Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs, and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be a limitless resource when it comes to discovering
fantasy value. Each week, I’ll target both offensive and defensive
players — sometimes breakout stars that eluded your team’s
draft — as well as players who can help your squad that may
be lurking in deeper leagues.
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Off the Top - Includes my premier
recommendations. These are sometimes players available only in more
shallow leagues, and occasionally guys who are more readily but
are thrust into the fantasy spotlight because of opportunity or
Digging Deeper - Covers the next
tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available
in a majority of online leagues. There are a lot of gems in this
range who can be plucked rather easily.
Scouring the Barrel - Chronicles
the deepest of fantasy adds — and sometimes highlights players
being tacked onto fantasy squads who I don’t have much confidence
in. Make sure you read the fine print.
Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 20-30 players
I covered the previous week. It’s the most accurate, comprehensive
one-stop waiver-wire column available on the Internet, and it’s
only available here at fftoday.com.
Feedback is always welcome,
appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as
Note: Each player’s
next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()
Off The Top
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (JAC, STL, SEA, @MIA) – The Bills
had a rough week against the Colts and Fitzpatrick passed for
just 180-1-1, but he should bounce back this week against the
Jaguars who are yielding big yardage through the air and haven’t
truly shut down a QB since Week 2 when the Texans did all their
work on the ground.
Russell Wilson, SEA (@CHI, ARI, @BUF, SF) – Wilson has
five solid performances in his last six games but the Seahawks
face a difficult challenge in Week 13; the schedule in weeks 14
and 15 is much kinder.
Scouring The Barrel
Locker, TEN (HOU, @IND, NYJ, @GB) – The Texans are giving
up huge chunks of passing yardage and Locker could be in line
for his biggest fantasy day since Week 3 against the Lions (378-2-0,
fumble, 35 rushing yards) when he tossed two long TD passes to
Jared Cook and Nate Washington.
Smith, SF (@STL, MIA, @NE, @SEA) – Smith didn’t see game action;
he missed last week (concussion) and Colin Kaepernick got the
start for the Niners.
Mark Sanchez, NYJ (ARI, @JAC, @TEN, SD) – Sanchez fumbled
after smashing into his lineman’s butt cheeks but still
managed 301-1-1 in the dismal loss to New England on Thanksgiving
night. It’s hard to say whether or not he’ll keep
his job and/or capitalize on the favorable matchups over the next
Chad Henne, JAC (@BUF, NYJ, @MIA. NE) – While he didn’t
throw four TD passes this week, Henne led his team to victory
en route to a 261-2-1 fantasy day, better than over half the rest
of the other starting QBs in the league this week.
Kaepernick, SF (@STL, MIA, @NE, @SEA) – The 49ers chose the
electric Kaepernick to start against Chicago this week and the
decision paid off as Special K threw for 231-1-1 and added 27
rushing yards and a TD on the ground. Because he adds mobility
to the equation, he should be viewed as a low-end, deep-league
QB1 for Week 13 against the Rams.
Off The Top
Bush, CHI (SEA, @MIN, GB, @ARI) – Bush had one of his best
games of the season in Week 12, finishing with 60 rushing yards
and two TDs. He’s in line for the majority of touches the next
few weeks if Matt Forte’s ankle injury keeps him out of action.
Bryce Brown, PHI (@DAL, @TB, CIN, WAS) –
Wells, ARI (@NYJ, @SEA, DET, CHI) – Wells, who is available
in about 40 percent of fantasy leagues, returned to action (48
rushing yards on 17 carries) and scored a couple times but wasn’t
a presence in the passing game per his usual stone-handed ways.
He’ll shoulder most of the workload against the reeling Jets in
Jennings, JAC (@BUF, NYJ, @MIA, NE) – Unless Maurice Jones-Drew
makes it back this week and/or Jalene Parmele surges into fantasy
relevance again, Jennings will be a decent RB2 play versus the
Bills. Stay tuned.
