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
Cutler, CHI (@MIN, GB, @ARI, @DET) – He’s owned in just 62
percent of fantasy leagues and has one of the best arms (and wide
receiver) in the game. The Vikings managed to keep Aaron Rodgers
in check this week, but the Chicago offensive line is actually
better than the Packers line at this point. I expect another solid
game from Cutler next week in Minnesota.
Sam Bradford, STL (@BUF, MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Bradford has
been surprisingly consistent this season despite a young receiving
corps that’s experienced some minor tumult. He’s available
in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and could be a decent option
against the Bills in Week 14 and the Bucs in Week 16 – championship
week for most formats. And I know, I know – while it’s
hard to imagine a team taking down a fantasy title with Bradford
at the helm, there are still plenty of leagues out there where
a Week 16 win is worth something other than the top prize.
Brandon Weeden, CLE (KC, WAS, @DEN, @PIT) – Weeden is owned
in about 25-30 percent of fantasy leagues and is coming off a
relatively impressive performance in the Black Hole. He racked
up 364-1-2 and could turn in even better numbers against the Chiefs
in Week 14.
Foles, PHI (@TB, CIN, WAS, @NYG) – The Eagles are a mess,
but Foles has a strong arm and they’ve got nothing to lose at
this point. In two-QB leagues, I can see giving Foles a shot against
Scouring The Barrel
Brady Quinn, KC (@CLE, @OAK, IND, @DEN) – The Chiefs’
organization experienced a devastating tragedy this weekend and
played with heavy hearts on Sunday, managing to win their football
game. Quinn was masterful, throwing for 201-2-0 on 19-for-23 passing.
He also delivered a must-hear postgame speech on the importance
of eschewing social media and handheld electronic devices –
things that sometimes keep us from noticing how things are going
with those we spend our actual lives around. Quinn (who’s
available in about 97 percent of fantasy leagues) showed poise
both on the field and off on Sunday, and in my mind, his stock
as a football player – and as a person – went up dramatically.
McElroy, NYJ (@JAC, @TEN, SD, @BUF) – In a hilarious turn
of events, Mark Sanchez was shown the bench after multiple INTs
and McElroy was named the player of the game in the Jets 7-6 victory
over the Cards.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (STL, SEA, @MIA, NYJ) – Fitzpatrick
enjoyed another okay game thanks to a rushing TD, but he only
threw for 112-2-1 as the Bills focused on a successful ground
Russell Wilson, SEA (ARI, @BUF, SF, STL) – Wilson had his
best fantasy game of the season, finishing with 293-2-0 and 71
rushing yards. The rookie has now thrown for 2,344-19-8 and has
298 rushing yards on the season.
Jake Locker, TEN (@IND, NYJ, @GB, @IND) – Locker got roughed
up by the Texans aggressive defense, losing two fumbles and throwing
for 309-1-3. He’s got a much more favorable matchup in Week
Off The Top
Jonathan Dwyer, PIT (SD, @DAL, CIN, CLE) – Dwyer (72 percent
owned) is a risky start moving forward but he runs with purpose
and was impressive in the victory over the Ravens. He’s
a grinder with competition for touches but plenty of fantasy upside
as a low-end RB2.
Vick Ballard, IND (TEN, @HOU, @KC, HOU) – Ballard is owned
in about two thirds of fantasy leagues and turned in his best
performance of the season to date, rushing for 41 yards and a
TD on nine carries and contributing 3-21-0 receiving. He’s
a low-end RB2 and decent flex option.
Starks, GB (DET, @CHI, TEN, @MIN) – I was this close to including
Starks (40 percent owned) in my column last week but decided to
leave him out at the last minute. Not. Good. He had 84 total yards
and a TD, his best game since the 2010 postseason. Editor's
Note: Starks suffered a knee injury in Week 13
and is likely to be put on IR. Alex Green will be the starting
RB moving forward.
Powell, NYJ (@JAC, @TEN, SD, @BUF) –
Scouring The Barrel
Casey, HOU (@NE, IND, MIN, @IND) – He qualifies as a running
back and has two TDs in his last three games. Casey (6 percent
owned) gets used a lot in the red zone and could be worth a look
as a flex option in deeper formats – especially TD-only and PPR
Owens, JAC (NYJ, @MIA, NE, @TEN) –
Bush, CHI (@MIN, GB, @ARI, @DET) – Forte was good to go on
Sunday and Bush – relegated to a backup/situational role – finished
with just 39 rushing yards on seven carries.
Brown, PHI (@TB, CIN, WAS, @NYG) – With a second straight
monster performance, Brown will be gone from the balance of waiver
wires after this week. He had 169 rushing yards and two TDs plus
4-14-0 receiving, but his lost fumble complicates his usage moving
forward. Still – he’s been a revelation for fantasy owners.
Wells, ARI (@SEA, DET, CHI, @SF) – Wells had 15 carries for
just 22 yards and no receptions. He’s not a great option facing
the Seahawks this week.
Jennings, JAC (NYJ, @MIA, NE, @TEN) – Jennings had just eight
carries for 20 yards and no catches, yielding more touches than
expected to Montell Owens.
