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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer


Through The Wire - Week 14
12/3/13

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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 fftoday.com.

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 noted in Red.

Quarterbacks

Off The Top

Jay Cutler, CHI (DAL, @CLE, @PHI, GB) – UPDATE: Cutler (35-60 percent owned) wants to play on Monday night and he’s slated to test out the ankle during Thursday’s practice. If he can suit up and be about 90 percent, he’s better than many of the options that follow.

Eli Manning, NYG (@SD, SEA, @DET, WAS) Other than a big Week 1, Manning has turned in a bunch of fantasy snoozefests this season yet hes still owned in 60-80 percent of fantasy leagues. This is not a rousing recommendation, but if youre hurting for a second QB in Week 14 and Manning (who tossed for 235-1-1 against the Redskins on Sunday night) is somehow available, hes worth a look. But Id lean toward some of the guys mentioned below before I trusted Manning to have a monster game.

Digging Deeper

Mike Glennon, TB (BUF, SF, @STL, @NO) After a veritable stinker against the Panthers in Week 13 (180-0-1, lost fumble) Glennon looks to get on track versus a Bills team thats given up some big games this season to opposing QBs. There are better options out there, but Big Mike (25-40 percent owned) is one of the best that could still be available on the wire.

Scouring The Barrel

EJ Manuel, BUF (@TB, @JAC, MIA, @NE) The rookie made a few bad throws on Sunday, but his receivers dropped a few key passes and fumbled away a couple of opportunities for a win against the Falcons. Manuel finished with 210-1-0 and a rushing TD in his third game back from injury and he heads to Tampa Bay with a chip on his shoulder.

Updates

Alex Smith, KC (@WAS, @OAK, IND, @SD) While I didnt wrestle with the possibility of starting Smith this past week over Tony Romo, it was a brief consideration that I wish Id thought over a bit longer, as Smith threw for 293-2-1 and rushed for 46 yards his third straight solid fantasy performance. He outscored Romo by 10 points for the second straight week, and probably helped a few fantasy teams hurting for a QB into their playoffs. This week hes got another excellent matchup, though the Chiefs will definitely run the ball a lot against Washington.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, TEN (@DEN, ARI, @JAC, HOU) Four turnovers costs Fitzpatrick a decent fantasy line as he threw for 201-1-3 with a lost fumble, 54 rushing yards and a TD on the ground. He should fare better next week trying to keep up with the Broncos juggernaut offense.

Matt McGloin, OAK (@NYJ, KC, @SD, DEN) Despite a favorable matchup, McGloin (255-0-1) was a fantasy dud on Thanksgiving. Hes safe to drop in all formats.

Brandon Weeden, CLE (@NE, CHI, NYJ, @PIT) Fantasy owners who started Weeden capitalized on the young QBs best game of the season, albeit in a loss to Jacksonville. Weeden threw for 370-3-2 with a lost fumble, but I know the 95-yard TD pass to Josh Gordon registered a few bonus points in some leagues. Unfortunately, Weeden is now following NFL protocol for a concussion, possibly leaving the Browns without a healthy, experienced starter for this weeks game against New England if he or Jason Campbell can't go. UPDATE: The Browns signed Caleb Hanie on Tuesday. Yikes.

Case Keenum/Matt Schaub, HOU (@JAC, @IND, DEN, @TEN) Keenum drew another start and threw for 272 passing yards and an INT. His lone TD came on a 5-yard run. While hes got a good matchup in Week 14, the Texans are clearly looking to provide Ben Tate with more opportunities to get in the end zone and could favor a more run-heavy attack.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Joique Bell, DET (@PHI, BAL, NYG, @MIN) Bell (60-85 percent owned) continues to perform well in both PPR leagues and standard-scoring leagues with 435 rushing yards and six TDs to go along with 34-378-0 receiving. Hes a decent flex option in 12-team leagues and had 128 total yards and a score in his most recent game.

Donald Brown, IND (@CIN, HOU, @KC, JAC) Brown is still available in a bunch of leagues and got the start for the Colts Sunday (54 rushing yards, TD; 2-10-0 receiving) over the much-beleaguered Trent Richardson, slamming the door on T-Richs fantasy value and elevating Brown into must-own territory for the final stretch. Hell make a low-end RB2/high-upside flex for Week 14.

Digging Deeper

Willis McGahee, CLE (@NE, CHI, NYJ, @PIT) McGahee found pay dirt for just the second time this year with 54 yards and a score and 2-14-0 receiving. Hes looking like the lead back again for the Browns and is available in about 75-85 percent of fantasy leagues. UPDATE: The Patriots are vulnerable up the middle and McGahee is the goal line back with the most upside right now.

