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 ()
Note: Updates noted
Off The Top
Cutler, CHI (MIN, @PIT, @DET, NO) – Cutler is going
to throw the ball a lot this season and he’s capable of posting
big games. If your QB situation is tenuous, he’s worth a look
– especially in leagues that don’t punish severely for INTs.
Pryor, OAK (JAC, @DEN, WAS, SD) – Pryor’s second NFL
start went swimmingly as he almost pulled off a win against a
Colts team expected by many to compete for an AFC South title.
Scouring The Barrel
Smith, NYJ (@NE, BUF, @TEN, @ATL) – Smith’s downfield
throws looked much sharper than the balls Mark Sanchez has been
delivering for the past few years, but it’s clear he’s a pretty
raw QB. Still, the upside is there and while it might not pay
big dividends in one-QB redrafts in 2013, two-QB leagues and keeper
leaguers should take heed. They need some more parts but the Jets
offense didn’t look nearly as bad as I thought it would.
Flacco, BAL (CLE, HOU, @BUF, @MIA) – Flacco’s 2013
debut left a lot to be desired, from a low completion percentage
(54.8 percent) to a 362-2-2 line that belied a generally weak
offense. Flacco is currently missing a solid possession receiver
who can free up Torrey Smith in the vertical passing game.
Palmer, ARI (DET, @NO, @TB, CAR) – As expected, Palmer
and the Cards took to the air in Week 1 and the veteran QB completed
26 of his 40 attempts for 327 yards and two TDs. Unfortunately,
he threw an INT and lost a fumble, one of two on the day.
Smith, KC (DAL, @PHI, NYG, @TEN) – Smith wasn’t spectacular
in the Chiefs blowout win over Jacksonville but there was a never
a reason for him to get crazy. His 173-2-0 line revealed a conservative
game plan similar to his days in San Francisco. He should be rostered
as a fantasy backup in all leagues.
Freeman, TB (NO, @NE, ARI, BYE) – Score one for Tarkenton.
Freeman wasn’t awful on Sunday but he wasn’t good, throwing for
just 210-1-1 and compiling a 67.9 QB rating. At this point, I’d
prefer Manuel (see below) as my backup.
Manuel, BUF (CAR, @NYJ, BAL, @CLE) – Manuel did a lot
of good things Sunday against a tough Patriots defense, throwing
for 150 yards and two TDs on 18-for-27 passing. He also ran for
23 yards on three carries and could be worthy of a bye week plug-in
when it’s time to do so.
Locker, TEN (@HOU, SD, NYJ, KC) – The Titans didn’t
need to do very much to post a win against the Steelers, who never
got going in Week 1. Locker had just 125 passing yards and didn’t
commit a turnover.
Off The Top
Vereen, NE (NYJ, TB, @ATL, @CIN) – Owned in just 81
percent of Yahoo leagues, Vereen assumed lead running duties after
fumbling woes put Stevan Ridley in Bill Belichick’s doghouse,
promptly running for 101 yards on 14 carries and hauling in seven
catches for 58 yards. Vereen
is out until Week 11 after having surgery on his wrist.
Jackson, BUF (CAR, @NYJ, BAL, @CLE) – Jackson received
a much larger workload than expected on Sunday, finishing with
67 rushing yards and 5-41-0 receiving. Spiller struggled to find
daylight against the Pats but Jackson’s workmanlike approach yielded
some decent chunks of yardage. He should be rostered in all 12-team
leagues and could make a fantasy impact sooner than expected.
Bell, DET (@ARI, @WAS, CHI, @GB) – Bell’s performance
was overshadowed by Reggie Bush’s monster day, but there’s obviously
room for a couple of successful backs in this vaunted Lions offense.
Bell had just six carries for 25 yards, but two were for scores
and the sure-handed back added 5-67-0 for a huge fantasy line.
Bell is worth a start at flex in 12-team leagues and should be
a decent, if sporadic, fantasy contributor this season.
Scouring The Barrel
Thomas, MIA (@IND, ATL, @NO, BAL) – Maybe the Dolphins
weren’t kidding when they said Thomas (eight carries for 14 yards
and a TD) would push Lamar Miller for carries. Stay tuned.
Scott, NYG (DEN, @CAR, @KC, PHI) – Scott is nothing
to write home about but he assumed the entire backfield workload
after David Wilson coughed up two fumbles. Look for the Giants
to pick up one of the several experienced free agent running backs
currently available (Michael Turner, Beanie Wells, Brandon Jacobs,
Tim Hightower, Ryan Torain) but if that doesn’t happen, Scott
could get more work.
Ivory, NYJ (@NE, BUF, @TEN, @ATL) – Ten carries for
15 yards isn’t getting it done. Bilal Powell and Smith had much
better days running the football.
Ingram, NO (@TB, ARI, MIA, @CHI) – I warned a few fantasy
friends not to trust Ingram in Week 1. He had just 11 yards on
nine carries and Pierre Thomas was the superior runner and offensive
weapon. Thomas is worth an add in all 12-team formats.
