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Oh football, it’s been too long. Nothing quite makes people lose every sense of perspective and reason like America’s most popular collision sport—whether they’re burning their shoes out of some misguided indignation or overreacting to a small sample size of outlier data, week one is for over-reactions.

Iron Sulfide is the chemical construct of a substance commonly known as “Fool’s Gold,” and every year, fantasy owners young and old forget the old axiom, “not all that glitters is gold.” Every year there’s one guy that absolutely nobody had rostered (except maybe for his own mother) who goes absolutely bonkers in week one and is heralded as the gridiron Moses in cleats to lead all the sad-sacks who lost one game and now think that the sky is falling…

Stay calm!

Week 2 Waiver Wire Wonders

Your season isn’t over because you lost one game, Matthew Stafford didn’t forget how to play football and everyone is going to be alright—even without Delanie Walker. For the sake of all you Chicken Littles out there who are certain that the sky is falling, here are a few nuggets of wisdom from the Waiver heap that actually have some substance to them. These are my waiver wire golden nuggets for week one. May we all be a little better next week.

Jared Cook, TE (Oak)

I know, call the fool’s gold police—but just because Cook isn’t a found fortune, doesn’t mean he can’t improve your prospects. I know that you know that Cook isn’t going to get 12 targets every game—but the conversion ratio (nine catches of those twelve opportunities) isn’t so far outside of the norm for Cook. Let’s not forget that Cook played a few seasons for the Rams in St. Louis, which could explain the supernatural uptick in his targets playing his former team.

Gruden likes to “make a point,” with his game plans and sometimes has a bad habit of outsmarting himself. Don’t outsmart yourself. Yeah, there are a lot of formidable weapons in that passing offense, but the Raiders brought Cook in specifically to try and battle their Red Zone issues and is anything worse than a hangnail befalls Marshawn Lynch, Cook quickly becomes their best Red Zone option.

Sam Darnold, QB (NYJ)

If you had money on the Jets to do a bombing run on the Lions you’re either a fan or gifted with supernatural foresight, but there was no denying the play on the field. Darnold threw a touchdown on his first NFL pass—unfortunately, it was to the wrong team, going the wrong direction—but boy did he ever bounce back. Don’t be distracted by Ryan Fitzpatrick—Sam Darnold is the surprise find of week 1. Throwing a pick-six on your first NFL pass is one of those weird anecdotal things that so often become part of a legend. I don’t think this kid remains a world-beater once more tape on him is available, but he’s still worthy of a roster spot, especially if you’re having Matt Stafford buyer’s remorse.

Brandon Marshall, WR (Sea)

I had my doubts about the Seahawks offense going into week one and they didn’t do much to assuage those doubts. There was, however, one bright spot on offense, making the most of his opportunity with Doug Baldwin out, Mr. Showtime himself Brandon Marshall. Just because he’s been co-hosting a weekly sports show on premium cable hasn’t stopped him from playing and producing on inferior offenses in the past few years, he’s not going to let it stop him this year either. Marshall has a great attitude and always believes in his team’s ability to win—even when they can’t. He’s old, yes, but the rules to protect players seem to be working since more and more like Marshall are trying to keep it going even after 40.

Frank Gore, RB (Mia)

Speaking of old-man-strength let’s talk about Frank the Tank. Despite my private theory that Gore’s been hiding an undiagnosed brain injury since college, he just keeps on plowing through one defensive line after another. Gore is almost a replica of the modern D-lineman, who have increasingly become more like linebackers with wide hips as more and more teams try to go faster and faster on their pass rush. Guys like that often run right past Gore, who at 5’9” runs so low he might be under five feet when he hits the hole.

Gone are the days of him shedding entire defenses on his way to the house, maybe, but 61 yards on just 9 carries is nothing to sneeze at. With the Dolphins’ offense finally beginning to resemble something real I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gore’s role get larger as the season goes on and teams get more aggressive after Ryan Tannehill.

That’s all my little waiver wire nuggets of wisdom for this week. I’ll try to be better, play smarter and do better next week.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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