Jonathan Dwyer, PIT (MIA, CIN, @GB, CLE) – UPDATE: If Le’Veon Bell can’t go on Sunday, Dwyer will shoulder most of the workload and be a worthy flex play at home versus the Dolphins. But there’s still a shot Bell will try to play according to Mike Tomlin.

Scouring The Barrel

Knile Davis, KC (@WAS, @OAK, IND) Davis had a 108-yard kickoff return TD, one carry for 20 rushing yards and 2-18-0 receiving on two targets. He could get more second-half work against the Redskins in Week 14 if the Chiefs pull away. UPDATE: While you never want to root for an injury, if anything happened to Jamaal Charles Davis would be an immediate RB2 with upside. He’s a good stash heading into the fantasy playoffs.

Antone Smith, ATL (@GB, WAS, @SF, CAR) After a 38-yard TD run on his only carry in Week 13, Smith now has 145 yards and two TDs on five carries this season for an average of 29.0 YPC. This is getting ridiculous.

Updates

Bilal Powell, NYJ (MIA, OAK, @CAR, CLE) I took some e-mail heat from one reader this past week for jumping to the conclusion on Monday that Chris Ivory (ankle) wouldnt play against the Dolphins. While I may have been premature in writing off Ivory, Powell barely outscored the Jets starter in PPR leagues (8.9 to 8.3) and neither back found the end zone. Either way, both were relative disappointments and only useful as flex plays in the deepest of leagues.

Ronnie Hillman, DEN (@KC, TEN, SD, @HOU) Hillman was another healthy scratch as the Broncos rolled with a healthy-enough (although quite weepy) Knowshon Moreno (ankle) and rookie Montee Ball (55-75 percent owned) backs who combined for 211 total yards of offense.

Brandon Bolden, NE (@HOU, CLE, @MIA, @BAL) Bolden was slated to get the start with Stevan Ridley a healthy scratch (dont get in Bill Belichicks doghouse), but it was LeGarrette Blount (44 rushing yards, TD) who achieved fantasy relevance in the run game during Week 13 while Shane Vereen finished with 38 rushing yards and 5-37-1 receiving.

Benny Cunningham, STL (@SF, @ARI, NO, TB) Zac Stacy (72 rushing yards), who suffered a concussion in Week 12, got the start and Cunningham received just two carries for 16 rushing yards.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Brian Hartline, MIA (@PIT, NE, @BUF, NYJ) The Dolphins passing attack is starting to resemble the group that engendered such excitement in the preseason and Hartline (55-70 percent owned) turned in a solid 9-127-1 effort in the win over the Jets.

Greg Jennings, MIN (@BAL, PHI, @CIN, DET) Lets forget for a second how bad the Vikings looked with Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman at QB. They are 2-1-1 over their last four games and Matt Cassel is capable of getting the ball to Jennings (50-60 percent owned), who finished Sundays OT win with 7-87-1 and was a Top 15 fantasy WR a few years back.

Digging Deeper

Doug Baldwin, SEA (@SF, @NYG, ARI, STL) – UPDATE: After watching Russell Wilson shred the Saints defense on Monday night (and considering the status of Percy Harvin’s balky hip), it makes sense to add Baldwin (15-20 percent owned) heading into a game where the Seahawks will likely throw the ball downfield quite a bit.

Jacoby Jones, BAL (MIN, @DET, NE, @CIN) Jones didnt get tripped up by Mike Tomlin and could be a much bigger part of the offense as the Ravens enter the final stretch of their season and position themselves for a playoff run. Like Ginn below, hes a risky play but could get free for a score or two in the next few games.

Ted Ginn Jr., CAR (@NO, NYJ, NO, @ATL) Ginn is a risky, hit-or-miss fantasy option best utilized in deeper leagues. But the Saints defense gives up some big plays and defends TEs well, meaning Ginn has a shot for big play or two especially considering his added touches on special teams.

Scouring The Barrel

Andre Holmes, OAK (@NYJ, KC, @SD, DEN) Holmes (universally available) broke out with 7-136-0 on 11 targets against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and should see more targets as the Raiders face the Jets this week. Hes a sneaky dynasty and deep-league PPR flex play and could provide some value in daily fantasy leagues.

UPDATE: His value hinges on the availability of Denarius Moore (shoulder), so stay tuned.

Junior Hemingway, KC (@WAS, @OAK, IND) Donnie Avery is bound to be in the doghouse after a sloppy performance on Sunday, opening the door for Hemingway to put up some more numbers (3-42-1 in the loss to Denver). The speedy receiver caught all three of his targets in Week 13.

