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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 13
11/26/13 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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.

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 exceptional production.

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

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

Note: Each player’s next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()

Note: Updates are noted in Red.


Off The Top

Alex Smith, KC (DEN, @WAS, @OAK, IND) – The Chiefs are moving the ball down the field a lot better and the defense has weakened considerably, giving Smith (61 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) more value entering a stretch of favorable matchups. Last week, he had his most productive fantasy game of the season throwing for 294-3-1 in the loss to San Diego. He’s worth adding in all 12-team leagues and giving a spot start if you want to make a last-minute crack at the playoffs and don’t have an elite option at QB.

UPDATE: Smith gets no love in weekly rankings, but there’s a good chance he posts QB1 numbers this week at home versus the Broncos. Just saying.

Digging Deeper

Ryan Fitzpatrick, TEN (@IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC) – Fitzpatrick (9 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) has excellent rapport with his receivers and piled up 320-2-0 and 26 rushing yards in Week 12. He’s got a slew of excellent matchups in the season’s final few games and could be an enormous factor in the fantasy playoffs. Don’t sleep on this veteran QB with upside.

Matt McGloin, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Raiders HC Dennis Allen already announced that McGloin (3-5 percent owned) would get the start against Dallas on Thanksgiving, a confidence boost that could help fuel a big game in what promises to be a holiday shootout.

UPDATE: The matchup seems good on paper because of the Cowboys ineffectiveness defending the pass but expect a lot of short dumps to Rod Streater and screens to Rashad Jennings. There are better options, even in two-QB leagues.

Scouring The Barrel

Brandon Weeden, CLE (JAC, @NE, CHI, NYJ) – Weeden (2 percent owned) should get the call in Week 12 but he’ll be a low-end QB2 facing the Jaguars. Brown starter Jason Campbell (head, ribs) left the game early and will have to pass through NFL concussion protocols this week.

UPDATE: Rob Chudzinkski confirmed that Weeden will likely start against the Jaguars on Sunday. Hide the women and children, because that Weeden/Josh Gordon connection is downright electric; it could be a monster day for both of them.

Case Keenum/Matt Schaub, HOU (@NE, @JAC, @IND, DEN) – It’s hard to say who’ll get the start against the Patriots in Week 13 because both Keenum and Schaub (9 percent owned) have had their struggles and we’re not even sure if Gary Kubiak will be the one making the decision because there’s a chance he could be fired this week. In any event, the matchup is actually a favorable one, but it’s probably a situation to avoid.

UPDATE: Keenum gets the nod to start again, though he’ll be on a short lease. He’s not recommended in fantasy.


Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (@BAL, MIA, CIN, @GB) – Even in blustery weather conditions, Big Ben tossed for 217-2-0 – a solid game in the win over Cleveland.

Jay Cutler, CHI (@MIN, DAL, @CLE, @PHI) – The Bears desperately need Cutler (ankle, groin) to get healthy so they can win some football games. While Josh McCown didn’t have a disastrous day, throwing for 352-2-1 with a lost fumble, he doesn’t have the arm strength that makes Cutler a constant threat to go deep to his capable receivers.

Scott Tolzien, GB (@DET, ATL, @DAL, PIT) – Tolzien got benched after a 7-for-17 start, tallying 98 passing yards and 25 yards and a TD on the ground. Matt Flynn will likely start under center on Thanksgiving if Aaron Rodgers remains out.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Bilal Powell, NYJ (MIA, OAK, @CAR, CLE) – Powell (39 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) shouldered the workload after Chris Ivory rolled his ankle in the Week 12 loss to Baltimore. The Jets will probably be without Ivory for at least a couple weeks making Powell an excellent value add in PPR leagues.

UPDATE: The results of Ivory’s Monday MRI haven’t been made public just yet but Powell is already receiving an uptick in Week 13 rankings on major fantasy sites, generally between 18-25 as a solid RB3/flex play.

Digging Deeper

Ronnie Hillman, DEN (@KC, TEN, SD, @HOU) – Hillman (9-18 percent owned) has been a healthy scratch the past few games but with Knowshon Moreno on crutches following Sunday night’s game, the Broncos will need to get carries from somebody other than Montee Ball, who was benched for fumbling.

UPDATE: Hillman will almost certainly be active for Week 13 and may shoulder a moderate, if not heavy workload.

Scouring The Barrel

Brandon Bolden, NE (@HOU, CLE, @MIA, @BAL) – The Patriots offense is filled with fumble bums right now, as both Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount coughed up the ball on Sunday night. Bolden (6 percent owned) rushed for 58 yards and a TD as the Pats feature runner afterwards, while Shane Vereen handled passing down work. For now, Bolden is the best add but Ridley is still the best RB on the team.

UPDATE: The early word out of Boston is that the Pats will work a rotation of Ridley, Bolden and Blount at “big back,” likely knocking guys out as they invariably fumble and infuriate Belichick.

