Welcome to The Ticker, our stock-inspired look at the over- and under-achieving players of the week that was. In this space each Tuesday, I'll be looking at guys whose performances that week have me buying, who I'm not in on yet, and some futures plays. To go with that, I'll include a few "hedges" each week, guys whose playing time and/or role might increase based on new information. And, sadly, there are going to be some guys whose stock might be dropping.
That was a cool explanatory paragraph. The point is your waiver wire. What surprises were real? What won't continue? Who can you stash? That's the sort of thing we're talking here. All the guys I'm advocating are 50-percent owned or lower. They all have cool stock ticker symbols, because I have a computer. Tuesday is waiver-wire day. Get ready.
Stocks I'm buying
Joique Bell, RB, DET (34 percent in Yahoo! leagues)
Bell had two touchdowns Sunday against the Vikings, but only 25 rushing yards, which has some crying fluke. However, he added 67 yards on five receptions to that total. Bell is a running back in the Darren Sproles mold, with 52 receptions to go with 82 rushes in his rookie year last year. Mikel Leshoure was a healthy scratch for the Lions Sunday, indicating they'll likely be sticking with the Reggie Bush-Bell combo more often than not. Lord knows it's hard to assume Bush will stay healthy, so it's always possible Bell takes an even bigger role, but even with Bush healthy, there ought to be plenty of attention paid to Bell. He's only a flex play at absolute best right now, but he definitely needs to be owned.
Da'Rel Scott, RB, NYG (3 percent)
Scott is listed here almost by default. It's hard to imagine he'll actually be a stud running back, not when he's only had 16 rushes for 48 yards in a three-year NFL career. But man, David Wilson could not have picked a worse coach with which to have a fumbling problem. Tom Coughlin is notoriously unwilling to tolerate fumbles, and, while he didn't outright say much anti-Wilson after Sunday night's game, what the heck else would he say? Scott is the only other running back on the roster, at least until the Giants sign a Willis McGahee or Brandon Jacobs or Joe McKnight this week. It would be surprising to see Wilson get the full trust of his coaching staff for next week, and a newcomer will have a lot of catching up to do. Expect Scott to get the start (or at minimum a lot of touches) for this week at the least, and a starting running back needs to be owned in leagues.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, WAS (2 percent)
While I'm down on Robert Griffin III, that's only relative to where he was taken in drafts; in a vacuum, he'll still likely be a fine quarterback. Pierre Garçon is a fine weapon, but Santana Moss really isn't anymore. We knew someone else would have to get attention in the Washington receiving corps. The most likely choices were Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, Josh Morgan, and Fred Davis; I picked up Robinson in multiple leagues before the weekend's games, but have already dropped him. It looks like Hankerson is the guy. After 543 receiving yards and three touchdowns a year ago, Hankerson went for 80 and two touchdowns Monday night alone. Those 80 yards were more than he had in any single game last year, and the most in his career since he went for 106 yards (from Rex Grossman, no less) in Week 10 of 2011. Hankerson was third on the team in targets and second in receptions Monday; he might not be the leading receiver, but attention like that could well continue.
Stocks I'm not buying
Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA (13 percent)
The yardage isn't a worry; sure, Lamar Miller only went for three yards on ten carries, but Thomas' 14 yards on eight carries didn't exactly set the world on fire. The concern for Miller owners coming out of Sunday's game was more the time-share - the fact that Thomas, undrafted in most leagues, got almost as many carries as Miller, a high draft pick, had to scare some people. But Thomas, who was hounded by both stone hands and ineffectiveness a year ago, isn't likely to truly steal time from Miller, who the Dolphins certainly appeared to prefer as recently as a couple weeks ago. If I had to guess, I'd say the attention paid to Thomas was a one-week thing, and Miller will come closer to justifying his draft position.
Geno Smith, QB, NYJ (4 percent)
I will admit to being surprised by Smith Sunday; I had the Jets pegged as one of the worst teams in the NFL, losing their first several games, and that...didn't happen. But I fear (for them) that Sunday's result was more a result of Tampa Bay being overrated than of the Jets being underrated. Smith threw only one interception and ran for 47 yards Sunday, both of which are at least at acceptable levels. But the Jets are still likely to be pretty terrible going forward, and there's another new starter at quarterback that I'd really rather have than Smith, if I'm stashing one away (and more on him later).
Kellen Winslow, TE, NYJ (4 percent)
This is related to the last point, on Geno Smith, but it bears repeating: The Jets winning on Sunday tells us more about the Buccaneers than it does about the Jets. It's nice to see a nine-year veteran like Winslow have a 79-yard game with a touchdown after we'd all left him for dead, but I'd wager that's more of a last gasp than a resuscitation.
Stocks I'm selling
Doug Martin, RB, TB (100 percent)
I still love the Muscle Hamster (though, despite popular opinion, he has an abysmal nickname), but it looks like he's going to be Hamstering for an awful football team and an awful quarterback. If Josh Freeman is actually terrible, then there will be little reason for defenses to give Martin any room to run. He's still great, and I am in no way advocating dumping Martin, but I had him at No. 2 overall in drafts, and that was probably overly optimistic.
