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 two matchups are listed in parentheses ()
Off The Top
Jay Cutler, CHI (@PHI, GB) – Cutler made some errors but
got a win in his first game back since injuring his ankle, throwing
for 265-3-2. He’s got a great Week 16 matchup.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, TEN (@JAC, HOU) – The bearded wonder
connected for 402-4-2 and added 22 rushing yards in the OT loss
to Arizona. He’s getting it done for fantasy owners and
should be worth a look in Week 16.
Scouring The Barrel
Cousins, WAS (DAL, @NYG) – Cousins isn’t a bad QB and can
definitely help fantasy owners facing the Cowboys swiss-cheese
defense in Week 16. I’d consider him a Top 10 fantasy play at
home versus the struggling Dallas secondary.
Flacco, BAL (NE, @CIN) –
Tannehill, MIA (@BUF, NYJ) – Tannehill had his best game of
2013 with 312 passing yards and three TDs. It was a good week
to play the guy and Week 16 isn’t too shabby either!
Cassel, MIN (@CIN, DET) – Cassel’s monster performance (382-2-1,
rushing TD) made him the fifth-highest scoring QB of Week 15.
In fact, here were the Top 10 QBs, in order (standard scoring):
Alex Smith, Nick Foles, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Flynn, Matt Cassel,
Ryan Tannehill, Kirk Cousins, Jay Cutler, Tom Brady, EJ Manuel
– further proof that QB value doesn’t have to come from a big
Off The Top
Richardson, IND (@KC, @JAC) – Richardson (70-80 percent owned)
had a good game on Sunday (64 rushing yards, 4-38-1 receiving
– his best of the season) after Donald Brown left the game early
with a stinger. If Brown remains out, look for T-Rich to produce
against the Chiefs.
Tolbert, CAR (NO, @ATL) – Tolbert gets looks at the goaline,
so he’s a decent flex play against the Saints – a defense that’s
been having problems lately. You can’t expect a monster game from
somebody who only gets 5-15 touches per game, but the matchup
isn’t a bad one.
Helu, WAS (DAL, @NYG) – Alfred Morris lost a couple of fumbles
in Week 15 and should yield a few touches this week to Helu –
the better passing down back. 50-60 total yards and a score are
entirely possible in this matchup.
Hunter, SF (ATL, @ARI) – Hunter had eight carries for 40 yards
and scored a defensive TD when he took a fumble into the end zone.
Expect 10-15 touches for Hunter facing the Falcons, who will likely
have a hard time putting up points on the Niners.
Scouring The Barrel
Asiata, MIN (@CIN, DET) – Asiata’s three TDs were nice, but
he’ll only have value in Week 16 if both Gerhart and Peterson
remain out. Stay tuned.
Edwin Baker, CLE (@NYJ, @PIT) – Baker took advantage of his opportunity
in Week 15 but the Jets run defense is among the best in the league.
I’d stay away unless there’s nobody else.
Rainey, TB (@STL, @NO) – Rainey couldn’t find running room
against the 49ers (11 carries, 27 yards) and only saw one target
in the passing game. The Bucs were never really in this game during
the second half.
Thomas, MIA (@BUF, NYJ) – Thomas had just 16 rushing yards
but a 2-yard TD reception on his lone target made him a worthwhile
flex play in the Week 15 win over New England.
Ogbonnaya, CLE (@NYJ, @PIT) – Ogbonnaya struggled for just
7 rushing yards on five carries, but his 5-39-0 receiving line
meant he wasn’t a complete bust in PPR leagues.
Todman, JAC (TEN, @IND) – With MJD out, Todman rushed for
109 yards on 25 carries and added 4-44-0 on eight targets. He’s
a worthwhile play again in Week 16 if MJD remains sidelined.
Gerhart, MIN (@CIN, DET) – Both Gerhart and Adrian Peterson
were inactive on Sunday, clearing the way for a monster fantasy
performance from Matt Asiata, who churned out 51 yards on a whopping
30 carries, scored three rushing TDs and added 3-15-0 in the passing
game. It was an unexpected but fruitful plug-n-play if you deployed
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR/TE Tim Wright, TB (@STL, @NO) – Wright hauled in 7-82-1
in the loss to San Fran, making him once again fantasy–relevant.
He’s still a risky play, but there’s just not a lot
available on the wire at WR in most formats and Wright can possibly
be deployed as a TE depending on positional eligibility in your
Woods, BUF (MIA, @NE) – Woods scored in Week 15 (5-82-1 on
six targets) and is developing some rapport with his fellow rookie,
EJ Manuel. He’s a borderline WR4 play with some upside.
