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
Sam Bradford, STL (@TB, @SEA) – Bradford had his best fantasy
game of the season in Week 15, throwing for 377-3-1 and a two-point
conversion in the loss to the Vikings. He’s a low-end QB1
with enormous upside facing the Bucs in a favorable Week 16 matchup.
Ponder, MIN (@HOU, GB) – Adrian Peterson is the straw that
stirs the drink in Minnesota, but Ponder (32 percent owned) will
probably be forced to throw the ball more against the Texans in
Week 16. It’s not an ideal matchup, but if you’re dealing with
uncertainty at the QB position and need to roll the dice in a
deep format, Ponder could be your guy.
Scouring The Barrel
Sanchez, NYJ (SD, @BUF) – While it’s exceedingly difficult
to recommend starting Sanchez (15 percent owned) in anything but
two-QB leagues heading into Week 16, there’s a shot that the embattled
QB turns in a passable performance against a feeble opponent.
Colin Kaepernick, SF (@SEA, ARI) – Kaepernick made some
errors but stepped up his fantasy game Sunday night against the
Patriots. He finished with 216-4-1 and 28 rushing yards. While
he fumbled four times, none ended up in the hands of the opposition.
He’ll have a difficult time against the stifling Seahawks
defense in Week 16.
Locker, TEN (@GB, JAC) –
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (BUF, @NE) – Tannehill had the best
fantasy performance of his young career Sunday, throwing for 220-2-0
with 52 rushing yards and a two-point conversion pass. He lost
a fumble, but owners who needed to rely on Tannehill for one game
got the best they could have hoped for.
Cousins, WAS (@PHI, DAL) – RGIII owners scrambling to find
a last-minute replacement for their stud QB may have gone with
Tannehill, but they might also have turned to Cousins, who was
superb in the win over Cleveland – completing 26 of 37 passes
for 329-2-1 and 22 rushing yards. RGIII should be back next week,
but if he’s not, you could do worse than Cousins.
Off The Top
Woodhead, NE (@JAC, MIA) – With Stevan Ridley struggling to
hold onto the football, Bill Belichick turned to Woodhead (57
percent owned) – whose owners were rewarded with a monster fantasy
day: 61 rushing yards, two TDs and 5-23-0 receiving. His 17 touches
were a season-high, and he could see plenty of action next week
against the Jaguars.
Mike Tolbert, CAR (OAK, @NO) – Tolbert (available in over
80 percent of fantasy leagues) rushed for 40 yards and two TDs
and added 2-24-0 receiving in the win over San Diego. He’s
a decent flex option facing the Raiders in Week 16.
Scouring The Barrel
Brinkley, SD (@NYJ, OAK) – With Ryan Mathews out (broken collarbone),
Ronnie Brown still nursing a hamstring injury and Jackie Battle
being the passing down back, Brinkley could be the main ball carrier
against the Jets. He’s owned in a small fraction of fantasy leagues.
Wilson, NYG (@BAL, PHI) – With Ahmad Bradshaw inactive, Wilson
owners were probably licking their chops, but the rookie failed
to meet the lofty expectations thrust upon him after last week’s
breakout, turning in a mediocre performance (55 rushing yards
on 12 carries, one reception for 11 yards on three targets).
Bell, DET (ATL, CHI) – Bell finished with 24 rushing yards
on seven carries and 2-13-0 on four targets. The Lions couldn’t
get anything going on Sunday against the underrated Cards defense.
Turbin, SEA (SF, STL) – With Marshawn Lynch churning out a
solid fantasy day and Russell Wilson vulturing three rushing TDs
from the Seattle backs, Turbin didn’t do much, rushing for 31
yards on 10 carries and hauling in just one catch for 3 yards.
Grant, GB (TEN, @MIN) – Harris ran well (27 yards on five
carries) but Grant lost a fumble – negating his 32 yards rushing.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND (@KC, HOU) – Over the last five games,
Hilton (75 percent owned) has 20-355-4 receiving and a punt return
TD. The Colts don’t have a great running game so he should
remain a focal point of the offense as they make their playoff
TE Dennis Pitta, BAL (NYG, @CIN) – Pitta (55 percent owned)
is a solid TE1 with upside and is playing at a very high level
right now. He’s coming off his best game of the season (7-125-2)
and has 25-303-5 over his last six games. He should be a big part
of the game plan against the Giants.
WR Leonard Hankerson, WAS (@PHI, DAL) – Hankerson made
the most of his three targets from Cousins with two TD receptions
on Sunday (54, 2). He’s a risky fantasy start with upside
against the Eagles.
