It’s finally here! The Monday and Tuesday between Weeks 1 and 2. The time for fantasy owners to start working their magic. Maybe you need some more depth at a certain position or maybe you couldn’t make your draft and your team was auto-drafted… Sucker… But, seriously, the waiver wire is where you could potentially find your fantasy pot of gold, your diamond in the rough (i.e. Cam Newton in 2011.)
Each week I will compile a list of my top 10 Waiver Wire Prospects from the previous week’s games. The purpose for this is to save owners a step in researching available players. Some of the players will be surprises to you. Some of them will be sleepers you called from the beginning. Either way, we’re going to have some fun.
Without further ado, my top 10 Waiver Wire Targets from Week 1:
1. Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets – Owned in 10.9% of leagues (ESPN) Sanchez carved up the Bills defense pretty handily on Sunday. He was 19 for 27 for 266 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. The interception, to be quite honest, was pretty much an accident as TE Jeff Cumberland bobbled the ball off his helmet and up in the air. With all of the confusion surrounding the Jets this preseason it’s not hard to believe how little Sanchez was drafted this year. We’ll know more this week as the Jets take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, if Week 1 was any indicator Mark Sanchez is the real deal and should be a hot commodity on the waiver wire.
2. Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets – Owned in 3.9% of leagues (ESPN) Hill looked spectacular against a Bills secondary that didn’t see it coming. He caught 5 passes for 89 yards (17.8 YPC) and 2 touchdowns. In fairness the Jets as a whole have surprised everyone by having arguably the worst preseason and then putting up 48 points in Week 1. Hill’s chemistry with Mark Sanchez can’t be denied as Sanchez looked for Hill early and often. Their rapport can only get better.
3. Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins – Owned in 15.0% of leagues (ESPN) Mike Shanahan pulled a fast one by starting rookie back Alfred Morris over both Evan Royster and Roy Helu. But, he apparently had a hunch that the powerful runner would do some damage against the Saints. Morris carried the ball 28 times for 96 yards (3.4 YPC) and 2 touchdowns. The aforementioned Helu and Royster combined for only four carries in what is normally a headache of a timeshare for fantasy owners. Coach Shanahan never disappoints in that way! Morris could put some stability into Washington’s rushing attack with another performance like this.
4. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers – Owned in 13.3% of leagues (ESPN) Aaron Rodgers told reporters this week that Randall Cobb is going to be a pivotal part of the Packer offense. Then everyone probably scoffed. Now, they’re eating their words. Cobb was targeted 9 times on Sunday, hauling in all 9 balls, for 77 yards (8.5 YPC.) He also had a 75 yard punt return go for a touchdown. Cobb proved most effective for Aaron Rodgers. It’s tough to say whether he’ll do it again, with all the other weapons in Green Bay, but he certainly has a ton of upside.
5. Kevin Ogletree, WR, Dallas Cowboys – Owned in 26.0% of leagues (ESPN) Perhaps the biggest surprise in the opening game Wednesday between the Cowboys and Giants, other than the fact that the Cowboys won, was wideout Kevin Ogletree. Picking up where Laurent Robinson left off last year, the #3 guy, Ogletree shined against the Giants. He had 8 catches for 114 yards (14.25 YPC) and two touchdowns. He also saw 11 targets (with Bryant and Austin both healthy.) This could be the start of a beautiful relationship.
6. Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers – Owned in 25.4% of leagues (ESPN) LaFell played the role of #2 wideout to Steve Smith perfectly in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay. He saw five targets grabbing three of them for 65 yards (21.6 YPC) and a touchdown. Newton will look to spread the ball around so look for Brandon LaFell to continue his solid play.
7. Aldrick Robinson, WR, Washington Redskins – Owned in 0.1% of leagues (ESPN) The ultimate fantasy sleeper pickup if Pierre Garçon misses any time with the foot injury he sustained on Sunday vs. the Saints. In relief action Robinson caught 4 passes on 6 targets for 52 yards (13.0 YPC) and a touchdown. RGIII looked very comfortable throwing the ball Robinson’s way and Robinson made the most of it.
8. Kevin Boss, TE, Kansas City Chiefs – Owned in 1.0% of leagues (ESPN) Kevin Boss is just a big target and he’s got decent enough hands to make good of the throws that come his way. On Sunday he caught 2 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. Pedestrian numbers except for the touchdown catch. Which is what you can expect from Boss. At 6’6” he makes a hell of a target in the red zone.
9. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears – Owned in 15.0% of leagues (ESPN) Brandon Marshall is running the show at wide receiver in Chicago. But, Jeffery is playing the complimentary role quite nicely. Jeffery saw five targets and caught three for 80 yards (26.6 YPC) and a touchdown. The saving grace here is that the touchdown pass was a 42 yard bomb, proving that Jeffery could be a downfield threat. Jeffery was on my list of rookie breakout candidates this season and I stand by him wholeheartedly.
10. Dexter McCluster, RB, Kansas City Chiefs – Owned in 5.3% of leagues (ESPN) Certainly the hybrid player of hybrid players, McCluster is used almost exclusively as a wide receiver in the Chiefs offense. He has become Matt Cassel’s security blanket. They showed glimpses of that rapport in the preseason and it continued into Week 1. McCluster was targeted 10 times in the slot position. He caught six passes for a team-high 82 yards (13.6 YPC.) Dwayne Bowe will most likely end up as the Chiefs’ leading pass catcher by season’s end but McCluster will not be far behind.
Honorable Mention: Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona Cardinals. Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles. Donald Jones, WR, Buffalo Bills. Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers. Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets.