Down to the Waiver Wire: Evaluating Week One Fantasy Surprises

allen-hurns-nfl-jacksonville-jaguars-philadelphia-eagles2-850x560The day or so following week one in the fantasy football season can either be relieving or highly stressful. If you won, you’re glad the season got started off on a high note and look to carry that momentum forward. Of those that lose, some people immediately start hitting the panic button. Since fantasy football only has 13 or 14 regular season games depending on your league, every game counts. For that reason, people will overreact on the waiver wire picking up everyone who had big games to start the season. Unfortunately, a lot of times this leads to people doing what I like to call “chasing stats”.

Some examples of this in week one last year occurred with receivers in Jerome Simpson, and Leonard Hankerson.  Simpson had a huge game going off for seven catches and 140 yards. While people flocked to pick him up, his stats the rest of the way were 41 catches for 586 yards and a touchdown. Hankerson is another example of this. In a game where most of the production came in garbage time, Hankerson caught five passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. For the rest of the season, he caught 25 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, there ended up being receivers who solidified themselves later on in the season (think Alshon Jeffery) that owners might have missed out on due to looking too much into these early performances. With that, here are some players who burst onto the scene in week one that should be available in most leagues and how I feel they should fare the rest of the way.

Allen Hurns, WR Jaguars: Despite having a fantastic preseason, nobody expected the week one performance that the undrafted rookie Hurns had. In the first quarter alone, Hurns had three catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns and finished with four catches for 110 yards. While millions are ready to grab him on waivers and change their team name to “Hurn Down for What”, I’m not completely sold on him for fantasy purposes. Hurns got the start due to Cecil Shorts missing the game with an injury.

While Hurns’ performance could lead him to overtake Marqise Lee as the starter opposite Shorts, the Jaguars passing game is not yet consistent enough to rely on players for a week to week basis. Having watched all of preseason performances and this game, I do really like what Hurns has to offer as a player. A season with 700 receiving yards and a half dozen touchdowns wouldn’t shock me at this point. Numbers like those are worth having on your bench as your fourth or fifth receiver. Feel free to pick him up, just keep the projections in check.

Isaiah Crowell, RB Browns: Chances are if you picked a running back in the first round of your fantasy draft, Crowell outscored them. His 32 yards and two touchdowns was good for 15 points in standard scoring leagues. That total was better than any of the numbers the top three backs in most drafts (LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles) put up. So with running backs being so valuable to fantasy success is Crowell worth the add? Not exactly. Crowell will still get carries while Ben Tate is injured, but the majority of them will go to Terrance West who had an impressive 100 yard day in his own right. I’ve written in the past how I’m high on Crowell’s talent, but chances are he’ll only end up getting five to seven touches a game. He is a name to monitor throughout the year and keep tabs on for the future. With that said there is a chance his best fantasy performance of 2014 is behind him.

Justin Forsett, RB Ravens: After Bernard Pierce got benched due to a fumble, Forsett came in and performed admirably. On 11 carries, he had 70 yards and a touchdown while also adding five catches for 14 yards. This zone blocking scheme isn’t a new one for Forsett as he thrived in 2012 with the Texans averaging six yards a carry under Gary Kubiak. Granted, that average should be closer to five as 75 of those yards were on a touchdown that shouldn’t have counted, but impressive none the less.

With the whole Ray Rice fiasco leading to an inevitable release, Forsett looks like he should be getting plenty of touches the rest of the way. Many even figure that this week he will be the starter over Pierce in a Thursday night matchup against the Steelers. If you in need of a running back, Forsett is one that is certainly worth picking up. At the worst it looks like he should be a decent flex play from here on out.

Brian Quick, WR Rams: Quick seems like he has been an OTA All-Star for years now, but this is only his third season. If week one is any indicator, this is when things could start coming together for Quick. He led the Rams in receiving week one with seven catches for 99 yards. While the Rams are going to have quarterback problems this year, Quick is worth a stash on the end of your roster. The Rams could be trailing early and often this year and someone is going to have to capitalize on the garbage time opportunities. Quick has the size/speed ratio to capitalize on this as he also gives them a great red zone target. Due to the quarterback play, Quick might not be a consistent weekly performer. However, he has the ability to change games. That alone is worth giving him a shot as your fourth or fifth fantasy wideout.

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