Week 2 has come and gone, and like every week, fantasy players are scouring their waiver wires to replace the latest dud that happened to their team to find the next savior that they can ride to the championship and then brag about how they knew how great the guy was going to be all along and how they ALMOST drafted him. I like to cover each position in this article each week, but no quarterbacks shouted out to me this week. Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder, and Alex Smith all are playing better than expected, but I just can’t see any of them being your starter. If you happen to have a guy like Ryan Tannehill on your bench however, see the above three names. For the rest of the positions though, here come the waiver guys that YOU are thinking about heading into Week 3, and how you should handle each one.
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Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants. David Wilson was the sexy handcuff in fantasy drafts this season behind Ahmad Bradshaw, but when Bradshaw went down on Sunday, it was Andre Brown who came in and saved the day. Brown rushed for 71 yards on 13 carries and the game winning touchdown. He also contributed two catches for 19 yards. Wilson has struggled so far in his rookie season and it now is obvious that Brown has passed him on the depth chart. With Bradshaw’s status uncertain, and almost definitely out for Thursday, Brown is a great short term pickup if you are looking for running back help. If he continues to produce he could earn himself more of a role, as Bradshaw never has been the picture of health.
Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams. Between an unsportsmanlike penalty for spiking the ball, getting stopped twice at the goal line, and a “groin injury”, Stephen Jackson missed most of the final three quarters of the game against the Redskins on Sunday and Daryl Richardson came in and shined. Richardson ran for 83 yards on 15 carries and also scored on a two point conversion. He was a big part of the offense, and added a couple of receptions as well. Is this a changing of the guard? Too soon to tell yet, but for years we have been saying that someone needs to come in and at least help Jackson carry the load, so if you have anyone on your roster that is expendable, take a good long look at Richardson.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers. I would have sworn that LaFell would have been on more rosters, but when I look he is still available in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues. LaFell has had two impressive games so far. He scored in Week 1, and had six catches for 90 yards on Sunday, as well as taking an end around for a 25 yard run. He and Cam Newton obviously are on the same page, and if you need wide receiver help I would definitely look at LaFell. The former third round pick has had a lot of trouble with consistency throughout his career, but he’s off to a solid start and I definitely think he has the tools to be Carolina’s number one guy.
Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals. I talked a little about this guy last week, and he didn’t do anything to dissuade me from picking him up in Week 2. Hawkins had just two catches on Sunday, but one of them was a 50 yard touchdown, and he seems to have the trust of Andy Dalton. Brandon Tate also had a nice game with three catches for 71 yards and a touchdown, so one of these two guys are going to separate themselves as Dalton’s number two guy. Right now, I like Hawkins and have picked him up in more than one of my leagues.
Donnie Avery, WR, Indianapolis, Colts. I thought coming into the season that if Andrew Luck was going to be half of what the experts thought, that Donnie Avery could be a good fantasy player this year, provided he stayed healthy of course. After only three catches and a touchdown in the opening game, Avery exploded in Week 2 against the Vikings with nine catches for 111 yards. He didn’t score, but that’s still a pretty damn fine game. I really like Avery going forward, although his health can be a concern as he missed the better part of the last two seasons due to injury. The Colts offense has looked better than expected so far, and I think that Luck and Avery work well together and he can be a consistent performer in 2012.
Brandon Myers, TE, Oakland Raiders. Myers has kind of been an alsoran in his three seasons in the NFL, but in two weeks has put together two very solid games. After a 65 yard game in the opener, Myers led the team in receiving yards with 86 on Sunday against the Dolphins. He has yet to find paydirt, but the Raiders' offense has also gotten off to a pretty sucky start and the touchdowns are sure to come. Raiders' offensive coordinator also has a history of featuring the tight end in his offense, so this is no surprise. If you have a need at tight end, I think Myers is a very attractive option, and I don't mean he is good looking!
Jacke Battle, RB, San Diego Chargers. With Ryan Mathews unable to go again, the Chargers turned to Curtis Brinkley and Jackie Battle to try to carry the load, but it was Battle who was able to find the end zone not once but twice. However, before you go running to the waiver wire to add Battle, just remember that it’s only a matter of time before Ryan Mathews comes back, and it could be as soon as Week 3. On the flip side of that, Mathews hasn’t been the picture of health, and I would say that Battle has set himself apart from Brinkley and Ronnie Brown as far as Mathews backup. Battle was fairly successful last season as a Chief, so if there are a lot of carries to go to someone in Mathews’ absence, I feel good about Battle. He’s worth a bench spot now if you have deep enough rosters.
Dante Rosario, TE, San Diego Chargers. Speaking of injury prone Chargers, no one has been worse at that the past few years than tight end Antonio Gates. He missed Sunday’s game against the Titans and Rosario certainly made the most of it. Rosario had four catches for 48 yards, but three of them were for touchdowns. Rosario was the starting tight end for a few years for the Panthers but was never a fantasy factor. Even if Gates isn’t able to play in Week 3, I still wouldn’t put Rosario into my lineup.
Jerome Simpson, WR, Minnesota Vikings. There is just one more week to Simpson’s suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and sometimes when there is a player like this you have to act a week early to get him before everyone remembers him. Now I’m not saying that Simpson is going to come in and light the world on fire, but I actually like him coming into the year, and Christian Ponder has looked better than expected so far in 2012. Ponder and Simpson seemed to have a good chemistry this preseason, and you could be able to plug Simpson into your WR3 slot in Week 4 this year.
Jon Baldwin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs. Perhaps one of the most dropped players after Week 1, Baldwin was not even targeted in KC’s opener. Now, I’m not saying that his three catch, 62 yard effort is one that will go down in the history books, but he and Cassell had a good thing going in the preseason, and this kid has the goods. If you pick him up today you might not reap the benefits in Week 3 against the New Orleans Saints, but I feel confident that Baldwin is going to have a good season. Sure, the Chiefs have a lot of weapons to throw to, and I put Dexter McCluster in this article last week and obviously Dwayne Bowe is legit, but I really feel that Baldwin is going to be a good number two for Matt Cassel, and is someone at least worth having on your radar.
Brandon Gibson, WR, St. Louis Rams. It was between Gibson and Brian Hartline to finish up this article, and I picked Gibson because I really don’t see Miami’s offense functioning that well again, or Hartline racking up nine catches or 111 yards anytime soon. Gibson on the other hand has his best football in front of him. I believe the Rams offense will be better than most thought coming into the season as long as Sam Bradford’s ankle can hold up. And Gibson has had some injury concerns in the past too, but he has good hands and good speed as shown by his touchdown against the Redskins. Again, his line isn’t impressive with just two catches, but I still think St. Louis is rounding into shape and Gibson can be a guy you look to in the very near future.
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