Week 2 - Buy & Sell Report
By Mike Beacom
Wire Tap 9-11
Maybe it’s because Dwayne Bowe spent so much time away this summer, or because Jonathan Baldwin has taken so much time to mature, but Dexter McCluster has suddenly become Matt Cassel’s best weapon in Kansas City.
McCluster had a strong preseason and on Sunday led all Chiefs in receptions (six), yards (82) and targets (10). He complements Bowe from the slot, and the one-time back can help Kansas City as a ball carrier on change-of-pace plays. We could see him approach 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season, with a handful of touchdowns coming from blown coverages when defenses fail to adjust.
McCluster is one of several wide receivers fantasy owners have to choose from this week. Here are a few other waiver wire candidates to consider …
RB Alfred Morris, Redskins
We weren’t sold on Morris until Sunday (96 yards, two touchdowns). While the thought of Mike Shanahan’s ever-changing backfield scares us, Morris might have the stuff to stick. The next Terrell Davis? We’ll settle for the next Mike Anderson.
RB Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers
Dwyer clearly out-performed Isaac Redman in Sunday night’s loss to Denver, gaining three full yards more per carry (4.8 to 1.8). He’s earned a chance to handle primary rushing duties for a week. With Rashard Mendenhall’s status still up in the air, fantasy owners may want to pick up the best back Pittsburgh has available right now.
WR Randall Cobb, Packers
Cobb was all over the field on Sunday, catching balls coming out of the backfield, from the slot, and all places between (nine receptions). He is a rare toy, and can also help fantasy owners as a rusher and punt returner. The big worry, of course, is the number of weapons on Green Bay’s roster, but the team made it clear they intend to make Cobb a focal point of the attack, in large part because his versatility will give opposing defenses one more thing to prepare for.
WR Andrew Hawkins, Bengals
We’re as baffled by Hawkins’ debut as you are. He was targeted nine times by Andy Dalton, and led his team in catches and yards (one catch went for 29 yards). Looks like the Bengals found a complementary receiver to line up opposite from A.J. Green.
WR Kevin Ogletree, Cowboys
The Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver had a huge night in the league’s opener (114 yards, two touchdowns). Dallas does have three players that demand more attention than Ogletree in the passing game (Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten) but that was also true last year of Laurent Robinson. While fantasy owners must temper their expectations, Ogletree can be of use as a No. 5 receiver for fill-in situations.
WR Aldrick Robinson, Redskins
Robinson must have developed chemistry with Robert Griffin III this summer, because the rookie passer looked to him more than any other Redskins receiver on Sunday. Robinson caught four balls for 52 yards and could be the top target if Pierre Garcon misses extended time.
WR Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
The Jaguars’ 2011 fourth round pick led his team in receiving (74 yards) and caught a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Minnesota. Only Laurent Robinson was thrown to more often. Fantasy owners should be concerned that Justin Blackmon’s growth will eventually push Shorts out of the picture, but for now the second-year wideout appears to have Blaine Gabbert’s confidence.
WR Stephen Hill, Jets
Hill’s preseason was a mixed bag; his debut Sunday was not. He caught two scores and made a case for becoming Mark Sanchez’s No. 1 target (sorry, Santonio Holmes). He is the Jets best red zone target, and is sure to see more opportunities after his strong start.
TE Coby Fleener, Colts
The Andrew Luck-Coby Fleener story was a cute NFL Draft sidebar, but there appears to be more meat to their on-field chemistry. Luck looked to Fleener 10 times in the loss to the Bears, helping Fleener rack up 82 yards (third most among tight ends). Any fantasy owner looking for an upgrade at the position should seriously consider the Colts rookie pass catcher.
TE Dennie Pitta, Ravens
Fantasy owners weren’t sure whether Pitta or Ed Dickson would be the Ravens top tight end in 2012. The early lead goes to Pitta, whose nine targets were far and away the most for any Ravens receiver. Fantasy owners can expect Baltimore to use both tight ends this season, but Pitta looked awfully good on Monday.
The waiver wire isn’t the only way for fantasy owners to improve their roster; a well-crafted trade proposal can help every bit as much as picking up an up-and-coming free agent. Here is a look at this week’s buy and sell candidates:
QB Michael Vick, Eagles
It’s the perfect time to buy Vick. He had a good fantasy outing against the Browns but drew headlines for throwing four picks. Vick is a top 6 quarterback with pass and run potential; put together an offer to lure him to your team.
WR Hakeem Nicks, Giants
Nicks had modest numbers in the Giants’ loss to Dallas, but the important takeaway is that his foot didn’t seem to be an issue. He was the victim of good press coverage by Morris Claiborne and needed Week 1 to shake off a little rust. He’ll be fine. Fantasy owners may see him finish 2012 same as last year, when he helped build championship runs for fantasy owners.
TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
Witten is a warrior. The fact that he played on Wednesday speaks volumes about his reliability. His poor performance (two catches, 10 yards) should not scare you away; he remains an elite fantasy tight end with the potential to catch 70-plus balls. Within a week the window to acquire Witten will close; crawl through it now.
RB Kevin Smith, Lions
Smith did everything he was asked to do in Week 1 (4.8 yards per carry, two scores), which is why now is the time to send him packing. The Lions will have a spotty rushing attack, and as soon as the team’s younger backs rejoin the lineup Smith’s value will plummet. Take what you can get now, before the 49ers defense shuts him down.
RB Stevan Ridley, Patriots
Blame Bill Belichick for this one; we just don’t trust the way the Patriots coach thinks. Ridley’s 125-yard performance against Tennessee is sure to draw attention from fantasy owners, but his long-term prospects are not good. The Patriots shuffle backs week to week, and decisions are largely made on matchups rather than recent success. Ridley was a star on Sunday; he could be a nobody again within a week.
WR Randy Moss, 49ers
Moss’ return to the NFL can be described as efficient. He was held off the field for much of the action, but still managed four catches for 47 yards and a touchdown. This is the Moss fantasy owners will see much of the year – modest catch and yardage totals, with a touchdown catch here and there. He is no longer a game breaker; if anything, San Francisco has used him well as a decoy split out wide. If you were one who took a flier on Moss late in your fantasy draft, now is the time to test his value on the open market.
Mike Beacom is a contributing writer for FootballDiehards.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikebeacom