T.J. Yates, Caleb Hanie and Vince Young lead the way this week
The playoffs start for some fantasy football leagues in Week 13, for many more this is the final push to try and secure a spot before the playoffs start. This late into the season, there’s not a whole lot to trust on the waiver wire; they wouldn’t be on there if you could.
Lance Ball, Kendall Hunter and Laurent Robinson lead the waiver wire this week
It’s the last week of byes for the 2011 NFL season. And we lose some powerhouses this week at all four positions. Which means you're going to have dredge the waiver wire to save your team's chances of making the playoffs. Here's a few of the big names that are out.
WEEK 11 BYES: Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh
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 2 may be one week adds, some may be season-long adds and some are listed just for you to keep an eye on or even 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.
Also, if you have any fantasy football questions for Week 2's Ask Athlon, send them my way @AthlonCorby on Twitter or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo
The yardage left a bit to be desired (208), but he did throw four touchdowns and did not turn the ball over against what was supposed to be a good Chiefs defense. The Bills play host to Oakland this Sunday, which just surrendered 304 passing yards in the rain to the "run-oriented" Broncos last night.
Rex Grossman, Washington
Cam Newton. Arizona Cardinals. At home. Enough said. Grossman is coming off a game in which he threw for 305 yards, two scores, no interceptions and a fumble against the New York Giants. Now he gets a Arizona defense reeling from the 422 yards and two scores rookie Cam Newton racked up against them in his first NFL start.
Cam Newton, Carolina He will be a popular waiver add this week after what he did against the Cardinals. If you have the room or patience, you might want to add him and sit him. Newton will come off the Arizona high by likely getting brought back to Earth in the most extreme way against the Green Bay Packers. However, in Week 3, Newton and the Panthers get the terrible pass defense that is Jacksonville. So add him now, wait and then use.
Running Backs Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay If he's going to be the third down back, and the Bucs had 14 of those opportunities Sunday, then he might be a worthy PPR-flex add. Graham had nine targets in the passing game, catching eight of them for 58 yards and six carries for 13 yards. That was good for 12.10 points in the Athlon scoring format. Tampa Bay faces a Minnesota team that just forced San Diego into 13 third-down opportunities.
Dexter McCluster, Kansas City
Offense is going to have to come from somewhere after that lackluster performance Sunday against the Bills. McCluster had four carries for 42 yards, caught all five of his targets for 25 yards and added 92 return yards. The Chiefs may get more opportunities on offense as Eric Berry is lost for the year, and they could look for last year's other high draft pick in McCluster to provide a spark. He scored 10.5 in the Athlon format Sunday, and if he could add a TD every now and then, I'd be happy to take 16.5 from the flex.
Darren Sproles, New Orleans Maybe it's because they were down, but Sproles certainly was the receiving threat out of the Saints' backfield. He was targeted nine times in the passing game, catching seven of them for 75 yards. He also had three red zone targets, catching two of them. If you are in leagues that award return yardage, he added 168 yards and a touchdown for a 21.9-point night in the Athlon format.
Ben Tate, Houston Until Foster comes back, and even after that, Tate needs to be on a roster. If he's still available in your league, which he should not be, go get him. He had 24 carries for 116 yards Sunday vs. the Colts - tied for third most in the league in carries Sunday behind Tim Hightower and Cedric Benson's 25. Houston travels to Miami, which possesses a solid secondary, and the Texans may lean on the run game even more.
LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets The old man is done. Yeah, right. Until the Jets prove they are committed to Shonn Greene (10 carries for 26 yards vs. Dallas), then LT needs to be on a roster. He had seven targets, six catches for 73 yards and 16 yards on five carries. He scored 12.9 points in our format, certainly worthy of a flex spot.
Cadillac Williams, St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson (quad) is unlikely to play and the Rams travel to play the Giants on Monday night. Also lost was WR Danny Amendola (elbow). Williams will be a great PPR play. He had nine targets in the passing game, catching five for 49 yards to go along with 19 carries for 93 yards.
Ricky Williams, Baltimore
Williams wasn't the vulture just yet, but he did get 12 carries for 63 yards (5.3 YPC) against Pittsburgh Sunday, the No. 1 run defense in the league. He also received two targets in the passing game, catching one for four yards. If he's getting 13 touches a game, and producing, he's maybe more than just a handcuff if he can start scoring.
Anthony Armstrong, Washington
He has a good rapport with Rex Grossman. He was targeted two times in the red zone, catching both, including one for a score. The Redskins draw the Cardinals terrible pass defense this week.
Arrelious Benn, Tampa Bay
Forgotten by many after his ACL injury and the emergence of Dez Briscoe in the preseason, but Benn is the No. 2 WR on this team. He was targets seven times, catching four for 27 yards Sunday. These are not great numbers at all, but it's worth noting that he was looked at seven times; that's more targets than any game last season.
Malcom Floyd, San Diego
He may be the fourth option in the passing game as he sits behind Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson and maybe even Mike Tolbert at the rate he was going Sunday. But Floyd did receive the second-most targets (8) against the Vikings against Jackson's three. If you have the room, save a space for Floyd or at least monitor his use vs. that of Tolbert and Jackson's.
Jabar Gaffney, Washington
He is on this list for two reasons: Rex Grossman and Arizona's pass defense. Gaffney and Grossman were teammates at the University of Florida and the Cardinals' defense, or lack thereof, has already been well documented. Gaffney received seven targets from Grossman Sunday, catching three of them for 54 yards and a red zone score.
