immense talent. That's both a blessing and a curse for all of them. Ironically, the veteran free agent addition Pollard came out of this week's game with the best fantasy numbers and that may not be just luck either. With Charles Rogers and Roy Williams attacking the outside of the field and Kevin Jones a dangerous threat running the football, defenses will be forced to pick their poison. Pollard may not have the pedigree those other players have, but he's quite capable. The Lions signed him because of his soft hands and proven leadership and ability to make crucial plays in clutch situations. So far, so good for Pollard. He caught five balls for 58 yards and caught the first TD pass of the season from Harrington from 9 yards out.
To the surprise of many folks, Troupe made it back for the season opener from a broken foot suffered earlier in the spring. Troupe has all the talent in the world and he was targeted frequently in his rookie season despite not having a firm grasp of the team's offense. In Norm Chow's offense this year, Troupe figures to line up all over the field where he'll routinely be in a mismatch against a smaller or slower defender. Troupe could easily finish the season as the team's No. 1 or No. 2 targeted receiver - right up there with Drew Bennett. If he's somehow on your league's waiver wire and you have to start a tight end, get him immediately.
Watson started Thursday night's game on fire catching two balls for 55 yards in the opening quarter but that was all for the super-talented tight end who missed almost his entire rookie season with a knee injury. Watson brings freakish skills to the table. He's big, incredibly fast (4.4 speed) and he's equally intelligent and blessed with soft hands. He breaks tackles and gives Tom Brady a dangerous deep threat who can damage defenses running up the seams splitting the safeties. His lone detractor is the nature of the Patriots offense. They have so many weapons and their game plans are so diverse and transient from game to game that Watson could end up lost in the shuffle at times (like he was in the 2nd half against the Raiders). Make no mistake though, Watson is a physical specimen and the only thing holding him back is the number of times he's targeted each week.
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With so many weapons to worry about the Raiders opponents will probably fall victim to Courtney Anderson more often than one might think. Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Lamont Jordan and even Ronald Curry will draw more attention defensively leaving the talented 2nd year TE to roam the middle in single coverage on a consistent basis. Anderson caught three balls against the Patriots with two of them going for TDs from inside the five yard line. Anderson is a solid sleeper with good upside, but it's questionable how often he'll be targeted with so many talented players surrounding him.
Conwell was having a whale of game before he got his bell rung over the middle of the field by the Panthers Marlon McCree. Conwell was sidelined after that with a jaw injury (his current status is unknown at this time), but he caught six passes for 71 yards before leaving. So much for injuries taking their toll and a few steps away from him over the years. If Conwell is able to play and he stays healthy, he could once again be a solid fantasy tight end and worth rostering for bye weeks and for depth.
While Ben Troupe is easily the most talented of the Titans TEs, Erron Kinney is the most established TE. Kinney is a solid receiver who is also a solid blocker. While the Titans struggle to find a consistent No. 2 receiver opposite Drew Bennett expect to see a lot of targets each week to go Troupe and Kinney as McNair loves to utilize the tight ends regardless of who is coordinating the offense. Kinney was highly productive in the first game catching five balls for 58 yards. Troupe's role is likely to grow as the season wears on, but look for Kinney to remain a consistent, fairly solid fantasy option as long as he remains healthy.
The Bucs rookie tight end made a big splash in the team's season opener as did fellow rookie RB Carnell Williams. Gruden professed his love for both rookies routinely during training camp, but it was unknown whether Smith would play an integral role off the bat with veteran Anthony Becht seemingly standing in his way. The Bucs tend to utilize their tight ends frequently in the red zone, as this game proved, so Smith appears likely to sustain some level of fantasy production even as a rookie. Smith caught four balls for 34 yards with two TDs. If he's out there, snag him while you can. Don't be surprised if THIS Alex Smith is the one worth owning this year as opposed to the OTHER Alex Smith who was the #1 overall pick in the draft.
Itula Mili didn't make the flight to Jacksonville and Stevens appears to have finally emerged from his inconsistent, unproductive, troubled past. Stevens had an outstanding preseason and has the size and talent to become a highly productive tight end in Mike Holmgren's fantasy friendly offense. He caught three balls for 41 yards in week one and should continue to be productive and finally establish himself as a possible starting caliber fantasy TE this year.