Benny Cunningham, STL (@SF, @ARI, NO, TB) – Cunningham (3 percent owned) ran all over the Bears (13 carries for 109 yards, TD) when starter Zac Stacy left the game early with a concussion. Even if Stacy can’t go next week, Cunningham is a risky flex play against the 49ers tough ruin defense.

UPDATE: Cunningham is the favorite to replace Stacy (concussion) and according to Jeff Fisher, all injured players are being “monitored” for their progress this week.


Rashad Jennings, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Jennings continues to produce (especially in PPR leagues), totaling 73 rushing yards and 4-49-0 in the loss to Tennessee. He’s worth starting as an RB2 facing the Cowboys in Week 13.

UPDATE: Even if Darren McFadden plays on Thanksgiving, he’d likely be used to spell Jennings, not the other way around. Jennings is emerging a Top 10 (low-end RB1) play in Week 13.

Montee Ball, DEN (@KC, TEN, SD, @HOU) – As mentioned above, Ball (57 total yards in Week 12) fumbled on Sunday night but should still be the lead back if Moreno (ankle) can’t go against the Chiefs.

UPDATE: Ball has now lost three fumbles on the season, but he’s a dynamic back and Moreno is still day-to-day with a right ankle injury, called a “significant bone bruise” that leaves him questionable at best for Sunday. C.J. Anderson is a super-deep option but we’re probably looking at a 3/2/1 (Ball/Hillman/Anderson) workload in Week 13.

Donald Brown, IND (TEN, @CIN, HOU, @KC) – Brown laid an egg (two carries, 1 yard; 1-(-2)-0 receiving) in the Colts loss to Arizona as Trent Richardson was healthy enough to play, albeit ineffectively. It’s hard to imagine either back exploding for a big game right now, though Brown (who netted -1 yard on Sunday) has actually looked better in limited work over the past few games.

UPDATE: Despite his paltry usage in Week 12, Brown should still be considered a high-risk/high-reward flex play against Tennessee.

Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE (JAC, @NE, CHI, @NYJ) – Though Ogbonnaya (30 percent owned) was replaced with Fozzy Whittaker for the bulk of Sunday’s tilt with Pittsburgh (a second quarter fumble by Ogbonnaya limited his snaps in the second half), it’s hard to imagine he’ll be in the doghouse for long. He had 41 total yards on six touches, is the most complete back the Browns have, and could be essential to the offense in Week 12 against the Jaguars.

UPDATE: I can’t get behind Willis McGahee or Whittaker, so for now, Ogbonnaya appears to have the most fantasy value , especially in PPR leagues.

Antone Smith, ATL (@BUF, @GB, WAS, @SF) – Despite the fact he’s averaging 33 yards per carry in his last two games, Smith had just one carry in Thursday’s loss to New Orleans. With not much to play for the rest of the season, it wouldn’t hurt to see what the Falcons have in Smith by giving him a healthy workload, would it?

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Julian Edelman, NE (@HOU, CLE, @MIA, @BAL) – Edelman (35-40 percent owned) exploded for 9-110-2 in the stirring comeback victory over Denver, tying for the team lead (Vereen) in targets with 11. You never know what Bill Belichick is thinking, but Danny Amendola didn’t look great and Tom Brady seems to have a better connection with Edelman.

Nate Burleson, DET (GB, @PHI, BAL, NYG) – Burleson played on 72 of the Lions 80 snaps on Sunday, hauling in 7-77-1 on 10 targets in the loss to Tampa Bay. He got a lot of looks out of the slot because Calvin Johnson was covered by Darrelle Revis during all of the first half – before the shutdown corner left the game with a groin injury. Burleson is a must add in all formats.

Digging Deeper

Donnie Avery, KC (DEN, @WAS, @OAK, IND) – Avery (8-18 percent owned) has big-play ability and finished with 4-91-1 on Sunday. If Andy Reid is smart, he’ll be utilized a lot like Edelman was against the Broncos. As I mentioned before, the Chiefs offense seems to be picking up as their defense begins to struggle.

Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN (CHI, @BAL, PHI, @CIN) – Patterson (10-20 percent owned) can also contribute with the big hitter, and his career high of eight receptions on Sunday is a promising sign. He’s worth adding in deeper leagues and could be worth a flex play against the Bears in Week 13.

Scouring The Barrel

Tiquan Underwood, TB (@CAR, BUF, SF, @STL) – The Bucs offense is looking sharp, and Underwood (3-108-2 on five targets Sunday) offers a solid red zone target to complement stud WR1 Vincent Jackson and TE Tim Wright. He’s owned in just 1-2 percent of fantasy leagues and offers decent upside with some inherent risk.

Justin Hunter, TEN (@IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC) – Hunter (6-109-1) is a feast-or-famine rookie WR with a lot to offer fantasy owners if he can get consistent snaps in the Titans offense. He caught all six targets from Fitzpatrick on Sunday and will continue to get some chances against the Colts in Week 13.

