What can the Miami Dolphins do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.
Inside the Locker Room
with Ethan Skolnick, Palm Beach Post
Who is the best NFL fantasy defense/special teams play this weekend? Vikings at Chiefs, Redskins at Rams, Bills at Bengals or the Jets at Ravens? — @AthlonBraden on Twitter
Washington gets my vote.
The Redskins have surrendered 53 points, registered eight sacks, three interceptions and now have safety LaRon Landry back in the fold. St. Louis has scored just 36 points, given up 12 sacks and has coughed up the ball five times.
Got to keep 4 of 5 running backs: Ben Tate, Mike Tolbert, Daniel Thomas, Joseph Addai, Steven Jackson. — @jacobwoody on Twitter
If we're talking the rest of the season, Addai is the one I let set sail.
There's upside for the other four. Tate has already proven he can step in for Arian Foster; Mike Tolbert isn't going to go away in the Chargers' offense; Thomas is just heating up for Miami and Jackson will get the bulk of the carries on a team with a rising QB and an easier second-half schedule.
I don't trust Addai to be there all season — both in health and production. The vibes are terrible in Indy, and once they are completely out of the playoff race, who's to say rookie Delone Carter doesn't start getting the looks more?
Better waiver wire pick up: Knowshon Moreno, Ryan Grant or Nate Washington? And I was offered David Nelson and Mark Ingram for Reggie Wayne. Thoughts? — @Will_Chaklos on Twitter
Nate Washington because he is the clear go-to target now for the Titans. Moreno and Grant are both in time shares, and not on the majority end of said time share.
And I would jump on the Nelson/Ingram for Wayne in a second. Both are in high-scoring offenses. Wayne, as good as he has been, has a QB situation that is dreadful
If Benson gets suspended and misses Week 4, is Bernard "Great" Scott worthy of a start over Shonn Greene who is at Baltimore. PPR. — Mike Crowther on Athlon Sports Facebook
Well, it looks like this might be a question for next week now that Benson is playing against the Bills this week; or will he be suspended at all? Either way, I would not even have Bernard Scott on a roster. Scott has barely sniffed any action — he has 2.3 fantasy points total over three games — this season and is not seen as an every-down back by his team to begin with. He has 23 yards, no catches and with the addition of Brandon Tate, is no longer part of the return game. He averaged 6.1 and 4.5 touches per game his first two seasons. This season, under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Scott is averaging 2.6 touches.
Greene is still the bell cow for a Jets team that is struggling to run the ball, but he added a bit of PPR of his own in the loss to Oakland with seven catches on seven targets. If he can bring that part to the table each week as well, it will make up for his lackluster rushing numbers.
If Batman and Superman were to fight, who would win? — Joe Campanelli on Athlon Sports Facebook
Unless Batman has kryptonie, I think Superman walks away with this one in a first-second knockout. Even if Batman did bring kryptonite into the ring, I'm sure Superman could gut it out for a few rounds before Miss Tessmacher, while Batman wasn't looking, slipped into the ring and pulled the kryptonite away.
Some of the players listed in Athlon Sports' NFL Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 4 may be one-week adds, some may be season-long adds and some are listed just for you to keep an eye on to stash on your roster if you have the space.
Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.
Quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee
Here's another QB that you don't want to waste your one waiver priority spot of the week on, but he has shown he can be an adequate fantasy QB; he is currently ranked 12th among fantasy QBs. Two caveats with Hasselbeck, however: He will be without stud WR Kenny Britt the remainder of the year, but his running game is also non-existent, meaning he will continue to air it out to whatever targets he can find.
Vince Young, Philadelphia
Young has not found the field to replace Vick in the three previous games due to the hamstring injury Young suffered in the preseason. And it's uncertain whether it would be Young or Mike Kafka to replace Vick were he out. I would not waste your first waiver priority on this spot, but Young is athletic, has a good deep ball and has plenty of weapons around him (Jeremy Maclin perhaps not included this week against visiting San Francisco due to a hamstring inuury) to succeed in Andy Reid's pass-happy offense.
