It is never too soon to second guess yourself. If you are anything like me, you regret some of your late draft day decisions almost immediately after the selection is made. Don’t fret. There are several guys out there on most waiver wires to save your team from those mistakes.
Even if you are not looking for a preseason pick-up, these are guys to watch in the early-going. Most fantasy leagues are won with keen waiver wire moves, and this year it might just be one of these guys that propels your team to victory.
QB Waiver Wire:
Jason Campbell- Yes, he has been relegated to Raider-dom, the land of no production. However, Campbell, with the help of a group of young, talented receivers, could prove to be a reliable backup option this year. The former Redskin has a big arm and has steadily improved in each year of his career. Also, I don’t see the Raiders D leaving the bottom tier, meaning Campbell should get ample opportunity to play catch-up.
Alex Smith- Campbell won’t be the only Bay Area quarterback surprising people this season. In his 6th NFL season, Alex Smith is basically a wily veteran by now, but he still has the tools that earned him the #1 overall pick back in the day. For the first time in a while, the starting job is clearly his and (knock on wood) there aren’t any injury concerns at the moment. With Frank Gore in the backfield and Crabtree out wide, this offense has the potential to put up points with Smith leading the charge.
RB Waiver Wire:
Darren Sproles- Ryan Mathews may very well have the skills to be an every-down back. However, he remains unproven and Sproles is really the only other option for the Chargers. We’ve all seen how electric Sproles can be with the ball in his hands, and he will be given opportunities to prove himself early in the season.
Leon Washington- Justin Forsett has been getting all of the hype so far, but you shouldn’t overlook Washington. Both runners have been considered for the starting job, and neither has pulled away during the preseason. Washington continues to recover from a broken leg and will most likely improve with time. He is the more electric of the two and averaged over 4.5 yards per carry before going down last year. In his last full year, he averaged nearly 6 yards a rush. He is especially valuable in PPR leagues.
Donald Brown- Brown was a big sleeper candidate last year in his rookie campaign. There is considerably less hype this year, as Addai strongly held the starting job in ’09. However, this is a contract year for Addai, and the Colts may want to evaluate Brown more. The 1st-round pick out of UConn was hampered by injuries in his first year and had trouble grasping the offense. Neither of these should be issues this year. Expect a more even workload and increased fantasy production from Donald Brown.
WR Waiver Wire:
Jabar Gaffney- Gaffney will gain from Brandon Marshall’s loud departure by grabbing the #1 spot in the Denver offense. Some have vouched for Eddie Royal or rookies Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker as the Broncos Wide Receiver to have, but Gaffney will be the one who ends up with the best numbers. Even though he is by far the oldest in the group, and probably the receiver with the least potential, Jabar seems to be Quarterback Kyle Orton’s go-to-guy. He had an incredible end to the 2009 season and has continued to impress in this year’s preseason. Expect this production to continue through the season.
Laurent Robinson- Last year, Robinson had a solid first two weeks before fracturing his fibula and ending his season. He is someone to watch this year because of the lack of depth in the receiving corps. After Robinson, Bradford will only have Danny Amendola, Keenan Burton and rookie Mardy Gilyard to throw to. Donnie Avery was the #1 before going down with a season-ending injury in the preseason. If Bradford does succeed this year, Laurent Robinson will put up big numbers as well.
Mohamed Massaquoi- Entering his second year, Massaquoi has been largely overshadowed by draft-mates Mike Wallace and Percy Harvin. However Massaquoi will be the #1 receiver in Cleveland this year and will be receiving balls from a new quarterback. Granted, that quarterback is Jake Delhomme. Still, Massaquoi has the size and hands to put up impressive numbers if he is given the opportunity, as proven by a couple of monster games last year.
TE Waiver Wire:
Benjamin Watson- Watson will see more targets this year as the only proven pass-catcher on the Browns. He was never featured much in New England as Randy Moss and Wes Welker often stole the show, but he could become Delhomme’s most relied-upon receiver if Mohamed Massaquoi doesn’t pan out.
Jermaine Gresham- Out of principle, I generally avoid picking rookies up before the season. Gresham is an exception. While the Wide Receiver circus in Cincy has been the talk of the town, Gresham has quietly put up good numbers in limited preseason play. The loud wideouts will garner attention from defenses during the year, leaving the middle open for the Sooner standout to make big plays.