Each week, I will be profiling players who may be available on your waiver wire and will likely be targeted by one or more owners in your league. A brief breakdown of each player’s performance and what to expect for the remainder of the season will be included along with my recommendation of whether or not to try to acquire the player. The numbers in parentheses indicate the percent of all owners who own that player on ESPN, My Fantasy League and Yahoo, respectively.
We now have two weeks of statistics to pore through and analyze, so if you waited on a player from week one to see if it was a fluke or a trend, this is likely your last chance to snatch him off the wire. As they say, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….” Don’t be fooled this week!
Knowshon Moreno – Denver Broncos (98.2%/63.61%/53%)
All throughout the preseason, pundits were torn as to which Denver running back to target in drafts between rookie Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. As it turned out, Moreno was the back to target all along. Moreno excels as a pass blocker, something the other two seem to struggle with thus far in their short careers. In two weeks, Moreno has 22 carries for 121 yards and two TDs along with six receptions for 51 yards. These numbers won’t win your fantasy league for you, but he has established himself as the clear number one in Denver and a quality FLEX start going forward. VERDICT: FLEX option most weeks; still in a minor RBBC, so numbers limited; mostly a blocker on passing downs.
James Starks – Green Bay Packers (2.5%/6.65%/10%)
With the drafting of Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin in this year’s draft, Starks became nearly forgotten in fantasy circles. Franklin has struggled to pick up the nuances of the game, moving Starks to the back-up position to Lacy. After Lacy suffered a concussion against the Redskins, Starks stepped in and promptly produces 132 yards and a TD. He added five receptions for 44 yards as well. With Lacy’s status up in the air for week three, Starks could find himself in line for a heavy workload against Cincinnati. VERDICT: Carries RB2 value as the starter; pass-first offense limits touches; Lacy was injury-prone in college, so could have late season value.
Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals (0.3%/10.99%/1%)
Ellington is beginning to separate himself from the pack as the third-down back for the Cardinals. His workload more than doubled from week one (eight snaps in week one to 18 in week two), and he make key plays late in the game to secure the victory over the Detroit Lions. Ellington has just seven touches on the season, but has 75 combined yards and a TD on those touches. Carson Palmer has become a check-down king recently, so Ellington’s stock should continue to rise thhroughout the season. VERDICT: RB5 now, with RB4 value in PPR leagues; has big-play ability; worth a stash in deep leagues.
Eddie Royal – San Diego Chargers (12.8%/3.47%/19%)
Even though Royal put up good numbers in week one (3-24-2), many thought it more of a fluke than a premonition of things to come. That all changed this week as Royal continued his hot streak with seven catches for 90 yards and three TDs. Injury woes continued to plague Charger wide receivers, but it appears Malcolm Floyd will be fine heading into week three. Is this production sustainable? No. Can Royal help your fantasy squad? Yes. VERDICT: WR4 with FLEX play possibilities; excellent BYE week replacement; low number of targets (14) a concern.
Santana Moss – Washington Redskins (24%/31.14%/19%)
Now in his 13th season, Moss has become a shell of his former self. Operating out of the slot this season, Moss has eight receptions for 95 yards and one TD. The Redskins desperately want to focus on the running game, but the defense has been porous thus far and RG3 just hasn’t looked like himself to this point. If the Redskins continue to struggle, and all signs seem to point in that direction, Moss could retain some value in larger leagues. VERDICT: WR5 with limited upside; favorable next few weeks may inflate numbers; only worth a roster spot in the deepest of leagues.
DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans (63.7%/85.61%/48%)
Injury concerns heading in to the season may have kept Hopkins off the radar of wary fantasy owners, but after two weeks he is displaying the attributes that made him a first-round pick. Hopkins has hauled in 13 receptions for 183 yards and the game-winning TD in overtime against the Titans this week. Andre Johnson is suffering from concussion-like symptoms, so if he is sidelined for week three, Hopkins could be in for a huge game. VERDICT: WR4 with upside, especially if Johnson misses time; run-first attack may limit opportunities.
Charles Clay – Miami Dolphins (0.8%/3.61%/2%)
Trying to fill the void left by the injury to Dustin Keller during the preseason, the Miami Dolphins may have had the answer all along. Clay has managed to snare five receptions in each of the first two weeks for 163 yards and played to role of TD vulture with a one-yard rushing TD last week. Listed as a fullback, most fantasy sites list Clay at tight end, so he may get more than just that one short-yardage carry as the season moves forward. Clay should continue to see plenty of opportunities in the Dolphins short-passing system. VERDICT: Low-end TE2 due to Miami’s other weapons; career stats not indicative of sustained success.
Garrett Graham – Houston Texans (1.8%/2.34%/2%)
Now the “other tight end” in Houston with the departure of James Casey to Philadelphia, Graham will continue to do just enough to be reviled by fantasy owners who own him or Owen Daniels. Houston runs out of a tw0-tight-end set more than any other NFL team, so Graham will get opportunities in the passing game. To date, Graham has seven receptions for 57 yards and a TD in each of the first two games. His production is heavily reliant on TD receptions unless Daniels goes down with injury, which caps his value. VERDICT: TE3 with FLEX appeal during BYE weeks; run-first offense limits chances; fantasy value tied to TD receptions, making him unreliable on a regular basis.
QUICKIES: Austin Pettis (St. Louis Rams, WR) continues to start opposite Chris Givens and is a boom-or-bust player at his position. He’s a WR5 now, but could see a bump if he continues to see enough targets…Kendall Wright (Tennessee Titans, WR) is leading the team in receptions and has the ability to become a force at the position. Unless Jake Locker shows considerable improvement, consider Wright a WR4 with limited upside…Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins, TE) seems to be moving in front of Fred Davis as the tight end to own in Washington. If RG3 continues to look his way, look for Reed to become a viable TE3…Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati Bengals, TE) is an intriguing option with his athletic ability. Cincinnati’s other receiving options keep down his value somewhat, but in a TE-friendly league, he’s worth a roster stash with enormous upside if Jermaine Gresham misses time.
So, who did I miss? Who am I way off on? Drop a comment below or hit me up on Twitter (Follow @FantasyFreakFFW) and let me know. Feel free to drop me an email as well at [email protected] for any fantasy questions you might have. Look for my “Hot Off the Wire” series every Tuesday!