We’re two weeks deep into the fake football season and the waiver wire pickings are starting to fit into their snug hipster jeans. The fashionable kids out there in fantasy land didn’t want to cop to their bad draft picks after just one round of games, so a lot of my proposed pickups this week are retreads from last week, particularly at tight end. Meanwhile, we have some new hit singles in the free agent pool thanks to a couple injuries to prominent running backs and sustained production from what could have been Week 1 aberrations. Pick the following players up so you can say you owned them before it was cool.
Andy Dalton, CIN; Sam Bradford, STL – As of this writing – prior to what could be a Matt Ryan/Peyton Manning shootout in Atlanta – Bradford and Dalton are your #4 and #5 quarterbacks from Week 2, respectively. Both of them may be owned as backup QBs in your leagues, but if one of them is available and you’re the owner who gambled on Russell Wilson as a starter, it may be time to jump ship. I recommend Dalton, who gets to go against the same Redskins defense in Week 3 that allowed 21 fantasy points to Drew Brees in Week 1 and 23 points Sam Bradford in Week 2.
Matt Flynn, SEA – Speaking of Russell Wilson, he didn’t do much against the Cowboys on Sunday (admittedly, the Seahawks didn’t need him to). Considering Wilson’s lack of production thus far and how his penchant for running may increase his injury risk, Flynn is the still one of the better stashes in 2-QB leagues. In a related story, the “best QB ‘stache” title was vacated when Aaron Rodgers shaved this beauty.
Michael Bush, CHI – Bush was in this space last week and should have been picked up in all leagues after scoring two TDs in Week 1. If he’s still available after Matt Forte’s Week 2 injury, the first thing you need to do is add Bush. Second, start recruiting fantasy managers for next season so you can have more than six teams in your league.
Andre Brown & David Wilson, NYG – Ahmad Bradshaw left Sunday’s game with a neck injury after 5 rushes. Brown carried the load for the Giants after that, piling up 71 yards on the ground with a touchdown and catching two passes for 19 yards. Wilson, meanwhile, only carried the ball 3 times for 6 yards. Brown is the player to add for now, but Wilson will also have value if Bradshaw misses extended time.
Daryl Richardson & Isaiah Pead, STL – Stephen Jackson left the game with a groin injury and Richardson substituted well in the starter’s absence with 83 yards rushing and 2 catches for 19 yards receiving. Of the Rams’ backup RBs, Pead got all the fantasy hype in the preseason, but he has yet to touch the ball on offense in the regular season. Richardson is the obvious add for Week 3, but Pead might still be worth a flyer in deep leagues.
Kendall Hunter, SF – Despite losing a fumble in Week 2, Hunter makes his second Waiver Wire appearance in as many weeks. It’s clear that the 49ers are going to run the ball a ton this season, which translates to plenty of work for Hunter in relief of Frank Gore. When Gore gets hurt (“ifs” are for pansies), Hunter will ascend to top-12 running back status.
Lamar Miller, MIA – Miller rushed for 65 yards and a TD on 10 carries on Sunday, but don’t read too much into this outburst. The Dolphins had the lowly Raiders on their heels all game and Miller piled up his stats spelling a busy Reggie Bush. Against stronger opponents, Miller won’t get as much work.
Bilal Powell, NYJ – Shonn Greene missed part of Sunday’s game with an apparent head injury. He returned to the game eventually, but be prepared to snatch up Powell if Greene starts missing practices early this week.
Brandon LaFell, CAR – I left LaFell out of this piece last week because I figured he was owned in most leagues. After another effective week, I checked in to find that LaFell is only owned in 32% of Yahoo leagues and 25% of ESPN leagues. This is your last chance to jump on the bandwagon. Productive fantasy receivers don’t just la-fall out of the sky every week.
Danny Amendola, STL – Similarly, because Amendola was drafted in all my leagues, I assumed he was owned everywhere, which is not the case. He’s unowned in 53% of Yahoo leagues and 82% (!) of ESPN leagues. After 15 catches on 16 targets for 160 yards and a TD in Week 2, you better believe he’ll be owned in a lot more leagues when waivers clear on Wednesday.
