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Working the Wire: Worth A Buc or Two

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.

This week I'll try a little bit of a different approach with the column and rank players according to how much or little you should buy into someone. I also attached a FAAB range for each player based upon a $100 budget. Any feedback is welcome; please hit up the comments section.

QUARTERBACK

Primary Targets

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT -
It's tough to recommend a quarterback who turned the ball over four times in one game, but some credit is due to the Chicago defense. Ben finished Sunday night's game with more than 400 passing yards and two touchdowns. Most of this occurred during garbage time, a scenario the Steelers could face a lot this season. Roethlisberger has a nice matchup this week against the Vikings, a team that just gave up more than 300 passing yards to Brian Hoyer. FAAB: $5-$10

Secondary Targets

Jake Locker, TEN -
If you're a Rams fan, you should thank Locker for staying in school or there's a good chance that Locker and not Sam Bradford would be your quarterback. Locker had one of the better games of his career Sunday, throwing for 299 yards (8.1 YPA) and a score. The intriguing part of Locker's game, though, is his legs, as his five rushes for 68 yards and a score shows. Depending on your league I'd probably pass on him this week as the Jets defense has looked pretty solid so far. FAAB: $1-$4

Hail Mary

Brian Hoyer, CLE -
Wasn't it obvious that Hoyer would go out and have a better fantasy day Sunday than guys like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers? Hoyer wisely went often to Cleveland's best wide receiver in Josh Gordon and was able to utilize Jordan Cameron in the red zone. He had some bad throws as well, three of which resulted in interceptions. His overall efficiency numbers were not great (5.9 YPA), and he has a tough matchup against the Bengals this week. Still, there could be a need in two-quarterback or deeper leagues for a lottery ticket at the position. FAAB: $1 or pickup during FCFS

RUNNING BACK

Primary Targets

Brandon Bolden, NE -
While Bolden received the start Sunday against Tampa Bay with the third-fewest touches in the Patriots backfield, he looked like the most explosive back on the roster. Bolden had only three carries (one of which was a 46-yard scamper), and his five catches were enough for him to amass 100 yards from scrimmage. LeGarrette Blount led New England running backs with 16 carries but most were late in the game, and Bill Belichick might have thrown a bone to Blount who was facing his old team. Take a chance on Bolden in PPR formats if you need a running back as he appears to have carved out the change-of-pace role. FAAB: $10-$18

Johnathan Franklin, GB -
Franklin was the most difficult guy to assess this week. After every report coming out of Green Bay's preseason camp was negative on Franklin, they looked pretty silly watching Franklin run Sunday. He finished with more than 100 rushing yards on only 13 carries, though his fumble, which was returned for a defensive score, was the key to the game. What makes Franklin difficult to judge is the unknown status of James Starks and Eddie Lacy. The early bye this week helps the Packers backfield, but it clouds the starting picture. If Franklin is the only healthy running back his value could be high in that offense. The other side of the coin is that both Starks and Lacy come back Week 5 and Franklin is back on the bench. FAAB: $8-$18

Isaiah Pead, STL -
With Daryl Richardson further injuring his foot on his first touch, Pead was given the bulk of touches for the Rams on Sunday. He only had six carries for 20 yards, but the seven catches are what sticks out. Those numbers are a result of the Rams playing catch-up most of the game in a blowout, but the fact is should Richardson miss any time, Pead will be the lead back. In a short week, the Rams could find themselves again throwing a lot against the 49ers on Thursday night. This is more of a recommendation for those in PPR formats since Pead isn't guaranteed goal-line work with the bigger Benny Cunningham (worth a look in deep leagues) there to potentially steal those touches. FAAB: $9-$16

Jason Snelling, ATL -
In PPR formats it is conceivable that Snelling will have as much value as Jacquizz Rodgers. Snelling finished Sunday's tilt with more than 100 yards from scrimmage, catching four passes and finding the end zone. It appears he'll be the goal-line back while Steven Jackson is out and has the size and strength to break tackles whenever he touches the ball. Just keep in mind that Jackson could be back soon, which would greatly reduce his touches. FAAB: $8-$12

Secondary Targets

Willis McGahee, CLE -
I'm not sure how much gas is left in the tank at almost 32 for McGahee, who appears primed to take over the starting running back job. The Browns gave him eight carries with which he only managed nine yards. Still, Chris Ogbonnaya isn't going to take goal-line work and has limited upside, leaving the majority of touches for McGahee. FAAB: $4-$8

Hail Mary

Alfonso Smith, ARI -
Last week we talked about Andre Ellington who appeared to have taken over the backup role from Smith. Of course, when the Cardinals got inside of the five against the Saints on Sunday it was Smith who got the goal-line carry with Ellington next to him in the backfield. Ellington played the most snaps in the Arizona backfield, but it should be noted that Arizona was behind most of the game and Ellington is the better receiver. Rashard Mendenhall is banged up and if he were to miss any games, Smith could be looking at handling half the carries. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

