By Rob Shaw, Bloomberg Sports
Finally, football season has arrived. The first week has come and gone and as always, there were some surprises. The Green Bay Packers fell to the San Francisco 49ers, the Cowboys beat the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, and rookie sensation Robert Griffin III led the Washington Redskins to defeat Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints.
While there were a few surprising game outcomes, there were also some spectacular player performances, which means the fantasy football scene will be busy in the next few days. We saw some fantasy football stars underperform while other largely unowned players scored big for their teams. Here is a look at the top eight players to pick up off the waiver wire, after their great performances this weekend.
8) Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets
The Tim Tebow drama in the offseason seemed to have lit a fire in Mark Sanchez this weekend. He completed 19 of 27 passes for 266 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception in the Jets' win against the Bills. He did a great job of spreading the ball around, with seven different Jets receivers having receptions in the game. Sanchez was also the only quarterback to attempt a pass in the game, so it looks as if he will continue to be the primary quarterback for the season even with Mr. Popular on the sideline.
7) Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jaguars
After a less than stellar rookie season, Gabbert came back firing this week, completing 23 of 39 pass attempts for 260 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Despite the 26-23 overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Gabbert looked good. His chemistry was impressive with receivers Cecil Shorts, Laurent Robinson, and Marcedes Lewis, with each of them having over fifty yards.
6) Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears
The second round pick out of South Carolina in the draft this year looked good for Chicago, with three receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown. Jay Cutler also had a great performance in the Bears' 41-21 win over the Colts, tallying 333 passing yards. With the team investing so heavily in the passing attack, fantasy managers can expect a big season from Cutler along Jeffery, who is bound to get some opportunities with fellow wide out Brandon Marshall attracting the most attention from the defense.
5) Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals
Roberts is available in 99 percent of fantasy leagues, and the one percent that do have him have to be excited about his performance this weekend. He had the game winning catch against the Seattle Seahawks with only five minutes remaining in the game. He put up decent numbers last season, with 51 receptions and 586 yards. This week however, the third year player had five receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown. He also had one rush for 15 yards. He's a solid second threat next to Larry Fitzgerald.
4) Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Chiefs
The bright spot in the Chiefs' 40-24 loss to the Falcons is the performance of McCluster. He is versatile and can play both the running back and wide receiver positions. This week as a receiver, he led the Chiefs with six receptions for 82 yards. This performance builds off his nice numbers from last year, when he had 842 total yards split between 516 rushing yards and 328 receiving yards.
3) Stephen Hill, WR, Jets
This second round pick out of Georgia Tech was drafted to be this year's replacement for Plaxico Burress. At 6'4" and 215 pounds, he is a large target for Mark Sanchez to throw to, and that is just what happened this past weekend where Hill led the Jets with five catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. He could be a key contributor to an underrated aerial attack.
2) Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins
In the Redskins' surprise 40-32 win over the New Orleans Saints, Morris had a strong debut with 28 rushes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. The two returning running backs for the Redskins, Roy Helu and Evan Royster, each only had two rushes a piece, which means Morris could be a favorite to carry the ball this season.
1) Kevin Ogletree, WR, Cowboys
Ogletree led the charge this week in the Cowboys' defeat of their rivals, Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. He had eight receptions on 114 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Cowboys star wide receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant each had only four receptions. Because Austin and Bryant are stars and will both be covered very well by defenses this year, Ogletree will start to see more action and could have a few more games like he did on Wednesday similar to what fantasy sleeper Laurent Robinson enjoyed last season.