GRAB-BAG Week Two – 2012 Season
By Pete Smits
Grab-Bag – your ultimate source for free agent pick-ups
Information is everywhere, coming from multiple sources in real-time. The best thing we can give you is educated opinions to compare with – or corroborate – your own. The Grab-Bag has an unrivaled track record of success that would speak for itself – if it didn’t have so many fantasy championships tied to the information you will only get here. The Grab-Bag strives to keep you at least one week ahead of your competition by separating the one-week-wonders from the future fantasy stars.
During the regular season, the Grab-Bag column is available Monday mornings with our earliest opinions on worthwhile pick-ups for the upcoming week. An extended version of the Grab-Bag arrives in the Weekly Report, available Wednesday evening. In Wednesday’s version, changes and additions from Monday morning are italicized or highlighted as appropriate.
One unique aspect of this column is, in fact, how early we make suggestions for the following week. At all times, these will be before your waiver wire deadlines and can lead you to grab a key player before the rest of your league has been alerted. This year, can you say, “Kendall Wright” or even “Vick Ballard,” perhaps?
With the return of Adrian Peterson and Maurice Jones-Drew, owners of Toby Gerhart and Rashad Jennings can file those players away as handcuffs at best.
And, in a recurring feature of classic Grab-Bag moments, this was the write up in the 2011 Week 2 edition:
“Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Everyone taking a flyer on speedster Nelson as the non-Greg-Jennings receiver worth having in Green Bay was right on the mark. Aaron Rodgers looked his way early and often in the 42-34 win over New Orleans, with Nelson catching 6 passes for 77 yards and a TD. If Cam Newton’s debut is any indication, another shootout could be brewing when Carolina visits in Week Two, good news for the Packer passing game and Nelson.”
One more digression — watching the SNF game and Peyton Manning – what an absolute master of the game — It’s not whether he has anything left, it’s whether the rest of Denver’s players and management on and off the field can get up to speed with everything he has to offer. With this defense and some talented skill position players on offense, look out AFC as to what the Broncos do this season.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
With respect to both RG3 and Andrew Luck, below, unless you are running your kid’s 4th grade fantasy league, you should not be able to pick them up off your waiver wire, but the key point for both is that after just one week you can actually start these rookies with relative pride. Griffin posted 320 yards and 2 TD’s, while completing 19 of 26 passes, rushed for 42 yards, and should be a great start at St. Louis next week.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck battled from behind all day, but also finished with 309 yards and a TD, where both veteran receiver Reggie Wayne and rookie TE Coby Fleener look like attractive starts going forward, including next week hosting Minnesota.
Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
After watching the debacle of his rookie season, we hesitate to endorse Gabbert, but 260 yards and 2 TD’s on 23 of 39 passes completed, with no INT’s, is so much better than we saw last season that it’s worthy of mention and perhaps a back-up or bye week fill-in as the season progresses.
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets
There weren’t too many people on the Sanchez bandwagon going into the season, but after throwing for 266 yards and 3 TD’s, with one INT, in the 48-28 rout of the Bills, he will be rightfully scooped up off any waiver wires on which he resides.
Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals
Most recent starter John Skelton left in the second half with an ankle injury, leading to Kolb piloting an 80-yard drive, on which he went 6 for 8 for 66 yards and the winning TD toss to Andre Roberts. In case your league requires you to keep a 4th tier QB on your roster, Kolb just might be your guy at New England next week.
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans
Second year starter Jake Locker left late in the game with an injured non-throwing shoulder, leaving Hasselbeck to finish out the rout at the hands of the Patriots. In case interested, stay tuned to see which QB gets on the field at San Diego next week.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins
“And, in case you want to have fun at the expense of fellow owners that are invested in the Shanahan backfield, Morris is a good candidate to see significant work this season, meaning, of course, that there will be that game out of the blue where he gets all of the carries, rushes for over 100 yards with a few TD’s, and is not on anyone’s roster, let alone starting line-up.”
That was last week’s write-up — this is a little eerie because this week for Morris: 28 carries for 96 yards and two TD’s in the Redskins 40-32 win over the Saints, with no other back getting more than two carries. Traveling to St. Louis makes it look like Morris is a safe start for at least another week.
Michael Bush, Chicago Bears
The Bears’ offense looked good in general, and Bush’s role as “goal line back plus” was well-established, as he scored on two one-yard TD runs, carrying the ball 12 times for 42 yards overall. He’ll need goal line carries to be effective, but with the Thursday night game at Green Bay, look for a few extra carries in general so as to give Matt Forte more of a break during the short week.
Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots
Hopefully, you had Ridley in your starting line-up because after posting 21 carries for 125 yards and a TD, along with 2 catches for 27 more yards, he will be a must-start in the potent Patriot offense for the rest of the year.
Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions
Smith ended up with exactly the day you want from him — 13 carries for 62 yards and a TD, along with 4 catches for 29 yards and the game-winning TD with just seconds left in the game. You’re guaranteed at least one more start at San Francisco next week, then probably a shared situation once Mikel Leshoure is eligible to return in Week Three.
C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills
That part about veteran Fred Jackson (6 carries for 15 yards in this one and leaving with a knee injury, MRI to follow) getting his old job back might not quite be true with Spiller rushing for 169 yards and a 56-yard TD on just 14 carries, along with 2 catches for 25 yards in the loss to the Jets. Expect to start Spiller when the Bills host Kansas City next week and perhaps for the rest of the season depending on the results of Jackson’s MRI.
