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) No matchup can repair a QB's image better than the 'Aints
Matt Cassel (QB) Kansas City Chiefs
Involved in two consecutive blowouts, the White Cassel has packed quite the fantasy flavor through the first couple weeks. Against Atlanta and Buffalo, he eclipsed the 20-point mark, averaging an appreciable 7.5 yards per attempt. This week, gifted the mother of all matchups, New Orleans, the signal caller should again finish inside the position's top-15 with relative ease. The Saints, tattooed by Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton, have surrendered a whopping 12.5 yards per attempt and three passing touchdowns. KC may lean on the run early, but given the Chiefs' defensive shortcomings, Cassel will likely be forced into a high volume situation, quickly enhancing his value upside.
Strong Buy (12-teams plus)Bradshaw's possible injury absence elevates unknown
Andre Brown (RB) New York Giants
Oft-injured rusher Ahmad Bradshaw couldn't even survive two games. Sidelined by a neck injury of unknown severity, the veteran is a giant question mark for Thursday's clash in Carolina. Because of the short week, he's likely a long shot to suit up, paving the way for Brown, and not ballyhooed rookie David Wilson. The journeyman, who is playing for his fifth franchise since entering the league in 2009, performed impressively when pressed into action last Sunday. Showcasing excellent vision, wiggle and burst, he racked 90 yards and a touchdown on just 15 touches. If named the starter, similar totals could be in the offing. The Panthers, pounded between the hashmarks over the first two weeks, have allowed 5.2 yards per rush. Grab him in all leagues.
Solid Buy (10-team leagues plus) Off two-game suspension, backup ready to carve out measurable role
Mikel Leshoure (RB) Detroit Lions
Out of the gate, the Lions' allegedly suspect ground game hasn't looked all that suspect. Kevin Smith tallied a top-10 line Week 1 in St. Louis and followed with a fair effort against the league's stoutest run defense, San Francisco. Despite the incumbent's efforts, Leshoure will likely enter the backfield mix immediately. His powerful frame, cut-back ability and plus versatility are an excellent fit within Detroit's zone-blocking scheme. At a minimum, he'll be deployed in short-yardage and goal-to-go situations initially with strong odds, as the Detroit Free Press reported Monday, to overtake the main gig "before long." Because of his poaching potential and Smith's proneness to ankle sprains, Leshoure possesses RB2 upside in 12-team and deeper formats. Stash and see.
Solid Buy (12-team leagues plus) S-Jax handcuff stole spotlight in debut against Washington
Daryl Richardson (RB) St. Louis Rams
Third on Jeff Fisher's running back depth chart just two weeks ago, Richardson was shrouded in obscurity. But after leapfrogging Isaiah Pead last week and replacing tender groined Steven Jackson in the second quarter Sunday, the relative unknown suddenly commanded the fantasy community's attention. Against Washington, the seventh rounder from Abilene Christian sprinted his way to 102 total yards on 17 touches. Shifty, versatile and lightning quick in the open field, the rookie is a fascinating prospect. Monitor Jackson's progress closely this week. If Richardson draws a start, he would be flexy sexy versus the Bears in 12-team and deeper leagues.
Strong PPR Buy (10-teams plus) Sure-handed receiver object of Sam Bradford's affection
Danny Amendola (WR) St. Louis Rams
St. Louis' slot machine came up sevens in the first half against Washington, tying an NFL record with 12 receptions. Overall he finished with 15 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, a nutty PPR tally. Bradford and Amendola are practically attached at the hip. Their chemistry, which blossomed in 2010 when the pair connected 85 times, is unbreakable. Without much competition for looks, the Wes Welker clone is well on his way to logging a breakout campaign. Touchdowns may be few and far between, but an additional 90 catches for 800-plus yards could be on the horizon. Trust him as a WR3 moving forward.
Solid PPR Buy (12-teams plus) Plucky target emerging as Andy Dalton's No. 2
Andrew Hawkins (WR) Cincinnati Bengals
The former CFL standout and runner-up on reality show "4th and Long" is finally living his NFL dream. Terrorizing opposing defenses working underneath, he's displayed cartoon wheels, unmatched open-field shiftiness and great route-running ability. Through two games, he's hauled in 10 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown, developing into a viable complement to A.J. Green. Matched against an injury-ridden Washington D that struggled mightily against slot receivers Lance Moore and Amendola, he could post splashy numbers in Week 3. Go get him.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) Tight end becoming favorite in Ravens no-huddle
Dennis Pitta (TE) Baltimore Ravens
In the Ravens' revamped no-huddle offense, Pitta has become a focal point. Entering Week 3, he's the most targeted tight end in the virtual game, totaling 24 looks, one more than Jimmy Graham. Reeling in 13 receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown, he has distanced himself from Ed Dickson and is well on his way to busting out in his third season. This week, expect more of the same from the rising product in a showdown with New England. Jared Cook and Todd Heap both inflicted sizable damage on seam routes versus the Pats, both surpassing 60 yards. Another 5-7 catches for 60-plus yards is likely in the offing for Pitta. Count on him as a TE1 in deeper formats.
Moderate Buy (12-teams plus) Week 3 QB Plug n' Play
Blaine Gabbert Jacksonville Jaguars
Seriously, don't laugh. Gabbert, though dealing with minor toe and hamstring problems and fresh off a chuckle-worthy effort against Houston, is an intriguing plug n' play option in challenging formats. The Jags' Week 3 opponent, Indianapolis, is far from an intimidating foe. Through two games the Colts have yielded a staggering 9.5 yards per attempt and four passing touchdowns to opposing signal callers. With suitable weapons at his disposal and one solid game under his belt (260-2-0 at MIN Week 1), Gabbert is a viable candidate for 240-plus yards and 2-3 scores this week. Give him an audition, deep leaguers.
Solid Buy (all leagues) Week 3 DEF Plug n' Play
Arizona Cardinals Defense/Special Teams
In a revelation no one saw coming, the Cardinals, much maligned in the preseason, are an impeccable 2-0 after shockingly upending New England in Foxboro last week. The reason for their early season success obviously isn't Kevin Kolb or the running game. It's their relentless defense. Led by Darnell Docket and Calais Campbell in the trenches, Arizona has continuously disrupted the line of scrimmage, bottling up the run while applying heavy pressure on the pocket. Equally good in downfield coverage thanks to the sterling play of emerging superstar Patrick Peterson, it has all the makings of a nasty defense. Against Seattle and New England the Cards allowed a mere 251.5 total yards per game. Philadelphia is a formidable force, but Michael Vick's susceptibility to turnovers and sacks could lead to a massive defensive payload for the Desert Birds. Through two games, Vick has committed seven turnovers and taken four sacks. In the Battle of the Birds, the Cards could come up aces.
Other Week 3 Pickups: Sam Bradford, StL, QB, Donnie Avery, Ind, WR, Greg Little, Cle, WR, Jon Baldwin, KC, WR, Brandon LaFell, Car, WR, Aldrick Robinson, Wash, WR, Kyle Rudolph, Min, TE, Brandon Myers, Oak, TE, Brent Celek, Phi, TE