Colt McCoy, Cleveland
He's probably not the greatest play this week with Tennessee coming to town and then a bye coming. However, McCoy returns from the bye to get a very favorable passing schedule of Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville and Cincinnati to close out the fantasy regular season. Without the greatest of weapons in Cleveland, McCoy has scored 15 points or more each of the first three weeks. It's not great, but it's consistent.
Curtis Painter, Indianapolis
Ryan Grant, Green Bay
He's probably not available in too many leagues, but I saw him dropped in a few leagues of mine and he is available in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues. He's not the greatest of plays because of James Starks, but the same can be said for Starks. Both of them need to be held on to because they are in a high-powered offense and each of them is injury prone. It stinks that they are just insurance policies for each other, but it's better than some of the other options out there. Just a heads up if you've seen him sent back into the FA pool in your leagues.
Kendall Hunter, San Francisco
Ah, the dreaded (read: expected) Frank Gore injury occurred in Week 3. Gore. He injured his right ankle and is not sure of his availability in Week 4 against the Eagles. THIS is the reason you draft Hunter late. Yes, he had 26 yards on nine carries (2.9 YPC) which is terrible, but Gore's 17-for-42 (2.5 YPC) isn't getting it done, either. Hunter added two catches for 12 yards and is a dynamic presence for the 49ers, one that coach Jim Harbaugh needs to learn to use. Hunter also scored from seven yards out. Here's hoping Harbaugh will get Hunter away from the line of scrimmage and find ways to utilize his speed in open space — you know the modern NFL instead of the pounding it into the center of the line, closing your eyes and hoping your running back pops out the other side. That way's not getting it done with an offensive line that has a lot of money invested in it.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City
I've told you to add him to your roster for the last three weeks now. The diminutive Chief is going to see a good portion of the Kansas City offense now that Jamaal Charles is on IR. He is still available in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues, 60 percent of ESPN leagues and 77 percent of NFL.com leagues. Thomas Jones proved as useless as expected against the Chargers Sunday (14 carries 31 yards), while McCluster got 14 touches for 63 yards. And touches is how you have to evaluate McCluster. He had nine carries for 45 yards and five receptions for 17 yards. That's 11.3 fantasy points in a full PPR. Todd Haley looked to McCluster just four times— all passes — in the first half as Thomas Jones wasted time. Assuming Haley looks McCluster's way earlier — I know what they say about assuming and Haley — McCluster has a real shot at breaking out this year.
Willis McGahee, Denver
It was a tough match up against the Titans as expected, but he still scored 12.9 fantasy points thanks to one of his three receptions. He also added 52 yards rushing on 22 carries. He is expected to get the bulk of the carries, as we suspected as the preseason wore down, even when a fully healthy Knowshon Moreno is active. Green Bay and San Diego are up next before the Broncos' bye, not necessarily the most appealing match ups, but his pass-catching ability still makes him a decent flex play in PPR leagues and he could roll into a decent RB2 play in the easier match ups.
Daniel Thomas, Miami
This is probably the last week he will be on this list. He should've been drafted in most leagues but a terrible preseason squashed that for many. He then was inactive in Week 1. But the Reggie Bush as lead back experiment died a quick death, and the rookie from Kansas State has started to show his worth. After a 12.2-point debut against the Texans, Thomas came back with a 20.7-point effort against the Browns. He rushed 23 times for 95 yards and caught three passes for 27 yards, including a touchdown. Bush, meanwhile, had 11 carries and one catch. See where the trend is going here. The Dolphins aren't dynamic enough to use Bush properly and Bush isn't traditional enough to be used as a lead back.
LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets
If the Jets' defense is going to continue to give up points, the Jets offense is going to have to continue to come back. And that is not done with Shonn Greene pounding the rock into the middle of the offensive line. It will be done with the pass-catching abilities of LT, who had five catches for 116 yards and 38 yards on six carries in the loss to Oakland. Pick him up and play him in games in which you think the Jets will trail — i.e. against Baltimore, New England, San Diego, Buffalo and New England four of the next six games.
