Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Working the Waiver Wire

It's extremely rare to go the entire fantasy football season with the team that you drafted. Working the waiver wire is one of the most important things you will do during the season. While most of the stars are already on rosters, a few prize free agents will emerge throughout the year. The biggest news from week one is the season-ending ankle injury to Ryan Grant. The injury leaves the Packers, and Grant owners, with a big hole to fill in their roster. If you're looking to freshen up your team, here are some guys that might do the trick.

Pick Up of the Week:
Brandon Jackson – RB Green Bay – With Ryan Grant out for the season with an ankle injury, Jackson sets into the starter role. When the Packers drafted Jackson in the third round four years ago, they thought they were drafting their starting RB. Jackson never panned out as the starter, but has become a serviceable 3rd down RB for Green Bay. While Jackson will be a household name in fantasy football circles, consider this, Jackson has never played in all 16 games during a season. My point, find out whom Jackson’s back-up will be and keep an eye on him (Packers just signed Dimitri Nance off the Atlanta Falcons practice squad and rookie James Starks is on the PUP list—back after week 6).

Mark Clayton – WR St. Louis – Lost in the Jackson extravaganza are some good WR options, starting with Clayton. With 16 targets in week one, Clayton looks to be settling into a role as Sam Bradford’s go to guy. Clayton is not going to be a fantasy football stud each week, but a #1 WR is worth a roster spot. Consider dropping someone like TJ Houshmandzadeh or Laurent Robinson.

Legedu Naanee – WR San Diego - With Vincent Jackson nowhere to be found, Naanee has emerged as a solid contributor to the Chargers offense. In a wet and nasty Monday night opener, Naanee hauled in 5 balls for 110 yards and a TD over 50 yards. With Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates getting most of the defense’s attention, Naanee could be in for a big year. He has more upside than guys like Lee Evans and Bernard Berrian at this time.

Mike Williams – WR Seattle – Pete Carroll turned Williams into a star at USC, and he’s trying to do the same in the Emerald City. QB Matt Hasselbeck targeted Williams more than any other WR (6 targets), and Williams is by far the biggest red zone threat the Seahawks have. By into the early season hype and grab this #1 WR on the Seahawks.

Peyton Hillis – RB Cleveland – I’ve been on the Hillis bandwagon from early on in the football season. He is a different kind of runner for Cleveland, a hard-nosed RB who can be shifty. Hillis got 13 touches in Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, taking one in for a TD. Hillis will be used around the goal line and to wear down defenses. I like Hillis as a back-up RB, with the potential to start in deeper leagues.

Jermaine Gresham – TE Cincinnati – It’s hard starting a rookie on your fantasy football team, but sometimes a guy will enter the NFL and enter the mix right away. Gersham appears to be that type of player and he’s landed in a pretty good spot. The TE is sandwiched between Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco in Cincinnati’s line-up. In his pro debut, the rookie was targeted ten times by Carson Palmer, including one catch for a touchdown. Hold off for now, unless your league requires that you start a TE. He will be a good option going forward.

Jason Avant – WR Philadelphia – Avant was the best WR for Philadelphia on Sunday, and he worked well with Michael Vick. Avant had 4 catches for 41 yards, all coming in the second half with Kevin Kolb on the bench. As more teams focus on shutting down DeSean Jackson, look for Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant become more involved in the offense. Avant is also a big target around the end zone. I’d wait on Avant at this point, but be ready to grab him if you need a WR.

Sneaky Pick of the Week:
Kenneth Darby – RB St. Louis – Darby is not going to steal carries from Steven Jackson, but with Jackson’s knee bothering him, Darby may be in play sooner than we think. Jackson had an MRI on his knee on Monday, which revealed no damage. But just the fact that Jackson is getting his knee looked at tells me something is bothering him. If you have a roster spot you can spare, sneak him on your team just in case. Darby will be a hot commodity if Jackson does go down.

Other notable pick-ups:
-Danny Amendola – WR St. Louis – If you’re in a PPR league, he’s worth a roster spot. Poor man’s Wes Welker (w/o Tom Brady).
-Greg Camarillo – WR Minnesota – The Vikings need to find a WR for Brett Favre. Camarillo is another PPR guy who is also a poor man’s Wes Welker (w/o Tom Brady).
-Laurence Maroney – RB Denver – Just traded to the Mile High City to be Knowshon Moreno’s back-up most likely. If you have Correll Buckhalter, look at swapping him for Maroney.
-Matt Hasselbeck/David Garrard/Vince Young – I lumped these guys together because they’re all similar fantasy players. They are good options if you drafted Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez.

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