Moreno, DEN (@OAK, @BAL, CLE, KC) – Moreno turned in a moderate
PPR performance, tallying 69 rushing yards on 20 carries and 4-14-0
Vereen, NE (HOU, SF, @JAC, MIA) – The Pats didn’t need Vereen
much on Sunday, as he carried the ball just three times for 14
Wilson, NYG (NO, @ATL, @BAL, PHI) –
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Myers, OAK (DEN, KC, @CAR, @SD) – Myers exploded for 14-130-1
on Sunday and has some favorable matchups in the season’s last
four weeks. He’s a bona fide TE1 who’s a fantasy force to be reckoned
Tate, SEA (ARI, @BUF, SF, STL) –
Avery, IND (TEN, @HOU, @KC, HOU) – I believed the hype on
Ryan Broyles (absent from my column but touted on others) and
started him over Avery (38 percent owned) in one of my home leagues.
Clearly, it was a crucial mistake, as Avery turned in 5-91-2,
including the game winner as time expired. He’s a shifty receiver
with tons of ability and fantasy upside.
Hawkins, CIN (DAL, @PHI, @PIT, BAL) – I can’t see starting
Hawkins (34 percent owned) in Weeks 16 or 17, but the next two
games could be huge for the Bengals’ second receiver. He’s finally
healthy and as long as he doesn’t have a setback with his knee,
should contribute against both the Cowboys and Eagles.
Scouring The Barrel
Jean, HOU (@NE, IND. MIN, @IND) – Jean finally broke out with
a huge TD catch in Week 13, but it was his only target of the
day. I could see him being used a lot more against the Patriots,
but he’s still a major risk – even in deeper formats.
Thomas, DET (@GB, @ARI, ATL, CHI) –
Bess, MIA (@SF, JAC, BUF, @NE) – Bess had his worst game of
the season – one catch for 13 yards. It wasn’t a good week for
my WR picks.
Garcon, WAS (BAL, @CLE, @PHI, DAL) –
Jones, BUF (STL, SEA, @MIA, NYJ) – Jones was hit with the
questionable tag and missed Week 13 with a calf injury.
Givens, STL (@BUF, MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Finally, something to
get excited about. Givens was a PPR surprise, hauling in 11-92-0.
He’s worth starting as a WR3 in Week 14 against the Bills.
Sanu, CIN (DAL, @PHI, @PIT, BAL) – Sanu was a mid-week scratch
after a Thursday foot injury (stress fracture) and is out for
the rest of the season.
Housler, ARI (@SEA, DET, CHI, @SF) – Housler had just 4-15-0
and couldn’t break through the Jets stifling defense in the red
Off The Top
DL Cliff Avril, DET (@GB, @ARI, ATL, CHI) – Avril has sacks
in three straight games and while he’s battled injuries
and is more of a situational pass rusher, he plays with intensity
and should be able to get to Aaron Rodgers in Week 14.
Dunbar (@BUF, MIN, @TB, @SEA) – MLB James Laurinaitis steals
much of the spotlight among St. Louis LBs, but Dunbar has had
an excellent 2012 campaign (80 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, INT,
three PD). The word is out, but he’s still available in plenty
of IDP formats.
DB Jordan Babineaux, TEN (@IND, NYJ, @GB, JAC) – You won’t
find a more favorable schedule in weeks 14-17 than the one for
Tennessee DBs, and Babineaux is the most overlooked of the bunch.
He’s a steady tackler and decent DB3.
Williams, SD (@PIT, CAR, @NYJ, OAK) – The pick six in Week
13 helped out fantasy owners who gave Williams a shot with Donald
Butler out. If Butler can’t go in Week 14, Williams will once
again be a solid option. Stay tuned.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Janoris Jenkins, STL (@BUF, MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Jenkins
keeps making big plays for the Rams and is among the top IDP rookie
performers in the game. He’s worth rolling out versus the
Bills in Week 14 as a high-risk/high-reward option since Fitzpatrick’s
been much more careful with the football lately.
DL Corey Liuget, SD (@PIT, CAR, @NYJ, OAK) – A run-stopping
DE with some fantasy upside, Liuget has improved his game dramatically
in 2012 and is worth starting in deeper IDP formats in the coming
DL Chris Clemons, SEA (ARI, @BUF, SF, STL) – Another epic
goose egg from a guy who’s as hard to predict as any DL
in football. It’s hard to say how and why he didn’t
register at least one tackle.
Landry, NYJ (@JAC, @TEN, SD, @BUF) – Landry had two solos,
an assist, a PD and an INT. He’s a solid DB2.
LB Justin Houston, KC (@CLE, @OAK, IND, @DEN) – Three solos
and a sack in the win over Carolina. Not terrible.
LB Anthony Spencer, DAL (@CIN, PIT, NO, @WAS) – Spencer
tallied eight total tackles and a PD – a good outing for
an IDP sleeper.
DB Chris Houston, DET (@GB, @ARI, ATL, CHI) – Houston wasn’t
that great on Sunday against the Colts but had six total tackles
Jones, BAL (@WAS, DEN, NYG, @CIN) – Jones was a solid Week
13 sleeper call, registering three solos, an assist and a sack
in the loss to Pittsburgh.