Andre Johnson 20 (10+10) He has been battling some minor injuries and the bi-polar nature of Schaub’s play thus far. Arian Foster doesn’t help much either; I liked the Texans a lot more when they didn’t have a running game. Bottom line is they’re not giving Andre Johnson’s away for free when you open a checking account. They don’t make a lot of “best receiver in the universe” type players. I’d target him now (offering a high end RB would make a lot of sense) and reap the rewards.
Ray Rice 16 (8+8) The knee contusion is worrisome, as is his mediocre play thus far. It’s hard to quantify what the discount should be on him. Odds are his owner is hurting for production. It’s worth opening up the conversation to see.
DeAngelo Williams 16 (8+8) I know he’s getting older and their offense looks atrocious right now but people need to calm down. The Panthers always run the football effectively and unless I see a long term trend to the contrary, I’m not changing my mind. Like the other players on this list, owners are nervous and scrambling for production to avoid falling out of contention. Make it happen cap’n!
Calvin Johnson 16 (9+7) Stafford’s probably out for a couple more weeks but Calvin doesn’t need an elite QB to produce. Much like Andre Johnson he has been fairly mediocre so far. I love the Fantasy playoff matchups regardless of who’s behind center at that point.
Pierre Thomas 16 (7+9) With Reggie Bush out for the next few weeks minimum, Thomas has the potential to score a boat load of TD’s. His pass catching skills get overlooked and he’s not a player people get pumped up to own. Bottom line is it’s about production and aside from the yardage he’s in as good a position as anyone to put up big digits.
Marques Colston 16 (9+7) Brees’ obsession on spreading the rock around borders on insanity. I have been puzzled by this for the last few seasons. Colston is a player everyone thought could put up the type of numbers that Andre Johnson has the last few seasons. It’s apparent that he’s not going to be a 1,500 yard, 13 TD guy but he still has a high ceiling. Right now he should be pretty easy to acquire.
Dez Bryant 16 (9+7) Make no mistake about it- Dez Bryant is a special player. Anyone who watched the Cowboys game on Sunday saw the two near touchdowns that he had in the game. Romo is continuing to target him more and more in the passing game and his opportunities should only improve. The types of plays he makes remind you of Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, and Brandon Marshall. In case you’re not too bright, that’s a good thing. His asking price will clearly be steeper than it was on draft day but if you can swap him for a mid round pick type player I’d make it happen.
Ryan Mathews 15 (8+7) The bigger the hype, the faster they fall. This is exactly why rookies shouldn’t be drafted in the first round. I never valued him there; not even close. I always saw as like a 40-60 ADP type player which is more than fair for someone who’s never played a down in the NFL. If his owner is reasonable, which he ought to be, you should be able to get an enormous discount on him.
Shonn Greene 15 (8+7) This guy I’m actually pretty surprised about. Based on what he did in the playoffs last year and the departure of Thomas Jones, Greene seemed like a sure thing. Somehow LaDanian Tomlinson has risen from the grave but an injury can’t be that far off. Even if he doesn’t get hurt, odds are he’ll wear down (much like Jones did) and Greene should be able to emerge in time for the Fantasy Playoffs. As with Mathews, I’d expect a huge discount on him (that’s why both of these players are in Tier II despite being drafted as first rounders)
Mike Sims-Walker 15 (8+7) David Garrard is more of a factor than anything in Sims-Walker’s disappointing 2010 campaign. He actually had a nice week 2 but was disappointing in weeks 1 and 3. A lot of people are freaked right now about the Jaguars offense (and justifiably so) but remember that MS-W is the unchallenged number one there. He is still capable of putting up big numbers even if Garrard doesn’t get his act together entirely. Buy now while the discounts are deep.
Michael Crabtree 15 (9+6) Regardless of how bad he’s been in the first few games I still believe that Crabtree has a lot of upside. He showed what he was capable of last year when the 49ers went to the spread offense to make Alex Smith more comfortable. They just fired their offensive coordinator who went away from the spread for 2010. It’s hard to tell what will happen from here but the quick and easy solution would be to let Smith go back to the spread where he’s comfortable. That offense fits Crabtree’s skillset perfectly. You have to take chances to win in Fantasy Football.
Kyle Orton 15 (7+8) I can’t imagine he’s still available in your league but if he is, you know what to do. The system in Denver makes him instant Tom Brady lite. Sounds good to me!
Pierre Garcon 14 (8+6) Despite injuries issues and a diminishing role in the offense I like Pierre Garcon down the stretch. He might totally bomb out and be a killer bust the whole season but if you’re looking to buy low he’s a definite player to target. You might even see him out there on Waivers in some leagues.
Ben Roethlisburger 14 (9+5) Ben still has one week of suspension left then a bye in week 5. Most owners that have stashed him thus far are willing to wait; so with each week comes a higher price tag. He should be Tony Romo-ish after returning and you can get him for a lot less than that right now. This will probably be your last opportunity to acquire him at a reasonable price.
Santonio Holmes 14 (9+5) Like Roethlisberger, this will be your last chance to trade for Holmes. The ideal time to strike a deal would have been after Sanchize’s atrocious week 1 performance. Since then he’s played well and the Fantasy world is more optimistic about his potential production. Even so, you should be able to peel him off owners who need immediate production because they are struggling in the standings.
Willis McGahee 13 (7+6) Ray Rice’s status for Sunday is still unknown. If his knee contusion keeps him out, McGahee is a great play. Either way he’s a great stash in case Rice gets injured long term.
Peyton Hillis 14 (7+7) There’s too much flux going on in the Cleveland backfield for me to buy in to Peyton Hillis long term. He’s a nice player, a hybrid-type with speed, power, and great hands. I’d grab him wherever you can to start for the near future. Just understand that his production could disappear into the abyss as quickly as it rose from it.
Lance Moore 14 (7+7) The Saints receiving core is a shell game; it’s impossible to predict who is going to do what and when they’re going to do it. Obviously Moore is a must-add coming off such a huge outing but like Hillis, you need to understand that one game doesn’t make a season.
Laurence Maroney 14 (7+7) The fact that Maroney started was a total shocker to me on Sunday. Every indication was that Buckhalter would get the lion’s share of the opportunities. I guess it makes sense when you consider the fact that Josh McDaniel’s likes to think he’s an evil genius just like Belichick. They need to get over themselves and realize that no one cares which mediocre player is starting. From here on out I’m not really sure what Maroney is going to do but he might be a better stash than whatever you’re rolling with currently.