Jason Avant and/or Steve Smith, Philadelphia
I wouldn't add either with a waiver priority. As a matter of fact, I would wait on news of Jeremy Maclin's hamstring injury before moving at all on either of the two. This is just a heads up. If Maclin were to miss Week 4 against San Francisco, then the door opens for either Avant or Smith. Avant has been targeted 16 times this season, catching eight for 102 yards; Smith, who didn't play in the opener, has eight targets, four catches for 56 yards. It may be a committee approach to replace Maclin if he's out, but it's a position that's been targeted 25 times to the tune of 19 catches, 260 yards and two scores through three games.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh
The split between Brown and Emmanuel Sanders was what we eyed early on as the annoyance from a pass-happy offense. Well, Brown has jumped Sanders and looks to have jumped veteran Hines Ward. Brown has 23 targets, 10 catches and 156 yards to Sanders' 11 targets, six catches, 85 yards and Week 1 score. Ward has 19 targets, 12 catches, and 117 yards. It could be something that drives you crazy all season long as these three battle it out in the fantasy world to play opposite Mike Wallace, but Brown has carried his solid preseason into the regular season and looks to be having more plays called his way as opposed to the freelancing of Sanders.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants
First, Mario Manningham (concussion) has already been cleared to play in Week 4. That's fine. The Giants still need a third receiving option. Domenik Hixon is out with an ACL. There is no fantasy-worthy TE. No. 1 Hakeem Nicks has battled knee injuries and was shut down completely against the Eagles. Then there's Manningham, his concussion and his drops in the Rams game the last time we saw him. Cruz stepped in Sunday and caught three balls for 110 yards and two scores. The slot position was golden for Eli Manning when Steve Smith manned it; if Cruz slides in there or stays on the outside, he should have success for the Giants.
Eric Decker, Denver
Decker was certainly a good add from the waiver wire last week after his 24.8-point performance. But he faced a tough match up against a Titans team that still has not allowed a 200-yard passer. Decker still managed a 10.3-point day in Athlon's .5 PPR scoring. He had seven catches off 12 targets and the Broncos are not going to shy away from the pass as Kyle Orton is 12th in the league with 110 attempts.
Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis
If Curtis Painter is the starting QB all Colts are going to be downgraded even more than they already are. The one spot of hope may be Painter's relationship with Garcon, He caught three balls for 53 yards when Painter stepped in for Kerry Collins and finished with six for 82 in the loss to the Steelers. I'm sure many owners across fantasy have bailed on Garcon through two weeks, and they should. But it's worth keeping an eye on the relationship between Garcon and Painter.
Brandon Gibson, St. Louis
He is available in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues but is Athlon's 39-best WR with 27.7 fantasy points scored. He has 20 targets, 12 catches, 157 yards and a score through three games. Mike Sims-Walker has one more target but has not done as much with the extra look — 10 catches, 133 yards no TDs. Gibson will continue to get the looks until Danny Amendola comes back, and even then it might open things up a little more for Gibson. He has at least 50 yards receiving in each of the first three games, and with the defense getting torched, he will always have opportunities.
Donald Jones, Buffalo
We told you about him Week 1 along with David Nelson. He hasn't been the most consistent of options, but you can't ignore targets. Jones got his biggest share on Sunday when Ryan Fitzpatrick looked his way 10 times and Nelson turned it into five catches for 101 yards. That comes after 11 targets, six catches and 27 yards and a score the first two weeks combined. Fitzpatrick has four passing options off the line of scrimmage — Nelson, Jones, Steve Johnson and TE Scott Chandler to go along with RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. Jones is worth adding in deep leagues or if you are really getting killed at your WR spot by the likes of Kenny Britt, Jacoby Ford, Mario Manningham, etc.
Lance Moore, New Orleans
He shouldn't be on this list, but I saw he's available in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues. Perhaps he is already owned in all scoring systems where he's relevant — PPR leagues — but I'll give you some info about his season thus far anyway. After missing Week 1 with a groin and being eased in Week 2 (four targets, one catch, 6 yards), Moore blew up in Week 3 by catching all nine targets for 88 yards and a score. He will be inconsistent as a scorer each week, thanks Darren Sproles, but I think he will be the most consistent Saints WR option until Marques Colston gets back and screws it all up.