UPDATE: Mike Munchak admitted that Hunter has earned more playing time going forward, though he’s still a fantasy crapshoot.


Michael Floyd, ARI (@PHI, STL, @TEN, @SEA) – Floyd caught all seven of his targets for 104 yards on Sunday, but Larry Fitzgerald snagged both Carson Palmer TD passes. Floyd remains a quality WR3/FLEX in 12-team leagues.

Kendall Wright, TEN (@IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC) – Finally, Wright (6-103-1) made a big catch in the red zone as the titans toppled the Raiders in the game’s waning moments. He’s now totaled 65-763-2 on the season, 18th in receiving yardage among WRs and tied with Wes Welker for 7th with 65 catches.

TE Garrett Graham, HOU (NE, @JAC, @IND, DEN) – Graham had 5-32-0, a disappointing stat line in a favorable matchup following his Week 11 breakout. The QB situation in Houston hurts his value.

Rod Streater, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Streater had an okay day with 5-93-0, but lost a fumble. He’s now at 40-600-2 on the season and not bad for a guy who was a fantasy afterthought heading into most drafts.

UPDATE: With Denarius Moore (shoulder) a long shot to play on Thursday, Streater could provide excellent value as a WR3 with upside as long as his hip (which he landed on awkwardly but returned) is okay on short rest.

Jerricho Cotchery, PIT (@BAL, MIA, CIN, @GB) – The Steelers didn’t need Cotchery to beat the Browns in swirling winds and he went without a catch in Week 12. He’s not a great option against Baltimore and is safe to drop in 12-team formats.

TE Mychal Rivera, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Rivera has just one catch for 10 yards and left the game early to be evaluated for a concussion. Stay tuned.

Jarius Wright, MIN (CHI, @BAL, PHI, @CIN) – Wright saw just one target and was held without a catch in Week 12. Not a great week for my barrel picks.


Off The Top

DL Michael Johnson, CIN (@SD, IND, @PIT, MIN) – The Bengals are coming off a Week 12 bye and Johnson is coming off his best game of the season in Week 11. The Chargers may be flying high after their divisional win over the Chiefs but the Bengals pass rush will find ways to get to Philip Rivers.

LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN (@KC, TWEN, SD, @HOU) – Woodyard seems to be recovered from his neck injury, posting 15 total tackles in the OT loss to New England on Sunday night. He’s got another favorable matchup in Week 13 facing the Chiefs.

Digging Deeper

DB Antrel Rolle, NYG (@WAS, @SD, SEA, @DET) – Rolle is about the only defensive back who’s played well for the Giants this season. He’s racked up 62 total tackles, 2.0 sacks, five INT and nine PD and has picks in four of his last five games. He’s a solid DB1 facing the Redskins in Week 13.

DL Cameron Heyward, PIT (@BAL, MIA, CIN, @GB) – Since assuming a bigger role in Week 8, Heyward has 25 total tackles, 3.0 sacks and three PD – awesome numbers for a DL available on most waiver wires.

Scouring The Barrel

DB William Moore, ATL (@BUF, @GB, WAS, @SF) – The Falcons will look to Moore to provide some run-stuffing help against the Bills in Week 13. Thus far, Moore has had a relatively quiet season (61 total tackles, 1.0 sacks, INT, four PD). He’s due for some big plays in Buffalo.

LB Audie Cole, MIN (CHI, @BAL, PHI, @CIN) – Cole, who racked up 13 total tackles and a sack on Sunday, may not get another start at LB once Erin Henderson (personal) returns to the team, but it’s worth noting that Henderson has received poor grades this season. Stay tuned.


DL Julius Peppers, CHI (@MIN, DAL, @CLE, @PHI) – Peppers followed up a huge week with a dud, recording just one solo tackle in the loss to the surging Rams. The Bears had a lot of trouble getting pressure on Kellen Clemens, and couldn’t stop the running game either.

DB Barry Church, DAL (OAK, @CHI, GB, @WAS) – Once again, Church paced the Cowboys with 13 total tackles (eight solos) and leads all defensive backs in the league with 93 total tackles (and 75 solos) on the season.

LB Kevin Burnett, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Burnett had his second-best fantasy performance of the season, recording 11 total tackles, 0.5 sacks and a PD. He remains a steady LB3 with upside.

DB Alterraun Verner, TEN (@IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC) – Raiders QB Matt McGloin managed to protect the ball pretty well, throwing just one pick. Unfortunately, it didn’t go to Verner, who compiled four solo tackles in the last-minute win over Oakland.

LB Brad Jones, GB (@DET, ATL, @DAL, PIT) – Jones had a second-straight big game, piling up 10 total tackles (six solos) and a sack in the OT tie with Minnesota.

DL George Selvie, DAL (OAK, @CHI, GB, @WAS) – The Giants kept Selvie off Eli Manning but couldn’t contain Jason Hatcher, the Cowboys standout DT who had two sacks in the win over New York.