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Working the Wire: Rivers' Revival

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

I got a ton of questions in the comments section last week, and I'm pretty sure I answered every one of them. I have no problem doing that - interaction with readers is great - but please limit yourself to one question, the one that is most important. Take advantage of our Ask An Expert tool; you'll get a response within at most 24 hours (usually much quicker).

Taking it a step further, realize that ultimately the decisions are yours; you can only blame someone if you have completely no clue as to what you are doing and are playing fantasy out of ignorance. I like hearing "you helped me win my championship," and I'd like to think I had a hand in that, but it's on you at the end of the day.

To hopefully answer some of your questions so you don't have to ask in the comments, I'll start the column with some observations from the week and then do the waiver section.

THIS WEEK'S OBSERVATIONS

A few more significant injuries this week to notable fantasy players. Guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis and Ray Rice are more surprising considering their past than injury prone players like Reggie Bush or Maurice Jones-Drew.

Was I the only one who saw a few horse collars that weren't called/enforced?

How bad are the announcers for these games? Phil Simms criticized Eli Manning for not throwing into the end zone on third down to Brandon Myers but failed to point out it would have been a first down had he made the catch. I have to think that at times it's much easier being Cooper than Eli Manning. The announcers at the Texans game had no clue what was going on when Tennessee iced Randy Bullock, and one incomplete pass to Owen Daniels took them 15 seconds to realize it wasn't complete. And I have to admit it: I miss Gus Johnson. He should be assigned to call all of the Broncos or Eagles games the entire season.

I don't get the timeshare between C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, and you'll have to give a long argument why Ben Tate isn't getting as many carries as Arian Foster. Tate had one of the best runs ever in his senior Bowl Game against Northwestern when he rushed for 13 yards but broke as many tackles.

Safeties, weather delays - can you remember another season when we've had more so early?

As "experts" we always preach patience for players who didn't perform Week 1. If you did so with guys like Dwayne Bowe, James Jones or Mike Wallace you were rewarded.

Are these 2013 Broncos the 2007 Patriots? The Broncos seem to be off to the same start as New England, burying their first two opponents. If I remember correctly, if you faded the 2007 Patriots over the second half going against the spread, you won a good amount of money.

There isn't a better home-field advantage in sports than in Seattle. No one comes even close.

THIS WEEK'S WAIVER PICK-UPS

Quarterback

Philip Rivers, SD -
It seems a new coach and offense have resurrected Rivers' fantasy value as he has 614 passing yards and a 7:1 TD:INT through two games. While that's a small sample size, it's worth noting he did some of that damage against the Texans defense. While Rivers has seen his receiving corps decimated by injuries, he is in the perfect situation for a fantasy quarterback. Through the first two games, the Chargers have given up the second-most yards from scrimmage with 960. That means that they should be in high-scoring affairs throughout the season, and Rivers will be relied on to put a lot of points on the scoreboard.

Running Back

James Starks, GB -
Eddie Lacy's owners have to be greatly disappointed after he not only got hurt but was likely primed for a big day against the pitiful Redskins defense. It's impossible to say at this point how much time Lacy will miss as concussions affect each player differently. Starks has had past success with the Packers, especially in the playoffs, and should be your top target if you are in the market for a running back.

Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL -
Steven Jackson, like Eddie Lacy, left the game early after suffering a thigh injury. Unlike Lacy, he was able to find the end zone before leaving, giving owners some production. It's unclear how bad the injury is or how much time Jackson will miss, if any. If he's out, look for Rodgers to get most of the workload and Jason Snelling to see more touches if you're in a really deep league. Watch the reports out of Atlanta this week to learn Jackson's status.

Felix Jones, PIT -
Jones got some extra touches Monday night after Isaac Redman left with a head injury. Redman hasn't hung onto the ball and has a poor rushing average to start the season. Jones averages 4.8 yards per carry for his career and appears to be completely healthy. Don't be surprised if the Steelers turn to him soon, but keep in mind that Le'Veon Bell will be the starter once he comes back from his foot injury.

Andre Ellington, ARI -
Rashard Mendenhall doesn't have a ton of upside, and it appears that Ellington has leap-frogged Stepfan Taylor on the depth chart. Ellington is more interesting to me in PPR formats because he should catch a few balls every game. I'm not suggesting to plug him into your lineup now, but his performance Sunday could have helped him carve out a bigger role with the offense.

Wide Receiver

Eddie Royal, SD -
While there was a lot of preseason buzz in the industry on Vincent Brown, almost everyone overlooked Royal, who has come out on fire the first two weeks. It's easy to forget that Royal had a 91-catch season as a rookie and battled a hamstring injury last season. Now healthy and with a new coach it appears Royal has a significant role with the offense, perhaps even more with the injury to Malcom Floyd. I can see spending 15-25 percent of your FAAB in PPR formats, depending on the size of your league and how much you need a wide receiver.

Aaron Dobson, NE -
In the comments section last week I suggested picking up Dobson and stashing him on your bench in case he was dropped by an impatient owner. Fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins got all the preseason hype (yours truly was guilty), but it was Dobson who had the better game Thursday night. He has the better pedigree coming out of college, and while he only has three catches, he was targeted by Brady 10 times in his first professional game. He has the size and speed to develop into one of Brady's top targets, and at this point it's probably 50/50 between Dobson and Thompkins as far as who has the better fantasy season.

DeAndre Hopkins, TEX -
Hopkins may or may not be available depending on the size of your league as he's available in about half of all fantasy leagues. After his game-winning catch in overtime, there's no doubt his ownership is going to skyrocket. He'd be a more interesting add than Eddie Royal if we knew for a fact that Andre Johnson was going to miss a chunk of games this season. It appears that Johnson should be back this week or miss a minimal number of games. Even if Johnson is on the field Hopkins can be used as a flex player in PPR formats.

Ted Ginn, CAR -
Ginn registered his first touchdown of the season on a deep pattern getting behind the Bills secondary. What caught my eye even more was the eight times he was targeted, two more than No. 2 receiver Brandon LaFell. With Carolina having both a running quarterback and an adequate running back in DeAngelo Williams, Ginn should see favorable coverage, and he might be the fastest player on the Panthers.

Tight End

Coby Fleener, IND -
Fleener hooked up with Andrew Luck four times for 69 yards and a touchdown Sunday, benefiting from the absence of Dwayne Allen. Fleener should have had another touchdown, but it was called back due to an offensive penalty. He should be looked at if you're weak at tight end, but only use him if Allen continues to be sidelined by injury.

Charles Clay, MIA -
One of the bigger surprises this early in the season has to be the 2-0 Miami Dolphins. Clay had a monster game against Indianapolis on Sunday, finishing with 109 receiving yards and a rushing touchdown. He has 13 targets in his first two games, and I find it interesting that the Dolphins gave him the carry at the one. He's a FB/TE hybrid type, so he could continue to see the occasional carry and vulture another 2-3 touchdowns the rest of the season. Think of him as a high tight-end No.2 type; someone you can plug in during your bye week or if your starter suffers an injury.