WIDE RECEIVER

Primary Targets

Stephen Hill, NYJ -
Hill broke out with a big game against the Bills, whose secondary was missing Jarius Byrd and Stephon Gilmore. Hill appears to have a good rapport with Geno Smith and has been targeted more than any receiver (23) through the first three games. Santonio Holmes (FAAB: $6-$10) also had a monster game, but at this point Hill has the greater upside. At 6-foot-4, 210, Hill is the bigger red-zone target and still has the speed to be a big-play receiver. FAAB: $8-$12

Nate Washington, TEN -
It seems without fail each season that Washington works his way into fantasy relevance for a few weeks. With Kenny Britt in the doghouse and a little banged up, Washington was the clear top target for the Titans' passing attack. He only had 96 yards receiving the first two weeks, though those games were against tough pass defenses in the Steelers and Texans. Washington appears poised to lead the team in targets and is only two seasons removed from more than 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. FAAB: $8-$12

Secondary Targets

Sidney Rice, SEA -
Entering the season, Golden Tate got all the hype among Seattle wide receivers, and heading into Sunday's game Doug Baldwin was the most productive wideout. But Rice stepped up against lowly Jacksonville to score two touchdowns and finish with 79 receiving yards. Rice, though, only had four catches for 48 yards over the first two games, and the Seahawks will remain a run-first team. Zach Miller got some red-zone targets, and both Baldwin and Tate will remain involved in the passing attack. FAAB: $4-$8

Donnie Avery, KC -
Avery broke out in a big way last Thursday night, finishing with seven catches for 141 yards. The model of efficiency with seven targets, Avery took short routes and used his speed and quickness to make big plays. He had less than 50 receiving yards the first two games but did score Week 1 in Jacksonville. Dwayne Bowe should get most of the targets in the Chiefs offense, especially in the red zone, but Avery is the clear second option. FAAB: $4-$8

Brandon LaFell, CAR -
There's been some sleeper hype on LaFell the last two seasons as many believe that he can develop into the main red-zone target for Cam Newton. LaFell caught only three passes Sunday but two were for touchdowns. It was hard to predict this type of game coming considering LaFell had no targets Week 1 and only four catches for 13 yards Week 2. There's still upside here, and maybe Sunday was the start of LaFell being utilized in the red zone. FAAB: $4-$8

Hail Mary

Justin Hunter, TEN -
It must be nice to have your first professional catch not only be a touchdown but the game-winning touchdown. There are reports that Jake Locker specifically asked for Hunter to be on the field for the final drive Sunday over Kenny Britt. It looks as if Britt could be on his way out or to the bench, meaning Hunter should get more targets. The 34th overall pick in this year's draft, Hunter has a good pedigree and makes for a nice red-zone target at 6-4. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

Kevin Ogletree, TB -
Both players ahead of Ogletree - Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson - are banged up, and there's a chance one of the two won't play this week. If that scenario plays out it would be Ogletree drawing the start with Eric Page paying more snaps as well. We saw Ogletree have a big Week 1 last season with the Cowboys, and he caught a touchdown against New Orleans Week 2 this season. Think of him as a sneaky play if he draws the start. FAAB: FCFS

TIGHT END

Primary Targets

Brandon Myers, NYG -
I found Myers sitting on my waiver wire in one of my 12-team leagues, but I get the feeling he's not available in most. Still, it's worth noting the former Raider has 25 targets through three games and it appears the GMen will be throwing a lot. Eli Manning has always shown the tendency to rely on his tight end, which should translate into solid fantasy production from Myers. FAAB: $9-$13

Secondary Targets

Zach Miller, SEA -
I've already explained the several mouths to feed in Seattle and that they'll remain a run-first offense, which is why Miller lands here instead of being listed with Myers. Miller was silent last season until their playoff game in Atlanta and will probably only show up on the fantasy radar every few weeks. Think of him as a possible bye-week replacement depending on the matchup. FAAB: $3-$6

Hail Mary

Gavin Escobar, DAL -
I noticed Escobar before his first touchdown Sunday as we really haven't seen a backup Dallas tight end get targets since Martellus Bennett left town. Escobar was a second-round pick out of San Diego State and is considered a better receiver than blocker at this point in his career. He won't have any true fantasy relevance unless Jason Witten gets hurt, but he's a guy to keep an eye on. FAAB: $1 or FCFS

Defense

Indianapolis Colts -
This is the second time this early in the season I've recommended the Colts based on their matchup. The Jaguars look like they are in full Jadaveon Clowney mode after announcing Monday that Blaine Gabbert would return under center. Gabbert had two interceptions in his only game this season and hasn't had above a 6.0 YPA in either of the first two seasons of his career. FAAB: $4-$8