Moreno, DEN (TB, @OAK, @BAL, CLE) – Sunday morning’s news
that Moreno would get the start rattled the cages of plenty of
fantasy owners – folks who were told that rookie Ronnie Hillman
would be the feature back throughout the week. Moreno’s pass blocking
was solid and he finished with 85 rushing yards on 20 carries
– a performance that will probably earn him another start.
Scouring The Barrel
Shane Vereen, NE (@MIA, HOU, SF, @JAC) – On Thursday, Vereen
rushed 10 times for 42 yards and hauled in a huge TD pass that
gave him 2-91-1 receiving for the day. He’s not a sure thing
to get 10-15 carries every week, but he’s a good flex play
against the Dolphins in Week 13.
Wilson, NYG (@WAS, NO, @ATL, @BAL) – With Andre Brown down
for the count (broken leg), Wilson could see in an increased role
in the Giants offense. He’s a bit of a wild card and isn’t guaranteed
to see much action but Ahmad Bradshaw is touting the rookie back’s
ability to make big plays.
Stewart, CAR (@KC, ATL, @SD, OAK) –
Stephens-Howling, ARI (@NYJ, @SEA, DET, CHI) – LSH lost the
starting gig to Beanie Wells and promptly dropped from the fantasy
radar in Week 13 (one carry, 1 yard). He was reportedly having
problems with his sore ribs and yielded the third-down role to
Ballard, IND (@DET, TEN, @HOU, @KC) – While Ballard got another
start, he split carries with Donald Brown, racked up just 41 yards
on 13 carries and was targeted just once in the passing game (no
Parmele, JAC (@BUF, NYJ, @MIA, NE) – Despite assurances that
Parmele was the new go-to guy in the running game, Rashad Jennings
was the better fantasy back for the Jags in Week 13. Parmele finished
with 45 rushing yards on eight carries and one catch for 7 yards
but Jennings ran for 43 yards on 16 carries and got the rushing
Powell, NYJ (ARI, @JAC, @TEN, SD) – Powell ran for 40 yards
and a TD and caught 2-13-0 in the Thursday night drubbing at the
hands of the Patriots. He’s the goal line back on a pathetic team,
but he’s got some value in deeper formats as a flex play and he
didn’t lose a fumble during the Turkey Day Debacle.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Garcon, WAS (NYG, BAL, @CLE, @PHI) – Garcon emerged from Thursday’s
game with Dallas with 5-93-1 on seven targets from RGIII – and
his foot no worse for the wear. He’s a big-play receiver with
major upside when healthy.
Bess, MIA (NE, @SF, JAC, BUF) – Bess is a PPR maven who hauled
in 7-129-0 on Sunday against the Seahawks. He’s among the most
consistent PPR guys in the league but he’s scored just one TD
despite 55 catches for 715 yards this season.
WR Donald Jones, BUF (JAC, STL, SEA, @MIA) – Jones is coming
off two quiet weeks but should be able to make an impact in Week
13 against the Jags. He’s up to 38-410-4 on the season;
good enough for an occasional WR3/flex play based on matchup.
Givens, STL (SF, @BUF, MIN, @TB) – Givens is coming on strong
for a rookie receiver and averages 21.2 yards per catch. He’s
a viable deep threat and will get plenty of looks with Danny Amendola
dinged up. While his Week 13 matchup is a difficult one, he should
get loose at least once against the Bills in Week 14.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Mohamed Sanu, CIN (@SD, DAL, @PHI, @PIT) – Sanu is the
unquestioned WR2 for the Bengals now, but he’s got a few
tough matchups on the horizon. Still, he’s been effective
the past few weeks (11 catches for 98 yards and four TDs in his
past three games) and should be considered a decent WR4/flex with
upside moving forward.
