TOYOTA TUNDRA – PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
This week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brad Evans looks at eight intriguing fantasy football players, and a defense, likely to be available on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) Smith Prius-efficient in 2012 debut
Alex Smith (QB) San Francisco 49ers
The much maligned former No. 1 pick struck statistical riches during the Niners' playoff run a season ago, lighting up New Orleans in the divisional round. Fabulous at Lambeau Sunday, he picked up where he left off, completing 20-of-26 attempts for 211 yards and two touchdowns. His experience and the 49ers' stability in the coaching ranks should help the passer reach new heights. His judiciousness with the football, accurate throws and low turnover yield, particularly in the red zone, are attractive qualities. Matched this week against a banged up Detroit secondary which could again be without the services of starters Louis Delmas and Chris Houston, he's an upside play in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus)'The Butler' served the Saints in starting role
Alfred Morris (RB) Washington Redskins
Those who stacked chips on Red 46 on the Mike Shanahan roulette wheel cashed a handsome sum. Though his YPC was very uneventful, the rookie was the indisputable rusher of choice on early downs versus the Saints, compiling 96 yards and two scores on 28 carries. His high volume and success at the goal line cemented him in that role for the foreseeable future. The thickly built runner really is nothing special. He's a plodding back who offers little in the pass game. However, his excellent break-tackle ability and sharp vision fit ideally in Washington's zone-blocking scheme. He should also see favorable holes given Robert Griffin III's sudden stardom. The jury is still out in regards to his long-term potential, but he's a trustworthy RB2 in the short run. In Week 2, Washington is gifted the Rams.
Strong Buy (10-team leagues plus) Bulky rusher clearly the best of the Steelers' backfield bunch
Jonathan Dwyer (RB) Pittsburgh Steelers
Heading into the opener at Denver, several question marks loomed about the Steelers' RB corps. Rashard Mendenhall, doing his best Adrian Peterson impersonation, was on the fast-track to recovery. Meanwhile, presumed starter, Isaac Redman, was bothered by hip and ankle soreness. Despite modest numbers, Dwyer, however, provided immediate answers Sunday night in Denver. He wasn't the most explosive runner, but his open-field shiftiness and punishing style were quite impressive. Mendenhall's return could be imminent, but, if not activated Week 2 versus the Jets, Dwyer could net the start. Even when the ex-Illini returns to action, it would be no surprise if a committee of some sort is implemented, featuring both backs and third-down specialist Chris Rainey.
Moderate Buy (12-teams plus) Rare RB/WR a wonderfully versatile option for deep-thinking PPR owners
Dexter McCluster (RB, WR) Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs' Swiss Army Knife is what Reggie Bush was in New Orleans, an occasional change-of-pace rusher who is deployed routinely in the slot. In a high-scoring affair versus the Falcons, McCluster emerged as the team's pacesetter in receiving, hauling in six grabs for 82 yards. Because of his explosiveness, the slippery threat should continue to be useful, especially in competitive formats with multiple flexes. Road tripping to Buffalo to face a Bills defense that was completely humiliated by the Jets in Week 1, he should again be a focal point in the Chiefs pass game.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) ‘Raw' receiver may have a bit more polish than originally advertised
Stephen Hill (WR) New York Jets
Of the ballyhooed rookie wideouts, Hill displayed the least amount of impact potential in exhibition play. Despite fantastic physical tools, his suspect route-running and inconsistent hands greatly soured his playmaker reputation. However, his smashing debut against the Bills proved he's further along than most believed. More than just a streak receiver, he reeled in catches on all points of the field, including two TD grabs. He'll likely be in for a rude awakening this week versus the Steelers, but he certainly possesses 50-750-7 upside, especially if Mark Sanchez continues to execute at a high level.
Strong Buy (12-teams plus) Slot machine came up all cherries against the Niners
Randall Cobb (WR) Green Bay Packers
Many within the 'expert' community labeled Cobb buzz-worthy for much of the summer. Glowing reports about the young receiver's advancements from Packers camp certainly fueled the fire. After catching a team-high nine passes for 77 yards in the opener versus San Francisco, their thoughts were affirmed. Because of his incredible speed, open-field wiggle and sharpened routes, the target, whether in man or zone coverage, is an extremely difficult assignment to contain. Aware of his abilities, Mike McCarthy juggled him between the slot and backfield Sunday, a strategy he may follow moving forward. Considering the attention Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley typically draw and Green Bay's pass-first nature, he should contribute soundly from week-to-week. Get crazy with the Cheez Whiz, PPR enthusiasts.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) 'Money Tree' dropped $100 bills in lucrative opener
Kevin Ogletree (WR) Dallas Cowboys
After miniaturizing the Giants for eight receptions, 114 yards and two touchdowns on a national stage, the little known wideout became an instant sensation. Since his breakout performance over two million Yahoo! players have invested in his services. But take his opening week effort with a grain of salt. The Giants secondary, a concern entering the season, was down two key players. And Miles Austin and Jason Witten were far from 100 percent. Now on the radar, Ogletree could take a major step back this week in Seattle. Led by lock-down corners Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, the 'Hawks boast one of the league's most unforgiving pass defenses. Unless injuries ravage the Cowboys receiving battery, don't bank on Ogletree becoming the next Laurent Robinson. Still, he's a suitable bench option in 12-team leagues.
Moderate Buy (12-teams plus) Week 2 QB Plug n' Play
Christian Ponder Minnesota Vikings
The sophomore passer's numbers were far from eye-popping in Minnesota's opener versus Jacksonville, but they weren't entirely poor. Yes, he failed to reach the end zone, but his 71.4 completion percentage and 10.0 YPA were laudable. This week matched against the Colts, he's in line to notch surprising totals. Indy, absolutely eviscerated by Jay Cutler Sunday, is again a deficient defense. Soft up the middle and bewildered on the back end, it will likely rank near the bottom of the league in several defensive categories come January. With Adrian Peterson miraculously back at full strength, the Vikes showcase a fairly balanced attack. Look for Ponder to connect early and often with primary weapons Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph en route to a top-15 day. Weigh him in deeper formats.
Strong Buy (all leagues) Week 2 DEF Plug n' Play
Cincinnati Bengals Defense/Special Teams
Gashed by Joe Flacco and company Monday night, the Bengals enter this week's battle for Ohio on the downswing. Still, considering the overly generous matchup, they should get back on track quickly. To say that Brandon Weeden was miserable versus Philadelphia would be the understatement of the century. His 5.1 QB rating was equivalent to a certain loudmouth fantasy writer's I.Q. He was sacked twice, committed four turnovers and fumbled two times. Expect Geno Atkins to go nuts. Add. Reap. Win.
Other Week 2 Pickups (Yahoo! ownership): Kevin Kolb (2-percent owned), Ari, QB, Aldrick Robinson, Wash, WR (1-percent), Andrew Hawkins, Cin, WR (0-percent), Coby Fleener, Ind, TE (49-percent), Kyle Rudolph, Min, TE (35-percent), Dennis Pitta, Bal, TE (1-percent)