For a lot of fantasy football enthusiasts, the fantasy draft is the highlight of their season. But in reality, the real work begins after the draft where fantasy football owners must navigate through injuries, depth chart changes and more to lead their team to a championship.
Every week, James Morris, our fantasy football guru and columnist, and Jon Cope “Scope”, producer of The Finsiders and fantasy junkie, will give you a look at many players that you might want to consider adding to your roster. Here are the selections of James and Jon for this week:
Titus Young, WR Detroit (owned in 86.4% of NFL.com leagues)- Young isn’t available on too many waiver wires , but make sure to check and see if he is on yours before heading into week 1. Young has been getting praise from writers around the country, and I expect a breakout season from the second year man opposite Calvin Johnson. If you own someone like Brandon LaFell, Darius Heyward-Bey, or Greg Little, and Young is on your waiver wire… slap yourself and make the switch! Young is a WR3 this week. (James Morris)
Kendall Wright, WR Tennessee (owned in 5.7% of NFL.com leagues)- this speedy first round pick out of Baylor is a value play this week going against a Patriots defense that gave up more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other unit in 2011. Wright impressed during the preseason, leading the team in receiving, and will get the start on Sunday. Even if you don’t need Wright to start as a WR3 or a flex option this week, he provides plenty of upside for the season with his offensive coordinator Chris Palmer telling the team’s official website “He’s got stardom written all over him.” (Jon Cope)
Toby Gerhart, RB Minnesota (owned in 89.2% of NFL.com leagues)- The Vikings have already said that even if Adrian Peterson is active for week 1, he’ll have “limited exposure.” While Gerhart is heavily owned in NFL.com leagues, due to an appropriately high pre-draft ranking, he’s owned in just 51 percent of leagues on a well-known competing sports website, so there is a chance that he will be available in your league. He makes for a low-end RB2 in week 1, and a top notch flex play. (James Morris)
Robert Turbin, RB Seattle (owned in 2.6% of NFL.com leagues)- according to reports Tuesday night, Seahawks starting running back Marshawn Lynch is uncertain for Sunday’s game against Arizona with back spasms. If Lynch can’t go, and he hasn’t played since the second week of the preseason, Turbin would be the likely fill-in. In the event that Turbin, a rookie out of Utah State, gets the start; he would make an intriguing fantasy play going against a mediocre run defense in Arizona. Turbin is a must-add for all Lynch owners this week, and a good speculative add for those that are Ryan Matthews, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Adrian Peterson owners; players that most likely won’t be major contributors this week. (Jon Cope)
Jonathan Dwyer, RB Pittsburgh (owned in 1.8% of NFL.com leagues)- With Rashard Mendenhall unlikely to play, that means the RB duties are going to fall to Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. In the preseason, Redman totaled just 38 yards on 17 carries (2.2 YPC), whereas Dwyer racked up 147 yards on 28 carries (5.25 YPC). I like Dwyer as a fantasy sleeper until Mendenhall is back. (James Morris)
Rashard Mendenhall, RB Pittsburgh (owned in 60.7% of NFL.com)- How is Rashard Mendenhall not owned in nearly 40% of fantasy leagues? While the Steelers running back is coming off of a torn ACL, he has had a speedy recovery and there’s a chance he might even play Sunday in Denver! I would agree with James that Dwyer is the Steeler back to play this week, but with Mendenhall ahead of schedule, I’d expect him to be the Steelers primary ball carrier by the team’s week 3 game against the Raiders. For a player that was a first or second round fantasy draft pick last year, I think he’s definitely worth a spot on your bench for the next few weeks before taking over as the starter once again in the Steel City. (Jon Cope)
Austin Collie, WR Indianapolis (owned in 48.6% of NFL.com leagues)- There is real concern with Collie given his concussion history, but Andrew Luck looks like one of the most NFL ready QBs to come out in the last decade and the Colts are going to throw the ball as if his name were Andrew Manning. Collie has passed all the tests and is game-ready, which means he should be picked up off the waiver wire and stuck into your WR3/Flex spot for week 1. Until he is OUT, he is a go and should be played accordingly. (James Morris)
Evan Royster, RB Washington (owned in 36.7% of NFL.com leagues)- the Redskins running back situation is one of the most confusing in the entire league; however heading into Sunday’s game in New Orleans Evan Royster is listed as the #1 running back on the depth chart. While it’s always difficult to predict what Mike Shanahan will do, if Royster does get the start, I like his chances to impress Sunday against a less than stellar Saints run defense. I think Royster is a risky play for this week, but he is definitely worth an addition to your bench. The Redskins will look to run the ball often this year with a rookie quarterback starting, and I believe Royster has a good chance to be a solid RB2 if does in fact become entrenched as the starter. (Jon Cope)
Kyle Rudolph, TE Minnesota (owned in 6.9% of NFL.com leagues)- Rudolph is someone I have been telling people to not let slip in their drafts. The kid is locked into an every down role, and the Vikings are in desperate need of a No. 2 option behind Percy Havin. At 6’6” and 258 LBS, he has the size to be a redzone target and should end up being a TE1 in fantasy formats. (James Morris)
Martellus Bennett, TE New York Giants (owned in 2.9% of NFL.com leagues)- If you’re a Jason Witten owner and need a replacement for this week with the Cowboys tight end doubtful, look no further than the other side of the field and Giants tight end Martellus Bennett. Eli Manning loves to throw to his tight ends has helped lead to solid fantasy season for Jeremy Shockey, Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard during his tenure. Bennett is the most athletic tight end that Eli has had since Shockey, and should have a productive season beginning this week against his former team. (Jon Cope)
Check back with us on Friday for James’ Week 1 “Start ’em, Sit ’em” projections.
If you have any fantasy questions, follow James on Twitter here.
Also, click the links below to check out James’ positional previews heading into the 2012 season.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.