Housler, ARI (@NYJ, @SEA, DET, CHI) – The 6-5, 220-pound Housler
had his best game as a pro on Sunday, hauling in 8-82-0 on 11
targets from rookie Ryan Lindley. He’s a low-end TE2 with some
upside in deeper formats if Lindley remains the Cards starting
Britt, TEN (HOU, @IND, NYJ, @GB) – Britt hauled in his second
TD of the season but finished with just 3-25-1 on the day. He’s
a WR4/flex option with upside in 12-team formats.
Alexander, SD (CIN, @PIT, CAR, @NYJ) – Alexander finally cooled
off in Week 12, though he did finish with 5-74-0 in the OT loss
to Baltimore. He’s got a tough matchup in Week 13 and was on the
postgame injury report with a thigh bruise.
Manningham, SF (@STL, MIA, @NE, @SEA) – The former Wolverine
played well on Sunday (5-69-0 on five targets) but didn’t find
paydirt during the blowout win over Chicago. He’s a possession
receiver with marginal upside who could see a few more targets
against the Rams.
Schilens, NYJ (ARI, @JC, @TEN. SD) – Schilens caught two passes
for 28 yards against New England but lost a fumble, negating his
Cooper, PHI (@DAL, @TB, CIN, WAS) –
Off The Top
Clemons, SEA (@CHI, ARI, @BUF, SF) – Clemons doesn’t have
great tackle totals this season, but he’s got 7.5 sacks and four
PD. The Seahawks will come at Jay Cutler with everything they
have and there’s a good shot Clemons has a big day.
Landry, NYJ (ARI, @JAC, @TEN, SD) – Landry is the Jets best
run-stopping option in the defense’s second tier and he’ll probably
see lots of big-play opportunities the next few weeks. Give him
a chance as a DB2.
LB Justin Houston, KC (CAR, @CLE, @OAK, IND) – Houston
is having a breakout year with 46 total tackles, 9.0 sacks, an
INT and four PD. He’s a marginal LB2 but has enormous upside.
LB Anthony Spencer, DAL (PHI, @CIN, PIT, NO) – Spencer has
had two monster games in a row and faces the fledgling Eagles
in Week 13. He’s got 57 total tackles and 6.5 sacks on the
Scouring The Barrel
Houston, DET (IND, @GB, @ARI, ATL) – The Lions best cornerback
will be busy covering Reggie Wayne in Week 13, making him a solid
play in deeper IDP formats as a DB2/flex.
Jones, BAL (PIT, @WAS, DEN, NYG) – With Pernell McPhee (thigh,
knee) inactive again, Jones broke out in Week 12 with five total
tackles (four solos) and 2.0 sacks. He’s a great sleeper play
at this point in the season and benefits from playing alongside
Terrell Suggs on blitzes and passing downs.
Quinn, STL (SF, @BUF, MIN, @TB) – It was a rough week for
my IDP recommendations, starting with Quinn. He and fellow Rams
DE Chris Long got blanked in Week 12 against the Cards – a disappointment
considering the favorable matchup.
Ellerbe, BAL (PIT, @WAS, DEN, NYG) – With six total tackles
(four solos) and a sack, Ellerbe continued his IDP effectiveness.
He’ll see plenty of tackle opportunities in Week 13 against the
DL Brian Robison, MIN (@GB, CHI, @STL, @HOU) – Robison couldn’t
break through the revamped Chicago line and get to Jay Cutler
on Sunday, finishing with just two tackles.
DB Jairus Byrd, BUF (JAC, STL, SEA, @MIA) – Byrd tallied
five solos and an assist in the loss to Indy. He remains a decent
DB2/3 in deeper IDP formats.
DB Stevie Brown, NYG (@WAS, NO, @ATL, @BAL) – The Packers
offense never really got going and Brown picked up just three
LB Craig Robertson, CLE (@OAK, KC, WAS, @DEN) – Robertson
had a slow day (two solos) but added a late fumble recovery to
help out his fantasy owners.