This week was full of injuries and lackluster performances – from Aaron Hernandez, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Matt Forte, to Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, and Darren McFadden, respectively. Obviously, it’s too early to give up on Johnson, Charles and McFadden, but it’s never too early to add an insurance policy, as Forte or Bradshaw owners can attest to. Therefore, I want to take time to mention a guy I think emerges from the cluster of hit-or-miss RBs to become a viable option this year and possible work-horse fantasy stud that we all cherish in the future (take note keeper and dynasty league owners).
Admittedly, I wrestled with whether or not to even write about this guy, as I’m a firm believer in his talent and for fear my own league-mates will snatch him up before I get the chance. But, with my waiver position so low, and on the off chance he actually explodes the way I think he can, I’ll share my insight – settling for the worth-less consolation prize of saying I was first on the bandwagon – something I didn’t get to do when Foster was stolen from me in EVERY single draft two years ago! Yes, I’m still bitter, and no, I didn’t think he’d be THAT good – but definitely saw the potential.
Anyway, my “guy” is Daryl Richardson, RB for the St. Louis Rams. Whatever you choose to believe about the Steven Jackson injury/benching situation on Sunday, you better believe Richardson should be owned in ALL leagues after this week. No, he didn’t put up monster numbers that jump off the page and convince you that he should be owned, but you won’t want to miss the ship, so to speak. Richardson is an electric RB (4.3 speed) that reminds me a lot of Chris Johnson. Sure, Johnson isn’t lighting it up like he used to, but keep in mind, Jeff Fischer is the Rams Head Coach, and CJ2k’s best years were under his tutelage. Fischer knows how to bring running backs along, and Jackson turns 30 next year – the age at which most RBs fall off, in terms of fantasy production. Richardson has already catapulted himself over highly-touted 2nd round pick, Isaiah Pead, for the backup job – Pead hasn’t even seen a single snap yet this season. So, don’t be surprised if Richardson starts eating into Steven Jackson’s carries the rest of the year, and eventually flip-flops the split by next year (see LenDale White and CJ2k in ’08 and ’09). Add him now, and you’re welcome!
QB – Sam Bradford – STL – Looked great against the Redskins on Sunday. This could be the early rumblings of a breakout season – especially if he can hold his own against the Bears this weekend.
QB – Alex Smith – SF – You know what, I’m finally coming around to the idea of Smith being a start-able fantasy QB. He doesn’t turn the ball over, their defense should give him favorable field position, and he’s got weapons at every position.
OTHER QB NOTES – Not buying the Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, or Andy Dalton performances. None have the weapons to be consistent or even own-able in re-draft leagues.
WR – Danny Amendola – STL – Anytime you catch 15 out of 16 targets in a game – for 160 yards and touchdown, no less – you deserve to be added. Probably not available in many leagues, but if he is, add him ASAP.
WR – Donny Avery – IND – Caught 9 out of 10 targets for 111 yards on Sunday, and is the clear number 2 behind Reggie Wayne, on a team that will throw all season.
WR – Brian Hartline – MIA – Even with my distrust in Tannehill, I still kind of believe in Hartline. He’s the only down-field option at WR, and drew 12 targets on Sunday – which he turned into 9 catches for 111 yards.
WR – Julian Edelman – NE – Saw all the snaps in 2-WR sets on Sunday, over Wes Welker. Still failed to out-perform Welker fantasy-wise, but with Hernandez out, Edelman could be the beneficiary.
OTHER WR NOTES – Not buying Leonard Hankerson, Brandon Tate, or Brandon Gibson – Just not drawing enough playing time or targets to be consistent right now.
RB – Andre Brown – NYG – With David Wilson in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse over ball security issues, Brown took over RB duties after the Bradshaw injury. Even though Bradshaw’s injury is just a sprain, it’s very unlikely he’ll play this Thursday. Brown should be a nice plug-and-play this week against a porous Carolina run-defense.
RB – Lamar Miller – MIA – Finally got the opportunity to play with Daniel Thomas missing Sunday’s game, and may have won himself the backup job in doing so. Lost in Reggie Bush’s monster day was just how well Miller played. Turned 10 carries into 65 yards and a TD – anyone who saw him play with the Hurricanes knows he could be a fantasy stud if Bush misses any time (which he’s been known to do).
OTHER RB NOTES – Not buying Jackie Battle. Mathews is coming back and Battle just isn’t that good.
TE – Brent Celek – PHI – Definitely Vick’s security blanket, and can actually turn out some pretty good yards after the catch.
TE – Martellus Bennett – NYG – Mentioned him last week, hopefully you got on board. If not, and he’s still available, grab him. Like I said, Manning can make any TE into a fantasy starter and Bennett is the most athletic of any one he’s had in his career.
TE – Dennis Pitta – BAL – Another guy I mentioned last week. Had another nice game on Sunday and should continue to benefit from the Ravens pass-first offense.
OTHER TE NOTES – Not buying Dante Rosario. Don’t care how big of a game he had, even if Gates misses more time, he won’t come close to a game like this the rest of the season.
K – Justin Tucker – BAL – The number 1 kicker in fantasy right now. If you’re a Dan Bailey or Alex Henery owner, you might want to think about making the switch.
DEF – Philadelphia vs. Arizona – Buffalo vs. Cleveland – Miami vs. NYJ – Washington vs. Cincinnati – Indianapolis vs. Jacksonville
Good luck to everyone this week! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask us on Facebook or Twitter!