Add for Later (Sleeper potential)
It's highly unlikely that Jermaine Wiggins would be available in just about any league that mandates starting a tight end, but Jimmy Kleinsasser is a different story. The Vikings tight ends were extremely busy this week even if it doesn't look that way in the box score. Wiggins caught two TDs that were each called back due to a penalty flag (one of those proved to be a phantom offensive interference call that simply didn't happen). Kleinsasser finished with 4 catches for 42 yards while Wiggins had four catches for 33 yards. In the event that either one gets hurt, immediately the other player become a rock solid starting option in just about any league where tight ends are required.
Miller was widely regarded the best tight end in his draft class, and likewise, was drafted in the first round by the Steelers. The Steelers lost Plaxico Burress in the offseason to free agency and many pundits expected to see Miller emerge (even as a rookie) to help replace Burress' role in the offense, especially in the red zone. Miller didn't waste any time either. He caught only one pass, but it was for a 3-yard TD. Miller's fantasy success this year is likely to be a rollercoaster ride. He might bring back memories of Mark Bruener from year's back. In other words, he might caught 5+ TDs but finish with under 30 receptions on the year. It all remains to be seen, but Miller was a highly productive receiver at Virginia and if given the right role on the Steelers could develop into the same type of player at the pro level.
Utecht stepped in for an injured Dallas Clark and caught a TD pass against the vaunted Ravens defense. Utecht wasn't terribly active but was targeted a few different times, and most importantly, caught the 26 yard TD. Dallas Clark has been a poster boy for the frequently nicked up players. Utecht is a guy who most people don't know about, but may find out about him soon enough. He was a productive pass catching tight end out of Minnesota who only went undrafted because of a sports hernia that forced him to be sidelined his entire rookie season. He's the most likely player to take advantage of Clark's injury tendencies, so keep him on your short list.
A funny thing happened on Monday night. The erstwhile Todd Heap managed to play, but was out-produced by his backup (Wilcox). Heap still isn't 100%, but Wilcox proved he's up to the task by catching eight balls for 78 yards including a garbage time TD from 17 yards out with 13 seconds remaining in the game. It's hard to imagine Wilcox sustaining this level of production if Heap is healthy, but it's worth noting and possibly worth rostering him until Heap is 100%.
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Lindell appears to be in a near-perfect situation. He's on an excellent defensive team with an offense led by a young, inexperienced QB. That means the Bills will be more likely to play conservatively and settle for field goals as their drives stall out near the red zone. Lindell nailed five FGs against Houston and is off to a great start.
Scobee is another kicker who should benefit from a strong defensive minded head coach who will settle for a field goal rather than gamble in the red zone Scobee got off on the right foot, so to speak, connecting on 4 out of 5 FGs in the season opener. He's got a strong leg, but has struggled with consistency outside 40 yards at times. So far, so good. He's worth picking up if you have kicking issues.
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The 49ers defense was on fire Sunday. Led by DL Bryant Young's three sacks the 49ers got to Marc Bulger six times and intercepted him once. Fred Amey returned a punt 75 yards for a TD, too. The Rams were held to 89 yards rushing on 26 attempts. The 49ers defense probably isn't as good as they looked yesterday knowing Martz affinity for throwing the football (not running it) but it's a good first game for the 49ers under their new defensive-minded head coach Mike Nolan.
The Bears defense shouldn't be on the waiver wire in most leagues, but scoring varies widely depending on the format. That said, the Bears defense (as expected) was solid both against the run and the pass. They forced three turnovers and sacked the Redskins QBs three times forcing Patrick Ramsey to the sidelines. Get them if you can. They have a solid pass rush, good run defense and a solid pair of corners to defend the pass.
The Giants sacked Kurt Warner twice, applied constant pressure and intercepted two passes. The Giants special teams was the biggest story as Chad Morton returned a punt 52 yds for a TD and Willie Ponder took back a kickoff 95 yards for another score. The G-men held the Cardinals to 31 rushing yards on the day. A great start defensively for the Giants, but special teams scores are hard to predict. For now, they are worth adding simply knowing that Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora are one of the better pass rushing tandems in the league.