WR Nate Burleson – Lions
Week 1: 5 Rec (5 Tgts), 60 Yards, 1 Att, 20 Yards
If your team has been bit by the injury bug, especially if you start a third WR or RB/WR flex each week, look no further than the second man in Detroit’s passing game – Nate Burleson. This is the best time to buy him. His opening performance was better than average but less than great. While he tallied 80 total yards, he failed to reach the end-zone. You might be able to take advantage of an owner frustrated watching him sidelined for numerous plays (played 49 of 75 snaps) as he suffered from heat-related cramps.
His upcoming schedule is another reason to buy on Burleson. Detroit’s next six games are either indoors or at Cowboys Stadium, which has a retractable roof. Heat will no longer be an issue. Also, four of their next six opponents got off to a poor start in defending the pass. PFF rated Kansas City (-3.7, rank 18), Minnesota (-10.4, rank 31), Dallas (-5.0, rank 22) and Atlanta (-7.6, rank 26) in the bottom half for pass coverage in week one. Another opponent, San Francisco (4.9, rank 4), finished in the top half, but may have been aided by playing Seattle. The one game against Chicago will be a challenge as they have ranked in the top half in 3 of the 4 years PFF has rated games, but worry about crossing that bridge when the time comes.
WR Lee Evans – Ravens
Week 1: 0 Rec (4 Tgts), 0 Yards
No need to hyperventilate just yet. Keep the paper bag away from your mouth. After playing back the Ravens vs. Steelers game, I see positive games ahead.
On the first target, Evans had good position against the defender. It looked as if it was either a miscommunication or a missed throw. The second pass was a quick slant thrown a little behind him. This would have been stopped right away if he caught it. The final two targets were the most promising. One was slightly high, but he did a better job than the defender of getting to the ball. On the final attempt, he beat CB Ike Taylor on a 14 yard post for a touchdown, but the pass was thrown behind him.
The best signs success is ahead are the number of times he was on the field (53/66) and the success Ray Rice had running the ball.
QB Kyle Orton – Broncos
Week 1: 24/46 304 Yards, 1 TD, 1 Int
This buy suggestion is to remind you to not allow the Tebow enthusiasts to break your spirit on Orton. The opening week was not his finest, but Orton still threw a touchdown and over 300 yards. His 52.2 completion percentage may discourage you, but focus on his 63.2% completion of aimed passes. As long it gets no worse and he continues to rank third in drop backs, his value remains high.
TE Aaron Hernandez – Patriots
Week 1: 7 Rec (9 Tgts), 103 Yards, 1 TD
Hernandez made an appearance here last week. My thinking then was his involvement in the offense would increase. Well, it did and you need to act now. This could be a special year for the Patriots on offense. Tom Brady scored an astonishing 15.2 overall rating, which more than doubled Drew Brees and Chad Henne at 7.2. There will be plenty of passes to go around. Hernandez saw 9 thrown his way in the opener. As long as he continues to play more than 80% of the snaps, this will stay a trend.
RB DeAngelo Williams – Panthers
Week 1: 12 Att, 30 Yards, 1 Rec (2 Tgts), 6 Yards
It’s frustrating to watch your running back play fewer than 10 more snaps than his backups. This is the exact scenario DeAngelo Williams owners watched this past Sunday. Seeing him run the ball only four more times than QB Cam Newton was equally frustrating. The temptation to sell or release Williams may have entered your mind, but a week one overreaction is exactly what your league wants you to do.
Stay patient, even with the news of RT Jeff Otah likely missing week two’s game after suffering a concussion in last week’s game. If Otah bounces back, it can only help Williams going forward. Remember, Otah missed all of 2010 and Williams missed most of it. Both may need a few weeks to get back to ’08 and ’09 form. Those were Williams’ best seasons as Otah finished ’08 with a 5.3 rating in run blocking in and 3.4 in ’09; ranking him second and third on the team’s offensive line.
TE Fred Davis – Redskins
Week 1: 5 Rec (6 Tgts), 105 Yards
After a week full of overreactions, selling on Fred Davis is the perfect way to act on his career-best performance. This is especially true if you owned him prior to this past weekend. Davis took advantage of a recovering Chris Cooley who stayed on the sideline for 28 of 66 snaps. As Cooley’s knee feels better his playing time will increase. Look no further than the three games Rex Grossman started in 2010.
Davis may have scored twice and caught all passes thrown his way, but the infrequent play and opportunities are too unreliable.