Brandon Gibson, St. Louis
He was already a starter, but perhaps a draft casualty due to all of us waiting to see just how the Rams' WR corps shook out. Well, the favorite son of the WR corps, Danny Amendola (elbow) is now gone for an what should be an extended period of time. Gibson received five targets, catching three for 50 yards Sunday vs. Philadelphia. Expect his workload to increase.
Devery Henderson, New Orleans
Marques Colston is out for at least a month (shoulder) and Lance Moore is nursing a groin injury. Drew Brees needs pass catchers, and Henderson certainly proved capable with a nine target night Thursday against the Packers, converting them into six catches for 100 yards and a TD. Chicago has the LBs to handle the Saints run game, so New Orleans will need to go to the air for offense.
Jacoby Jones, Houston
Kevin Walter may or may not be out for some time (collarbone) and the Texans face a Dolphins team that just gave up 517 passing yards to the Patriots on Monday night. Jones has never really been a consistent fantasy option, partly because of his play and partly because of the presence of Walter. He is certainly worth an add now, and if he continues his special teams performance (91 return yards, including a 79-yard punt return for a score Sunday vs. the Colts) then consider that icing on the cake. He caught all three targets on Sunday for 43 yards.
David Nelson and Donald Jones, Buffalo
The Bills have to go somewhere else besides Steve Johnson, right? And Chan Gailey's strange Week 1 infatuation with the TE (Scott Chandler catching all five targets for 63 yards and a score) can't be real, right? Maybe Buffalo can go with just these two, considering Fitzpatrick threw for just 208 yards Sunday and won big. Nelson caught four of six targets for 66 yards. Jones caught just two of five targets for a measly three yards but a TD as well. Also to note: Jones had one less target than both Johnson and Nelson, and played more snaps than both — Jones 63, Johnson 59, Nelson 36, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Plus, Marcus Easley (undisclosed illness) was placed on IR Tuesday.
Greg Salas, St. Louis
Danny Amendola was supposed to be the "new Wes Welker" for 2011. Now he's out and someone has to slide into that slot role. Amendola receivied six targets for five catches and 43 yards before the injury Sunday. Salas, a rookie from Hawaii, is taller and bigger than Amendola — 6-1, 210 compared to 5-10, 186 — and he was a scorer in college, registering 22 TDs his final two seasons.
Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh
Antonio Who? Brown, the darling of the preseason, had two catches for 14 yards and 110 return yards for 5.1 fantasy points. Sanders, who was out for a majority of the preseason (foot), resumed his role as the No. 3 WR and garnered just three targets, but more importantly, two of them were in the red zone. He converted one of the two into a touchdown and finished with two catches for 20 yards, the score and nine fantasy points. Consider the Ravens game an anomaly regarding the Steelers' offense; Sanders will play a vital role for the rest of the season.
Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati
Remember him? The stud from the end of last season in Cincinnati? Well, he sort of returned Sunday vs. Cleveland. He was the most targeted player for the Bengals (9). He did little with them (4-44) but keep an eye on him as Cincy heads to play a Denver team that allowed Oakland to rush for 190 yards and might try to shore that up and see if rookie QB Andy Dalton or Bruce Gradkowski can beat it.
Fred Davis, Washington
Even with Chris Cooley in the lineup, Davis had six targets, five catches and 105 yards. And we can't stress it enough: the Cardinals are coming to town,
Ed Dickson, Baltimore
He caught all five of his targets for a total of 59 yards and a score. Two of the five targets and catches came in the red zone.
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta
Gonzalez did receive seven targets Sunday against a solid Bears LB corps, and turned it into five catches for 72 yards. All of those numbers are above his 2010 16-game average of 6.8 targets, 4.4 catches and 41 yards per game. Three targets came in the first quarter, three in the third and one in the fourth. He had the third-longest day of the play for the Falcons, a 30-yard catch in the first quarter.
Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati
He was the second-most targeted Bengal against the Browns as the second-year player caught six of eight targets for 58 yards and a score. Only one target came in the red zone, which he scored off of, but he was being utilized outside the 20 as well.
Dustin Keller, New York Jets
It took a while for Mark Sanchez to target Keller (1:51 left in the first half), but he wound up with eight targets, three in the red zone and caught five balls for 61 yards and a score. Sanchez spreads it around, targeting at least four players seven times on Sunday, but Keller should be a red zone favorite. Plus, Jacksonville comes to town Sunday. Yum.
Evan Moore and Benjamin Watson, Cleveland A sleeper in the preseason, Moore caught three of his targets, but two of those targets came in the red zone, which he converted one of into a score. Watson was targeted seven times, catching three for 45 yards, including a 34-yard TD. The Browns get the Colts this week, and if they try to focus on shutting down RB Peyton Hillis, Moore and Watson could feast on a Indy defense that was 11th-worst against the TE last year at 9.6 fantasy points per game.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Olsen kept his solid preseason going into Week 1, catching four of six targets for 78 yards. Carolina gets Green Bay this week, and the Packers have more than enough players to cover WR Steve Smith. Also, assuming the Panthers get blown out, Olsen may find some seams down the middle late in the game to get some late trash points (a la Jimmy Graham for New Orleans vs. the Packers last week).
Leonard Pope, Kansas City Like McCluster, Pope may benefit from the Chiefs needing to find offense from somewhere. Pope stepped in for Tony Moeaki (lost for the year after an ACL injury) and caught three of six targets for 24 yards and had a 19-yard TD catch called back.