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Navigating the fantasy waiver wire


Over the course of the fantasy season, nothing compares to the excitement and importance of draft day.

Then, once Week 1 is in the books, many team owners' fantasies about the team they drafted are hit with a hard dose of reality, and it's off to the waiver wire.

At the beginning of every season, numerous "sleepers" that get drafted drift off into fantasy oblivion, while others that weren't even given a second glance on draft day become hot commodities.

One week, however, does not a fantasy star make. Here's a look at some of the players who came out of nowhere to make a splash in Week 1 and whether your team will sink or swim with them going forward.

ALFRED MORRIS, Washington Redskins running back

Morris, a rookie drafted in the sixth round from Florida Atlantic, started last week against the New Orleans Saints and rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns.

Running backs on the waiver wire that do that kind of damage are understandably viewed as fantasy gold. Now we'll see if Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan tarnishes those hopes.

Viewed as an offensive genius, many fantasy players see Shanahan as an evil genius, or just plain evil.

After the game, he said Morris is his starting running back "right now," a ringing endorsement by his hard-to-decipher standards. In recent seasons, Shanahan has changed starting running backs like most people change socks.

Morris should be a valuable fantasy performer going forward, but it's not really up to him.

KEVIN OGLETREE, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver

A year ago, Laurent Robinson was cut by the San Diego Chargers at the end of the preseason and by the Cowboys early in the season.

Yet by the end of the season, he was the Cowboys' most productive fantasy receiver.

Robinson is now a Jacksonville Jaguar with a lot more pocket change, so the Cowboys have turned to Ogletree to fill the role. The fourth-year receiver responded in a big way in the opener, catching eight passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

Like Robinson before him, it's going to be hard to believe Ogletree can keep it up with receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin and tight end Jason Witten in the mix. But with that trio demanding so much attention from opposing defenses, Ogletree just might.

MARK SANCHEZ, New York Jets quarterback

In many 10-team leagues and some 12-team leagues, Sanchez wasn't even drafted as a fantasy backup. In the opener, he produced like a starter.

Sanchez's production from a fantasy perspective sometimes gets lost in the hyper-critical media market that is New York, and that's even more the case with Tim Tebow now in the mix. Quietly, Sanchez ranked among the top 10 quarterbacks in some scoring systems last season thanks to 26 passing and six rushing touchdowns.

Those six rushing touchdowns probably will take a hit with Tebow in town, and the Jets clearly aren't going to threaten 50 points every week. But if you're looking for someone who can be serviceable when your starter is out of action, you could do a lot worse than Sanchez.

STEPHEN HILL, New York Jets wide receiver

In the preseason, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie said he was the team's second-best receiver.

Sunday, Hill put Cromartie in his place.

Cromartie did catch a pass, returning an interception 40 yards for a touchdowm, but Hill caught five balls for 89 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut.

Hill is an intriguing prospect, but despite the above proclamation that Sanchez is usable as a back-up fantasy quarterback, the Jets aren't likely to be potent enough on offense to make Hill a consistent producer alongside Santonio Holmes. Same goes for Jeremy Kerley, who caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt for another score.

Hill belongs on a fantasy roster, but it's anybody's guess on a week-to-week basis whether he belongs in the starting lineup.

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