First Look: AFC North
The final preseason games are over. Most drafts are over. Final roster cuts are being made. More injuries have occurred. This seems like a good time to get our first look at the best waiver wire pick-ups of the preseason.
Every position and every team has had some interesting twists and turns over the preseason’s four games. So let’s go around the league and take a look at each team’s standouts and potential waiver fodder, plus Watch-list candidates.
The Ravens really did not have any offensive standouts that aren’t already well known in drafts. On the IDP side of the ball, the acquisition of CB Josh Wilson is worth noting. Wilson has excellent return skills which the Ravens need, and with Fabian Washington and Ladarius Webb recovering from ACL injuries, Wilson will see a lot of time at CB early on. Jameel McClain has won the WLB position next to Ray Lewis and is a good guy to keep your eye on in IDP leagues as well.
RB: Bernard Scott continues to look like a definite handcuff to Cedric Benson, and perhaps a good bench pick-up for other teams. Cedric Peerman exploded this preseason, but most of his work came in junk time and he’s not a threat to overtake Benson or Scott.
WR: While everyone has been focused on T.O. and Ochocinco, more notable is the official release of Antonio Bryant and the performance of rookie Jordan Shipley. I called him a sleeper earlier this summer, and the team has been on on their praise of the team’s new WR3. He has Wes Welker style attributes, and is solid pick up as a WR3/4 in deeper leagues.
TE: Rookie Jermaine Gresham started off slowly, but over the last couple of games he’s started to get in step with his game and place on the team. He could be a top 10 TE before the 2010 season is over, and he’s definitely worth a pick-up if you need help at Tight End.
IDP: The Bengals CDs are still being seriously undervalued in most IDP drafts. If Leon Hall or Jonathan Joseph are still available in your leagues and you need help at DB, they should both be solid picks (especially Hall). Likewise Middle Linebacker Dhani Jones is being seriously under-loved for a guy who can put up 100 solo tackles this season.
QB: Jake Delhomme has been surprisingly effective with a near 80% pass completion rating. He could be a solid QB2 or bye week filler in deeper leagues.
RB: While Jerome Harrison has been underwhelming, and Montario Hardesty has been lost for the season, the stock for James Davis gets a huge boost, as he has been the team’s most effective tailback. Meanwhile, fullback Peyton Hillis has been used extensively on offense, which the team has said will continue. Davis is an immediate pick-up in all leagues, while Hillis is a grab for deeper leagues or deep benches. Otherwise, watch-list him.
WR: Second year receiver Brian Robiskie has looked good and is a worthwhile deeper league pick-up and definite watch-list add.
TE: Benjamin Watson had a great preseason, including 2 TDs. He’s solid deep league grab, or a good back-up option bye week filler. he should get plenty of looks from Delhomme.
IDP: DB T.J. Ward has been a dynamo this summer and is a solid pick-up in all IDP leagues. For those whop drafted D’Qwell Jackson, his replacement will be Marcus Bernard, who is 2nd on the team in tackles. He is a good short term fix who could be in longer if Jackson gets hurt again.
While we’ve been wondering what will happen at QB, the loss of Byron Leftwich and shortening of Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension to 4 games doesn’t change much from a fantasy perspective. Likewise the defense has been as we expected from an IDP perspective.
RB: I have worried this year that Rashard Mendenhall could well be a 2010 bust relative to his late first round draft selections. For that reason I have been keeping a steady eye on rookie Jonathan Dwyer and fan favorite Isaac Redman. Both have looked excellent this preseason, however at this time Redman has the first shot at goal line duties. I would watch-list both and handcuff Redman to Rashard.
WR: While Antwaan Randle El has been given the WR3 gig, the guy on my radar, especially in leagues which reward return yardage, is rookie Antonio Brown. He’s had an excellent preseason and has won the team’s return duty job, but he should see time in the passing game as well. He is only a waiver add in really deep leagues, but he should be on watch-lists for others.
Next up: NFC North
Fuente: Fantasy Knuckleheads