xml:space="preserve">

The first week of the 2013 NFL season was a big time reminder that this isn't your grandfather's brand of football. Wide open passing offenses led to just one 100-yard rusher through Sunday's games (there are still two games to be played Monday night featuring a few of the leagues top backs, so there is still time) while 10 quarterbacks threw for 300 yards -- three of them for over 400 and another, Sam Bradford, just missing with 299.
Week 1 also saw a number of big fantasy performances by tight ends, including breakout games for Jared Cook (St. Louis), Jordan Cameron (Cleveland) and, of course, Julius Thomas (Denver) on Thursday night. Even Kellen Winslow of the Jets was a useful option, not that anyone outside of the deepest of leagues would've started him this week.
As I wrote on Sunday, however, week 1 can also be a mirage, and if your team got trounced, you shouldn't panic just yet. There is still time to right the ship.
With that said, there are a few players on the waiver wire you should be jumping to get, and a few that you should take a wait-and-see approach unless you have some dead weight on the bottom of your roster.

Welcome to the Team:
TE Julius Thomas (46 percent availability in Yahoo leagues): There probably won't be a hotter pick-up this week than Orange Julius, who snagged 5 passes from Peyton Manning for 98 yards and two scores in the season-opener Thursday night. There is a lot of depth at TE this year, but Thomas is worth an add regardless just because Manning looked to him so often Thursday, and anyone who catches passes from Manning is going to do just fine. Peyton's not going to throw 7 touchdowns every week, however (right?), so I do expect there to be some duds in there, just because the Broncos have so many capable pass catchers that it will really fluctuate who ends up having the big game.
{{tncms-asset app="editorial" id="6f8be6da-851e-500a-b711-7c29f68338e8"}}
RB Joique Bell (68 percent availability in Yahoo leagues): In a PPR league, Bell finished as the third-highest scoring running back this week behind Adrian Peterson and his teammate Reggie Bush, from whom he vultured two goal line touchdowns. I think the fantasy community started to realize Bell was going to be the handcuff to Bush when he started running ahead of Mikel LeShoure in the preseason, but I don't think anyone expected him to vulture goal line work. Bush is already nicked up, and while he likely won't miss any time, it looks like Bell will still get plenty of touches when Bush is healthy. If Bush gets hurt, Bell becomes a monster.
WR Julian Edelman (80 percent availability in Yahoo leagues): The forgotten man in the receiving corps of Tom Brady, all he did was haul in 7 of 9 targets for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Danny Amendola is already banged up, which has been his M.O. pretty much his entire career. Brady has trust in Edelman, and while I don't expect him to score twice every week, especially once Rob Gronkowski returns, he's worth an add as a WR3 or 4 just because he plays with Brady.
K Greg Zuerlein (72 percent availability in Yahoo leagues): I don't usually advocate for any kickers, but Greg the Leg is the exception. He led all fantasy kickers in scoring in week 1 and has the best leg -- distance wise -- in the NFL. The Rams look like they will have a much-improved offense, but could struggle in the red zone without a power back. That means lots of opportunities for Zuerlein. And with "Legatron" it's not unfathomable for 60 yards out to be considered "scoring range" for the Rams. They'll give him a shot at the end of the half or regulation if the opportunity presents itself, and if you get bonus points for longer kicks, he's the man.

