Week 1 waivers are always the most interesting of the year. Are we overreacting to one game? Is it too soon to give up on guys you drafted? I’ll say this here. If you are reading this because you lost hope on Chris Johnson or Wes Welker, please stop reading this article. In fact I’m not sure you should even be on this site. OK, that might be a stretch, but I hope that you are smart enough not to be scouring the waiver wire on the first week of the season. Those of you with Greg Little, I understand more if you are here. Think long and hard before you hit that submit button that you aren’t overreacting to one bad game for a guy you are dropping, or one good game if it is someone you are adding. Below are the guys that I feel most fantasy players are considering making a move on, and my recommendation for that. These aren’t exactly the top guys that I think you should be grabbing.
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Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins. I’d like to make a prediction now that this won’t be the last time that a Redskins running back is featured in the waiver article. However, he was mostly an unknown coming into Week 1 when he was tabbed the Washington starter, but he will be flying off of waiver wires this week. Morris ran the ball 28 times (which was pointed out by Allie Fontana in a tweet was more than any RB for Washington had in a game last season) for 96 yards and two scores, one of which was a tough score. Mike Shanahan has already tabbed Morris as next week’s starter, so at least for now, that’s your guy in Washington. We all know how Shanahan changes his mind like he changes his underwear (at least I hope he changes it that often), so if you are bidding free agent dollars I would watch how much I lay down for Morris, but if it’s a traditional waiver system, he’s worth a pickup as long as you aren’t dropping anyone too good.
Kevin Ogletree, WR, Dallas Cowboys. Who expected a fourth year player who basically has been a special teams player to steal the show on opening night and have fantasy players clamoring to hit the waiver wire early? Ogletree did just that though as he torched the Giants for 114 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. New York had no answer for the Cowboys slot receiver and he became fantasy relevant in a hurry. Was this a one hit wonder or are we looking at a guy you should grab? The Cowboys’ passing game is among the best in the NFL, and there are certainly enough passes to go around. Should you look at what Laurent Robinson in 2011 for what you can expect from Ogletree? I don’t think he will be that good, but I think he has a chance to be a solid fantasy contributor. Go ahead and grab him if you need.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers. If you watched the Packers/49ers game then you saw that it seemed every other play that Randall Cobb had the ball in his hands. He returned three kickoffs, he returned three punts, one of which for a (questionable) touchdown, and he also caught nine passes for 77 yards. By yardage he was the second leading receiver on the team to James Jones, but almost all of Jones’ production came on one drive. Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings are there, although Jennings is banged up, but since the Packers basically don’t run the ball, Cobb will be a viable fantasy player. I would grab one or two other receivers before Cobb, but in larger leagues he is fantasy relevant right away.
Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets. In possibly the most shocking development of the weekend, the New York Jets scored 48 points and Hill was a big part of it. He had an acrobatic touchdown grab, and kind of forced flashbacks of Plaxico Burress in his prime. Hill looked lost at times in the preseason, but looked like a savvy veteran in the first game as he led the team in receptions with five and yards with 89. So, now how do we handle Hill? Do we go running to the waiver wire for a rookie wide receiver who scored twice in the first game? Or do we think that maybe the Jets will never score 48 points again this season and this is probably an inflated view of what Hill can do? He was a second round pick that the Jets traded up to get, and he does appear that he can be a sweet red zone threat at 6’4”. So, should you grab Hill? If you are in a league with more than 12 teams I would say yes. Traditional leagues I would if you need wide receiver help or had Donald Jones and need a replacement for an injured player. If your roster is pretty secure, I would probably take a wait and see approach. The Jets have the Steelers next week and the going might not be as smooth for him.
Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Kansas City Chiefs. I have been waiting for a while for Dexter McCluster to live up to the hype when he came out of college, but I have pretty much given up hoping that he would be what he should have been. He is a dynamic athlete but I’ve always felt that the Chiefs didn’t know how to use him. But from what I saw at the end of the preseason and now in Week 1, I am hopeful that perhaps 2012 could be his breakout party. He didn’t figure in the running game, but McCluster had six catches for 82 yards and led the team in both catches and receiving yards. McCluster can be a very tough player for defenses to try to prepare for, and if he is used properly and you are in a PPR league, he can be someone that can help your team. In most leagues you should take a wait and see approach with McCluster, but he is a guy I certainly have my eye on.
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, Chicago Bears. The Bears promise to be a very vertical offense in 2012, and they certainly showed that in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts. Many fantasy players were intrigued by Jeffrey to start the season, but he wasn’t drafted in every league. He certainly made his presence known in his NFL debut as the kid had three catches for 80 yards and a score. After Brandon Marshall as their number one, the Bears don’t really have a bonafide number two, and I don’t trust either Earl Bennett or Devin Hester. That leaves the door wide open for Jeffrey to make his mark. I don’t think I would make the move on him now unless all of the guys above him were claimed, but he is certainly someone you should know for the future.
Martellus Bennett, TE, New York Giants. More fun from the first game of the season, as Bennett looked like he might possibly finally break out the way the Cowboys always hoped he would. Bennett had four catches for 40 yards on Opening Night with a touchdown and secured the starting job. There are a decent number of good tight ends this year, but with any injuries and you will be hard pressed to have a guy who might put up consistent points. Whenever the Giants have had a good receiver at the tight end position, they have used him a decent amount, and I think that Eli Manning will look to Bennett on a weekly basis. At 6’6” and 265 pounds, he’s a tough target to miss and unless you really have a crappy tight end I don’t think you should pick up Bennett right now, but definitely keep him on your radar in case you have some sort of need at the position.
Kendall Hunter, RB, San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are one of the few teams that want the focus of their offense to be the running game. The NFL has turned into a passing league but if you have good depth at RB, and a good offensive line, the old school running game can work. Well the Niners are one of those team, and Kendall Hunter appeared to earn himself some snaps with his opening week performance. Frank Gore might still be the lead back and he led the team in all rushing categories, but he can’t carry the ball every time, and he needs more of a rest each week. Hunter is a great change of pace from Gore as he is much shiftier and makes people miss unlike the straight up and down running put together by Gore. Unless Gore gets hurt, it appears that Hunter will play second fiddle, but if something were to happen to Gore, I would feel very comfortable handing things off to Hunter.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona Cardinals. OK, so I wanted to cover each position and that’s why Kolb is here. He came in to replace John Skelton and led the Cardinals on their game winning drive against Seattle. Kolb came in and completed six of eight passes and threw the game winning pass to Andre Roberts to move the Cards to 1-0. Skelton has been diagnosed with a low ankle sprain and could potentially play this coming weekend, but I don’t think he will. If Kolb could come in and have another good game, perhaps he could take the job. There was a time where this job was supposed to be his, so it isn’t crazy to think he could be a decent fantasy player at some point. Hell, he has Larry Fitzgerald after all.
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