Adam Levitan

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wired: Week 2

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let’s tell some wild yet true stories from Week 1 of the 2012 season. The Cardinals beat the Seahawks behind the arms of John Skelton and Kevin Kolb. Kevin Ogletree lit up the Giants for eight catches, 114 yards and two touchdowns. Wes Welker played limited snaps and caught three passes for 14 yards.  

The point is that one game of a 17-week season can often mean very little. Did David Wilson have one of the worst game’s an NFL running back can possibly have? Sure. Are the Giants just going to give up on him for the rest of the season? They know they can’t.

As we dive into the waiver wire for Week 2, we’re still on the hunt for long-term talent over short-term situation. There are no bye weeks and few major injuries to overcome. Overreactions to fluky Week 1 performances (and fumbles) are a recipe for disaster.  

On to the assets. Here is how I would rank the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at each position. Notes and recommendations on each player will follow below.

Editor's note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $200,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 2. It's $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

1. Terrelle Pryor
2. Sam Bradford
3. Ryan Tannehill
4. Geno Smith
5. Chad Henne
6. E.J. Manuel

Running backs
1. Joique Bell
2. Pierre Thomas
3. Vick Ballard
4. Knowshon Moreno
5. Fred Jackson
6. Isaiah Pead
7. Jonathan Dwyer
8. Shonn Greene

Wide Receivers
1. Julian Edelman
2. Marlon Brown
3. Andre Roberts
4. Brian Hartline
5. Nate Burleson
6. Percy Harvin
7. Jerome Simpson
8. Kenny Stills
9. Rod Streater
10. Harry Douglas

Tight Ends
1. Julius Thomas
2. Tyler Eifert
3.Kellen Winslow
4. Brent Celek
5. Dallas Clark

Defense/Special Teams
1. Raiders
2. Chiefs
3. Eagles

1. Greg Zuerlein
2. Garrett Hartley
3. Rian Lindell

1. Terrelle Pryor, Raiders – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
When we recommended Terrelle Pryor as the top quarterback add ahead of Week 1, he was owned in seven percent of leagues. Not enough people listened. Now the entire league is buzzing about how Pryor got his Crazy Legs Hirsch on against the Colts. In his two career NFL starts, Pryor has now rushed 22 times for 161 yards with one touchdown. On Sunday, he executed six scrambles and seven designed runs. On 81 preseason snaps this year, he rushed 14 times for 131 yards with one touchdown.  In other words, this whole rushing yardage thing is not a fluke. Pryor has 4.4 wheels, weighs 233 pounds and has no intention of sliding. He’s Tim Tebow but with more elusiveness, speed and throwing accuracy. Pryor can sustain top-14 value.
Recommendation: Should be owned in standard 10-team leagues

2. Sam Bradford, Rams – Owned in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Rams spent the offseason upgrading Sam Bradford’s weaponry and offensive line. So far, so good. Running more of the spread formations he excelled in at Oklahoma, Bradford went for 299 yards with two touchdowns and one interception against an underrated Cardinals defense Sunday. Perhaps the biggest revelation was Jared Cook. Under former Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, Cook had two 100-yard games and scored a total of eight touchdowns. In one game as a Ram, he has 141 yards and two touchdowns. Cook is the mismatch with the monster catch radius Bradford needs.
Recommendation: Should be owned as a backup in 12-team standard leagues

3. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Browns’ nasty front seven completely shut down the Dolphins’ running game, limiting Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas to 17 yards on 18 carries. The offensive line did a poor job of giving Ryan Tannehill time, surrendering four sacks and plenty more pressures. And Mike Wallace was completely locked down by Joe Haden. So it’s impressive that Tannehill still stayed poised, completing 24-of-38 passes for 272 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Check out the scoring throw on a double move to Brian Hartline if you want to see what Tannehill is capable of. OC Mike Sherman admitted Monday that head coach Joe Philbin wants to be a pass-first offense. Tannehill, a former college wideout, is showing signs of improvement.
Recommendation: Should be owned as a backup in 12-team standard leagues

4. Geno Smith, Jets – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
Even if Mark Sanchez’s throwing shoulder was completely healthy, Geno Smith would own this job. He’s naturally a hesitant scrambler, but showed his significant athletic ability against the Bucs (six rushes, 47 yards). Kellen Winslow is healthy, Santonio Holmes is at least on the field, Jeremy Kerley is underrated and Stephen Hill has tools. While E.J. Manuel is executing a run-heavy scheme for Doug Marrone, Smith’s offensive coordinator (Marty Mornhinweg) will throw at all costs. Mornhinweg is Andy Reid lite.  
Recommendation: Should be owned as a backup in 16-team leagues

5. Chad Henne, Jaguars – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Blaine Gabbert is out for at least Week 2 with continued throwing hand issues. He might have been done anyway. Through three seasons, the former No. 10 overall pick has shown no signs of becoming an average NFL quarterback and now a new regime is in town. On Sunday in a plus spot at home against the Chiefs, he led the Jags offense to zero points while averaging 3.45 yards per attempt and throwing two picks. Enter Chad Henne. In seven full games last year Henne averaged 267.0 passing yards per day with 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has a go-to guy in Cecil Shorts (5.2 catches for 83.6 yards with three TDs in five games with Henne last year).
Recommendation: Should be owned as a backup in 16-team leagues.

6. E.J. Manuel, Bills – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
What knee injury? E.J. Manuel stepped right back into the lineup off his mid-August procedure and nearly pulled off an upset of the Patriots in his NFL debut. He remains extremely raw as a passer, but coupling his running ability (23 yards on three rushes) with a conservative, high-percentage scheme will lead to some success. Remember that in two preseason appearances, Manuel went 26-of-33 (78.8 percent) for 199 yards with two touchdowns and no picks.  
Recommendation: Should be owned as a backup in two-QB leagues

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Adam Levitan is in his seventh season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
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