Advertisement

Worth a flier:
{{tncms-asset app="editorial" id="633d8ef0-e504-5a41-b16d-8fb367d3c2a8"}}
QBs Gino Smith (96 percent), Terrell Pryor (89 percent) and EJ Manuel (81 percent): While only Gino came away with a victory, aided by a stupid penalty by the Tampa Bay defense, all three of these guys turned in solid fantasy debuts. Pryor is currently the NFL's leading rusher with 112 yards (which might speak more to just how bad running backs were league-wide) and was competent enough throwing the football to score about 20 points in most standard leagues. Manuel showed flashes of brilliance as a passer, and is only going to get better. I love him in a keeper league. Smith had more than 300 total yards an a passing TD. Eventually, these guys will start punching a few into the end zone. If you need QB help, I'd look to one of these three before rolling the dice on a Ryan Tannehill or Josh Freeman.
RB Fred Jackson (56 percent): CJ Spiller was a disappointment in week 1, but I don't expect that to last. Still, F-Jax had a much larger role than most people anticipated, with 17 touches for 108 total yards. While I still expect Spiller to get a majority of the touches, Jackson could be useful if you're desperate. If you have Spiller, you need to go ahead and add him as a handcuff.
WR Brian Hartline (66 percent): With Mike Wallace doing precisely nothing, Hartline was a PPR monster in week 1 with 9 catches for 114 and a touchdown. Ryan Tannehill has chemistry with him that isn't yet established with Wallace, but the 'Fins aren't paying Wallace $60 million to be a decoy. Hartline is definitely worth picking up in PPR leagues, because 5 catches a week isn't out of the question, but don't expect a lot more 100-yard games. I'd still be avoiding him in standard leagues, although he does have another friendly match-up with the Colts in week 2.
WR Andre Roberts (79 percent): This just in -- Bruce Arians likes to throw the ball. A lot. Roberts grabbed 8 receptions for 97 yards against the Rams on Sunday, surpassing his more explosive teammate Michael Floyd (4-82). The Cardinals are going to use 3-WR sets as their base offense a good amount of the time, so while Roberts is technically the slot guy, you can view him more as a 2B to Floyd's 2A behind Larry Fitzgerald. In a deep league and PPR, he's worth rostering if you need some WR depth.
TE Kellen Winslow (97 percent): I can't in my right mind advocate anyone picking up Kellen Winslow, but Gino Smith has to throw to somebody and, in week 1, that somebody was Winslow. I find it hard to believe with all the strong tight end performances this week that there aren't 12 guys better than Winslow, but if you're in a deep league and need tight end help ...

Keep your eye on:
The New York Giants running back situation: David Wilson showed why it was foolish to invest a high-round draft choice in him this year, fumbling twice and getting benched in the season opener again by Tom Coughlin. Rookie Da'Rel Scott (98 percent availability) got a bulk of the work as the Giants played from behind. He didn't do much on the ground, but hauled in five passes for 51 yards. However, he had one bounce of his hands and into those of a Dallas defender, which led to the game-sealing pick six. The Giants might bring in a free agent (Willis McGahee anyone?) so keep your eyes and ears on this one. If Andre Brown is available in your league, and you have an IR spot, you might consider rostering him for the latter part of the season.
{{tncms-asset app="editorial" id="e8d791ae-f340-5711-b17c-5fedaf7f5baf"}}
WRs Marlon Brown (96 percent), Doug Baldwin (98 percent), Rod Streater (93 percent), Kenny Stills (89 percent): All four of these guys are relative unknowns in fantasy football, and all posted respectable numbers in week 1. Brown could emerge as the No. 2 WR in Baltimore. Baldwin's been a perennial sleeper in Seattle who might got a shot with Percy Harvin out. Streater seemed to have some chemistry with Pryor in Oakland and Stills flashed big-play ability as the third WR in New Orleans. None of them are worth picking up just yet except in extremely deep leagues, but add them all to your watch list.

Don't be fooled:
{{tncms-asset app="editorial" id="c6ae5ba8-b7c3-591a-8df4-09ac3e7536f3"}}
RBs Knowshon Moreno (58 percent), Pierre Thomas (59 percent), Daniel Thomas (88 percent): If you are desperate for running back help, any one of these three names may be enticing. All three will be maddening to rely on each week. Because he appears to be the starter in Denver, and did finish strong down the stretch last year, I would consider Moreno the best bet of the three. And even then, I'd try to flip him the minute he has a big game for someone better. The Thomases will be inconsistent in committee backfields and unless there is an injury to either Mark Ingram or Lamar Miller respectively, I wouldn't waste a roster spot.
WR Jerome Simpson (98 percent): The sixth-year man hauled in 7 of his 8 targets for 140 yards, including a 47-yard grab. No reason to get excited here though. In the five previous seasons on his resume, Simpson has proven to be nothing more than a nice No. 3 NFL wide receiver. He'll be less involved as the season goes on and the Vikings incorporate more of rookie Cordarrelle Patterson into the offense.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement