I’ll admit it: I want to pretend like another new television show matters this fall, but now that Agent Coulson is back in our lives on the small screen, Marvel’s Agents of Shield is leading my list of new television shows I have to watch. With friends who checked out Comic-Con, I’ve heard nothing but good things about these real world, powers-free heroes who save the world from situations that our genetically-mutated (and otherworldly) heroes can’t. These folks are substitutionary heroes who go uncharted, unwatched, and unregarded, but who, as the show highlights, are crucial to the success of the world.
And so begins my season-long, weekly post on free agents you should consider to gain a leg up (like Stephen Gostkowski’s last-minute kick to put the Pats over the EJ Manuel-led Bills) or rush for greatness (the Giants’ real-world free agency bidding is still too muddled to figure out). But in a year when Jimmy Graham is head-and-shoulders above everyone else (unless you believe Gronk is really coming back sooner rather than later), your TE slot is probably the one needing the most help.
D/ST: If you’re streaming defenses in a 10-team league, I’m looking at the Oakland Raiders, who get the Jacksonville Jaguars (you know, the team that scored 2 points…)
TE: Jared Cook, Julius Thomas, and Jordan Cameron are in the top-5 on standardized scoring this week. Cook and Cameron were hot preseason names and given the shallow gene pool of the TE crowd this year, someone has probably plucked them already. But after Peyton Manning’s otherworldly Thursday night game on national television as the only show in town, it’s doubtful anyone doesn’t know about Thomas. So, it’s not advice to go pick him up, it’s rather, how much are you willing to pay for him?
WR: This one comes down to Julian Edelman and Jerome Simpson. Simpson is supposed to lose receptions to Cordelle Patterson over the course of the season, but he clearly was the class of the receiving bunch that Christian Ponder had to throw to. But there’s the catch (pun intended): it’s Ponder throwing to him. For my buck, I’d rather pick up Edelman, who is in line for plenty of reps with Danny Amendola injured at his position, and all-purpose back Shane Vereen out several weeks with a broken wrist. Next to Thomas, I’d expect Edelman to be in the “most added” column today.
RB: Joique Bell. Who?? Reggie Bush was the big offensive pickup in Detroit in the offseason, but Bell only scored five less points. Bell capitalized on the goal line opportunities and caught five passes to bump up his fantasy total. There’s a significant drop-off, but Fred Jackson racked up some points unexpectedly, with sixty-seven yards rushing and four receptions. While Daryl Richardson had ninety-plus all purpose yards, I say the door is still open for currently-suspended Isaiah Pead of the St. Louis Rams to get some serious run when he comes back. Or you could track down Pierre Thomas because Mark Ingram still can’t get it done.
QB: A motley crew of passers from the waiver wire (Sam Bradford, Terrell Pryor, and Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, and Jay Cutler) outperformed a bunch of stock names that people may have overpaid for (Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and, so far, RGIII). If you’re already contemplating the waiver wire for a QB, then you probably ended up picking up one of those guys to begin with. None of those guys has a huge roadblock coming up (except for Bradford in a few weeks), but I wouldn’t bail yet. I’d rank this crowd this way, if you’re desperate: Bradford, Smith, Palmer, and Cutler. Real world records won’t matter much to this crowd.
Bounce-back Candidates From The “Obvious Name” Department: Chris Johnson vs. SD; Calvin Johnson vs. ARI; Stevan Ridley vs. NYJ
Trade Target: Marshawn Lynch. After Carolina and San Francisco (next week), the schedule gets a lot better…
Sell High: Peyton Manning. I don’t think it gets any better than Thursday night. We know from last year that he wears down over the course of the season, and I’m not sure anyone can play as listlessly as the Baltimore Ravens did on Thursday.