David Wilson, New York Giants
Despite Wilson’s early game fumble and rest of game benching, don’t give up on him, and definitely scoop him up if one of your fellow short-sighted owners thinks that Ahmad Bradshaw will stay healthy in front of Wilson for any length of time.
Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
If Jonathan Stewart continues to miss time for the Panthers, at this stage in his career DeAngelo Williams is such a stiff, with no sense of moving the ball forward (6 carries for -1 yards) that Carolina will have to look to the always dependable Tolbert, who is also a solid receiver out of the backfield.
Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
With Isaac Redman basically an immobile stiff (11 carries for 20 yards), on SNF, Dwyer showed why he should be the starter, carrying the ball with strength and agility on 9 carries for 43 yards (and a TD called back where his knee touched at the 2-yard line, followed by a Redman carry where he lost three yards), along with 2 catches for 11 more. Pittsburgh will need Dwyer’s power hosting the Jets next week, your line-up might need that help also.
Receivers should always be approached with caution because their consistency varies considerably. For waiver wire pick-ups look for repeat performances before slotting some of the players below into your starting line-up, unless team conditions require emergency use.
Kevin Ogletree, Dallas Cowboys
Given the health and the off-field travails of the Cowboy receivers, and following Ogletree’s solid preseason, his 8 catches for 114 yards and 2 TD’s in the opening day win over the Giants suggest that this was far more than a fluke, and that he is worthy of being the top receiver pick-up of the week.
Stephen Hill, New York Jets
At 6-4. 215 lbs., this rookie has some resemblance to a certain other Georgia Tech receiver (see Johnson, Calvin aka Megatron) and after posting crazy combine numbers — 4.36 in the 40, with a 39.5” vertical, he put all of those skills to use in the win over Buffalo with 5 receptions for 89 yards and two TD’s, leading the team in every receiving category in his first game out. Yep, you probably want to pick him up right now.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders
Contrary to popular belief, where DHB has gone very late in most drafts that I’ve seen, he is no longer a stiff, will catch passes from Carson Palmer all season, and should post 1,000 yards receiving with a goodly amount of scores given his speed, now featuring hands and route-running to go with the velocity. DHB plays in the late MNF game hosting San Diego in Week One.
Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints
Moore went most of the shootout loss to Washington with no catches, then exploded for 6 catches for 120 yards and a TD in the fourth quarter, meaning that you may have to be patient, but you can always start Moore with a fair shot at a TD each week, including at Carolina in Week Two.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
This will be your last shot at picking up Jeffery who was right in the mix all day, catching 3 passes for 80 yards and a TD in the win over Indy, with the TNF game at Green Bay on tap this week.
Laurent Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
And, if you believe in QB Gabbert’s decent opening day effort, Robinson did what we might expect with 5 receptions for 66 yards, albeit no TD’s this week, and Houston visiting next week.
Michael Crabtree / Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers
Crabtree may have been overlooked in a few leagues, but led the team in receptions in the win over Green Bay, with 7 receptions for 76 yards, while returning veteran Moss proved to be more than a decoy with four grabs for 47 yards and a TD. Either receiver could be worth a look when the Niners host Detroit on SNF.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
The Stanford rookie TE and his QB were both ready for the opener, with Luck throwing for over 300 yards, of which 6 receptions and 82 yards went to Fleener. Expect more of the same hosting Minnesota next week.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars
The annual Lewis posting is now complete in the early going of the 2012 season, where the often-underachieving TE caught 5 passes for 52 yards and a TD in the opening day loss to Minnesota.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph looked great in the preseason, and followed up with a solid opener, catching 5 passes for 67 yards in the win over the Jaguars, with a trip to Indianapolis on deck this week.
Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos
And, in case anyone forgot that Peyton Manning makes extensive use of his TE’s, welcome former Colt Tamme to Denver and for that role in this Peyton-led offense, as further showcased by his 5 receptions for 43 yards and the game-winning TD in the SNF win over the Steelers.
FROM THE DEEP:
This section is devoted to deeper leagues to try to give a few names that are still available and may make an impact later in the year.
Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Shorts was a standout in the 2011 preseason, but along with QB Gabbert’s competence was not heard from again last year, now re-appearing with 4 catches for 74 yards and a TD in the opening day OT loss to Minnesota. It’s worth waiting for a repeat performance before latching onto Shorts.
LaMichael James, RB, San Francisco 49ers
No work for James yet, as Kendall Hunter got all of the work in Week One that did not go to veteran Frank Gore. Harbaugh expects to turn James into an all-purpose running and receiving threat from the backfield, where it’s already not too soon to stash him in keeper leagues.
Le’Ron McClain, RB, San Diego Chargers
Forget about layin’ down Ronnie Brown backing up fragile Ryan Mathews for the Chargers, McClain is the back you want and that could get the bulk of the carries and TD’s if Mathews is not available for significant time this season. Management is ecstatic to have this still young — 28 year old — former fullback on the roster, and who was the every down back for the Ravens a few years ago just before the arrival of Ray Rice in Baltimore. McClain plays in the late MNF game at Oakland.
Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks
Starter Marshawn Lynch overcame his back spasms to have a decent start at Arizona, but with his manic running style Lynch is bound to miss some time this year, where the team likes the look of this powerful rookie from Utah State. Stash on your bench if you have room and be patient, his time will come this year.
Good luck in all things in life, onward and upward.