Brandon Gibson, STL – I mentioned Gibson last week and he delivered in Week 2 with 53 yards and a score. Steve Smith was more involved in this game (3 catches, 39 yards), but Gibson is the clear #2 WR in St. Louis.
Donnie Avery, IND – “Suck for Luck” has evolved into “Let Luck Chuck” this season and as long as Austin Collie remains sidelined, Andrew Luck will be chucking it to Donnie Avery.
Andre Roberts, ARI – Roberts only caught one pass for two yards in Week 2, but it was for his second touchdown in as many weeks. While he won’t see a plethora of targets in general, the Cardinals are clearly comfortable calling his number around the goal line while opposing defenses obsess over Larry Fitzgerald.
Mohamed Massaquoi, CLE – The Saint Valentine’s Day Massaquoi led the Browns in receiving for the second week in a row. Winning fantasy matchups with Cleveland receivers is about as unsatisfying as arresting Al Capone on tax evasion charges, but the end is more important than the means in fake football.
Brian Hartline, MIA – Someone has to catch passes for the Dolphins, right? Hartline turned 12 targets into 9 receptions for 111 yards on Sunday. The yardage total was a career-high for Hartline and he has yet to find the end zone, so temper your expectations going forward.
Jon Baldwin, KC – If an owner in your league panic-dropped Baldwin after he posted zero fantasy points in Week 1, scoop him up. Baldwin had 63 yards on six targets Sunday and should continue to get more involved in the Kansas City offense.
Leonard Hankerson, WAS – Hankerson replaced the inactive Pierre Garcon and caught two of his three targets for 63 yards and a touchdown. He’ll lose most of his value when Garcon returns, so don’t break the FAAB bank on Hankerson.
Brandon Tate, CIN – Tate caught all three of his targets this week for 71 yards, including a 44-yard TD. Without the big play, I wouldn’t be talking about him now, but if you’re fishing for touchdowns in a deep league, set your hook and reel in Tate.
Golden Tate, SEA – Tate matched Sidney Rice in fantasy production against the Cowboys. More importantly, he outperformed Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards. The Seahawks will do most of their damage on the ground, but Tate will have value if he continues to start opposite Rice.
Dennis Pitta, BAL – The most targeted tight end in Week 2, Pitta finished with 8 receptions for 65 yards. He missed out on the end zone this time around, but Pitta cemented himself as a starting fantasy tight end. I’d take him over Jason Witten, Fred Davis, and Jacob Tamme at this point.
Martellus Bennett, NYG – Two weeks, two top-5 finishes for the Black Unicorn. Eli Manning won’t throw for 500 yards every week, but Bennett has shown he’ll be featured in the Giants’ passing attack. If it weren’t for Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks squeezing Bennett for targets, I’d have him ranked above Pitta. Still, they’re very close in value at this point and Week 3 might have me flipping them in my rankings, but they should each be on someone’s fake team by then.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN – “Reindeer Games” Rudolph is another preseason darling I expected to be owned in more leagues based solely on the hype. After a decent Week 1 (6 fantasy points) and finding the end zone in Week 2 (9 points), it’s clear that Rudolph has earned Christian Ponder’s trust. As Adrian Peterson gets healthier and Jerome Simpson returns from suspension, the middle of the field should open up even more for the red-nosed tight end.
Scott Chandler, BUF – Likewise, as long as C.J. Spiller keeps lighting the world on fire in the Buffalo running game, Scott Chandler will continue to get open and catch TDs for the Bills.
Coby Fleener, IND – His production dipped in Week 2 after a solid opening game, but Fleener is still poised to be one the most targeted tight ends this season.
Heath Miller, PIT – Miller snagged another TD in Week 2. Echoing what I said in last week’s Waiver Wire, he’s a nice bye week fill-in and deep-league play.
Dante Rosario, SD – Four targets, four receptions, three touchdowns. It’s too bad his value will regress back to zero when Antonio Gates returns.