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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NFL Week 1 Waiver Wire Wonders

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NFL Week 1 Wavier Wire Wonders
By Wild on Sports Analyst Jason Gillson

Each week we take a look at the players still available in most league that you can plug and play in case of an emergency injury or bye week. The key to surviving the gruling season is staying a step ahead of your competition. Who is that next Alshon Jeffery? Nick Foley? Zach Stacy? At some point this season you are likely to find them here...

QB Derek Carr - Oakland Raiders
Who would have thought that of all the teams with high profile rookie QB's it would be Oakland with the only rookie starting week one. The Raider announced yesterday that Carr, not Matt Shaub, will be their week 1 starter -- and with good reason -- he torched defenses in the pre-season (anyone see what he did to the Seattle starters?). On top of that he seems to have won the favor of the locker room particularly amongst the veteran players. He is mature beyond his age, a characteristic that should help him avoid the "bust" status that his older brother garnered after being drafted #1 years ago. He doesn't have the supporting cast that Foles did last year in Philly or that Blake Bortles will have in Jacksonville once he takes that job. That said, if you don't like your QB situation you might be presently surprised if you take a flyer on this kid.

RB - Benny Cunningham - St. Louis Rams
The Cunningham pick might be 3 or 4 weeks premature but you had better pounce on him now before someone else in your league does. Rumors out of St. Louis indicate that Zach Stacy might be losing favor in the Rams backfield. Cunningham looked like the best back in the pre-season and had about a 50-50 split with the #1's in the final pre-season games. If Stacy falters early look for Cunnignham to run away with the job on a team that will need to be run first if they want to be successful.

RB Jonathan Grimes - Houston Texans
Arian Foster is the heart beat of the Texans offense but of the elite runingbacks in the league is the most likely candidate to go down to injury again. Grimes is a more durable Ben Tate and is just waiting for his chance to carry the load. With Fitzpatrick/Mallet at QB the Texans will rely on the running game just like they did in their dominant 2012 season.

WR Jarrett Boykin - Green Bay Packers
Boykin showed glimpses last season when injuries ravaged the Packers WR corps. Nelson and Cobb are back (healthy-ish) and in place as starters. That leaves Boykin as the #3 but ready at a moments notice should one of the big guys go down. James Jones put up some big numbers as a #3 in Green Bay in years past. Boykin is smaller and quicker -- more of a slot/Cobb build but he has shown that he is not afraid to go into the dirty areas to make a catch. He could be in line for a very solid season, injury to Nelson/Cobb or not.

WR Jordan Matthews - Philadelphia Eagles
DeSean Jackson is gone. Jeremy Maclin has trouble staying healthy. Is Jason Avant or Riley Cooper really that good? All those things open the door for a potential breakout for Matthews. The Eagles spent a second round pick on the 6-3 wideout. You know Chip Kelly is going to want to see what he has early on. Huge upside potential here.

WR Cody Latimer - Denver Broncos
Wes Welker is one hit away from never playing football again. Eric Decker is gone. While his role will largely be filled by Emmanuel Sanders (another player you should pick up yesterday if he is available) there will always be balls to go around in Peyton Manning's offense. The Thomas' are likely to see double coverage opening the door for the physical Latimer to reek havoc of opposing defenses. He has the build and go up and get it ability to be dangerous in the red-zone as well. If there was a Alshon Jeffery type sleeper pick to name in week 1, Latimer would be it.

TE  Tim Wright - New England Patriots
The Patriots gave up pro bowl guard Logan Mankins to get him. That in itself should tell you what they think of the guy. Belichick has been looking for that Aaron Hernandez replacement for a couple years now. Wright put up some decent numbers last season in a disaster of an offense. Imagine what he can do with Tom Brady throwing him the ball.

NFL Power Rankings - Week 1

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NFL Power Rankings
Week 1
September 2, 2014

Back at it and better than ever! My oh my is it nice to finally have NFL football to distract us night and day for the next five months. We are kicking off the season in style with our weekly NFL Power Rankings. Be sure to join us each week to see where your team stands.

Why, you may ask, are defending Super Bowl Champs not ranked #1 to kick off the season? Simply put, its just way too hard to repeat in this league. Players leaving from free agency, injuries, complacency, opponents getting up for the chance to knock off the champs, Super Bowl hangover -- all just a sampling of reasons why the Seahawks won't repeat. Don't get me wrong -- they are and still will be a very good football team. They just won't represent the NFC in the big game this year.

Coming in at #1 to kick off the season are the Denver Broncos. They made a very conscious effort this off-season to improve their defense. The additions of Damarcus Ware and Aquib Talib will go a long way toward trying to balance what had been a very offense heavy team. With Peyton Manning back in the fold for another season the offense will still draw all the attention, but at the the end of the day it will be the defense that gets them back to the big game this season.

In a bit of a surprise we have the Green Bay Packers at #2 to start the year. A Rodgers-Manning Super Bowl would be nice now wouldn't it? Rodgers is back at 100%. Breakout star runningback Edie Lacy now has a full season in the offense under his belt. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are both back and healthy. The offense has what it takes to beat some of the great defenses in their conference (Seattle & San Francisco). The big question mark remains on the defensive side of the ball. The Packers spend 3 of their first 5 picks of this year's draft on defense including saftey Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round in an effort to beef up what clearly was a weakness at times last year.

As mentioned before, the Seahawks likely will not repeat but they are still a very very good football team. It will be interesting to see how the defense responds this season after beating team up physically last season. They NFL's emphasis on defensive contact this pre-season was a direct result of what Seattle was able to do to opponents much of last year. The other big question mark appears to be Marshawn Lynch. We held out briefly and those around the team question his desire to play at the same level he has for the past several seasons. The Seahawks kick off the 2014 season at home with a big test against Green Bay. This game could set the ton for a power shift in the NFC.

At #4 this week is the team that never seems to go away in the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and company will once again be in the mix in the AFC. They made some great moves in the off-season to sure up the secondary in the additions of Darrell Revis and Brandon Browner. The big question mark remains who Tom Brady will throw the ball to. Can Rob Gronkowski or Danny Amendola stay healthy for a full season? Will one of the young guys who showed glimpses last season take the next step? Who is the real Brandan LaFell? The sooner they can answer those questions the faster the Pats can get on track and challenge the Broncos for the AFC title.

The New Orleans Saints round out our top five this week. As long as Drew Brees stays healthy the Saints will always be in the mix in the NFC. He is the best quarterback in the NFL at this point in his career and the team goes as he goes. The addition of Jairus Byrd adds a nice spark to the defensive side of the ball. If the defense can bend but not break this season the Saints could surprise some people this season.

Where does your team rank this week?


Rank
Team
1 Denver Broncos
2 Green Bay Packers
3 Seattle Seahawks
4 New England Patriots
5 New Orleans Saints
6 Cincinnati Bengals
7 San Francisco 49ers
8 Arizona Cardinals
9 Philadelphia Eagles
10 Atlanta Falcons
11 San Diego Chargers
12 Pittsburgh Steelers
13 Baltimore Ravens
14 Chicago Bears
15 Indianapolis Colts
16 Detroit Lions
17 New York Giants
18 Kansas City Chiefs
19 Miami Dolphins
20 St. Louis Rams
21 New York Jets
22 Carolina Panthers
23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
24 Tennessee Titans
25 Dallas Cowboys
26 Washington Redskins
27 Minnesota Vikings
28 Cleveland Browns
29 Buffalo Bills
30 Jacksonville Jaguars
31 Houston Texans
32 Oakland Raiders

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