David Nelson, Buffalo
He is a top-20 receiver in Athlon's .5 PPR scoring. He was targeted eight times, catching six for 84 yards in the comeback win against New England. He has been targeted no less than six times, caught no less than four balls and had no less than 66 yards receiving each of the first three weeks. Also, he is still available in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Sidney Rice, Seattle
He made his Seahawk debut and didn't fare too bad against a putrid Arizona secondary. He was targeted 10 times, catching eight balls for 109 yards from his former teammate in Minnesota, Tarvaris Jackson, under their former offensive coordinator with the Vikings, Darrell Bevil. Not much, if any good, has come from the Seattle offense through two weeks, so it was nice to see some spark in Week 3. I still can't advocate anything out of Seattle right now — well, the 20th anniversary deluxe edition of Nirvana's Nevermind comes out today. I do advocate purchasing that — but Rice plays Atlanta, New York Giants, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dallas, Baltimore, St. Louis and Washington over the next eight games. Six of the eight are allowing over 20 fantasy points a game to WRs through three weeks.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore
It doesn't get much better than your first three catches as a pro going for touchdowns, but that's what Smith did Sunday against the Rams. He stepped in for an injured Lee Evans, who still doesn't know when he will return from his ankle injury. The Ravens wanted to add vertical weapons for Joe Flacco so he could stop it with the check downs, and that was certainly on display Sunday. Smith was brought in specifically to be that vertical threat. One thing to keep in mind: Evans was also traded for a fourth-round pick to be that vertical threat. When he returns, the Ravens are not going to just let him ride the pine. So there might be a split of their workload, but Smith is worth the play now.
Titus Young, Detroit
He continues to get targets and is a speedy playmaker for the Lions. He went from seven targets, five catches and 89 yards in Week 2 to eight targets, four catches and 51 yards in Week 3. This is probably more of a name to keep an eye on as I don't see him being rostered in too many leagues, but as Matthew Stafford looks to lean less on his tight ends and more to other receivers not named Calvin Johnson, Young and Nate Burleson could be in for big years. The problem is: They could alternate weeks doing it, thus making fantasy owners quite angry. Keep an eye on Young and Burleson.
Nate Washington, Tennessee
He certainly paid off as the Sneaky Start of the Week for Week 3, grabbing eight balls for 92 yards and a score. He will have to do that and more from now on with Kenny Britt out for the season. I'm not sure if Washington can operate as the No. 1, but he is certainly worth the add to see if it works out. The Titans are struggling mightily in the run game and QB Matt Hasselbeck seems to have no problem going to the air. Washington has been targeted 27 times through three weeks this season, catching 21 for 258 yards and Sunday's score.
Scott Chandler, Buffalo
I still think there are safer plays at a position so deep, but the problem with them is inconsistency. I would rather look for a player that is targeted at least six times a game on average and see what he can give me. Then there's Chandler. He hasn't received over five targets a game, but all he does is score. He's no different than playing the vulture-TD grabbing RB that LenDale White or Willis McGahee has been in the past. The Bills are going to move the ball and teams keep leaving Chandler wide open in the end zone. If Ryan Fitzpatrick's going to go to him, why shouldn't you?
Randy McMichael, San Diego
Simple: He's Antonio Gates replacement and Malcom Floyd is ineffective, groin injury or not. McMichael caught four of five targets for 51 yards in Gates' absence Sunday. If Gates, the game's top tight end, is going to be a game-time decision each week, then you need to either have insurance for him on your roster, or steal someone else's insurance. The position will be an effective one for fantasy owners, you just have to know who's playing it from week to week.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville
He returned from a calf injury against the Panthers and was targeted just two times for 15 yards. I don't think he's an add just yet — hard to believe a guy with 10 TDs a year ago is still a "keep an eye on" player but he is available in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues. If healthy and motivated (here's hoping the big contract in the offseason didn't make him content), he can be a rookie QB's best friend for an offense that needs some help. MJD and Mike Thomas can't do it all, plus he plays in the AFC South and those teams aren't the greatest at defending the TE position — all were in the bottom half of the league against the position at at least seven fantasy points per game last season.
