Week 1: Pickups of the Week 2017 TOP 200 Fantasy Football Rankings, TOP 200 PPR Cheatsheets TOP 200 PPR Draft / Draft Rankings
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Week 1: Pickups of the Week

These players are worth considering adding to your roster if they're available. This week's picks include Isaiah Pead, Isaac Redman, Davone Bess, Marlon Brown, and Marlon Moore.

(Original post, Sept. 2; Updated Sept 4., 2:31 p.m.)

Fantasy owners are still on a draft day high or pulling all-nighters prepping for theirs this week. No wonder the Week 1 waiver wire lacks the same panache as future editions. Therefore, these initial offerings have more of a speculative bent rather than a plug-n-play vibe, though not in all cases.

For those done with drafts, don't sleep on potential starters or flyers just because you drafted the perfect team 10 minutes ago. Guess what? That roster can afford a tweaking or at least a few minutes of pondering about whether to actually make a change. Don't get caught up in speculative hype, but also be realistic about evolving or temporary situations. At this point in the season, it is better to take a chance on youth than those winding down their careers.

Several players received profiles below, but here is a summary of the overall waiver wire field for Week 1 (profiled players in bold)...


1) E.J. Manuel

2) Terrelle Pryor

3) Brandon Weeden

4) Jake Locker

5) Geno Smith

6) Chad Henne

Notes: Sounds funny, but Weeden is the safest of the bunch for Week 1. Locker has greatest upside, but a tougher opening matchup with the Steelers. ...Manuel has better weapons than Pryor and is therefore the best bet of the two running QBs. Now that he's officially starting the season opener against New England, the rookie moves into the top spot on this list over Pryor. ...Henne is a late addition since Blaine Gabbert (thumb) is veering into game-time decision territory.

Running backs

1) Isaiah Pead

2) Isaac Redman

3) Joique Bell

4) Roy Helu

5) Christine Michael

6) Knownshon Moreno

7) Mike Tolbert

8) Ryan Williams

9) LaRod Stephens-Howling

10) Kenjon Barner

Notes: Obviously Redman over the suspended Pead in Week 1 and the first 2-3 weeks overall for those that drafted themselves into an early season lineup quandary. For those that are thinking about the overall season, take Pead if he's available, though Michael over both. ...Moreno and Tolbert have greater Week 1 value than Bell and Helu, but not the upside. ...Gauging how much Michael or fellow backup RB Robert Turbin play behind Marhshawn Lynch -- or who is actually next in line - is tricky, but either would be a top-20 RB if put into the starting role. The 221-pound Michael looked beastly in preseason action and makes for tremendous lottery ticket. In that sense, he's No. 1 on this list. ...Arizona coach Bruce Arians said this week that Williams is good to go. If the former Virginia Tech star could ever stay healthy, well, let's just say it would be nice to see what he could accomplish. ...LSH and Felix Jones are both behind Redman, but offer pass catching ability. ...Barner received some love in Matt De Lima's "Sleepers" article this week. Love the thought as a long-term play.

Wide receivers

1) Kendall Wright

2) Cordarrelle Patterson

3) Kenny Stills

4) Santonio Holmes

5) Quinton Patton

6) Marlon Brown

7) Markus Wheaton

8) Davone Bess

9) Marlon Moore

Notes: In case Wright's preseason injury had him go undrafted, scoop him up. Rookies Patterson, Patton and Wheaton ooze potential, but all start the season in supporting roles. ...As a pure Week 1 play, Bess arguably tops this list, but offers limited long-term upside. ...In terms of Stills, don't worry about the Saints signing Robert Meachem. Stills is the No. 3 receiver and based on history at that role, he'll have a handful of explosive games this season, but little consistency.

Tight end

1) Brent Celek

2) Julius Thomas

3) Coby Fleener

4) Dwayne Allen

5) Heath Miller

Notes: Only recently did the Eagles state Celek would indeed have a sizeable role in the passing game. If true, his Week 1 matchup vs. Washington nears TE1 status. As a long-term play, take Thomas over Celek. ...Bummer that Fleener didn't separate from Allen with the latter sidelined during preseason. Still touting Fleener more thanks to his downfield speed, Stanford connection with Andrew Luck and his offensive coordinator. ...Miller had a strong 2012, but when he returns from his knee injury remains uncertain. At least he avoided the PUP list.

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Hey, we know the fantasy community knows Pead. That doesn't mean the suspended runner isn't on waiver wires in leagues of all sizes thanks to an impatient owner valuing the roster spot over more than Pead's Week 2 return. Daryl Richardson is the starter in St. Louis, but we're not prepared to state he'll keep it all season or that the situation morphs into an RBBC with Pead playing the role of the other man. Of the two, the 5-foot-10 back is the superior athlete - and the one the Rams drafted in the second round last season. Pead must do his part by turning raw talent into realized production. His inability to do just that is why Richardson is starting and why Zac Stacy remains a down-the-road possibility. His potential is why owners should not cut bait. Wait a week or five at the very least.

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Last week in one of my neighborhood drafts, another owner boldly - and unwisely - spent a fifth round pick on now-ex Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer. The round was indefensible, but the idea that someone other than Redman filling in for the injured Le'Veon Bell seemed legitimate enough that Redman potentially went undrafted in certain-sized leagues. That is until the Steelers waived Dwyer and installed Redman back in the starting role. Handed the job last year with Rashard Mendenhall limited, the 230-pounder averaged 3.7 yards on 11 carries. The underwhelming production led to Pittsburgh selecting Bell early in the 2013 NFL Draft. The rookie's preseason foot injury led to Redman's reemergence. Felix Jones likely siphons off some touches, but Redman is the (healthy) Steelers back to own. Has modest flex appeal in Wk. 1 as Tennessee ranked among the 10 worst run defenses last season. Upcoming matchups against Cincinnati and Chicago are unappealing, but a starter is a starter. Le'Veon, hurry back.

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There is no need to take a vote on the least sexy fantasy football player. Bess has been the runaway winner in recent seasons as evidenced by lack of interest from owners despite totaling over 60 catches and 750 receiving yards in three of the past four seasons with the Dolphins. Now in Cleveland, the slot target with quality hands receives an early season value bump thanks to Josh Gordon's two-game suspension. Already a Brandon Weeden favorite on third down, Bess will receive targets on first and second down as well in the season opener - against his former team. PPR owners can legitimately contemplate starting Bess, who is a possible long-term WR4/5 in this format.

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The undrafted wide receiver from Georgia paced the Ravens during preseason with 10 receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers alone mean squat, especially when the starters played minimal snaps in those games. The difference here is that this unknown target sports a 6-foot-5 frame made for the red zone - and he actually made the final roster. Also, Baltimore's WR2 spot opposite Torrey Smith remains wide open unless you're one of those that believes Jacoby Jones is the guy (Hint, he's not). Though too risky to use in Week 1, Brown makes for an interesting flyer right now. If Joe Flacco finds him for a score against the Broncos on national TV, every other owner in your league will have the same idea before Week 2.

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Another situation where a team has questions at second receiver with a man named Marlon looking like the potential answer. Moore started for the 49ers throughout the preseason, though the fourth-year player received far less attention than rookie Quinton Patton. In this case, the "reserve" is the more intriguing option and Patton's ADP is climbing. In terms of position, Moore's primary positional competition comes from ex-Chief Jon Baldwin, who flamed out quickly in Kansas City. Look, we're talking about a receiver with six receptions last season and 12 for his career. This mention is more about seeking Colin Kaepernick's third receiver after Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. Pick Patton if given a choice, but keep a close watch on Moore.