Every week in fantasy football provides a fresh set of circumstances, and a fresh opportunity to fortify your team via trades or the waiver wire. Experience says, that effectively managing the waiver wire is often more key to winning in your fantasy league than the draft. Each Monday, we’ll try to highlight a few of these opportunities, created by injuries or other extenuating circumstances, and try to find some waiver wire gold.
Kevin Kolb vs. KC – We’ll have to wait and see what the injury report has to say, but until I see Donavan McNabb start and finish a game, he’s tough to tie your wagon to. You’d have to imagine that McNabb is feeling some kind of pressure to get back, and may rush it. If he’s starting, I’m off of all Philly QBs this week. If Kolb gets the nod, he may be worth a start against a KC team that gave up a career day to Joe Flacco in week 1. With Brian Westbrook banged up, Kolb may get 1 more chance to air it out before giving back the starting reins.
Seneca Wallace vs. CHI – This is definitely a reach, but if you’re in a league where starting QBs are impossible to find on the waiver wire. Depending on the severity of Matt Hasselbeck’s injury, Wallace may get the nod, and although the match up isn’t the best, Wallace’s athleticism, and the lack of tape on him could lead to some interesting match up problems for the Bears this week.
Mark Sanchez vs. TEN – If Sanchez is still on your waiver wire, you’ve got to give him a look at least. He seems to be on the fast track to stardom, although it is after just 2 weeks, and has great looking match ups each of the next 2 weeks. The Titans, who helped Matt Schaub bounce back in week 2, could provide an interesting barometer, and with the Saints in week 4, Sanchez could be a steal if your QB is on Week 4 bye. Even if you don’t need him, but have room on your bench, he could have some trade value down the line.
Brady Quinn @ BAL – Quinn and the Browns have had fairly pedestrian numbers so far, but for a 1-week match up, this may be a decent pick up. The Ravens have given up significant passing yards in each of their first 2 games, and after seeing what tall receivers did to the Ravens’ corners on Sunday, Braylon Edwards and company may be chomping at the bit to open it up. It’s also worth noting that if Baltimore stays offensively wide open again in week 3, and considering Cleveland’s issues running the ball against average defenses, the Browns will probably have to stay in high gear for most of this game.
Jason Campbell @ DET – This looks like another 1-week play, but if you don’t have any good options, everyone is a decent choice against the Lions.
Tom Brady vs. ATL – Okay, so you won’t find him on the waiver wire, but it’s safe to say that those who spent early on Brady are less than enamored with his performance so far. Depending on how savvy the Brady owner in your league is, and what you may be able to offer in return, it may be a good time to make an offer. Remember Peyton Manning’s slow start to last season. It’s tough to imagine Brady not coming around sooner or later.
LeSean McCoy vs. KC – Depending on the health of Brian Westbrook, McCoy may or may not be the primary ball carrier against a vulnerable KC rush defense this week. It would seem that no matter who goes at QB, the Eagles would like to give a heavy dose of rushing to the Chiefs, if possible.
Justin Forsett vs. CHI – This is another situation where you want to keep an eye on the starter. There’s nothing official yet, regarding a Julius Jones injury, but it’s clear that he wasn’t available at the end of Sunday’s game. The match up isn’t great, but if Seneca Wallace is forced to play QB, you’d imagine the Seahawks would prefer to run the ball whenever possible.
Glen Coffee @ MIN – With Frank Gore ailing, Coffee is definitely worth a pick up. Pitting him against the Vikings defense this week is less than ideal, but if he gets the start he’s worth a look. If Gore plays against the Vikings, and hurts himself further, Coffee’s upside could be extremely high in the NFC West.
Mike Bell & Heath Evans @ BUF – Outside of Drew Brees, the rest of your Saints players may be hit or miss throughout the season. For those who shied away from Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush on draft day because of the lack of clarity at the position, congrats, because 2 weeks in, the Saints running back picture is cloudier than ever. For now, it seems the Saints like Bell between the tackles and appear content to run him until the wheels fall off. He seems to be the safest option in their backfield, for the short term at least. And so far, Brees has shown a propensity to look to his fullback, Evans, near the goal line. It’s also tough to forget what a TD vulture Mike Karney was for the Saints over the last few seasons. In a pinch, either of these 2 are serviceable options.
LaDanian Tomlinson, Matt Forte & Knowshon Moreno – These aren’t guys you’ll find on the waiver wire, but who should be worth investigating. Forte would probably be the toughest to get, and rightfully so, it’s tough to imagine him not coming around. Still, those who spent early on him are certainly frustrated. Those who drafted LT probably did so with trepidation in their hearts, and so far it’s been for good reason. Sparing him against the Ravens may be a case of discretion being the better part of valor, and could be a benefit to him down the line. And although Moreno’s numbers so far don’t match up with his counterpart Correll Buckhalter, he’s clearly going to be a big part of Denver’s offense when all is said and done. Getting any of these guys now, from an anxious or inexperienced owner would be a steal.
Mario Manningham @ TB – We were all wondering, and guessing how the Giants’ passing game would go forward in the post-Plaxico era. Few of us guessed that Manningham would be playing such a big role, and especially so soon, but he’s quickly becoming a favorite target of Eli Manning, especially in crunch time. Filling Burress’ shoes is still way too much to expect from Manningham at this point, but if the Giants are looking to make up that production by committee, Manningham appears to be at the head of the pack.
Johnny Knox @ SEA – It looks like Jay Cutler has found this year’s Eddie Royal. I was reserving judgment on this one after the last play of the Bears’ week 1 game, as it didn’t seem beyond possibility that the temperamental Cutler would punish Knox for his end game indiscretion. Instead Knox backed up his week 1 performance with an even better week 2, and looks to be the clear #2 option for the Bears so far.
Mike Sims-Walker @ HOU – Lots of pundits were expecting a big season from Troy Williamson in 2009. Instead with Williamson on the shelf for the season, those hopes may now shift to the shoulders of Sims-Walker. There’s also got to be some good karma for Jags with hyphenated names.
Kelley Washington vs. CLE – Don’t look now, but the Ravens are becoming a team where the 3rd receiver could be a viable option when the match up is favorable. This may not be the week, but Washington could wind up with better numbers than Steve Breaston by the end of the year.
Louis Murphy vs. DEN – It’s tough to tie your hopes to any Raiders receiver until JaMarcus Russell shows a little consistency, but Murphy seems to be the main target so far.
Jacoby Jones vs. JAX – Jones benefited from the absence of Kevin Walter last week, and may continue to do so. It’s also a really nice benefit for any wide receiver to have Andre Johnson distracting opposing secondaries for him.
Hank Baskett & Pierre Garcon @ AZ – One of these two is going to step up and take advantage of the opportunity they’re being given. With so many targets on the field for defenses to account for, whichever one of these 2 emerges first could be a steal for the next few weeks at least.
Saints and Eagles receivers – If you don’t have any, be glad you didn’t spend highly on them. Outside of Marques Colston and DeSean Jackson, it’s tough to guess who will get the targets from week to week. Still, in a pinch, for a week, any one of these guys could be worth a play, especially if the match up is right.
I’ll be back later this week with the weekly start rankings for week 3. Until then, good luck and happy hunting.