by Will Overton
When you draft a team you get attached to that team, and until they do something to make you mad, you typically keep those players. I get that, and I am the same way. I don’t spend a ton of time examining a waiver wire before the season starts.
But sometimes circumstances just dictate that you do it. Maybe you have a guy who is injured, or maybe you have someone who is going to play a limited number of snaps (Mike Wallace or MJD). Or maybe you just happen to have a lot of fringe guys who only play based on the matchup. Let’s be honest, no matter how good we are at drafting we all usually end up with a few fringe guys at the end.
The following list I am offering are a group of those fringe type players who didn’t get drafted in at least 50% of leagues out there. These are five guys I personally feel could have a strong amount of value in week one based on matchup. If you’re looking to fill a hole, I’d start here.
Sam Bradford – QB, St. Louis Rams: Anyone remember Matt Flynn throwing for 480 yards and 6 TD’s against the Lions at the end of last season? How about Carson Palmer getting nearly 400 yards? The moral of the story is that mediocre QB’s can have career days against the Lions secondary sometimes. A lot of people have lumped Bradford into the mediocre category already, but at 24 years old I don’t know if we’ve seen enough to say that. Bradford was a number one pick recently and he has shown flashes of big game ability before. I personally think Bradford should be owned in more than the 47% of leagues he is, but either way, he’s at least worth a look this week. I could easily see Bradford carving up the Lions for enough production to make him a top 10 – 12 QB this week.
Jonathan Dwyer – RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: If you only own one Steelers running back it should still be Isaac Redman I believe. But Dwyer is making a case for himself as the lead back in Pittsburgh. Dwyer had a very solid preseason and while Redman is still slated to start for the Steelers in week one, it’s looking like a pretty even split in carries for the two guys. I expect the Steelers to do a lot of passing, but the Broncos were one of the worst run defenses in football last season and so the ball will stay on the ground a fair share still. One big thing working in Dwyer’s favor is that I think he’ll be the guy the Steelers go to if they end up on the goal line, so it’s not hard at all to think Dwyer could find his way into the end zone at least once in week one.
Domenik Hixon – WR, New York Giants: It may be only a matter of time before Reuben Randle becomes the Giants third receiver, but right now it’s Domenik Hoxon who will be the number three guy week one. Two years ago before injuries set in Hixon had almost 600 yards receiving so he’s not a total unknown. And I personally am expecting a good old fashioned shootout in the Giants vs. Cowboys game on Wednesday night, considering the Giants put up 68 points combined in two games against Dallas last season. Most of the targets will inevitably go to Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, but there should be enough targets to go around and Hixon should see a lot of good looks with those two receiving so much attention. Deep leagues could get some sleeper value from Hixon this week.
Kendall Wright – WR, Tennessee Titans: In deep leagues Wright will be owned I am sure, but in the majority of standard leagues he’s a free agent. With Kenny Britt suspended for week one, Wright will be the Titans starter against the Patriots. The Pats have done some work to shore up their secondary in the offseason, but they still have a lot to prove and I can see the Titans testing that. There is a good chance the Pats will score early and force the Titans into a shootout, and if they do Wright should see plenty of chances to make an impact in his first regular season NFL game.
Dallas Clark – TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This may be for deep leaguers only, or just the guy who waited until the end to take a TE and isn’t crazy about the one they got. Clark is available in just about every league on ESPN and as of now all signs point to his being healthy for the beginning of the season. Clark only played 11 games for Indianapolis last season and still caught 34 passes with a horrible QB. So he’s not completely washed up. The Bucs are taking on the Panthers whose pass defense struggled last season and whose offense excelled, so we could be looking at a shootout in week one. Josh Freeman has weapons at wideout, but he has a history of using his TE’s a lot when he has a useful one. Clark is a risk, but at least this week he is a calculated one.
Have you had to do much waiver wire shopping yet? If so, who have you been looking at? What do you think of these five guys and their fantasy prospects in week one? Let us know what you think.