- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
The news out of the Arizona Cardinals offices that No. 3 wide receiver Early Doucet is scheduled for sports hernia surgery probably doesn't send shock waves throughout the fantasy football world, but to me that's where we find one of Week 2's sneaky pickups of the week. Undrafted Toledo wide receiver product Stephen Williams was impressive this preseason, spending time with the first-team offense and producing interesting numbers, and certainly his 6-foot-5 frame makes him intriguing. With Doucet out indefinitely, opportunity could knock soon. As we like to say in the biz, why not get ahead of the curve?
Say what you will about erratic Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson, but he threw 41 times for 297 yards in Week 1, and I see no reason to believe those numbers are grossly inflated. He's going to keep doing this, and remember, the interceptions do not get charged to the wide receivers. The Cardinals will not suddenly turn into the New York Jets and rely a great deal on the running game, and I suspect even a healthy Beanie Wells won't change that. Larry Fitzgerald is obviously the top dog for Anderson, but he and his bum knee seemed a bit slower against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Don't adjust his value yet, but I could see a scenario, especially if the Cardinals start something like 2-6 this season, where his workload is lessened because of continuing knee issues.
Steve Breaston did much of the heavy lifting when Anderson was slingin' it, and he remains a No. 3 fantasy wide receiver. However, Williams has five inches of height on Breaston, and if the running game is a bust -- too early to say that at this point -- then one can see how adding another weapon for Anderson makes sense. The Cardinals play in Atlanta against the Falcons this week, which doesn't seem particularly difficult for the passing game, and then it's the Oakland Raiders (lit up in Week 1), San Diego Chargers (can be thrown on) and New Orleans Saints (the jury remains out). Williams is owned in a Blutarsky-like 0.0 percent of leagues, but imagine the rush to get him in deeper formats if Fitzgerald leaves Sunday's game limping.
Here are a few other names to file away.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Arizona Cardinals: No, this does not mean I'm giving up on Beanie Wells, but Stephens-Howling ran seven times for 49 yards Sunday, and caught three passes out of the backfield. If Wells can't get healthy, or flat-out struggles, it wouldn't be a shock if Stephens-Howling gets traditional tailback looks, so Tim Hightower (and his propensity for ill-timed fumbles) can remain in his third-down role.
Greg Camarillo, WR, Minnesota Vikings: It's way too early to kick aside a starting wide receiver at Brett Favre's disposal, but Bernard Berrian and Camarillo are very different. Camarillo has been a valued slot option in the past, someone with good hands who finds a way to get open. Berrian, well, he's not. Sure, Berrian is a deep threat, and remains ownable, but I have a feeling Favre will look in different directions this week as Camarillo targets his former team, the Miami Dolphins. Camarillo, owned in 2.2 percent of leagues, could become viable for fantasy soon, and in Week 3 the Vikings face the Detroit Lions.
James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers: Not that I don't fully trust Brandon Jackson, but it's not like the Packers owe him anything, either. Starks and his balky hamstring were placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, so he will miss six weeks, but after that, I wouldn't close the door on his potential. The Packers acted fast in plucking undrafted Arizona State product Dimitri Nance off the Atlanta Falcons practice squad, so he could figure into the plans as well. For now, most would call fullback John Kuhn the fellow to get. In Week 2, on the chance he gets a goal-line look, I concur. By Week 7, it could be Starks, and those in deep leagues with bench room shouldn't wait for the whispers to become louder.
Eric Karabell says if fantasy owners have room on their rosters, Stephen Williams could be a good guy to pick up for future weeks.