Week 2 of the Fantasy Football season is going to create some interesting issues for owners who put a lot of stock in drafting guys like Dez Bryant, Andre Ellington, T.Y. Hilton, Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, or the Ravens defense. The waiver wire is the easiest place to go for replacements as the trade route is often filled with unanswered offers or lowball counter offers.
With that said, let's take another look at who you should be targeting this week on the waiver wire.
Terrance Williams – Cowboys: It's not that Williams is all of the sudden a stud WR that will get his chance to go all Odell Beckham on the league with Bryant out. Rather, Williams is a high-volume target whose only real competition at WR is less than impressive Cole Beasley.
Chris Johnson – Cardinals: There is likely going to be a little bit of a committee when it comes to the Cardinals backfield while Ellington is out, but the lead back job will go to CJ?K. With Carson Palmer either hot or cold, you can be sure the Cardinals will have to lean on the run regardless who is back there. Both Chris Johnson and David Johnson are fine editions, but I see Chris with slightly more value right now.
James Jones – Packers: Jones knows the Packers well since he has spent 8 of his 9 NFL seasons in Green Bay. While Aaron Rodgers certainly has the ability to spread the wealth, Jones is No. 3 on the WR depth chart. You will also want to keep in mind that he has averaged 5.4 TDs per-year from 2007-2014 (with TD totals ranging from 1 to 14), while playing in an average of 15 games per-season. There is a LOT of variation in what teams get from Jones from season-to-season. Be aware and beware.
Ladarius Green – Chargers: Tight End is a boom-or-bust position in fantasy football, so any time you can get 74 yards and a touchdown from one, he is worth owning. Green is getting a chance to show what he can do while Antonio Gates serves a 4-game suspension. Green has WR skills in a gigantic TE body (6'6", 240 LBS). There is some question as to what happens when Gates gets back, but for now Green is a great option off the waiver wire for those in need of a TE.
Tyler Lockett – Seahawks: BEWARE… the hype is bigger than the production. Lockett is being scooped up in leagues throughout the fantasy world, and my guess is he will back on the wire as soon as those owners figure out what I am about to tell you. Lockett reminds me a lot of Devin Hester in that they both have amazing KR/PR ability, but don't make enough noise as a WR to be true fantasy options. Sure, if your league counts return yards then he has some value, but do you feel comfortable playing a guy at WR or in the flex in the hopes that he gets enough return yards to make up for the lack of receptions or receiving yards? I'm leaving Lockett alone, and suggest you really consider things before adding him.
I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't take time to talk to about the reality of Adrian Peterson. Did you know ESPN ranked him as their #1 overall player to take in the draft? He wasn't even in the top 5 for my RB draft list! I avoided Peterson like the plague in every one of my leagues!
Look, the reality is I'm sure he will have his good games this season, but the Vikings offense looks a mess right now. The jury is still out for me on Teddy Bridgewater, and the coaching staff doesn't seem to have an answer on how to use Cordarrelle Patterson. I'm just not convinced he will end up giving back 1st round value as he tries to knock off a year's worth of rust.
Carson Palmer – Cardinals: I already said that Palmer runs hot and cold, but this is one of the weeks where I expect him to run hot. The Bears defense is a shadow of its former self, and the Cardinals are likely to throw the ball more with Ellington out. They love John Brown, trust Larry Fitzgerald implicitly, and have Michael Floyd as a safety net No. 3 WR. This is a week where I think Palmer will give back QB1 returns to owners savvy enough to play him.
Andy Dalton– Bengals:Dalton finished Week 1 ranked #8 for fantasy QBs thanks to the 269/2/0 line he put up against the Raiders. This week he gets another plus match-up at home against a Chargers defense that gave up 22 points to the Lions, while recording just a single sack. The Bengals have the perfect offensive plan for Dalton and he is executing it just as they want him to. The problem he has is people underestimate him around the league. That though is a good thing for fantasy owners because he consistently flies under the radar and comes to us at a discount.
DeAngelo Williams – Steelers: The 49ers defense looked way better than it really is against the Vikings in Week 1, causing a lot of owners to question playing Williams in Week 2 against them. My answer is play him! The Steelers looked rusty in their Week 1 match-up, and my feeling is they have a lot to prove to their fans, as well as themselves this week. Williams is a solid RB2 option this week who could jump into the RB1 category if he gets into the endzone.
Chris Johnson – Cardinals: The Bears defense is porous, so there will be opportunities for fantasy numbers in both the run and the pass. I'm not sure CJ2K has RB1 ability in him anymore, but RB2/Flex numbers are within reach this week. If you can get those stats from a guy you plucked off the waiver wire, you shouldn't balk at it.
