The Waiver Wire Matinée: Volume Two
By John Kerwin
Week 2 of the NFL season has left plenty of rosters with a barrage of injuries, and people all over the fantasy world are digging through the waiver wire trying to find potential replacements. If a player was any type of guarantee, then he probably wouldn't be waiting for you on the wire. Welcome to the second installment of The Waiver Wire Matinee. I hope last week was helpful to all you owners who needed to fill voids across your fantasy teams, and I'm bringing you my second piece in as many weeks to continue to assist all you frustrated fans. Don't panic, because you are only 0-2, at worst, but that is why you need to absorb and utilize the information I am about to relay to you. Sit back, relax, and enjoy, because we are here to help.
Next to each name you will find a rating from 0-5 stars, and the rating exemplifies the priority you should place on this pickups during the respective week.
- 5 Stars: Must own player.
- 4 Stars: Strong acquisition, and room should be made if possible.
- 3 Stars: On the radar, and worth consideration.
- 2 Stars: Borderline droppable players, rostered in deep leagues.
- 1 Star: Barely worth calling a roster filler.
- 0 Stars: Drop immediately.
Drama/Suspense: Stay On The Edge Of Your Seats
Philip Rivers (3 Stars) - If there is one quarterback that has nearly disappeared from the fantasy landscape over the past few seasons, it has to be Rivers. He was a very consistent fantasy threat earlier in his career, but the lack of a running game and viable receiving options since the departure of Vincent Jackson has left Rivers off of rosters. There was zero indication heading into this season that his value was going anywhere, but two games in and it is apparent we must take notice. Rivers proved that his four-touchdown Week 1 was no fluke. Throwing the ball a whopping 47 times for 419 yards and three touchdowns this week was impressive. The most astonishing stat is that fact that he committed zero turnovers. Rivers has been a turnover machine the last few seasons, and his seven touchdowns and one interception this season is remarkable compared to what we have witnessed from his recent past. It is evident the trust in Ryan Mathews hasn't risen much with the new coaching regime, and Rivers production was very efficient for the volume in Week 2. There is no doubt in my mind Rivers needs to be owned as a backup quarterback in all formats with his recent performances. I wouldn't concede to him being a consistent starter at this point, but he could be a very valuable asset as a weekly fill-in or replacement barring injury. I see Rivers as a solid QB2 right now with QB1 upside during a week you are in need. Just from what we can recollect, I don't recommend trusting him too much yet, because he can be very boom or bust any given Sunday regardless of what he has done this season.
Thriller: Big Play Potential
Eddie Royal (4 Stars) - It is hard to ignore a wide receiver that has five touchdowns after Week 2. Royal has definitely been the product of an injury riddled receiving corp with the Chargers, but his rapport and effectiveness with Rivers can't be overlooked. His three receptions and 24 yards were nothing to boast abut Week 1, but two of those being touchdowns was a great sign. He garnered eight targets in Week 2, and was able to turn his seven receptions on those targets into 90 yards and three more touchdowns. I wouldn't expect this type of ridiculous touchdown production to stay consistent, but Royal definitely needs to be rostered. With Malcom Floyd horrifically leaving Sunday's game on a stretcher, and the running game still taking a backseat to the passing game, he could be a great addition to any bench in all formats. He is going to continue to garner targets with the Chargers offense looking to be fairly pass-heavy this season. I would label Royal as a WR4 right now, but looks to be a reliable as a WR3/Flex at this point in the year.
Mystery: Will The Success Continue?
James Starks (2 Stars) - Fantasy owners have been down this path before, but no owner has seen a Packers running back total 100-plus yards throughout the course of a single game in the last 44 outings. It was supposed to be Eddy Lacy's breakout week, but a concussion ended any hope of that early in the contest. Starks proceeded to rack up 132 yards and a touchdown on only 20 carries. That extraordinary 6.6 yard average is not very Stark-like, but it isn't hard to find running lanes in this potent passing offense. The biggest question mark surrounding Starks is the simple contemplation of will he get the opportunity to do it again? It is too early to know how long Lacy will be sidelined before he is cleared to return to action, and the Packers may not feed him 20 carries again even if Lacy remains out for a period of time. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm he just can't be trusted as a startable option. Running backs are as scarce as any fantasy position comes, and any glimmer of hope is worth a stash for the time being.