Some of the players listed in Athlon Sports' NFL Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 3 may be one-week adds, some may be season-long adds and some are listed just for you to keep an eye on to stash on your roster if you have the space.
Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point PER 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.
The Chiefs followed up losing their best defensive playmaker, DB Eric Berry, to an ACL injury last week, by losing their best offensive player, RB Jamaal Charles, to the same injury on Sunday. It is the third ACL injury to a Chiefs starter this summer — TE Tony Moeaki tore his in preseason Game No. 4.
Kansas City has to be scrambling to find any player that will be productive on offense after scoring 10 points combined in the first two weeks. On the defensive end, it has allowed 89 combined points, and will probably perform the same for the rest of the season.
In steps McCluster. He can be a pass catcher out of the backfield, a traditional running back — although one that can't carry a heavy workload — and can give those in return yardage leagues a boost as well.
If there's a back to add from the Jamaal Charles fallout, it needs to be McCluster. Thomas Jones and Le'Ron McLain may score the occasional goal line touchdown, but I think McCluster has the best chance to touch the ball the most, and the upside to do something with it each time.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
The Bengals are built to run but don't do it very well. Still, opposing defenses will respect that and that means opportunities for the rookie QB to get the ball to fellow rookie target A.J. Green, one of this week's key pick ups Jerome Simpson and inconsistent but always dangerous TE Jermaine Gresham. Dalton threw for 332 and two scores against a banged up Bronco defense. So maybe Week 2 was an outlier, but he gets back-to-back home games against terrible pass Ds in San Francisco and Buffalo, travels to equally terrible Jacksonville and then gets Indianapolis at home. If you're struggling at QB, you could do worse than Dalton.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo
If he wasn't stashed on your roster already, he should be. He's the fifth-best scoring QB in Athlon's scoring format (61.48) through two weeks. He has thrown for 472 yards, seven scores and just one turnover. He has a group of no-names at receiver, but it works for the Bills. Buffalo plays New England next week, a team that he can throw against whether the Bills are winning or losing, then it's Cincinnati, Philadelphia and the Giants before the Week 7 bye. He has proven reliable even with low-yardage numbers thanks to the seven TDs. If you're still holding onto Peyton Manning or Matt Cassel or Alex Smith, Donovan McNabb and maybe even Josh Freeman, Fitzpatrick is a better option.
Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville
The rookie is probably a stash and hope play, but he could get the nod this week against a struggling Carolina defense. Could he debut like his Carolina counterpart Cam Newton did? That is highly unlikely. However, he has a solid offensive line, a great running back and a great possession receiver at his disposal. If TE Marcedes Lewis can return from a calf injury that sidelined him in Week 2, Gabbert could turn into an OK bye week QB. Keep in mind, the Jaguars will probably be trailing by the time they step off the bus each week, giving Gabbert more opportunities — which also means more turnover opportunities, but take the bad with the potential good.
Matt Hasselebeck, Tennessee
If the running game is going to continue to struggle, then Hasselbeck will keep airing it out. Teams still have to respect the run with Chris Johnson back there despite his struggles, so the passing game will always have potential. Hasselbeck has one of the game's best young receivers in Kenny Britt (14-271-3 TDs in the first two weeks), a sneaky receiver in Nate Washington (13-166 in the first two weeks) and an inconsistent but still threatening TE in Jared Cook (3-44 in the first two weeks).
Colt McCoy, Cleveland
He may not throw for a lot of yard (averages 212 ypg), but he has big targets to work with. TEs Evan Moore (4-51-2 scores) and Benjamin Watson (5-61-2 scores) are two of his favorites in the red zone so far. He also has rookie Greg Little (5-50) at receiver and RB Peyton Hillis (10-53) is a solid pass-catching threat. All four have size and potential around the end zone that can pay off for McCoy owners. Miami, Tennessee, Oakland, Seattle and San Francisco are all appetizing pass defenses he will face over the next six weeks.