Greg Jennings, WR, MIN (89 percent)
Jennings entered last season as That Guy In Every Freaking Commercial, and left last season as That Guy Who Didn't Fit In Green Bay. Going from a crowded group in Wisconsin to the question mark that is Minnesota's wide receiver corps should have left Jennings as the Vikings' top guy. Unfortunately for him, he's fighting for attention again. Jerome Simpson led the team in targets and receptions Sunday, while Jennings caught only three passes on seven targets for 33 yards. In addition to Simpson, Jennings will battle Kyle Rudolph and Cordarrelle Patterson for receptions, and of course there is always Adrian Peterson doin' stuff. With Christian Ponder being generally limited in talent, I would wager he'll prefer guys he knows - Peterson, Rudolph, Simpson - over the newcomers, which could leave Jennings out in the cold.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, CIN (82 percent)
If I were to draw up the BenJarvus Green-Ellisiest game possible, it would have been Sunday's, with 14 receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown. He's not a great running back; he's not even a particularly good one. What he is is a guy who hardly ever fumbles, and who will vulture the occasional touchdown. That has value in real football, but much less in fantasy. When would you ever feel confident (or even comfortable) starting the Law Firm? Any time you put him in your starting lineup, you're terrified. That's not a player I want.
Aaron Dobson, WR, NE (21 percent)
Dobson wasn't even active for the Patriots, out with a hamstring injury. But Kenbrell Thompkins and Zach Sudfeld, the two hot rookies on the New England roster, were far from impressive against the Bills. Sudfeld in particular was disappointing, with no receptions, only one target, and a nasty bit of disappearing in favor of Michael Hoomanawanui, but Thompkins' four receptions for 42 yards didn't inspire confidence either. Shane Vereen will be out for a few weeks, leaving Stevan Ridley, Danny Amendola, and Julian Edelman as Tom Brady's most viable weapons until Rob Gronkowski returns. Dobson might not be back to full strength by Thursday, but I expect big games out of him sooner rather than later, and he might be worth a speculative add now, looking down the road.
Terrelle Pryor, QB, OAK (11 percent)
There's not much reason to think Pryor can carry the Raiders to any sort of real-football success, but I'm not here to write about real-football success, so there. But there is definitely a chance he'll help a fantasy team. With 217 passing yards, a touchdown, and 112 rushing yards (first in the NFL on Sunday), not even a pair of interceptions could keep Pryor from at least being viable in fantasy. It's similar to Tim Tebow in Denver a few years ago - in reality, there's not a lot of great quarterbacking there, but heck, I rode Tebow to a second-place fantasy finish. If Pryor keeps the job - and there's no reason to think Matt Flynn is a threat there - he can be a good quarterback in a two-QB league or for bye weeks, and the possibility exists he could climb higher than that.
Robert Woods, WR, BUF (8 percent)
Okay, I had all sorts of thoughts here. Watching with my brother (a Kentucky fan and a Stevie Johnson owner) Sunday, I felt like there were a half-dozen different times that he cheered for a Bills completion, only to have the pass actually have gone to Woods. Only...Woods was credited with only one reception, on two targets, against the Patriots Sunday. So I'm really not sure what I was remembering. Regardless, though, the points I planned to make about Woods still apply. That one catch he did have was an 18-yard grab for a touchdown, so he had a bit of fantasy relevance, and the Bills spent a second-round pick on him in the draft. With no real receiving strength behind Johnson, there's a chance Woods emerges as a second option. Grab him now, and he might develop into a real fantasy guy later in the year.
Rueben Randle, WR, NYG (48 percent)
If I were to give you a pop quiz of how many 100-yard receivers the Giants had Sunday night, would you (yes, assuming you hadn't just read that name up there) have guessed three? Honestly, I'm writing about Rueben Randle and I wouldn't have guessed that. Randle, Victor Cruz, and Hakeem Nicks each had five receptions and between 101 and 118 yards Sunday. Basically, this isn't a two-headed monster the Giants have; it's three. After capping off last season with a two-touchdown game, Randle is a full-fledged member of that offense. And, if the fragile Nicks or Cruz are ever out, Randle stands to get even more attention. There are few better bets as handcuffs going forward.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, NE (3 percent)
Blount was good as a rookie in Tampa Bay in 2010, with 1,007 yards on 201 carries in 13 games. He was awful thereafter, though, and the arrival of Doug Martin meant the end of Blount's tenure. Now, in New England, Blount appeared to be just about done. And he might be, who knows - he averaged barely over two yards a carry on seven carries Sunday, and didn't do a lot on his two kick return opportunities, either. But with Shane Vereen out for at least a little while, the Patriots will need a second viable running back behind Stevan Ridley. Brandon Bolden and Leon Washington are the other primary candidates, but Blount is the guy who was active Sunday. He's only an "if you're desperate" play, but if Ridley's fumble issues continue, who knows.
Harry Douglas, WR, ATL (1 percent)
I've been organizing these by ownership percentage, and it only makes sense to leave the "Hedge" section for last, I think. Regardless, I'm pretty happy that Douglas gets to be the hammer for this week's Ticker. Sometimes it's nice when things work out. Anyway, I wonder what sort of odds you could have gotten for "Falcons leading receiver is NOT Jones/White/Gonzalez" in week one. Douglas caught four passes for 93 yards against New Orleans, leading the team. He's missed one game in his career (stretching back to 2008), and now an offense that is set up for two stud receivers is either down one in Roddy White, or stuck accommodating a hobbled guy. Either way, Douglas stands to reap the benefits for however long White is banged up. I have White in one league, have already placed a claim on Douglas, and, if I get him, I will be starting him Sunday against the Rams. Not bad for a guy owned in 1 percent of leagues.
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