The first rule of fantasy football is that running backs go first, then a quarterback, then wide receivers. That formula for drafting is a tried and true formula for success over the course of a season. The problem this season is that for the most part, RBs around the league fell flat on their faces and underperformed in week 1 of the NFL season.
Because the RBs disappointed, many fantasy owners are scrambling to the waiver wire looking for that diamond in the rough. The only RB you should be considering picking up is Joique Bell from the Lions. However, you should also understand that he is the back-up to Reggie Bush. His production is going to be erratic, but he should be owned in all formats going forward.
The only WR worth looking at off the wire is Julian Edelman. By the time this article goes up, the Patriots will have already played the Jets on Thursday night and Edelman will be off most FA lists. Don’t chase stats on WRs like Leonard Hankerson and Jerome Simpson.
Colin Kaepernick – QB 49ers: I have received so many questions about starting Kaepernick and Russell Wilson this week because the 49ers play the Seahawks. As we all know, those two defenses are top tier in the NFL and owners are worried about their QBs because of it. I would have no problems whatsoever playing Kaepernick as a QB1, whereas I have Wilson on the QB1/2 bubble.
Robert Griffin III – QB Redskins: We all saw RGIII on MNF, so I don’t need to talk about the rust he had to start the game. But, I will say that he looked more comfortable in the second half and the Packers defense will allow him to get more comfortable with the offense. I keep RGIII in my line-up as a QB1 regardless of what he looked like in week 1.
Arian Foster – RB Texans: I normally wouldn’t even consider Foster as someone I need to tell anyone to start, but there is a lot of concern about him after Ben Tate performed better than him in week 1, and Coach Gary Kubiak said he regretted not giving Tate more snaps. Foster was your #1 overall pick, so now is not the time to get cute and worry about things. The Texans are easing him into the season and he is still an every week starter. Play him as a RB1 until he is injured and ruled out of a game.
Eddie Lacy – RB Packers: Lacy is a great buy-low candidate after running for 41 yards on 14 carries in week 1. The Redskins defense is ripe for the picking and I would put Lacy as high as a mid-range RB2 this week with upside as he is an every down and goal-line back for the Packers high scoring offense.
Brian Hartline – WR Dolphins: Hartline is a perfect fit in the Dolphins new West Coast offense, and Mike Wallace is the perfect WR to take the pressure off him and allow him to fill that Wes Welker role for them. Hartline is now owned in 46.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, up 19.7 percent from last week. Anyone playing in a PPR league needs to own guys like Hartline and Edelman. The Colts defense is soft and I do think the Dolphins make it a point to get Wallace involved this week. But, that is a good thing because it will force the Colts defense to let Hartline go open while they double Wallace.
Cecil Shorts – WR Jaguars: Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a Jaguars fan in the slightest. With that, Shorts gets a bump in value now that Blaine Gabbert is out and Chad Henne is in at QB. Give him another start here as a WR3 and see if Henne can solidify his spot as the Jaguars starting QB. This is the last chance for him though; if he can’t do it against the Raiders, it can’t be done for the Jaguars WR.
Jared Cook – TE Rams: While I’m not a fan of the Rams this week against the Falcons, Cook proved that he is the security blanket for that offense. As far as TEs go, Cook is as good of a bet as anyone not named Jimmy Graham or Jason Witten. I like him as a top 5 TE this week and possibly going forward as well.
Carolina Panthers defense: The Panthers defense is owned in just 7.2 percent of NFL.com leagues, and I think that is a little high to be honest. But, they are playing the Bills this week and will get raw rookie E.J. Manuel who I talk about later on. The threat for the Bills offense is C.J. Spiller, and he ran for just 41 yards on 17 carries (2.4 YPC) in week 1. I know the fantasy game sites aren’t projecting them to do much this week, but I like them as a sleeper defense for week 2.
Andrew Luck – QB Colts: The Dolphins defense is underrated, even after an impressive display against the Browns in week 1. With that being said, Dolphins look to shut down Luck and the Colts in week 2, and I like their chances given their D-Line, LBs and secondary. Luck could have low-end QB1 value, but I am benching him because like I said, the Dolphins defense is underrated.
