Rams' Bradford off to strong start

Posted Sept. 18, 2012 @ 1:01 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

Updated 2:01 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Sept. 18

This is a good week to be hitting the waiver wire. We have another week of data on which to base our decisions, and we have another week to eliminate the emotion that can sometimes cloud tough roster moves, such as cutting ties with your precious sleepers of August.

If you have some roster house-cleaning ahead of you, we've got your back. The suggestions below are a function of matchups, expected opportunities and other factors. As a general rule, we will focus only upon players available in more than 50 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.


Rams QB Sam Bradford (owned in 21 percent of Yahoo! leagues) — If you have the roster space, the No. 1 overall pick in 2010 probably merits a claim. It's too early to say that Bradford's on his way to living up to the high expectations that have followed him since he came out of Oklahoma, but it's not too early to pick him up and hope for the best, given how he's played in the first two games of 2012 (43-of-60 passing, 508 yards, four TDs, one interception, 112.4 QB rating). 

Chiefs QB Matt Cassel (25 percent) — I'll have a little more on Cassel in my weekly "Exploit or Avoid" feature on Wednesday. For now, let's safely say that he's an attractive waiver-wire option.

Vikings QB Christian Ponder (11 percent) — He should be owned in more leagues, considering his first two starts of 2012. Ponder, who's yet to throw a pick, has completed 47-of-62 passes for 515 yards with two TDs.

Keep an eye on …

Browns QB Brandon Weeden (11 percent) — Showed some promise in Week Two, throwing for 322 yards and a pair of scores at Cincinnati. He's really only a serious consideration in certain leagues — no need to go out and add him in smaller leagues that start one QB just yet. However, if you need all the QB help you can get — looking at you, owners in huge two-QB formats — then he's a little interesting after Week Two.

Jaguars QB Chad Henne (1 percent) — It depends on whether Blaine Gabbert plays in Week Three. If Gabbert's out, or if he's a game-time decision, owners in large leagues with the roster space might just pick Henne up and see what happens.

Running backs

Giants RB Andre Brown (11 percent)Not sure he has a lot of long-term value, but he got more work than David Wilson after Ahmad Bradshaw left Sunday's game with a neck injury. I'm still high on Wilson from a full-season perspective, but Brown might be the Giants' back to play in Week Three if Bradshaw can't go.

Lions RB Mikel Leshoure (34 percent) — He's eligible to return from suspension this week. I believe his fantasy value will increase, and perhaps quickly, once he's back on the field. If you have the roster space, pick him up.

Rams RB Daryl Richardson (5 percent) — Showed a little promise in extended action for Steven Jackson (thigh) in Week Two, rushing for 83 yards on 15 carries. I'd have no problem with owners in bigger leagues taking a flyer on him, though Jackson clearly remains the featured back in St. Louis.

Keep an eye on …

Titans RB Jamie Harper (0 percent) — Hey, Chris Johnson has 21 rushing yards through two games.

49ers RB Kendall Hunter (21 percent) — Like what I've seen from him this season. If you're relying on Frank Gore and Hunter's on waivers, this is the time to pick him up. 

Wide receivers

Rams WR Danny Amendola (48 percent) — I'm obligated to mention him, as he was still available in more than 50 percent of leagues as of Monday night. You know he's worth a roster spot. Go get him. One stat before we bid adieu to him, for we won't be able to next week: He's caught 80 percent of the passes thrown his way this season (20-230-1 in 25 targets).

Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins (11 percent) — He wasn't targted as much in Week Two as he was in his breakout season opener at Baltimore, but his nifty 50-yard catch-and-run TD highlights his playmaking ability. He's not a bad option in bigger leagues.

Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (4 percent) — I'd have to think he gets added in more leagues this week after being targeted 20 times in the first two games and catching 12-161.

Panthers WR Brandon LaFell (33 percent) — Through two games, he's been the second-most targeted Panthers pass catcher (13), and he's racked up nine catches for 155 yards for a potent Carolina offense.

Keep an eye on …

Vikings WR Jerome Simpson (10 percent) — Eligible to return from an NFL suspension after Week Three and likely to have a role in the Vikings' passing game.

Tight ends

Giants TE Martellus Bennett (36 percent) — Has TDs in his first two games; surely a consideration for those trying to replace Aaron Hernandez for a few weeks. 

Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (35 percent) Has caught 8-102 (12 targets) in the first two games, and he caught his first TD pass of the season in Week Two. He's second on the Vikings in targets to Percy Harvin entering Week Three. 

Steelers TE Heath Miller (33 percent) — I know, I know — I've mentioned him before, but he's caught TDs in his first two games, and he's going to get enough quality scoring opportunities in the Steelers' offense to be valuable in bigger leagues. 

Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (31 percent) — He was targeted 15 times in Week Two. Fifteen! He's a major player in this offense. He shouldn't make this list next week; he's simply too valuable to leave on waivers. 

Free-agent TE Kellen Winslow (7 percent) — Should Winslow officially sign with New England, he would be an option in bigger leagues, but I prefer the other four tight ends listed as waiver claims.