by Will Overton
The waiver wire period following the first Sunday of football games is always a crucial point in the season, even if it is just week one. You don’t want to make rash decisions based on one week and cut a player who just had a bad week and regret it later. You also don’t want to overrate a player based on one week and make a rash move to get him.
On the other side of the coin you don’t want to hesitate and be the guy who loses out on someone who could potentially help you win you’re a fantasy football championship. Michael Vick, Arian Foster and Peyton Hillis were all drafted in very few leagues last year. They all went on to win a lot of teams their titles. Working the wire is balancing act early on where you have to have faith in your top picks, but you also have to be willing to make calculated gambles in order to win big.
Here are some of the guys who might be sitting on your waiver wire and looking appealing after a week of action. I’ll tell you if I think they’re worth the gamble or not.
Cam Newton, QB – Carolina Panthers: This guy is the story of week one and there is no doubt he’ll be one of the most added players in all of fantasy football this waiver period. Much to many people’s surprise, myself included, the Panthers didn’t have the kid gloves on their rookie and he ended up throwing the ball 37 times, completing 24 passes for 422 yards. He connected on 2 TD’s and threw 1 INT. He also picked up 18 yards and another TD with his legs.
He got a little bit lucky in losing an INT on a penalty and eventually turning that into one of his TD’s, but that aside he looked impressive stretching the field and making plays. He wasn’t running screen plays and dump offs all day, he connected with Steve Smith 8 times for 178 yards and was hitting him down the field.
Now before we get to over the top about this start, it was against the Cardinals who did lose their top corner off a secondary that was already bad last season. And the Panthers don’t have the easiest schedule coming up with games against Green Bay, Chicago and New Orleans in the next four weeks. But because of the upside and the unknown I think Cam is a guy you want on your bench. I’d rather have him as my backup right now than someone like Donovan “39 yards” McNabb who is owned in twice as many leagues. Don’t get too carried away with expectations after this one game, and don’t expect to play him in the coming weeks except maybe against the Jags or in deep leagues, but I am going to say…
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Rex Grossman, QB – Washington Redskins: Cam Newton may have gotten all the press with his big day, but the much made fun of Rex Grossman had a pretty good game himself. Grossman was 21 – 34 for 305 yards, 2 TD’s and 0 INT. And this wasn’t the Arizona Cardinals Grossman was facing, it was the New York Giants, albeit missing a few key parts of their defense.
The start was impressive, but there is still a reason that Grossman has been in the league for 9 years and been a regular starter only once. For his career he is 40/40 on TD/INT which is not encouraging. Mike Shannahan knows a thing or two about offense, but making Grossman a dependable fantasy QB this would be his finest work yet.
He does get Arizona next week, so if you are looking for a one week guy because of a matchup or injury, than roll the dice on Rex. But over the long haul I don’t see him as more than a backup and I’d rather have Ryan Fitzpatrick, Cam Newton or Colt McCoy’s upside on my bench than Grossman.
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
Cadillac Williams, RB – St. Louis Rams: After two impressive carries yesterday Steven Jackson left the game with a quad strain and never came back. In stepped the Rams new backup Cadillac Williams who had quite a day carrying the ball 19 times for 91 yards and catching 6 passes for 49 yards, though he didn’t cross the goal line.
We should know more about Jackson and his status for this week by the end of the day today, but chances are he’ll still be questionable all week long. The Rams don’t play until Monday so it gives him an extra day to recover. If you own Jackson picking up Cadillac as insurance is wise. Otherwise I don’t know if I like this one. Jackson shouldn’t be out to long, so unless you need someone next week you might be better off grabbing a higher upside guy than Caddy. Williams is a career 3.8 YPC guy who is facing a tough run defense coming up against the Giants. If Jackson’s going to miss more than a week than it’s a different story, but assuming Jax will be back sooner than later…
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
Devery Henderson, WR – New Orleans Saints: News has broken that Marques Colston has a broken collarbone and will be out at least four weeks, potentially more. Henderson came in and caught 6 passes for 100 yards and a TD against the Packers and is available in 95% of leagues.
It is unclear if Lance Moore is coming back this week or not, but if not than Henderson’s stock goes up even more. The Saints like to spread the ball around and that makes it hard to count on any one guy in particular, but Henderson should be on the field plenty, even if Moore is back, and if you’re on the field and the Saints have the ball you have a chance to make some plays. Henderson has always been somewhat inconsistent, but he has big play ability. Devery Henderson is certainly a gamble, but he could offer a big payout.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Fred Davis, TE – Washington Redskins: The Redskins have been waiting to get the kind of a game that got from Davis yesterday. There was some thought that Davis would be the starting Tight End yesterday because of Chris Cooley’s knee injury which wasn’t the case, but he saw plenty of time on the field and he capitalized for 5 catches and 105 yards.
Davis has a lot of upside, but he has not yet been able to put it all together and Cooley has been in his way. As long as Cooley is healthy he’s going to be the starting tight end, but Davis may have earned himself some more time in two tight end sets. Davis has the ability to stretch the field more than most tight ends and has big play potential. I don’t expect the Skins to put up to many more 300 passing yard games and Davis isn’t high enough on the pass catching chart to be dependable. In deep leagues he’s worthy of a shot, but in standard 10 team leagues there are too many better options to fill one TE spot.
Verdict: Deny ‘Em
Scott Chandler, TE – Buffalo Bills: Chandler has never been considered anything more than a blocking tight end, but that wasn’t the case yesterday when he caught 5 balls for 63 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.
It’s not east to trust someone coming out of nowhere like Chandler and you absolutely can’t trust Buffalo to put up offensive numbers like yesterday again this season. That said I think Chandler still has real value. Buffalo seems committed to throwing the ball a bit more with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, and outside of Stevie Johnson they don’t have dependable receiving threats. They also don’t have red zone receiving targets. Chandler is the starting tight end and he’s going to be on the field. He may be a blocker first, but it seems clear that Buffalo is willing to use him as a receiver and he’s probably worth a flier because of that. He’s most likely just a backup, but he could emerge as more than that. Based on playing time and opportunity I like him more than Davis.
Verdict: Buy ‘Em
Obviously this only covers a small group of the guys out there on the waiver wire that you’ll be considering this week. If you want to know my take on anyone else just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you with some thoughts.