Mike Kafka, Philadelphia
Mike Kafka stepped in for Michael Vick, completed 7-of-9 passes for 72 yards and had the Eagles in position to score late in the game against the Falcons (a Jeremy Maclin drop ended the drive). He knows the offense well, doesn't have the greatest of arms, but has a helluva trio of playmakers around him. RB LeSean McCoy, WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin can make anyone look good, and then there are WRs Jason Avant, Steve Smith, TE Brent Celek and backup RB Ronnie Brown. The weapons are there for Kafka to have success if Vick were to miss any time due to his "slight" concussion.
Roy Helu, Washington
This is probably a pick up you need to make to get ahead of the rest of your league. Helu got 13 touches in Sunday's win over Arizona — 10-for-74 rushing and 3-for-38 receiving. This is an increase from the one the rookie saw in Week 1, and it was because starter Tim Hightower "got a little bit tired," according to coach Mike Shanahan. A little bit tired? Hightower has carried the ball 45 times this season for an average of 3.7 yards per carry and just one score, while Helu averages 6.9 on 11 carries and 8.2 on his 14 touches altogether. Shanahan has never been afraid to run with the hot hand and stick with him once that change is made. Helu has the goods as a big-play back, both as a rusher and receiver. Dallas, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Carolina and Buffalo are on the schedule next, and Helu could make some noise in each game.
Willis McGahee, Denver
He should already be on a roster on your team, preferably yours. McGahee was expected to chip away at Knowshon Moreno's production this season, if not get the majority of it all along. The Moreno injures his hamstring, opening the door for McGahee. The 2003 first-round pick responded with 101 yards, a touchdown and one catch for five yards Sunday against Cincinnati. Regardless of whether Moreno comes back next week against Tennessee or not, McGahee is a reliable flex option, if not starter. The Broncos have rough run-game opponents on the horizon (Tennessee, Green Bay and San Diego), but Kyle Orton and Co. should have enough juice in the passing game to keep team's honest and enable McGahee to get his.
DeMarco Murray, Dallas
Felix Jones played nearly the entire San Francisco game with a shoulder injury, an injury that has his status up in the air for Week 3's Monday night game against Washington. Also injured are Miles Austin (hamstring), Dez Bryant (quads), Jason Witten (ribs) and Tony Romo (ribs). The Dallas secondary is a mess as well thanks to injuries. You would love to think the team could lean on its backfield to lengthen offensive possessions, but it is 31st in the league currently at 54.5 rushing yards per game. Murray would be the add in my eyes if you had to pick either the rookie or Tashard Choice. The team obviously drafted Murray because its faith in Choice has wavered — if there ever was any. He adds the pass-catching dimension along with being the bigger back at 6-0, 227. The upside lies with Murray.
Ben Tate, Houston
He has to be on a roster in your league at this point, right? If not, go get him. Arian Foster sat out the second half Sunday because his hamstring tightened up. Coach Gary Kubiak followed on Monday by saying Tate will carry the load right now. Here's where the problem lies for the Texans' run game: They get New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Baltimore and Tennessee over the next five weeks. All five have the potential to shut down the run, but the Houston passing game may be able to open up some breathing room for its running backs. Either way, Tate needs to be either a flex play right now or the best handcuff in the game.
Daniel Thomas, Miami
Oh, the other rookie running back. Remember when the debate was whether Daniel Thomas or Mark Ingram would have the better rookie season? Well, maybe it wasn't a debate many were having, but I picked Thomas in the summer. He finally made his debut with 18 carries for 107 yards and one catch for 10 yards in a 10-point loss to Houston. Meanwhile, Reggie Bush carried six times for 18 yards and caught one ball for three yards. Was this a wake-up call by the Dolphins that Bush isn't an inside runner? It certainly wasn't a case of seeing what the rookie had because Miami was out of the game — it was a three-point Dolphin lead until 10 minutes remained. Miami needs to get win No. 1 of the season this week, and it travels this week to Cleveland, 24th against the run at 124 yards per game. Thomas should get the nod as the bell cow once again, and any player that can get a consistent 18-20 touches, and is not in Seattle, needs to be on fantasy rosters.
