About the Author
Recent posts by William Del Pilar
"Don't panic" is the theme of the week. Don't drop players who had one bad game and assume they're done. I'm sure a savvy owner will successfully trade for RB Chris Johnson after his subpar Week One performance. It happens every year. Let's see what the waiver wire brings us after one week of play.
Note: "Watch list" players are just that, players you watch. Most online software management systems have a way to flag and watch certain players. That's what this list is for.
Cam Newton, Panthers
Newton exploded and broke the NFL record of most yards from a rookie in his first game. He was 24-of-37 for 422 yards and two touchdowns while chipping in 18 yards rushing with one rushing touchdown, exceeding all expectations. He's a waiver-wire pickup, but he'll come back down to Earth as he faces a tougher test against the Packers. I still view him as a No. 3, but once I gain confidence, possibly after a few more games, I'll view him as my No. 2.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
Fitzpatrick came out and embarrassed the Chiefs, throwing for 208 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. It was impressive and came out of nowhere, based on how bad I thought the Bills were in the preseason. The Bills' offensive line is going to have problems, and Fitzpatrick is streaky. That's the real killer because you need steady play out of a one-player position such as quarterback. He's a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Rex Grossman, Redskins
Grossman has changed in his time in the NFL, and that happens when you go from Super Bowl starter to bouncing around the league. If someone had stopped watching football after the 2006 season and then watched him against the Redskins this past weekend, they would have just assumed that he had finally matured into the quarterback everyone thought he could be. Some quarterbacks take longer, but against a division rival he went 21-of-34 for 305 yards and two touchdowns. He looked damn good. Pick him up as your No. 2 and see if he can be consistent.
QB watch list
Matt Hasselbeck, Titans — The veteran looked solid, going 21-of-34 for 263 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. However, it's a new offense. Is he that smooth, or will it get bumpy?
Ben Tate and Derrick Ward, Texans
Tate may not be the starter, but he made a statement to back Arian Foster up with 24 attempts for 116 yards and one touchdown. Ward hurt his ankle and left more for precautionary reasons, but I'm sure head coach Gary Kubiak saw how effective Tate was. Ward had 11 attempts for 39 yards and one touchdown. It would not be shocking for Ward to start in name only, with Kubiak putting Tate in there and going with the hot hand. Both are available on many waiver wires, which I found shocking. Pick them up and stash them.
Darren Sproles, Saints
Sproles has no value as a running back but had nine targets and seven receptions for 75 yards. If you're in a PPR league, you could use him as a flex position, bye-week or injury fill-in player.
Cadillac Williams, Rams
No one knows what the long-term status of RB Steven Jackson (quadriceps) will be, but he'll probably miss Week Two, which gives you a chance to use Cadillac for one week. He has value and still has gas in the tank, rushing for 91 yards on 19 attempts, a 4.8-yard average. View him as a No. 3 fantasy back.
James Starks, Packers
Starks just looks powerful and decisive, and even head coach Mike McCarthy stated he deserved more touches. He ran hard for 40 yards at 4.4 yards per attempt. View him as a No. 3 fantasy back.
Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson, Saints
The Saints are an offensive fantasy-points machine, but there simply aren't enough footballs. When injury happens, opportunity is created. Marques Colston (collarbone) won't be back for a while, possibly longer than four weeks. Lance Moore (groin) is an unknown in regard to when he can play. That leaves Meachem and Henderson in starting roles. As much as I love Meachem, Henderson's just as valuable, if not more so. He had nine targets, for six receptions, 100 yards and one touchdown. Meachem came in with eight targets, converting them into five receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown. Grab either one as they both make No. 2 fantasy wideouts.
Jacoby Jones, Texans
Grab Jones because there's a chance Kevin Walter (shoulder) may not play. Walter's shoulder is badly bruised, but he and Jones tend to cancel each other out. If Walter can't go, Jones could be lined up for a solid day. We still don't know how many games Walter will miss, either. View Jones as a flex, bye-week or injury fill-in, depending on the opponent.
Nate Burleson, Lions
I was high on Burleson before the season started, and he did nothing to disappoint. He had five targets, converting them into five receptions for 60 yards. Solid, if not spectacular, but I believe Burleson is an every-week flex play unless he is facing an elite defense. At worst, he's a bye-week or injury fill-in.
Brandon Gibson, Rams
Danny Amendola (elbow) will be out for a while, and that means Gibson could see more opportunities as Amendola was QB Sam Bradford's favorite wideout. In Week One Gibson had five targets, converting them into three receptions for 50 yards. View him as depth for now with upside.
WR watch list
Jabar Gaffney, Redskins — He has greater value in PPR leagues. Despite seven targets, he only had three receptions for 54 yards and one touchdown. He's a flex play but better off as a bye-week or injury fill-in.
Randall Cobb, Packers — Most leagues are not return leagues. Remove that and you have two targets, two receptions, 35 yards, one touchdown. It's that touchdown and his return touchdown that put him on the watch list.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle — Who is Doug Baldwin? He's an undrafted rookie who had six targets, converting them into four receptions for 83 yards and one touchdown. He's playing in the slot, but this team is bad.
Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns — No one knows how this team is going to do, and despite getting seven targets, Massaquoi converted them into only three receptions for 77 yards. He has promise.
Fred Davis, Redskins
Nothing against Chris Cooley, but I've been on the Davis bandwagon going back to last year. He can get downfield, has great hands and is younger, stronger and much healthier than Cooley. He saw six targets, converting five receptions for 105 yards. He'll only get better, but he can disappear in games at times. This is a Shanahan-orchestrated offense, and the tight end is always prominent. One of my sleepers, Davis is a No. 1 you can pick up as your No. 2 and play the matchups.
Ed Dickson, Ravens
Dickson played like a tight end in a Cam Cameron offense is capable of. This is probably not a fluke as he had five targets, converting them for five receptions, 59 yards and one touchdown. Grab him and view him as your backup for now. Let's see if he can be consistent.
Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
Toward the end of the preseason I became a believer, if for no other reason than young QB Andy Dalton would use him as a safety valve. In Week One he had eight targets for six receptions, 58 yards and one touchdown. I like him as my No. 2 tight end, but some will take him as their No. 1. Watch for inconsistency if you do that.
TE watch list
Benjamin Watson and Evan Moore, Browns — Let's see which one of these two tight ends separates himself. I believe it will be Moore, but right now they're canceling each other out. Watson has seven targets for three receptions, 45 yards and one touchdown, and Moore has six targets, three receptions for 35 yards and one touchdown. Wait to see what happens here.