The last time the Patriots lost a quarterback in the middle of a game was 2001 when Drew Bledsoe was knocked out. Tom Brady came off the bench, and the rest has been magical for New England and Fantasy owners.
Can the same thing happen again with Matt Cassel?
Cassel came on for Brady in Week 1 against Kansas City after Brady suffered a torn ACL. Cassel passed for 152 yards and a touchdown and will now be the starter for the immediate future.
|Matt Ryan was all smiles after Week 1, but slow down, he's just a rookie. (US Presswire)|
Now, don't go overboard with Cassel, whose ownership has grown to 15 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com as of Tuesday a.m. His start in Week 2 at the Jets will be his first since high school after he played behind Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at Southern Cal and Brady in the NFL.
And even though the Patriots told Tim Rattay and Chris Simms their services weren't needed, it doesn't mean they won't add someone in the next couple of weeks, especially if Cassel struggles against the Jets. (Please don't start the Daunte Culpepper rumors either).
Cassel could be the next great Fantasy star, so take the chance to pick him up. But if you miss on him, there are other quarterbacks available.
Trent Edwards (32 percent ownership), Tarvaris Jackson (29 percent), J.T. O'Sullivan (33 percent), Chad Pennington (30 percent ownership) and Matt Ryan (27 percent) could be available if you're trying to replace Brady. Edwards and Jackson played well in Week 1, O'Sullivan has the most upside and Pennington is a steady veteran. Ryan could struggle, but he might be worth the gamble.
In case you haven't noticed ... It's time to add Broncos wide receiver Eddie Royal. The rookie had a tremendous NFL debut on Monday night at Oakland with nine catches for 146 yards and a touchdown, and he's only owned in 34 percent of leagues. He was Denver's best receiver in Week 1 with Brandon Marshall suspended for the game. Marshall returns in Week 2, which will lower Royal's value, but he's still worth adding at this time. Jay Cutler will continue to look in Royal's direction since he's starting opposite Marshall, and at worst Royal can be a valuable reserve receiver.
Each Tuesday we will highlight players who might be available in your league and whether you should consider picking them up off waivers based on their recent performances. The players chosen are based on the percentage of ownership in CBSSports.com leagues.
Deion Branch, WR, Seattle
Owned: 24 percent of leagues
Week 1: Did not play at Buffalo.
Analysis: Branch is trying to come back from a torn ACL and nearly surprised owners in Week 1 by almost playing against the Bills. Now, with Nate Burleson (knee) out along with Bobby Engram (shoulder) and Ben Obomanu (broken clavicle), Branch might come back in Week 2 if he can. The Seahawks need receivers, and it appears Branch could be a savior for the team and Fantasy owners.
Anthony Fasano, TE, Miami
Owned: 9 percent of leagues
Week 1: Caught eight passes for 84 yards and a touchdown against the Jets.
Analysis: Fasano led the Dolphins in receiving against the Jets, and that could happen most weeks with Miami's lack of talent at receiver. Chad Pennington doesn't throw outside much, so when he looks over the middle of the field, Fasano will likely be his main target. And Fasano appears to be a solid red zone threat.
Tim Hightower, RB, Arizona
Owned: 29 percent of leagues
Week 1: Had eight carries for 13 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 21 yards at San Francisco.
Analysis: Hightower is the No. 2 running back for the Cardinals behind Edgerrin James, but Hightower is going to be the goal-line back. That was evident in the preseason and it happened in Week 1 also. Last year, the Cardinals went to a goal-line package with Marcel Shipp, but Hightower will fill the role now. And with James an older running back, it's worth grabbing Hightower in case James gets hurt or falters.
Sammy Morris, RB, New England
Owned: 13 percent of leagues
Week 1: Had 10 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 34 yards against Kansas City.
Analysis: Here we go again with the Patriots running backs. Morris split time with Laurence Maroney (10 carries for 51 yards), but Morris had the better game against the Chiefs. We'll see how it plays out now that Tom Brady is out, but it appears New England is content to rotate running backs. That means add Morris in case this type of production continues.
Hank Baskett, WR, Philadelphia
Owned: 3 percent of leagues
Week 1: Caught two pass for 102 yards and a touchdown against St. Louis.
Analysis: Baskett played well against a bad Rams team, but he did most of his damage on a 90-yard pass following a missed tackle. The Eagles will rotate their receivers with Kevin Curtis (hernia) and Reggie Brown (hamstring) out, but Baskett wasn't thrown at enough to be considered a good Fantasy receiver. You want to find players involved in the offense on a regular basis, and Baskett isn't that guy right now.
David Martin, TE, Miami
Owned: 0 percent of leagues
Week 1: Caught four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown against the Jets.
Analysis: The Dolphins are going to depend on their tight ends since Chad Pennington doesn't have the arm strength to throw outside to his receivers on a regular basis. But Anthony Fasano is the starter for Miami, and Martin won't be on the field as often as Fasano. If you need a tight end, go with the Dolphins starter and not the No. 2 guy.
Le'Ron McClain, RB, Baltimore
Owned: 0 percent of leagues
Week 1: Had 19 carries for 86 yards and two catches for 24 yards against Cincinnati.
Analysis: McClain took advantage of Willis McGahee (knee) being out and played better than Ray Rice against the Bengals. But McClain is third on the depth chart when everyone is healthy and should not be used going forward. The Ravens still like Rice at No. 2, and McGahee is going to start once he's 100 percent recovered from his injury.
Others to monitor ...
Shaun Alexander, RB, free agent
Owned: 16 percent
Week 1: Did not play.
Analysis: Alexander could sign with Cincinnati, which would help the Bengals and owners who spent a late-round pick on Alexander. If this move happens, don't expect Alexander to return to prominence, but he could be better than Chris Perry and Kenny Watson. Remember, the Bengals talked to Alexander this offseason and could be ready to add him with the hopes he will improve their running game.
Michael Pittman, RB, Denver
Owned: 6 percent of leagues
Week 1: Had seven carries for 13 yards and two touchdowns at Oakland.
Analysis: Pittman was moved to fullback in training camp, but when he signed with the Broncos this offseason, it was thought he would be the goal-line back. That played out against the Raiders. Don't expect Pittman to score like this on a regular basis, but if he continues to get goal-line carries, he should be added immediately. For now, just see how Mike Shanahan uses Pittman in a committee with Selvin Young and Andre Hall.
Dante Rosario, TE, Carolina
Owned: 0 percent of leagues
Week 1: Caught seven passes for 96 yards and a touchdown at San Diego.
Analysis: Jake Delhomme needed someone to throw to with Steve Smith suspended, and Rosario stepped up in Week 1. He should play well again in Week 2, and if he does, add him. But for now, let's see how Rosario performs for another week without Smith. The Panthers will need a second receiving threat once Smith returns, and Rosario could be that player.
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