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Players from losing teams make up this week’s group of waiver wire pickups. Two of them played their entire careers in Pittsburgh before getting traded at the start of this season. Here are this week”s pickups to consider:
Ryan Doumit-C,OF-Twins- This veteran switch-hitter, formerly a 2nd round pick of the now surprising Pittsburgh Pirates, is the 6th highest ranked catcher in Fantasy Legues over the past two weeks; ahead of 93% owned Mike Napoli as well as 95% owned Brian McCann! During that span he has hit 3 HRs, drove in 11 and scored 7 runs while batting .313. He has 10 multi-hit games this month alone. Doumit, who also qualifies in two positions, is owned in 40% of leagues although that figure should be higher.
Carlos Gomez-OF-Brewers- This speedster has been showing off some power of late and has already matched his career high for home runs (8) in a season. It’s a small number to be sure but remember he’s done it in just 197 ABs. The former N.Y. Met looks to have grabbed the starting CF position from OF Nyjer Morgan whose numbers are way down. Over the past two weeks Gomez has collected 3 HRs, 9 RBIs, scored 9 runs and stolen 4 bases while batting .333 (8-24). The only downside to Gomez’ game is his batting average which stands right at his career mark at .244. However, if you’re in need of SBs, his 18 so far this season is the most he’s had since nabbing 33 back in ’08. And his SLG % of .448 and OPS of .743 are the highest in his 6 year career. Gomez is owned in just 15% of leagues.
Paul Maholm-SP-Cubs- Another ex-Pirate, (8 years), Maholm is one of the hottest pitchers in the N.L. In his last 5 starts he’s posted a perfect 5-0 record, struck out 27 and walked only 5. During this stretch he’s ERA has dropped from an inflated 5.38 to a more serviceable 3.88 and in no game did Maholm give up more than 1 earned run. The former 1st round eighth overall pick in the 2003 draft in on pace to have his most wins in his career. The southpaw has also been rumored to be traded back to the Pirates so stay tuned as that will only help his numbers. Only owned in 30% of leagues, he’s definite flier and streamer material, and should be owned in deeper leagues 12+.
Steve Cishek-RP-Marlins- Since manager Ozzie Guillen took the closing job away from Heath Bell at the All-Star break, Cishek has been brilliant! Since July 14th, he has had three save opportunities and was successful each time. His numbers for the season are almost flawless, especially when you consider he’s pitching for an under achieving Marlin’s team that was expected to be a much improved group this season. Cishek is 4-1 with 41 K’s, 19 BB’s, and a 1.87 ERA; an ERA that tops all the other Marlin’s relievers. Although we don’t know when or if Bell (5.66 ERA) will get a shot at closing again, there are currently no signs of Guillen giving up on the youngster who has not allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings. He’s owned in 28% of leagues and should be a must add for those in all leagues in need of saves.
Denard Span-OF-Twins- Another speedster, Span has been on fire over the past week or so. In his last eight games he has scored 8 runs, collected 12 hits, 5 doubles, 2 stolen bases batted .458, and has 4 multi hit games. He’s brought his average up to .287, just about at his career mark, and on Sunday he scored his 50th run of the season. Although injured for most of the season last year, in 2010 and 2009 he had 26 and 23 stolen bases respectively. So again, if you have a need for speed, take a flier out on Span who is owned in just 17% of leagues. A must in A.L. league only and deeper leagues.
The question of whether to steal precious picks away from more established players on draft day arises every year. They might have been college standouts but how will they perform on a professional level? Will they receive enough playing time? Will they live up to their expectations and in some cases, their hype? I don’t suggest that you base your team around them, but certainly there are several, that you may consider grabbing in the mid to later rounds.
If you look back on last year’s rookies who made an immediate and impressive impact in the NFL and thus in Fantasy Football, you won’t find more than a handful which include these six: Cam Newton, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Torrey Smith, Andy Dalton, and Daniel Thomas. And yet for each rookie that was successful, there were a long list of others who weren’t; either because of their lack of playing time, or injuries, or for the fact that they just weren’t that good. Such as: DeMarco Murray, Lance Kendricks, Greg Little, Roy Helu, Delone Carter, and Jonathan Baldwin to name a few.
