Every week fantasy owners scan the waiver wire for help. Some weeks, replacements are not only warranted, but necessary, as an injured player must be replaced, one of your primary players has a bye week, etc. However, other times some less-than-savvy owners tend to overreact based upon one fantastic week. The worst time for those amazing performances is Week 1, as it can sometimes ruin an owner. They’ll grab a player who has a career game, dropping a steady, tried-and-true option. You drafted these players for a reason. Trust your instincts, and stay the course for a few weeks.
However, if you have an itchy waiver wire trigger finger, and you just cannot help yourself, here are a few guys with big performances in Week 1. We’ll let you know if you should take a chance, or let them go to someone else.
Cleveland Browns DST: No. No. No. Sure, the Cleveland Browns miraculously kept the Philadelphia Eagles offense at bay in Week 1, but it is not expected to last. First off, CB Joe Haden will begin serving a four-game suspension this weekend. Sheldon Brown was nicked up against his former team, and remember this team is without Phil Taylor up front. Somehow they did it with mirrors, but don’t get tricked. The Cincinnati Bengals, QB Andy Dalton, and WR A.J. Green are about to have a big game in Week 2 at the expense of these Browns.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville: Remember when they said Gabbert was a bust, and he couldn’t play in this league. Well, they might not have been saying it, but there were whispers around the NFL. Suddenly, after one week, some of those doubt was washed away. Gabbert led a tremendous effort to position the Jaguars for a win last weekend in Minnesota, but they just fell short in overtime. However, as far as fantasy purposes are concerned, he is only worth adding in leagues which require two starting QBs. If you’re in a re-draft league, he might be worth adding if you can afford the roster spot for when bye weeks kick in, but Gabbert is probably best left to the waiver wire until he can prove his worth in two straight games, something he has yet to do in his career.
Stephen Hill, WR, N.Y. Jets: The Jets managed one touchdown in four preseason games, a score by RB Terrence Ganaway, who did not even make the 53-man roster. Entering Week 1, no one could have imagined that the Jets would score 48 points, the most of any team in the NFL. WR Stephen Hill was looking like a tremendous disappointment during the preseason, but he erased all of that with two trips to the end zone in the opening game win against Buffalo. Is it worth adding Hill immediately in all fantasy formats? Well, the Jets really only have WR Santonio Holmes and TE Dustin Keller are primary targets in the offense, so there is a piece of the pie for Hill if he wants it. Of all the guys on this list, Hill might have the best short-term fantasy appeal.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago: The Bears added plenty of firepower in the offseason, either through free agency, trades or the draft. Jeffery was selected in the latter after a spectacular couple of campaigns at South Carolina. He looked like he fit in Week 1, snagging three grabs for 80 yards and a score against the Indianapolis Colts. Jeffery should be a target, if he is not already on a roster, in long-term keeper leagues. Remember, the Bears have WRs Devin Hester, Brandon Marshall and QB Jay Cutler’s fellow alumnus WR Earl Bennett. However, there is room for Jeffery to move up the pecking order, either by injury or performance. In re-draft leagues, he is worth adding, but not starting, at least not yet.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona: A crumpled QB John Skelton (ankle) lay on the turf at University of Phoenix Stadium while boos rained down from the crowd. The boos weren’t for Skelton, but for QB Kevin Kolb, who emerged from the bench. Kolb quickly turned those frowns upside-down with a tremendous fourth quarter, including the game-winning touchdown drive to sink the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1. Now, Kolb is expected to start at least for a game or two, as Skelton battles back from a nasty ankle sprain. WR Larry Fitzgerald praised Kolb after the game for his knowledge of reads, and his acumen in the up-tempo offense. However, will fantasy owners use him as a QB1? Definitely not. He is worth using in leagues which require two starting signal callers, but only worth a reserve spot in leagues of 12 or more teams.
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington: The former Florida Atlantic University product gained traction in fantasy drafts with a strong preseason, quickly making his way up the depth chart. Then, in the final exhibition game, RBs Roy Helu Jr. and Evan Royster appeared to restore order with big performances, sending Morris back down the depth chart. Lo and behold, the crafty head coach Mike Shanahan used Morris at the top, and Morris took the ball and run with it – literally. Morris posted 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 28 rushes in the surprising win in New Orleans. Morris can immediately step into some fantasy lineups as an RB3 or ‘flex’ fantasy play with the ‘Skins in St. Louis in Week 2.
Kevin Ogletree, WR, Dallas: Ogletree blew up last Wednesday night, posting eight grabs for 114 yards and two touchdowns at N.Y. Giants. He has always had tremendous upside, but the Cowboys were starting to lose patience. He entered with 25 career catches for 294 yards in 31 NFL games over his first three NFL seasons, so no one saw this coming. No one saw WR Laurent Robinson coming last season, either. Ogletree could be a worthwhile addition in most fantasy leagues, and he faces a somewhat favorable performance at Seattle in Week 2. Don’t overvalue him, but treat him as a solid WR4 or ‘flex’ option and you’ll be fine.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore: Pitta shined on Monday Night Football, posting five grabs for 73 yards and a score. If you required to start a tight end, then Pitta is certainly worth a look. However, keep in mind that Pitta and TE Ed Dickson are like 1 and 1A on the depth chart, similar to the situation in New England. However, there is plenty of football to go around. If your league does not require a starting TE, then Pitta is not worth adding just yet.
Blair Walsh, PK, Minnesota: The rookie Walsh was never really challenged in training camp and the preseason, as the Vikings trusted him heading into the regular season. Walsh paid back their confidence with a big-time, clutch performance in Week 1 against Jacksonville. He knocked through four field goals, including a game-tying 55-yard field goal to tie the game and force overtime. He then knocked through an overtime winner, finishing with 14 points (4 FG, 2 XP). Not a bad start. Now, do you need him for fantasy purposes? Well, he heads to Indianapolis in Week 2 for a potentially high-scoring contest. He might be worth a look, and fantasy kickers are rather interchangeable. Think about it, in a 12-team league, there are at least 20 starting placekickers that are not being used. If your league does not charge money for transactions, then kicker can be a spot you add-drop quite frequently, unless you have one of the top-tier options.