Rogers, IND (@KC, JAC) – Rogers was quiet in Week 15 (2-23-0)
but saw six targets from Andrew Luck. He’ll be much more involved
facing the Chiefs in Week 16 and has a solid matchup as the No.
2 WR in the Colts offense.
Scouring The Barrel
Jernigan, NYG (@DET, WAS) – With Victor Cruz likely out for
the remainder of the season, Jernigan will get some looks. He
had 7-67-0 on eight targets Sunday and should be part of the game
plan with Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle getting lots of attention
Caldwell, DEN (@HOU, @OAK) – Caldwell snagged a couple of
TD passes (6-59-2) and outscored his fellow Denver WRs in the
Thursday night loss. He’s hit-or-miss but could see a few targets
Edelman, NE (@BAL, BUF) – Edelman’s monster 13-139-1 performance
helped a lot of teams seal crucial fantasy playoff victories.
Excluding weeks 5-11 when he struggled with a nagging thigh injury,
he’s the Pats’ most consistent receiver this season.
Jones, CIN (MIN, BAL) – Jones had 5-48-1 in the loss to Pittsburgh
on Sunday night but he certainly came through for fantasy owners
who deployed him at WR3/flex.
Streater, OAK (@SD, DEN) – Andre Holmes caught a TD pass and
Streater was held to 4-59-0 in the loss to Kansas City. Still,
Streater’s racked up a lot of yardage and has a shot at 1,000
on the season.
Tamme, DEN (@HOU, @OAK) – I offered that the likely beneficiary
from Welker’s absence would be Tamme or Andre Caldwell and it
turned out to be Caldwell, who caught six of his 10 targets for
59 yards and two scores in the loss to San Diego on Thursday.
Jennings, MIN (@CIN, DET) – I mentioned last week that Jennings
would likely see more targets and post big numbers, and 11-163-1
certainly qualifies as big-time.
Baldwin, SEA (ARI, STL) – With Harvin out again, we were treated
to another solid week for Baldwin (6-71-1). Let’s say this: If
you read my WR recommendations and updates and plugged somebody
in, you probably did well.
Off The Top
DB Barry Church, DAL (@WAS, PHI) – Church’s recipe
for IDP success is pretty simple – when the Dallas front
seven fails to make a stop, clean it up. When the middle of the
field is wide open because the Cowboys defense is leaving it wide
open, close it and make the stop. He’s coming off an 11-tackle
game (eight solos) and now has 120 stops on the season.
Vernon, MIA (@BUF, NYJ) – Vernon has 50 total tackles and
11.5 sacks on the season and he faces the Bills in Week 16. If
he’s still available in your league, he might be worth a plug-n-play.
DL Sheldon Richardson, NYJ (CLE, @MIA) – While many IDP
leagues prevent defensive players from scoring offensive touchdowns,
there’s more than a few leagues that see nothing wrong with
a DL vulturing a TD here and there. Richardson is a dynamic rookie
DL who’s being used at the goal line once in a while. He
scored his first career TD on Sunday with a one-yard plunge. He
also had four total tackles, giving him 70 on the season.
Worilds, PIT (@GB, CLE) – Worilds is making big plays for
the Steelers (60 tackles, 7.0 sacks this season) and is starting
at OLB. With LaMarr Woodley injured yet again, he’ll likely rack
up some decent numbers against the Packers in Week 16.
Scouring The Barrel
Hayes, JAC (TEN, @IND) – Geno’s stepped up his play this season
and remains a decent LB4. Give him a go against the Titans – he
had 11 tackles against them in Week 10.
Smith, MIN (@CIN, DET) – Smith, who was on IR and designated
for return, was back on the field for the Vikings in Week 15 (eight
total tackles) and should be a quality DB2 for the remainder of
LB Bobby Wagner, SEA (ARI, STL) – Wagner had 10 total tackles
(eight solos) and 1.5 sacks in the shutout win over the Giants.
DB John Cyprien, JAC (TEN, @IND) – Cyprien ended up getting
scratched because of a thigh injury but remains a solid dynasty
DB in IDP formats.
LB Paul Worrilow, ATL (@SF, CAR) – Worrilow had nine total
tackles on Sunday, giving him 108 stops on the season. It’s
truly amazing how he’s come on in the second half of the
DL George Selvie, DAL (@WAS, PHI) – Selvie had a good game
against the Packers with six total tackles (five solos) and a
sack. He’s an important part of the Cowboys pass rush.
DB Michael Griffin, TEN (@JAC, HOU) – Griffin had a relatively
quiet game (no big plays) but tallied seven tackles in the loss
DL Corey Wootton, CHI (@PHI, GB) – Wootton was a non-factor
(one solo) in the win over Cleveland.