So what we’re going to do is provide you with some of the rookies that have the talent to succeed and help you in your leagues while urging you to proceed with caution and implement when your options are limited or if you’re in deeper leagues. Remember too that luck, like in everything else, will play a part in whether or nor a rookie or two will help you to garner a fantasy league championship!
1. Trent Richardson- RB-Browns- We begin with the obligatory and prohibitive favorite to be the first rookie off the boards in your draft. The Browns made Richardson their third overall pick for a reason. They needed a boost in their lackluster offense and this beast of a back has scouts saying that he is the best back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson! Trent will be the Browns’ every-down back and we think he should be the 10th to 15th RB selected in drafts. Barring injury, he will be a top tier back by season’s end.
2. Doug Martin-RB-Buccaneers- Some scouts have compared the Boise State three-down back to Ray Rice, which is quite a complement in and of itself! The Bucs O Line has improved given the signing of All-Pro guard Carl Nicks and because of LeGarrette Blount’s ineffectiveness last season, Martin is the overwhelming favorite to become the Bucs starter this year. Remember the Bucs traded up to land Martin in the first round so we can’t see them yielding the starting slot to Blount. We think he’ll be the 15-20th back selected in most drafts.
3. Robert Griffin III-QB-Redskins- Although I rarely, if ever draft a rookie QB, I did so last year when I coralled Cam Newton on a hunch for my QB2 slot. And that’s what you may want to consider doing with RGIII. He has a great arm and like Newton, will keep the ball often and therefore should put up some decent fantasy numbers for a rookie. With good protection we can see him scamper in for several TDs if passing options are limited in the Red Zone. Clearly one to consider.
4. Justin Blackmon-WR-Jaguars- On any other team with a top tier QB, we wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this All-America team WR, however, even though he’ll start and be QB Blaine Gabbert’s go to guy, we must tell you to use caution because of Gabbert. If he improves this year then Blackmon should thrive. For a team that finished last in passing in ’11, the additions of Laurent Robinson and Blackmon should help. Gabbert is the one who makes selecting Blackmon a cautious one.
5. Andrew Luck-QB-Colts- Once again, usually I would stay clear of fantasy QB’s but as a QB2, Luck might provide well…just that! He’s no Cam Newton but he does have talent when running the ball, something he might find himself doing more of than he wants. He thrived at Stanford where they utilized a two TE set and now that the Colts have Colby Fleener and Dwayne Allen at TE, it will help the youngster greatly. Another QB2 candidate, Luck can & will be useful in that role as he will have good success in some weeks as opposed to great success every week.
6. Isaiah Pead-RB-Rams- Although he will be mainly used as a third down back for the Rams behind Steven Jackson, he might be more successful in punching the ball in than S-Jax. A successful running team needs more than 5 TDs out of their featured back and Pead should help there. In fantasy leagues he should prove to be an asset in PPR leagues and of course, he’ll be the one to step in should anything happen to Jackson. He should be drafted but in much later rounds.
Here are some other rookies that you might consider drafting…
David Wilson-RB-Giants-Will see opportunities with the absence of Jacobs. Rushed for 1709 yards and 10 TDs at Virginia Tech. Makes a good handcuff to Ahmad Bradshaw.
Michael Floyd-WR-Cardinals- Another big Red Zone receiver at 6′ 3, 220 lbs. to play along side of Larry Fitzgerald. Better suited for Dynasty leagues as he’ ll need until at least next year as he’s more of a WR3 with Early Doucet at WR2.
Ronnie Hillman-RB- Broncos- Third in the nation in rushing last year at San Diego State, Hillman is more of a Darren Sproles type who can break out for huge gains at any time. Won’t start ahead of McGahee, but should see plenty of touches.
Randy Bullock-K- Texans- Don’t usually tout kickers, but there is an exception to every rule. Bullock was last last year’s Lou Grouza award winner as the nation’s best kicker! Neil Rackers’ replacement was the Texans fifth round pick that will have lots of opportunities in Houston. Could be a sleeper…