Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Options Heading into Week 2
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When it comes to possible waiver-wire options for fantasy football, Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree immediately became a target of many owners after he posted a career night in the NFL regular-season opener last Wednesday.
Against the Giants, Ogletree finished with career highs across the board of eight receptions, 114 yards and two touchdowns.
In his previous 31 career games, Ogletree never caught a touchdown pass. Over those three NFL seasons, he never averaged more than 11.7 yards per game.
The question then becomes: How close can Ogletree come to duplicating his Week 1 success in future weeks?
Looking back to last season, Laurent Robinson thrived in that role, especially down the stretch. Not only did Robinson lead the Cowboys with 11 receiving touchdowns last year, he scored all of them in the final 10 weeks of the season.
While I don't think he does what Robinson did last year, Ogletree will have some solid games and be a viable option for folks in deeper leagues or for those that need wide receiver help. Currently he is available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues.
For a player to appear on this list, he needs to satisfy two criteria: (1) he is owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues or less and (2) he was not on last week's waiver-wire list.
Since this is our first waiver-wire post of the year, the second requirement is automatically met, but something to keep in mind with our future recommendations.
Here are some players to consider adding to your roster (Yahoo! league ownership in parenthesis):
QB - Alex Smith, 49ers (44 percent)
Smith has not thrown the ball 40 times or more in a regular-season game since Sept. 26, 2010. In other words, it's unlikely that Smith ever manages to post gaudy numbers in any game this season.
While Smith is as efficient as the Niners are conservative in their play-calling, the 49ers have a pair of excellent red-zone options in tight end Vernon Davis and wide receiver Randy Moss. Counting the postseason, Davis has five touchdowns in his three five games.
RB - Alfred Morris, Redskins (29 percent)
In his NFL debut, Morris rushed for 96 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns and gave owners 21 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues. Meanwhile, Evan Royster and Roy Helu had only two carries each. As coach Mike Shanahan said today, Morris is the team's starting running back "right now."
That's the worry. The "right now" part.
If Morris is available in your fantasy league(s), he's definitely worth adding, however, fantasy owners should have an exit strategy in mind. Even though Morris is a good fit and has shown he can produce in Shanahan's system, it's a little too unsettling for me to rely on Shanahan's whims. Fortunately for owners looking to sell high, the Redskins face the Rams, who should be without Michael Brockers again, next week.
RB - Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (18 percent)
Even though Isaac Redman is currently the starter and Rashard Mendenhall (ACL) will return sooner than later, Dwyer is worth consideration for fantasy owners. After coming to camp in the best shape of professional career, Dwyer has looked impressive in the preseason (5.3 yards per carry) and in Week 1 (a team-high 43 yards).
I'm not so quick to automatically assume that Mendenhall becomes the team's featured (or most productive) back once he returns. After all, Mendenhall averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry in half of his games last year before tearing his ACL.
RB/WR - Dexter McCluster, Chiefs (13 percent)
While he provides fantasy owners with positional flexibility (RB- and WR-eligible in Yahoo! leagues), McCluster is a receiver this year and led the Chiefs in receiving in Week 1. McCluster finished with team highs of six receptions for 82 yards and was targeted a game-high 10 times in the opener. McCluster is even better in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues than standard formats.
WR - Kevin Ogletree, Cowboys (42 percent)
WR - Stephen Hill, Jets (16 percent)
No player boosted his stock more at the NFL combine than Hill with the possible exception of defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Extremely raw as a receiver coming out of Georgia Tech's triple-option offense, Hill possesses a freakish combination of size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) and athleticism (4.36 forty, 39.5-inch vertical). Although his production might be inconsistent on a weekly basis, he has a tremendous amount of big-play potential and hauled in two touchdowns in his NFL debut.
WR - Randall Cobb, Packers (44 percent)
Cobb is an electrifying playmaker as his 75-yard punt return shows, but it looks like the Packers will make a much more concerted effort to get the ball into his hands on offense this year. Lining up all over the field including in the backfield plenty of times, Cobb had a team-high nine receptions in Sunday's loss to the Niners. He should continue to get enough targets to help your fantasy squad on a weekly basis.
WR - Danny Amendola, Rams (43 percent)
When it comes to scoring formats, Amendola is clearly better in leagues that award a point per reception. In the Rams opener, Amendola had five receptions for 70 yards. While he won't always give you 70 yards, five receptions are a virtual lock on a weekly basis from Sam Bradford's favorite target. Although he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 last year, Amendola has 95 receptions in his last 18 games.
WR - Alshon Jeffery, Bears (34 percent)
One of my 10 bold predictions in the preseason was that Jeffery would finish with double-digit touchdowns this season. While I expect most of those scores to come on shorter passes, the big-bodied, sure-handed receiver scored his first of the season on a 42-yard touchdown in Week 1. Based on preseason fantasy strength of schedules, Jeffery and the Bears receivers have one of the five most favorable schedules.
TE - Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (35 percent)
In the Vikings season opener, Rudolph was targeted seven times, second only to Percy Harvin. Even after Jerome Simpson returns from suspension in Week 4, I still expect Rudolph to get the second-most targets after Harvin. Rudolph finished with five receptions for 67 yards, both career highs, in the opener and could be poised for a breakout season.
Our Week 2 rankings will be released by Wednesday morning.