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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 16
12/18/13 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 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.

Digging Deeper

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

Kirk 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.


Joe Flacco, BAL (NE, @CIN) – UPDATE: Justin Tucker was your hero on Monday night and Flacco’s numbers were pretty useless: 222-0-0, 13 rushing yards. He cracked double digits, but the lack of TDs was disappointing.

Ryan 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!

Matt 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 name.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Trent 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. UPDATE: Brown is still “day-to-day” and 50-50 to play right now.

Mike 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.

Digging Deeper

Roy 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. UPDATE: Apparently Bill Belichick is the only coach concerned with multiple fumbles. Morris should get a full workload but with the Cowboys defense giving up so many yards, its possible Helu could mix a few points in as well.

Kendall 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

Matt 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. UPDATE: Willis McGahee expects to return for Sunday’s game with the Jets, effectively eliminating any latent value that Baker had.


Bobby 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.

Daniel 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. UPDATE: Thomas aggravated his left ankle sprain in the fourth quarter but got in some limited work early this week. He’s a low-upside play in a committee against the Bills even if he goes.

Chris 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.

Jordan 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. UPDATE: MJD’s hamstring is improving, but we won’t know if he’s playing until later in the week.

Toby 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 him. UPDATE: No news on the status of Gerhart or Peterson for this week, so you’ll likely have to wait it out.

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 league.

Digging Deeper

Robert 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. UPDATE: Stevie Johnson’s mom died unexpectedly last Saturday and Johnson left after the game to mourn with his family. With football the last thing on his mind, he might be held out of Week 16 – bumping Woods’s value.

Da’Rick 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

Jerrel 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 from defenders. UPDATE: With Victor Cruz (knee, concussion) likely out for the remainder of the season, or at least Week 16, Jernigan will get some looks in the slot. 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 from defenders.

Andre 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 on Sunday.


Julian 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.

Marvin 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. UPDATE: Jones played a lot of snaps in Week 15 and should be involved against a Vikings secondary that’ll focus on stopping A.J. Green.

Rod 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.

TE Jacob 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.

Greg 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.

Doug 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.

DL Olivier 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.

Digging Deeper

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.

LB Jason 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

LB Geno 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. UPDATE: Russell Allen is questionable with a concussion, so Hayes will definitely be pressed upon to deliver.

DB Harrison 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 the season.


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 season.

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 to Arizona.

DL Corey Wootton, CHI (@PHI, GB) – Wootton was a non-factor (one solo) in the win over Cleveland.