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Time to work waiver wire in fantasy

Posted Sep 10, 2013

You put in a massive amount of preparation for your fantasy league draft and stole several players that shouldn't have fallen as far as they did.

Sunday, you sat down to enjoy the spoils of your labor, only to have some player you've never heard of spoil your best-laid plans.

So it goes in fantasy football, but now is not the time to fret. Everyone else is in the same boat, and making smart decisions at this critical juncture for waiver wire moves could be the difference between sinking and swimming.

First off, don't panic if you didn't get the Week 1 production you were banking on from a running back like Maurice Jones-Drew or Marshawn Lynch. And if you have an owner that is panicking, see if you can steal such a player in a trade.

Second, don't fall too hard for a fantasy free agent that had a great Week 1. There are moves to be made, but don't blow up your roster to acquire a player whose best day is behind him already.

With that in mind, here's a look at some potential waiver-wire targets

RUNNING BACKS: It was a tough opening day for owners that invested high picks in young runners they hoped would carry the load, only to have them share it. Those who picked Montee Ball, Giovanni Bernard or Lamar Thomas too early do have cause for concern but must exercise patience as those guys work their way into bigger roles.

Their running mates – Ronnie Hillman, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Daniel Thomas – likely were drafted as well, but there are a couple of players to consider.

Knowshon Moreno, Denver's "third" running back, actually started for the Broncos. He's worth a roster spot but don't get your hopes up too high – this is a pass-first team that will utilize all three backs.

The better option in a three-back system is Joique Bell in Detroit, a backup to Reggie Bush who can catch the ball and produce in goal-line situations. Bell becomes even more attractive if the third member of the group, Mikel Leshoure, is going to be inactive like he was in Week 1.

Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert and Bilal Powell of the Jets also could be considerations. Tolbert is still returning to full health and is a threat for short-yardage touchdowns even when Jonathan Stewart is in the mix with DeAngelo Williams, something that won't happen until at least Week 7. In New York, Powell got twice as many snaps Sunday as presumed starter Chris Ivory.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Several undrafted receivers piled up points in Week 1, but one stands above the crowd in terms of likelihood to reprise the role.

The Patriots depended heavily on Julian Edelman in their opener, and that could continue given their bevy of rookie receivers and the absence of their top two tight ends from last season. When Rob Gronkowski returns and Tom Brady gains confidence in his young pass-catchers, Edelman could be pushed aside, but there are so many balls to go around in New England that he could remain a factor.

The same can't be said with confidence about Leonard Hankerson in Washington or Eddie Royal in San Diego. Both found the end zone twice on Monday Night Football, but both are arguably their teams' fourth option going forward. I'd be more inclined to consider someone like Doug Baldwin of the Seahawks, who didn't find the end zone against the Panthers but looked like he could challenge to be Russell Wilson's top target.

TIGHT ENDS: Julius Thomas likely wasn't even listed as Denver's starter when most drafts took place, but he took Week 1 by storm with a pair of first-half touchdowns. He is a player that has the capability of truly changing the outlook for your team, a player worth investing heavily in on the waiver wire.

If you miss out on Thomas but need help at tight end, consider making a lesser play for Giants tight end Brandon Myers. The Giants have never been shy about targeting their tight ends, and Myers looks like he'll be a consistent contributor.

QUARTERBACKS: Unless you got caught in situation where you didn't grab one of the top 12 quarterbacks on draft day, you're likely not that concerned. Finding a reliable backup, however, isn't a sure thing, and a few surprise candidates emerged Sunday.

E.J. Manuel in Buffalo, Terrelle Pryor in Oakland and Geno Smith with the New York Jets – a trio of mobile first-time starters, are now worthy of consideration. I like them in that order but again only view them as backup candidates at this point. That being said, I suspect the Panthers defense will give Manuel problems in Week 2.