Andre Johnson – Colts: With T.Y. Hilton's status uncertain for Week 2, Johnson becomes an interesting WR2/3 against the Jets. There is some talk about Darrelle Revis shadowing Johnson this week, but my guess is he will be needed more for Donte Moncrief with Antonio Cromartie likely out. Let me be clear and say Johnson has clearly lost the spring in his step that made him a must-own WR a few years back. But as a fantasy role player, he is worth playing this week.
Terrance Williams – Cowboys: As I said earlier, Williams is a volume WR with Bryant out. Tony Romo looks like he is ready to play some football this season, and there is clearly a hole to fill, and that role is where Williams is going to make his money. Cole Beasley will get his share of the targets as well, but Williams is the better bet to finish with WR2 stats in a game that could become a shootout.
Tyler Eifert– Bengals: I told you to start Eifert last week, and he paid off big for those who listened. This week is no different as Eifert is the No. 2 option in the passing game. What amazes me is that while Eifert is owned in just 47 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in a paltry 13.9 percent of those leagues. The Chargers consistently allow fantasy points to TEs, so I'd play Eifert as a top-3-5 fantasy TE this weekend.
Baltimore Ravens defense: With Terrell Suggs out for the rest of the season, there are a lot of people wondering just how this defense will perform going forward. Well, they signed veteran LB Jason Babin to fill the open spot, and will mix him in with Courtney Upshaw, and Za'Darius Smith. My guess is the Ravens won't be as good as they would have been, but still good enough to put up good DEF1 numbers this weekend when they face the Raiders.
Peyton Manning – Broncos: Manning showed his age in Week 1, completing 24-of-40 passes for 175 yards, 1 INT, and no TDs. This week the Broncos travel to Kansas City to take on a tough Chiefs defense in a tough environment (Arrowhead Stadium). I view Manning as more of a borderline QB1 than a must-start this week.
Cam Newton – Panthers: The Texans defense got worked last week by the Chiefs, and there are a lot of people thinking Newton is a sleeper option for those who like to stream QBs throughout the season. The problem I have with Newton is his lack of weapons to utilize on offense. The Jaguars held him to 175 yards, no TDs, and 1 INT, and pretty much shut down Greg Olsen in the process. If the Texans follow that blueprint, they too should be able to accomplish the same task with J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Vince Wilfork, Brian Cushing, and Jonathan Joseph on defense. As long as Corey Brown and Ted Ginn are the Panthers No. 1 & 2 WRs, I want no part of Newton on my fantasy roster.
Bishop Sankey – Titans: Last week Sankey racked up 86 total yards and 2 TDs against the Bucs, but my guess is he, and the Titans for that matter, will find Week 2 a little more challenging. The Browns defense isn't elite by any means, but they are certainly more talented than the Bucs. Sankey is not totally without value, but I see him more as a RB3 or flex play versus a RB2 where people seem to have him.
Rashad Jennings – Giants: Jennings was able to amass just 52 yards rushing against the Cowboys, and while things could have been better for him had the coaching staff not told him to stay out of the endzone late in the 4th quarter, 52 yards is 52 yards. He comes out on passing downs, and I expect this week's match-up with the Falcons to be more passing oriented. Jennings value is limited is my opinion, and I'd prefer to see him in the flex than an RB slot.
James Jones – Packers: While I will freely admit that Jones is worth owning because of his homerun fantasy potential in the right match-ups, the Seahawks are going to come into this game hungry after getting upset in Week 1 by the Rams. Jones is the 3rd WR on the Packers depth chart, so he will have to score to be fantasy worthy. Let's not forget too that the Seahawks defense is sure to be eager to prove they can be dominant without holdout SS Kam Chancellor.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Buccaneers: ASJ broke onto the fantasy scene in Week 1 by hauling in 5 passes for 110 yards and 2 TDs against the Titans. While those numbers are as sexy as it gets for a TE, he did that without Bucs WR Mike Evans in the line-up. It sounds like Evans is on track to play in Week 2, meaning he will see fewer targets.
Philadelphia Eagles defense: Much was made about the Eagles defense leading up to Week 1, and they did little to solidify their spot on my fantasy roster by allowing 26 points and adding just 1 sack to the fantasy scoring. This week they get a Cowboys team without their star WR, which would sound good on paper. But I don't look at the paper, I dig a little deeper. My guess is they give up around 30 points, making it difficult to finish in positive fantasy numbers unless they score a defensive touchdown, or have multiple INTs and sacks. It would be safer to use the Browns or Steelers as defensive streamers this week. And if you want to be extra creative, my darkhorse defense this week is the Saints.