Kevin Ogletree will hope to duplicate what Laurent Robinson did last year in Dallas with Tony Romo throwing him passes. Ogletree’s huge game last Wednesday was obviously dictated by some injuries (Witten wasn’t himself, and the Giants secondary was a mess), so you can’t expect that every week. You can, though, probably expect him to be a viable flex play in PPR leagues based on the matchups, and become a starting option if any of Bryant, Austin, or Witten are out.
Here’s how we will do the rest of the pickups each week. Every league differs and some players won’t be available. Using the cbssports ownership data each week, I’ll with those available in shallow leagues (owned in between 50 and 70% of leagues), deep leagues (25 to 50% ownership), and deeper leagues where almost everyone is claimed (25% or less) each week.
Early on, I won’t focus on the matchups as much, as I think the goal should be to find potential starters who were undervalued and can help you all season. By week 4 or 5, the defenses will be more clear, and matchups and working the wire for short term fixes become your friend.
Shallow: Russell Wilson and Ryan Fitzpatrick are both available in about half the leagues. Fitzpatrick certainly inspires no confidence after week one, but he does get Kansas City this week. Russell Wilson is an asset with his legs, and by mid-season should be a viable start.
Deep: Sam Bradford is probably not going to light it up. What he will do is provide you a solid starting option if you have a good top quarterback but need someone who will be there for a bye week or short term injury. His receivers are healthier, although Roger Saffold got injured again.
Deeper: Mark Sanchez is available almost everywhere, as is Christian Ponder. I would probably go Ponder in the short term, though each will provide matchup starts based on the schedule from time to time if you are desperate.
Shallow: With the uncertainty of a Shanahan backfield, Alfred Morris was available in a little less than half the leagues. That will change this week, as he should be a universal pickup. Beware, though. Here are a list of backs that have had 20+ carries for Mike Shanahan with less than 4 yards per carry in a game, since he traded away Clinton Portis while with Denver: Roy Helu, Tim Hightower, Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams, Tatum Bell, Reuben Droughns, Quentin Griffin, Andre Hall, and Selvin Young. He’s worth a shot because he could stay the starter, but we’ve seen this too many times, and both Helu and Royster were hurt in the preseason. I wouldn’t blow my free agent auction budget here.
Deep: San Francisco looks good again, and Kendall Hunter will get opportunities, and if Gore misses any games, will become a RB1 start. Jonathan Dwyer got 9 carries and is probably flying under the radar since he didn’t score. I think he’s got a chance to emerge, and is a much cheaper option long term than going with Morris, and could give you the same type of risk/reward.
Deeper: Knowshon Moreno is the backup in Denver now, and while I’m no believer at this point, he’s under-owned because people thought it would be the rookie Hillman. Mike Goodson, and not Taiwan Jones, got the second string snaps last night in Oakland. If you are wanting to take deep flyers, try Alex Green and Vick Ballard.
Shallow: I touted Brandon LaFell as a WR3 in my rankings, and ended up starting him successfully in two leagues in week one. The targets will be there, even though the Panthers struggled on offense this week. I’m surprised that he is owned in less than two-thirds of leagues. Randall Cobb is a playmaker that should have been on everyone’s radar, and he is a starting option immediately this week with Greg Jennings’ injury.
Deeper: Stephen Hill is going to be hit or miss from week to week, but can obviously provide big plays. He’s the perfect guy to play out a final flex spot during bye week depth issues. I’ve already talked about Kevin Ogletree. James Jones should also see his targets increase this week.
If you want to go matchup this week, look to Donald Jones. Hali should be back, but we don’t know about the Kansas City secondary yet. With David Nelson’s injury, Jones’ role should increase.
Teams are using small running back hybrid types as part of the running game with short passes out of the slot in space. In Dexter McCluster of Kansas City and Andrew Hawkins from Cincinnati, you have two cheap ones that could be targeted frequently in short passes, and be PPR life savers when you need a start during bye weeks. Hawkins caught 8 passes last night, and I’m not worried about Brandon Tate emerging as a huge target stealer.
Shallow: Kyle Rudolph is still available in that many leagues? Pick him up now. I think I own him in more leagues than anyone else.
Deep: Martellus Bennett is going to get targets in New York as Manning won’t completely ignore the position, so he’ll be a hit or miss start each week.
Deeper: Marcedes Lewis becomes viable again if Blaine Gabbert is at least competent at quarterback, while Dennis Pitta was targeted 9 times last night. Pitta would be my next target at tight end assuming your league has gobbled up Rudolph.
The top kickers tend to come from playoff teams, but not always those we saw coming. Justin Tucker with Baltimore, Billy Cundiff with Washington, and Shayne Graham in Houston are three names I would go with as most likely to become huge. How many people took David Akers high in San Francisco last year?
If you are looking longer term, you might go with Washington or Tampa Bay, who both showed signs of improvement in week one. The Redskins certainly provide a startable option against the Rams as well.
In the short term, if you want to play matchups, you can go with the Cincinnati Bengals getting to go against Brandon Weeden and Cleveland,
[photo via US Presswire]