E.J. Manuel – QB Bills: I only have Manuel on here because I got roughly 50 emails asking about picking him up. The problem with rookies like Geno Smith and Manuel is that fantasy owners often pick them up hoping to catch lightning in a bottle for free. Look, neither of these guys are RGIII, Luck, or Cam Newton. The Bills are a run-oriented team and Manuel is a rookie with extremely raw talent. He is going to struggle to put up consistent numbers and because of that there is nobody that can truly predict when his good game will come. With him throwing 2 TDs last week, I am betting on him bombing this week because that is what happens to raw rookies in the NFL after teams have a week to watch film on them. I wouldn’t own Manuel even in 2 QB leagues personally, so there is no way I am going to consider starting him in even the deepest of leagues.
Daryl Richardson – RB Rams: Richardson failed to impress in week 1 with his 96 total yards and 3.2 YPC average. Add to that Isaiah Pead being back in the mix and Richardson is in the flex play range for week 2. Most people drafted him to be their RB2, so your fantasy line-up needs to be adjusted accordingly this week, and you will want to keep a close eye on this situation moving forward.
Joique Bell – RB Lions: After Bell ran for 2 TDs last week, fantasy owners ran to the waiver wire and snatched him up. Bell has seen his ownership jump 43.1 percent in NFL.com leagues (35,985 adds at the time of writing), and is now starting in 13.5 percent of NFL.com leagues. When you consider the sheer number of people that play fantasy football on the NFL’s website, 43.1 and 13.5 percent is a monumental number. That being said, Bell is more of a flex play than a fantasy starter. Even with the 2 TDs, he still totaled just 92 total yards. It’s unrealistic to think Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson are going to get theirs, and there is still going to be enough left over for a back-up RB like Bell to come in at the end of the game and score 1-2 more times and get 50+ yards per-game. I’m not saying down own him, because I do. But, what I am saying is calm down the expectations going forward and sell high on Bell if you can.
Greg Jennings – WR Vikings: Jennings was a stud just a few seasons ago with Aaron Rodgers, and now he is with the Vikings and has to rely on Christian Ponder to make him look good. And there lies his problem. Ponder is barely an adequate NFL QB, and the main reason Percy Harvin looked good with him is because Harvin only needed a few seconds to get open, whereas Jennings needs more time for his play to develop. Jennings is a low-end flex play until he proves otherwise.
Kenny Britt – WR Titans: Britt is owned in 86.4 percent of NFL.com leagues and that is a bit strange when you consider that he has had just one 100-yard game since 2011. Last week he was held to one catch for 15 yards. His problem is similar to Jennings’ in that his QB (Jake Locker) is sub-par by NFL standards. I’m positive he can do better than 15 yards most weeks, but he is far too erratic to consider anything more than a flex play flier in all formats.
Dallas Clark – TE Ravens: Clark has to be by far the most overrated FA mover this week, picking up 9,518 adds at the time of me writing this. While he did manage 87 receiving yards to open the season, he looked as old as I thought he would and he is a poor bet to repeat those numbers again this season. I would sell high to the guy who drafted Zach Suckfeld and move on from Clark while you still can.
Green Bay Packers defense: As I mentioned earlier, RGIII is likely going to answer his critics this week and answer them with vigor as he puts points on the board against the Packers. I think he shakes the rust off in the passing game, and if the Redskins can get Alfred Morris going early, it might end up being the high scoring game of the week in the NFL.
Question of the week
Q: I have Greg Jennings in 2 leagues and so far he seems super disappointing. Should I just go ahead and ditch him or do you see any future upside? My biggest question is who to start this week out of Colston or Edelman? The Patriots do have the Thursday night game against the d-weak Jets! Jeremy Lenentine – Gospel Light Baptist Church
A: I’ll break the answer into part A and part B.
Part A: The problem with Jennings is his QB. Ponder isn’t getting better, and the only thing keeping that team afloat is Adrian Peterson. What made Percy Harvin work there is that Ponder got the ball to him quickly, and then he made a play… Jennings doesn’t have the same speed, so he needs time for the play to develop. ANSWER: I wouldn’t cut him, but I would certainly see what his trade value is throughout the league.
Part B: Both have good matchups, but I think I go with Edelman. Colston has a nice matchup against the Buccs, but Amendola and Gronkowski are both highly unlikely to play tonight. Brady is sure to not trust Kembrel Thompkins after he was targeted 14 times and dropped 10 of them, whereas Brady trusts Edelman, and the coaching staff loves him.
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