Nate Burleson, Detroit
He's the No. 2 passing option for a team that LOVES to pass. Lions QB Matthew Stafford has already attempted 72 passes for 599 yards (an average of 12.7 yards per completion). Burleson has caught 12 of them for 153 yards. He will continue to get looks opposite Calvin Johnson, and should be on your roster now.
Eric Decker, Denver
He performed well last year when he finally hit the field after a Lisfranc injury, a ligament tear where the first two toes are held in place. Decker averaged 17.7 yards on six catches with a score; he has picked up right where he left off. On Sunday, Decker caught five balls for 113 yards and two scores. He now has eight catches for 166 yards and two TDs this season. He also has opportunity. Brandon Lloyd (hamstring) did not play on Sunday as a late scratch and Eddie Royal (groin) was injured during the game. Decker had no problem sliding in and making the most of his chances. He is big receiver at 6-3, 218, and his only knock would be that he has fumbling issues — four fumbles, two lost in nine career games played so far.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati
OK, the Broncos were banged up on the defensive side, particularly no Champ Bailey. But 10 catches for 124 yards and a score? C'mon. The debate between which rookie WR would have the better season — Julio Jones in Atlanta or Green — is in full effect after Sunday's performance. And it was quite a bounce back for Green after just having one catch in his debut — even though it went for 41 yards. He was targeted 14 times (FOURTEEN!) on Sunday. If he was somehow not drafted in your league, please, go get him now.
Johnny Knox, Chicago
Roy Williams was out with a groin injury. Earl Bennett left with a bruised chest. Devin Hester led the Bears receivers with nine targets but pulled in just one catch. So Knox, last year's leading receiver for the Bears, may actually have relevance again for the team. He had six targets in the loss to New Orleans, catching two of them for 45 yards. Expect his role to increase if the injuries and lack of production from the position continues to mount.
Chad Ochocinco, New England
He may not know the offense yet. He may not have had many opportunities. But that can change starting this week with the news that Aaron Hernandez (MCL) will miss one-two weeks. Tom Brady has plenty of targets to choose from and you never know who will get the call, but after 940 yards of passing the first two weeks, anyone that has pulse for the Patriots and is supposed to catch the ball is worth a flier.
Kevin Ogletree or Jesse Holley, Dallas
Miles Austin has the hamstring injury and could miss time. Dez Bryant is battling a quad injury and did miss Sunday's game. The hero of the 49ers game was reality show winner Jesse Holley. And then there's Kevin Ogletree, who started in place of Bryant. Holley got three targets, catching all three for 96 yards, including a 77-yard pass in overtime to setup the game-winning field goal. Ogletree had four targets, catching two passes for 50 yards, including a 33-yard reception. Neither will be too hot off the waiver wire, and you should be able to afford waiting on news of Austin or Bryant before deciding which replacement receiver to pick. If Ogletree got the start, I would lean toward him.
Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati
After a ridiculously quiet preseason, Simpson, who was a stud late, late last season, has emerged. He caught four of nine targets for 44 yards in the opener, and then caught four of nine targets for 136 yards on Sunday against Denver. How often will Andy Dalton attempt 41 passes? Who knows. But he did on Sunday and Simpson was the second-leading target behind A.J. Green's 14. Plus, with Jordan Shipley now on IR, the Bengals' passing options become clearer. Simpson could be overlooked as every one rushes to the wire to add Decker, Burleson, a QB and a replacement for Jamaal Charles.
Nate Washington, Tennessee
He was targeted 11 times in Tennessee's win over Baltimore Sunday. That followed seven targets in Week 1. Washington has turned that into 13 catches for 166 yards. He has become option 2 for a Titans team that is not used to this whole passing thing, but will certainly continue to do it if defenses let them and the run game continues to struggle.
Fred Davis, Washington
He can move around all over the field and has been a good option for Rex Grossman. Davis followed up his five-catch, 101-yard, one-touchdown in the opener with six catches for 86 yards and a score in Week 2.
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta
He is still the safety valve for Matt Ryan, and if that safety valve is in the red zone that means good news for fantasy owners. Gonzo is relevant again with nine targets, seven catches for 83 yards and two scores Sunday night. That follows a 5-for-72 Week 1 performance.