Fantasy Football – Alfred Morris All-Stars
As Alfred Morris proved last year, you can find a first round talent on the waiver wire early in the season. Last year Morris, Randall Cobb, Russell Wilson and Colin Kapernick all started the year on most leagues’ waiver wire. In 2011 it was Victor Cruz, in 2010 Mike Vick & BJGE, in 2009 Miles Austin, and so on. Almost every season one or two players that start the year on waivers become must-start players and can make the difference between the Shiva and an early round playoff exit.
Waiting until after week 1 to find a waiver gem can be an expensive strategy. Last year Alfred Morris and Kevin Ogletree each had 2 TDs in week 1 and created week 2 bidding wars in most leagues. I couldn’t find the average waiver costs anywhere, but using an average of my leagues from last year (8), Morris went for $40 and Ogletree for $24. Morris was worth it and was a borderline 1st round pick this year; Ogletree only caught 2 more touchdowns the rest of the season and is owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues this year.
Denver TE Julius Thomas will be among this year’s waiver targets after his 110 yard, 2 TD performance on Thursday night. While he is bound to have value as Peyton Manning’s TE, there are a lot of mouths to feed in Denver and I expect a lot of variation in his stats throughout the year with probably just as many single digit fantasy games as double. Just keep Kevin Ogletree in mind when you are deciding how much of your waiver budget to spend on Thomas or whoever else has a big week 1.
If you want to find this year’s version of Alfred Morris and save your waiver cash in the process, you need to take some chances and identify players before their breakout game. I’ve listed a few players below who are owned in less than 60% of yahoo leagues that have breakout potential. I left handcuff running backs with upside (Christian Michael, Knile Davis) off the list since their value is tied to the health of their team’s starting RB . My list is players who will be on the field Week 1 and whose success isn’t injury dependent. So drop your 2nd QB /TE /DEF or maybe a handcuff that you might never need anyway and roll the dice with one of the Alfred Morris All-Stars listed below.
Alshon Jeffrey WR (54%): Jeffery was off to a decent start last year (14/199/2) before breaking his hand in week 6. He struggled with drops and pass interference calls on his return from injury and basically played like a rookie. Bears coaches & players have been raving about Jeffery in camp and he is firmly entrenched as the Bears #2 WR. Jeffery has the size 6’3, 216 to be a dominant red zone threat and should benefit from Marshall being double teamed and Bennett drawing attention in the middle of the field. If he stays healthy he could reach the 1000 yard, 10 TD milestone this season.
Rueben Randle WR (47%): The former 2nd round pick started 1 game last year and caught 4 passes for 58 yards and scored 2 TDs. His size (6’2, 208) makes him an ideal red-zone target and Randle has locked up the 3rd WR spot in the Giants pseudo run-n-shoot offense. The Giants are planning on running more 3-WR sets this year and Randle will have value even if Nicks & Cruz somehow stay healthy. If (when) one of them get hurt, that’s just gravy for Randle owners.
Kenny Stills WR (11%): Drew Brees averaged just under 42 passes a game last year. With that many pass plays per game, the Saints high-volume passing offense is one of the few in the league that can support a 3rd WR that is viable for fantasy purposes. This year rookie Kenny Stills is taking over the 3rd WR spot from the underwhelming Devery Henderson / Joe Morgan combo. Stills had a solid preseason (7/140/2) and the 5th round pick out of Oklahoma can fly (4.38). Think of all those deep ball drops by Meachem and Devery Henderson over the last few years. If Stills can be a little more consistent catching the ball he can be a poor man’s Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh version). With Stills’ speed and Brees as his QB, he has serious big-play potential.