Last week, we dove into the stat sheets to find out which Week One performers we should applaud and which were frauds. We’re going to examine this week’s stat sheets to do the same. We’re trying to identify new players, so we’ll only repeat players from last week if their applaud or a fraud status has changed.
This week we’re posting the quarterbacks on our Most Valuable Network blog. You can find it (and other good blogs) on MVN’s Football Wire. We’ll cover Mark Sanchez, Matt Schaub, Jake Delhomme, Byron Leftwich, and Kevin Kolb over there, so check it out.
Mike Bell, Saints – Last week (over at MVN) we called Bell a fraud. Then he went out and had 65 yards and a TD against the Eagles. But note that he suffered what is believed to be a sprained MCL in his knee against the Eagles. That would sideline him for several weeks. If not for the injury, we’d be clapping, but Bell now falls down the chart in fantasy relevance. Verdict: A fraud
Correll Buckhalter, Broncos – Buckhalter only got nine carries against Cleveland, but he cashed them in for 76 yards and a touchdown. In the long run, Knowshon Moreno (who had 17 carries this week) is going to be the go-to guy in Denver, but in an effort to keep him healthy the Broncos will give Buckhalter 10-12 touches. He’s good enough to produce in that limited role. He’s definitely worth a roster spot in all leagues and could be a flex play against some of the weaker sisters in the AFC West. Verdict: Applaud
Heath Evans, Saints – Evans is the Saints’ fullback, and fullbacks aren’t usually fantasy relevant. But he’s going to show up on your leaders because he’s caught a TD pass from Drew Brees in each of the first two games. There’s a decent chance Evans ends up with 4-5 touchdowns this season because of the potency of the Saints’ offense, but it’s going to be so difficult to predict when those scores come that Evans still isn’t going to be a reliable fantasy football option. If you’re in a 16-team league or bigger, Evans might be worth a flier, but otherwise you’re going to be wiser just leaving him on the waiver wire. Verdict: A fraud
Tim Hightower, Cardinals – Last week (over at MVN) we also called Hightower a fantasy fraud. But after having a ridiculous receiving game in Week One, he had a solid rushing game against Jacksonville in Week 2 with 72 yards and a touchdown. At this point, you have to consider Hightower a top-30 running back, which makes him a starter in larger leagues and a flex play in 10-to-12 team leagues. He doesn’t get a standing ovation, but he’s worth a golf clap at this point. Verdict: Applaud
Willis McGahee, Ravens – Last week (over at MVN) we also called McGahee a fantasy fraud. Then he went out and scored two touchdowns against San Diego, giving him four for the year. Ray Rice might be a better back at this point, or if not at this point sometime soon. But McGahee still has ability – while our proclivity is to lump McGahee in with over-30 running backs, he’s only 28 – as he showed by averaging 5.3 yards per carry this week without breaking a long run. At this point, ride the hot streak and start McGahee if you’ve got him. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but maybe this is a renaissance year for him. Verdict: Applaud
Jason Snelling, Falcons – We talked about Snelling’s fantasy value in our Panthers/Falcons post on Sunday. Verdict: A fraud
Johnny Knox, Bears – Knox, a raw rookie from Abilene Christian, was expected to simply be a return specialist this year, but he has been a big part of the passing game. He had a 68-yard catch in the opener and then had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown against Pittsburgh in Week 2. With Jay Cutler now in place, the Bears are definitely more pass-happy, and the receiving corps is thin enough that a guy like Knox can jump up. I don’t know exactly what to expect from Knox going forward, but he’s shown enough so far that it’s worth stashing him on your roster and seeing how he develops in the next 2-3 weeks. Verdict: Applaud
Mario Manningham, Giants – After two weeks, it seems like we’re starting to get some clarity on the Giants’ receiving corps from a fantasy perspective. Steve Smith is the most reliable guy, and Manningham (who has a touchdown in each of the first two games) is the second option. Manningham was actually targeted 13 times against Dallas en route to a 10-catch, 150-yard game. He’s absolutely worth a pick-up and could even be a spot starter in 12-team and larger leagues right now. Verdict: Applaud
Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars – Sims-Walker, who had a solid season last year for Jacksonville, had 106 yards and a touchdown against Arizona. He’s undoubtedly one of Jacksonville’s top two receivers along with Torry Holt, only Sims-Walker is more explosive. He didn’t have a single catch in the opener against Indy, though, which goes to show how sporadic Jacksonville’s passing game is. Sims-Walker is a name worth knowing, and if you’re looking to take a flier as you build receiver depth, he’s worth a shot at this point. He could put up decent fourth or even third fantasy wideout numbers in 10-to-12-team leagues by the end of the season. Verdict: Applaud
Kellen Davis, Bears – Davis scored a touchdown, but he’s getting playing time only while Desmond Clark is out. Greg Olsen will get far more looks than Davis while Clark is out for 6 weeks or so. If you’re in an incredibly deep league or a league that requires you to start two tight ends for some reason, Davis is worth a flier, but he’s no better than the 15th best fantasy tight end during Clark’s absence. Verdict: A fraud
Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars – Lewis is a gifted receiver who is often forgotten in fantasy terms because the Jaguars are kind of an anonymous team. But he had 62 yards and a TD against the Cardinals in Week 2, and he has three catches in each of the first two games. He’s not a top-10 tight end, but if you’re looking for a bye week fill-in soon he’s definitely worth consideration. Don’t expect too much, but Lewis can be a useful fantasy player. Verdict: Applaud
Dante Rosario, Panthers – We talked about Rosario’s fantasy value in our Panthers/Falcons post on Sunday. Verdict: A fraud