The fantasy waiver wire report
It was almost surreal watching marquee player after marquee player succumb to injury last Sunday. But so is the nature of the NFL and fantasy football. With the dust having settled and more information having surfaced since “Black Sunday,” we can begin to assess the damage while identifying which targets we should be after as the waiver wires open heading into Week 3.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis Colts (at Jacksonville, owned in 43% of Yahoo! leagues): Starting running back Trent Richardson has now appeared in 17 games for the Indianapolis Colts since being traded from Cleveland for a first-round draft pick in 2013. And in those 17 games, Richardson has averaged 3.9 yards per carry or less 16 times. Bradshaw, on the other hand, has already notched 181 total yards and two scores on just 26 touches through two games. Yes, injuries are definitely a concern here, but at some point the Indy coaching staff will wake up and realize that this guy gives the team a much better chance to win than Richardson does.
Knile Davis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (at Miami, owned in 21% of Yahoo! leagues): Amassed 105 total yards and two scores on 28 touches Sunday at Denver in relief of an injured Jamaal Charles, who suffered a high-ankle sprain that will linger for at least the next month. Davis is an absolute must for owners who spent a top-5 pick on Charles this past summer and should be a top target for those looking to screw the Charles owners who were too lazy to acquire the handcuff.
Bobby Rainey, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at Atlanta, owned in 23% of Yahoo! leagues): With starting running back Doug Martin producing nothing more than a combination of injuries and worthless stat lines, Rainey seized upon his golden opportunity Sunday against the St. Louis Rams to roll up 174 total yards on 25 touches. For the season, Rainey has now touched the ball 31 times resulting in 194 yards and a score. Martin (knee) could return for Thursday night’s game at Atlanta, but remember, head coach Lovie Smith wasn’t the guy in Tampa who drafted the Boise State product…so there are no allegiances here. Smith wants to win and if Rainey is the guy who gives him the best chance to accomplish that goal, Martin could find himself spending more time on the sidelines even when he’s healthy.
Mathews is expected to miss the next 4-5 weeks with a sprained MCL.
Donald Brown, RB, San Diego Chargers (at Buffalo, owned in 11% of Yahoo! leagues): Starting running back Ryan Mathews is expected to miss 4-5 weeks with a sprained MCL suffered in Sunday’s win over Seattle, so look for Brown to assume Mathews’ responsibilities, with Danny Woodhead chipping in on passing downs. Brown has touched the ball just 12 times through two games for the Chargers, but averaged 5.3 yards per carry with eight scores and 27 receptions last season for the Indianapolis Colts.
Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland Browns (vs. Baltimore, owned in 32% of Yahoo! leagues): Suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon won’t return to the field until Week 12, which gives us another ten weeks of Hawkins as quarterback Brian Hoyer’s most productive target. The four-year veteran has recorded double-digit target totals in each of his first two starts this year (10 at Pittsburgh, 12 vs. New Orleans) and has turned those opportunities into 14 receptions for 157 yards. Don’t consider Hawkins a WR1, but this guy makes for an excellent WR3 for leagues that start at least three wideouts.
Darren Sproles, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Washington, owned in 76% of Yahoo! leagues): It’s a long shot due to the fact that he’s already owned in such a high percentage of leagues, but if Darren Sproles is somehow sitting out there on waivers at the moment, consider it your duty to put in a claim. Acquired via a fifth-round draft pick this past offseason, Sproles has already amassed 263 total yards and two scores on just 26 touches. The nine-year veteran may not receive the heavy workload that other top running backs get on a weekly basis, but this guy always makes the absolute most of every opportunity that comes his way.
Niles Paul, TE, Washington Redskins (at Philadelphia, owned in 6% of Yahoo! leagues): Paul has very quietly put together an excellent start to the 2014 campaign, recording 12 receptions for 185 yards and a touchdown through 120 minutes of action. Jordan Reed will eventually return to the active roster and there are certainly a few concerns here when it comes to inconsistencies within the Washington offense, but owners in deeper leagues looking for TE help should have Paul on their short list of targets.
Khiry Robinson, RB, New Orleans Saints (vs. Minnesota, owned in 20% of Yahoo! leagues): With starting running back Mark Ingram sidelined due to a broken hand for at least a month, New Orleans will more than likely employ a running back-by-committee approach moving forward. However, don’t be surprised if the 24-year-old Robinson handles the bulk of the backfield responsibilities, as evidenced by the fact that he carried the rock more times (8) against Cleveland on Sunday than any other player on the roster, save for Ingram (11). Note that Robinson will only be a recommended start when the matchup suits him.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins (at Philadelphia, owned in 10% of Yahoo! leagues): It took less than eight quarters for starting signal-caller Robert Griffin III to suffer a serious injury (dislocated ankle) that will sideline the former Heisman Trophy winner indefinitely. Up steps Kirk Cousins, who looked solid against Jacksonville on Sunday while completing 22 of 33 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Week 3 offers up a nice opportunity for Cousins to roll up some stats, as the Philadelphia defense has already surrendered 438 passing yards and five touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota Vikings (at New Orleans, owned in 41% of Yahoo! leagues): Yes, Adrian Peterson has been reinstated by the Vikings, but it’s only a matter of time before the Minnesota starting running back misses more games due to a second allegation of child abuse. That leaves Asiata, who amassed 84 total yards and a touchdown on 18 touches Sunday against New England, as the Vikings’ feature back, with rookie Jerick McKinnon serving as the backup. Both players are worth owning, but the upside here is relatively limited due to Minnesota’s inconsistent offense.
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers (at Detroit, owned in 1% of Yahoo! leagues): The rookie from Fresno State saw his first significant game action Sunday against the Jets, notching five receptions for 50 yards on seven targets. Anytime a wide receiver is playing with a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber, he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on in fantasy circles. Adams won’t be a regular in your starting lineup, but may help fill a WR3 void once the bye weeks start depleting your roster.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers (vs. Pittsburgh, owned in 19% of Yahoo! leagues): The long-term value here is questionable, but with starting running back DeAngelo Williams currently battling a thigh injury, Stewart stepped in and rolled up 59 total yards and a touchdown on 16 touches Sunday against the Detroit Lions. If you can get your hands on Stewart, your best course of action may be to flip him to a RB-needy team that is desperate and willing to overpay.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Tennessee, owned in 10% of Yahoo! leagues): Not exactly a picture of consistency when it comes to fantasy production, but Sanu has already snagged seven passes for 120 yards and a touchdown through two games, making him a decent WR3 option for owners once the bye week blues begin to take effect.
James Jones, WR, Oakland Raiders (at New England, owned in 22% of fantasy leagues): Recorded a team-high 14 targets that resulted in nine receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Houston Texans. Take note that Jones has now caught 12 of the 17 passes thrown his way this season while finding the end zone in each of his first two starts with the Raiders. While consistency is lacking, opportunities for garbage time numbers should be available on a near-weekly basis.
Miami Dolphins, D/ST (vs. Kansas City, owned in 22% of Yahoo! leagues): Certainly not the most attractive option on the board after what happened in Buffalo, but the Dolphins play host to a Kansas City offense this Sunday that has scored just 27 points while averaging only 312.5 total yards per game through two outings this season. The hope here is that the Miami humidity gets to the Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs and sinks their chances of moving the rock up and down the field at will.
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