Updates

Julian Edelman, NE (CLE, @MIA, @BAL) Edelman didnt get in the end zone, but finished with 9-101-0 and a solid fantasy day. Hes a WR3/4 with upside. UPDATE: The injuries keep piling up for the Patriots receivers, making Edelman the healthiest, most attractive offensive option excluding Rob Gronkowski and Shane Vereen.

Nate Burleson, DET (@PHI, BAL, NYG) After a huge Week 12, Burleson was targeted just once on Thanksgiving against Green Bay laid a big ol fantasy goose egg on Turkey Day.

Donnie Avery, KC (@WAS, @OAK, IND) Avery had six targets but just 2-17-0 and a few costly drops. Its possible hell be included in next weeks offensive game plan, but the miscues hurt his chances for another big game.

Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN (@BAL, PHI, @CIN) Patterson only caught one of his four targets for 4 yards on Sunday, but he earned more opportunities with a 33-yard rushing TD. Hes being used as a poor mans Percy Harvin in Minnesota.

Tiquan Underwood, TB (BUF, SF, @STL) Underwood totaled 3-51-0 but the Bucs couldnt get much going in Carolina on Sunday. Next week hell have more chances for big plays.

Justin Hunter, TEN (@DEN, ARI, @JAC) Hunter also disappointed this week, catching just 1-9-0 despite five targets from Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Titans passing game is potent, but Fitzpatrick looks frequently to Kendall Wright and Nate Washington, who combined for 11-158-0 on Sunday.

IDP

Off The Top

DL Jared Allen, MIN (@BAL, PHI, @CIN, DET) Allen isnt the hot commodity he once was in IDP leagues, but hes been a steady contributor over the last few games for the Vikes, totaling 17 total tackles, 1.5 sacks and two PD over his last four games and 39 total tackles, 6.0 sacks and five PD on the season. Hes worth a start or two over the next few weeks in some favorable matchups.

LB Nick Roach, OAK (@NYJ, KC, @SD, DEN) Hes turning it on down the stretch and is emerging as an LB1 in deeper IDP leagues. Roach now has 32 solos, six assists, 4.5 sacks and an INT in his last five games.

Digging Deeper

DB Tracy Porter, OAK (@NYJ, KC, @SD, DEN) The big-play cornerback gets to face the Jets and their uncertain QB situation in Week 14, giving him a shot to do what he does best ballhawk with panache.

LB Zach Brown, TEN (@DEN, ARI, @JAC, HOU) Browns had a rough IDP season but has contributed big numbers his past two weeks (16 total tackles, three PD, INT, sack) and should be a busy man when the Broncos face the tough Tennessee secondary a group that allows the fewest points to opposing WRs. That means Denver will likely run the ball a lot and give Brown plenty of opportunities for tackles.

Scouring The Barrel

DB Nate Allen, PHI (DET, @MIN, CHI, @DAL) With Earl Wolff out in Week 13, Allen stepped up and made a big INT and posted eight total tackles. The Lions offensive approach gives plenty of opportunities to opposing DBs, so Allen as well as cornerback Cary Williams make decent IDP options in Week 14.

DL Kendall Langford, STL (@ARI, NO, TB, @SEA) Langford is available in just about all IDP leagues and has put together a solid season, making 12 solos (one assist) and 3.0 sacks and two PD over his last four games. The Cards give up plenty of points to opposing DL, so a spot-start might be in order in deeper formats.

Updates

DL Michael Johnson, CIN (@SD, IND, @PIT, MIN) Johnson didnt have any sacks but posted three solo tackles a poor line given the tasty matchup.

LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN (@KC, TWEN, SD, @HOU) Woodyard had a solid game, posting five solo tackles, a PD and an INT. Hes regaining LB2 value.

DB Antrel Rolle, NYG (@WAS, @SD, SEA, @DET) Rolle is without question the Giants best defender in the secondary, adding seven tackles and a PD on Sunday night in the win over Washington.

DL Cameron Heyward, PIT (@BAL, MIA, CIN, @GB) Heyward keeps getting it done, posting seven total tackles on Thanksgiving night against Baltimore. Hes one of the most improved defensive players in the NFL.

DB William Moore, ATL (@BUF, @GB, WAS, @SF) Moore missed out on a big pick six late in the second half but did manage to record six total tackles, two PD and a fumble recovery. It was one of his best games of 2013.

LB Audie Cole, MIN (CHI, @BAL, PHI, @CIN) With Erin Henderson out for the second straight week to deal with personal (or DUI-related legal) issues, Cole had another solid game, making nine total tackles and adding a PD.