Welcome to the first waiver wire roundup of the season. I know the season has not even started, but many of us already have roster holes from unexpected injuries and wacky computer autopick calls (like my favorite, drafting two defenses for you).
Without further ado, let’s get right down to the biggest current preseason business, Peyton Manning. The news is out today that Manning’s games-played streak may finally be over, leaving owners scrambling to find a replacement. Right now, the herd is picking Kerry Collins as the most likely starter if Manning is unable to go. Unfortunately, I have to question the wisdom of grabbing an ancient quarterback that plays behind a dubious offensive line, particularly a quarterback with only a few weeks experience in a passing offense that requires flawless, split-second decision making. Though I would keep an eye on Collins, I would look outside the Colts to find another available starter to fill-in at quarterback until Manning’s return. Kyle Orton is a reasonable option if available. With the return of Chris Johnson, Matt Hasselbeck (ironically filling Kerry Collins’ old spot) would seem to be a viable short-term option and is available in many leagues. Mark Sanchez is another option in a severe emergency.
Since this is the preseason, I will focus on long-term projects for the remainder of my waiver/free agent favorites. As the season progresses, I will try to add picks for spot-start emergencies.
Ben Tate, RB, Houston — With Arian Foster’s health a question mark, Tate is an attractive option in Houston. Though he is technically only the third string back, he has shown more upside this pre-season than second stringer Derrick Ward. If Foster misses any length of time, Tate should get a shot at some quality time.
Deji Karim, RB, Jacksonville — Now that former MJD handcuff Rashad Jennings is done for the year, Karim is the hot handcuff ticket in Jacksonville. Karim should get some carries to spell MJD or if MJD’s injured knee is not able to hold up to the beating it will surely receive. If nothing else, you can use Karim as a trade chip with MJD owners.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh — Fantasy land’s hearts are all aflutter after Brown’s hot preseason in Pittsburgh. While it is only the preseason, Brown might merit a pickup if you have a WR spot open deep on your bench. Hines Ward is not getting any younger and a significant role in Pittsburgh’s passing game could be up for grabs.
Chester Taylor, RB, Arizona — Chester Taylor suddenly finds himself back in a relatively attractive position. After getting the boot in Chicago, Taylor now finds himself backing up unproven Beanie Wells. Taylor was once respectable in Minnesota and merits watching in Arizona.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver — ESPN is reporting that this athletic monster is two months ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn Achilles. Thomas is far more naturally talented than Denver’s other wide receivers and merits keeping an eye on as the season unfolds.
Felix Jones’ Backups, RB, Dallas — Felix Jones still does not feel like a full-time starter at RB. Accordingly, keep an eye on his two main backups, Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray. Choice has struggled in the preseason, but has been solid in the past. Murray is a third-round pick that is trying to challenge Choice for the primary backup duty. If either of these players emerge as a clear number two back, they could have a chance for some carries if Jones falters.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City — After a solid fantasy season built almost entirely on a mid-season end zone hot streak, Bowe seemed primed for a letdown. He has been abysmal in the preseason, only adding to fears of a slump. If you have the chance, move him while you can.
Roy Williams, WR, Chicago — Last I checked, Roy Williams was still Roy Williams. Apparently, people momentarily forgot this when he managed to wander to yet another new team. He is still not the answer and you would probably be better served to carry one of the above Long-Term Projects on your bench instead of wasting a slot on Williams.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville — Sadly, done for the year.
Marshall has over ten years fantasy football experience and maintains a fantasy football blog over at Sunday Morning Legend (In My Own Mind).
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