Action: The Workload Will Be There
Knowshon Moreno (3 Stars) - The Broncos running back situation was a mess heading into Week 1, and the only thing we surely knew about their offense was the passing game would be extremely productive. We quickly realized how difficult it is to trust a rookie back and a guy who hasn't solidified himself as a capable pass blocker. Those identifiers quickly landed Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman in the backseat, as Moreno took majority of the snaps. Moreno has seen 86 snaps in comparison to 46 for Ball. Hillman - who was initially named the starter - has been nonexistent with his 17 snaps this season. He only received 13 carries in Week 2, but turned them into 93 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos main focus is keeping Peyton Manning upright, and being able to put the ball in the end zone when they're inside the red zone. Moreno has been he can be trusted to do both, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Moreno is a low-end RB3 with high-end upside right now, and he is going to see his workload increase if he continues to perform the way he did on Sunday.
Horror: Be Afraid
Brandon Jacobs (0 Stars) - David Wilson has looked horrendous, and Andre Brown is still weeks away from any type of return, but that is absolutely no reason to go out and waste a waiver priority on Jacobs. The only reason this guy was even signed was because of his familiarity with the Giants playbook, and the fact it was pure necessity to add a running back. He is older and not a bit better than when we last saw him play, and he isn't going to progress at all as the season moves forward. Unless you want to cross your fingers and pray for a touchdown, avoid picking up and starting Jacobs at all costs. I consider him to be a RB5, and that is being very generous. Don't be fooled by the touchdown in Week 2, stay away.
Jacquizz Rodgers (1 Star) - I was one of the many owners that cringed when Steven Jackson left Sunday's game and didn't return after his touchdown reception, but that is not a reason to expect Rodgers to be a viable handcuff. There is a reason the Falcons went after SJax after getting rid of Turner, and didn't even attempt to turn Rodgers into their feature back. He is nothing more than a change of pace back, and isn't big enough to endure a full workload if SJax were to miss significant time. I don't believe a thigh bruise is going to keep SJax out for very long, and you are better off looking for another option if he somehow misses Week 3. The Falcons are more inclined to resort back to a pass-heavy offense in the absence of SJax than feed Rodgers 20-plus carries, and this was exemplified in Week 2. Rodgers is nothing more than a RB5 with very minimal upside at this point.
Independent Stream: Not The Big Name, But Worth The Look This Week
Cleveland Browns Defense (3 Stars): The Browns defense has looked very stout so far this season, and I don't expect that trend to cease anytime soon. The Browns scared every Lamar Miller owner in Week 1 by completely shutting him down, and left Ray Rice without any room to run in Week 2 prior to his hip injury. Yes, they are facing Adrian Peterson in Week 3, and I'm not predicting him to rush for under 50 yards, but they are going to create a lot of problems for Ponder. The Browns have proven their effectiveness against opposing running backs, and will cause havoc on the Vikings offense if they try and counter that with Ponder. There is minimal threat throughout the Vikings receiving corp, and I expect the Browns to exploit their one-sided offense this week. Grab the Browns defense and start them with confidence this week.
Box Office Bomb: Hopes Were High, But The Points Were Low
Kenbrell Thompkins (2 Stars) - There has probably not been a sleeper who has let down fantasy owners during the first two weeks more than Thompkins. With the loss of Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen, and the lack of other options in the Patriots offense right now, Thompkins had more promise than anybody not named Julian Edelman heading into Week 2. His inefficient Week 1 was chalked up to rookie nerves in Week 1, but there isn't much of an excuse for his sub-par play in Week 2. Thompkins somehow worsened his miserable catch percentage from the opening week, and only hauled in two receptions for 47 yards. The only reason I am even keeping him relevant with a couple stars is because there really isn't anybody to replace him in the offense right now. Aaron Dobson definitely looked like a more talented player in Week 2, but dropped more passes than Tom Brady's nerves could handle. Thompkins is no more than a low-end WR4 at this point, but fortunately he will get another opportunity to prove himself. I wouldn't consider dropping him, but I wouldn't hesitate to bench him until further notice either.
Blockbuster Of The Week: Must-See And Own
DeAndre Hopkins (5 Stars) - It was apparent that Hopkins was going to be a star in this league, but nobody would've imagined how quickly he would be making a solid impact. His five receptions for 66 yards was respectable in Week 1, and then Nuk went and dropped - no pun intended - 117 yards on seven receptions for one touchdown in Week 2. Not only did he catch the game winning touchdown in overtime, but he was the top target attractor for the Texans in Week 2. Don't look now Andre Johnson owners, but he is no longer the only show in town as far as receivers are concerned. With the physical talent to become an elite receiver, Hopkins should continue to impress as the season progresses. The Texans look to be more of a balanced offense after the run-heavy attack Arian Foster has led the past few years. There is no reason this guy should be on a single waiver wire, and if he is you better make him your top priority this week. Hopkins is currently WR3 with WR2 upside immediately. He could solidify plenty of WR3/Flex positions for many happy owners this season.
What about a guy like Heath Miller? Or guys coming off suspensions like Mike Goodson and Josh Gordon... worth keeping?