by Joe Fortenbaugh
September 18, 02012
Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers: We’re getting very close to the point where removing the “game manager” tag from Alex Smith’s name appears to be necessary. He’s completing over 70% of his passes and has thrown for at least 200 yards and two scores in each of his first two starts. Right now, Smith is a rock-solid QB2 with upside.
Mikel LeShoure, RB, Detroit Lions: Word out of the Motor City is that LeShoure is going to be given an opportunity to become the featured running back for the Detroit Lions. While he’s shown next to nothing on the field, remember that he missed all of 2011 due to an Achilles injury. Might as well try to get out in front of the rush by scooping up LeShoure now.
Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: This little-known receiver out of Toledo has rolled up 142 yards and a score on ten receptions through his first two games with the Bengals. What’s even better news is that he’s posted eight or more fantasy points in each game this season, based on standard scoring rules. That’s a nice, consistent start to the year if you ask us. Consider Hawkins a WR3/4 worthy of a roster spot.
Martellus Bennett, TE, New York Giants: Bennett was on our waiver wire list last week and for those of you who pulled the trigger, you landed a TE who caught five passes for 72 yards and a score in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay. Take note that Bennett has now found the end zone in each game this season and has already been targeted a total of 16 times.
Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants: After starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw exited Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay with a neck injury, it was Brown—not rookie David Wilson—who handled the bulk of the workload. Brown touched the ball 15 times for 90 yards and a score and if Bradshaw is unable to go Thursday night against Carolina, it looks like Brown will be the featured ball carrier.
Arizona Cardinals, D/ST: While you may not want to start this unit in Week 3 against the high-flying Philadelphia offense, the Cardinals make for a great D/ST2 to use in favorable situations. After rattling the hell out of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in Week 1, Arizona traveled to New England and held Tom Brady and the Patriots to just 18 points while forcing a turnover and recording four sacks. These guys can get after it.
Donnie Avery, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Avery rolled up nine fantasy points in Week 1 (37 yards, 1 TD) and then followed up that solid performance with a 9-catch, 111-yard effort in Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings. Consistency will be an issue here, as Avery’s playing with a rookie quarterback. In addition, we can’t put too much weight behind Sunday’s home performance against a bad Minnesota secondary. But that doesn’t mean this guy should be hanging out on waivers for another week.
Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams: In just two games, Amendola has already been targeted 25 times and has recorded 230 receiving yards and a score. He’s clearly got quarterback Sam Bradford’s attention. PPR owners should be even more aggressive, given Amendola’s extremely high target rate.
Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles: If he somehow fell through the cracks on draft day, then Celek makes for a great TE pickup this week. He’s been targeted 19 times in just two games and is coming off a blistering 157-yard effort against the Ravens. You won’t get monster production on a weekly basis, but the Philadelphia tight end makes for a reliable option if you don’t have a player like Gronkowski, Graham or Vernon Davis already on your roster.
Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego Chargers: Robert Meachem was supposed to be the star of the San Diego receiving unit this season, but through two weeks, Floyd is the guy who has been putting up the reliable numbers. He’s already racked up ten receptions for 175 yards and a score this season and with guys like Meachem and Eddie Royal still getting familiar with quarterback Philip Rivers, Floyd is off to a big head start.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts: He’s averaging 266.5 passing yards per game and now has two professional contests under his belt, so we like the idea of owning Luck as a QB2 in leagues with ten or more teams. He’s nothing more than a situational start for the time being, but there is plenty of upside here.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens: Advised for owners in leagues with 12 or more teams only, keep in mind that Pitta already has 24 targets through just two games. He’s recorded 65 or more receiving yards in each start and also has one score under his belt already this year, making the former BYU product a decent TE2 option.
Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers: If he’s still out there, grab him. LaFell has a very favorable Week 3 matchup against a New York Giants team that is currently surrendering an average of 39.0 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (second-most in NFL).
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Washington Redskins: The success of this pick depends upon how quickly Pierre Garcon gets healthy, but keep in mind that Hankerson recorded 68 yards and a score on Sunday and plays a Cincinnati defense this weekend that just gave up 27 points to Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns.
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