Hixon, NYG (@BAL, PHI) – The Giants have a couple decent matchups
in the season’s last two games, first with the struggling Ravens
and then with the reeling Eagles. Hixon can be a reliable receiver
and Eli Manning will probably use him a lot as the Giants try
to edge their way into the playoffs.
Scouring The Barrel
Moeaki, KC (IND, @DEN) – The Chiefs are having a hard time
moving the football and they’re missing Dwayne Bowe – who would
have been the likely beneficiary of the matchup with Indy next
week. Moeaki (5 percent owned) has been quiet this season but
projects as a possible TE2 sleeper in Week 16 as Brady Quinn tries
to find some of that Week 13 magic, when his TE went for 4-54-1.
WR Joseph Morgan, NO (@DAL, CAR) – He’s a very high-risk,
medium-reward option because of his big-play ability, and while
he’s got 167 receiving yards over his last two games, it’ll
be hard to trust him. In the deepest of formats, however, he could
be worth a shot against the Cowboys who are vulnerable to the
big play on third downs.
Maclin, PHI (WAS, @NYG) – Maclin posted 4-73-0 and lost a
fumble during the Thursday night debacle against the Bengals.
Britt, TEN (@GB, JAC) –
Gibson, STL (@TB, @SEA) – Gibson didn’t haul in a TD but finished
with 6-76-0 in the loss to Minnesota. With Danny Amendola back
in the fold, his value takes a dip.
Streater, OAK (@CAR, @SD) – The passing game was an afterthought
against the Chiefs as the Raiders played it safe and pounded Darren
McFadden and relied on Sebastian Janikowski’s leg. Streater had
5-62-0 in the 15-0 win.
Jones, CIN (@PIT, BAL) – Jones didn’t catch any of his four
targets and had 10 yards rushing. As a sleeper pick, he just didn’t
Harbor, PHI (WAS, @NYG) – Harbor had 3-30-0 but lost a fumble
(big surprise, right?). He’s off the fantasy radar for now.
Off The Top
DL Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (SD, @BUF) – Wilkerson has a
favorable Week 16 matchup and has 57 tackles and 4.0 sacks through
13 games. DL is a tough position to find consistency, but Wilkerson
has done a good job in 2012.
LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN (CLE, KC) – Woodyard is rostered
in most IDP leagues but might be found on a few waiver wires because
of his recent injury. He played well in Week 15, compiling five
total tackles and a PD against the Ravens.
DL Derrick Morgan, TEN (@GB, JAC) – Morgan has two excellent
matchups and should be able to notch multiple sacks over the final
two games of the season. He’s a DL2 with upside.
LB Chase Blackburn, NYG (@BAL, PHI) – Blackburn (17 percent
owned) isn’t a high profile LB despite a relatively productive
season (84 total tackles, 3.0 sacks, INT, five PD), and he’s
got a good Week 16 matchup against the Ravens. 8-10 total tackles
is well within reach.
Scouring The Barrel
DeCoud, ATL (@DET, TB) – DeCoud (5 percent owned) stepped
up in Week 15 with William Moore inactive, making five total tackles
and snagging an INT. He’s got a very favorable matchup facing
the turnover-happy Lions and then gets the Bucs in Week 17.
DB Quentin Jammer, SD (@NYJ, OAK) – Jammer (2 percent owned)
isn’t quite as fantasy-relevant as in previous seasons,
but he’s been busy the past few games and with Sanchez and
the Jets on the docket, he’s worth a flier as an IDP sleeper
in Week 16.
LB Bobby Wagner, SEA (SF, STL) – Wagner tallied 12 total
tackles (10 solos) in the Seahawks’ Week 15 win and continues
to be an IDP force.
DB Harrison Smith, MIN (@HOU, GB) – Smith had a season-high
nine solos and added an assist on Sunday in the win over St. Louis.
DL Jabaal Sheard, CLE (@DEN, @PIT) – With three solos and
a sack, Sheard put together a solid Week 15 performance for a
Davis, CAR (OAK, @NO) – Davis had nine solos and an assist,
outscoring even rookie IDP stud Luke Kuechly.
DL Desmond Bryant, OAK (@CAR, @SD) – Bryant made goods on
my promise and contributed a couple solos and a sack in the 15-0
shutout of Kansas City.
DB Reshad Jones, MIA (BUF, @NE) – Jones had just three total
tackles and a PD – a little light on production based on
his recent play.