Fantasy Football 2013: The Waiver Wire; Edition 1

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Well, guys. We made it.

After countless months of pure agony, articles based off of just the previous season and attempt to pass the time with fantasy baseball, the 2013 NFL season is here. With two games left in the first week of the season, fantasy owners will either be thrilled going into work, or absolutely miserable. One way or another, nails were bit and hair was pulled. However, now comes the second most important part behind drafting your team.

Improving it.

The waiver wire is a weekly column where I highlight some of the players who are most worthy of being added based off the previous week’s action. In Week 1, there were a handful of significant players that emerged into fantasy relevance even more. And I say this all the time, even if your team is as good as it gets, there is always room for depth. Plus, you can try to block the opposition from adding a quality free agent.

Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo! fantasy.

Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos (56%): An obvious one after Thursday night, but unless you own one of the top five or six tight ends in fantasy, Thomas is an absolute must-own. Many fantasy writers were sleeping on Thomas during the offseason, but after hitting the scene with a five-catch, 110-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Ravens, the secret was shattered. Thomas, a former basketball star, stands at a massive 6’5″, 250 pounds, and when you watch him on the field, you see a younger Antonio Gates. Thomas had seven targets from Peyton Manning during his seven-touchdown massacre, but owners should keep in mind that this Denver offense is stacked, and the target distribution could be inconsistent this season, considering how many weapons are at Manning’s disposal. Still, Thomas provides more upside than a lot of the second-tier tight ends in fantasy, and is worthy of a roster spot.

Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders (11%): 11 percent owned? Yeah, that’s funny. The moment Pryor was named the Raiders starter, fantasy fans began drawing tons of conclusions. With the combination of that size 6’4″, 233 pounds and speed, Pryor makes for a very intriguing fantasy commodity because of his legs. I mean, when you think of quarterbacks who aren’t terrific with the arm, but make plays with their legs, a guy by the name of Tim Tebow comes to mind. Of course, we will keep it down. Anyway, Pryor was less than average as a real life quarterback in his first career start, but terrific from a fantasy perspective. Pryor set the Raiders franchise rushing record in a game among quarterbacks with 112 yards, and he also threw for 217 yards and a score. To put into perspective how often Pryor is going to take off and run, he had 13 rushing attempts compared to 29 passes. The Raiders receivers are less than stellar, so Pryor could see 500-600 attempts this season, barring injury, which is enough to make him fantasy relevant. Of course, nothing more than a QB2 with high upside. But still, relevant, nonetheless.

Joique Bell, Detroit Lions (32%): Towards the end of last season, I knew Bell would be fantasy relevant in 2013. He caught over 50 balls last season as the team’s backup, and fast forward to 2013, it appears he has leapfrogged Mikel Leshoure in terms of playing time. During Week 1, Bell was involved, catching five balls for 67 yards, and rushing six times, capitalizing on two red-zone scores. Reggie Bush did get most of the work in the running game with 21 carries, but considering how often Detroit throws the football (Stafford 43 attempts in this game), Bell will have plenty of opportunity to produce. And with Bush already banged up a bit, he is a must-own as a handcuff. But trust me, folks. By season’s end, he’ll be much more than that.

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (41%): Many people have been anxiously waiting to witness Andy Reid‘s pass-happy nature in Kansas City, and quarterback Alex Smith benefited from it today. In a dominating win over Jacksonville, Smith completed 21 passes for 173 yards and two scores, a fine outing from a QB2. The Chiefs offense looked better, much better than last year, anyway, and Smith is a very capable quarterback, but has always been more of a game manager. Smith has some solid weapons in this offense, but the most appealing aspect is his schedule. Over his next four contests, Smith faces the Cowboys, Eagles, Titans and Raiders. If you are in need of a quarterback to stream, Smith is worth a look.

Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens (4%): In deeper leagues, I’d definitely consider adding Brown, who will undoubtedly be the Ravens number two wide receiver. Even if Jacoby Jones didn’t suffer a sprained MCL, Brown would still likely start opposite of Torrey Smith in this offense. On Thursday night, Brown posted a solid slash line of 4/65/1, and with very few weapons surrounding him, Joe Flacco may have no choice but to look for the rookie out of Georgia. At 6’5″, Brown is obviously a big target in the red zone (where he scored his touchdown), but he’s also got some wheels.

Da’Rel Scott, New York Giants (1%): A deeper add here, but David Wilson experienced some major dèjá vu on Sunday night. Remember last season when Wilson fumbled the ball during the opener and we didn’t see him for a few months? Yeah, fast forward to 2013 and Wilson would put the ball on the ground again… twice. Knowing Tom Coughlin, many assumed Wilson’s night would be over, and indeed it was. Enter Scott, a third-year player who only carried the ball six times in 2012. Whether or not Scott will significantly cut into Wilson’s workload (or even take the job right out from under him) is unclear, but it is definitely something to monitor. I would 100 percent add Scott if you are a Wilson owner, though.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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