Pierce, BAL (CLE, HOU, @BUF, @MIA) – As expected, Pierce
got some carries against the Broncos in the season opener but
couldn’t find much running room. It’s a good sign that he toted
the rock nine times and that Rice lined up as a receiver in several
Woodhead, SD (@PHI, @TEN, DAL, @OAK) – :
Just two catches for 16 yards on Monday night. Woodhead did not
have any carries while Ronnie Brown appeared to get the bulk of
third down work. Brown might be the better backup option in San
Diego for now.
Hunter, SF (@SEA, IND, @STL, HOU) – Hunter rushed for
24 yards on six carries Sunday. He remains firmly entrenched as
Frank Gore’s backup and I expect about a 70-30 split in carries
this year between these two – barring injury.
Davis, KC (DAL, @PHI, NYG, @TEN) – Jamaal Charles left
Sunday’s game in the third quarter with a quad injury but team
officials say it’s insignificant. Davis ran for 12 yards on four
carries and caught one pass for 5 yards. Regardless of the Charles
injury, there’s enough inherent risk of further injury to warrant
Davis being owned in all 12-team leagues.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Floyd, ARI (DET, @NO, @TB, CAR) – Floyd contributed
4-82-0 in the loss to St. Louis and he’s a worthwhile pickup if
he’s still out there in your league. The Cards will have no choice
but to throw the ball and Larry Fitzgerald attracts a lot of coverage.
Thomas, DEN (@NYG, OAK, PHI, @DAL) – Even following
the inevitable race to the free agent pool following Thomas’ Thursday
night breakout (5-110-2), the young TE is still available in almost
50 percent of fantasy leagues. A red zone threat this dynamic
should be owned in all leagues. He makes an excellent TE1 play
against the Giants in Week 2.
Randle, NYG (DEN, @CAR, @KC, PHI) – He’s a talented
young athlete but 5-101-0, while encouraging, is about the high
side in terms of yardage output for Randle. If Nicks and Cruz
stay healthy, Randle will have a hard time posting consistent
Hartline, MIA (@IND, ATL, @NO, BAL) – Hartline’s 9-114-1
line is remarkable and it’s repeatable when you consider some
of the Dolphins next few opponents. With Mike Wallace and the
coaching staff off on the wrong foot, Hartline could get the lion’s
share of looks coming his way in the first few games.
Scouring The Barrel
Edelman, NE (NYJ, TB, @ATL, @CIN) – Edelman answered
many of the questions heading into Week 1 by hauling in a pair
of TDs and posting 7-79-2 on the day. It appears he’ll be a fantasy
factor in 2013 after all.
Simpson, MIN (@CHI, CLE, PIT, BYE) – I don’t think
he’ll have too many seven-catch, 140-yard games, but Simpson has
been known to get hot and post decent numbers. He seems to be
on the same page as Christian Ponder, who’s among the league’s
worst starting QBs. Temper your enthusiasm for Simpson if you’re
grabbing him this week.
Winslow, NYJ (@NE, BUF, @TEN, @ATL) – His 7-79-1 line
shows there’s decent rapport between him and the rookie QB, so
Winslow is worth a pickup if you need depth at TE and have room
on your roster.
Britt, TEN (@HOU, SD, NYJ, KC) – Britt had just one
catch for 15 yards in Week 1, but was only targeted twice. Expect
his numbers to improve as he recovers from off-season knee surgery.
Gordon, CLE (@BAL, @MIN, CIN, BUF) – One week down.
He will serve the second game of a two-game suspension in Week
Givens, STL (@ATL, @DAL, SF, JAC) – The Cardinals made
a point of clamping down on Givens (2-27-0) in week 1, only to
be scorched by Jared Cook (7-141-2). While Week 2 might also be
difficult, expect big things from givens in Week 3 against the
Cowboys – who yielded 450 passing yards to Eli Manning on Sunday
Sudfeld, NE (NYJ, TB, @ATL, @CIN) – Sudfeld (hamstring)
laid a fantasy goose egg on Sunday after a massively hyped preseason.
He’s safe to drop in favor of Julius Thomas, if only because Rob
Gronkowski will be back soon.
Floyd, SD (@PHI, @TEN, DAL, @OAK) –
Floyd hauled in just one catch for 47 yards on Monday night and
Rivers had a hard time getting him the ball in the second half
as the Texans defense stepped up its game. Against more vulnerable
defenses, it’s safe to say that Floyd will still be a threat.
Broyles, DET (@ARI, @WAS, CHI, @GB) –
Broyles was inactive on Sunday and his prospects for Week 2 look
bleak. Week 3 might be a more realistic target for his return.
Fleener, IND (MIA, @SF, @JAC, SEA) – Allen caught a
20-yard TD pass and Luck only connected once with Fleener. The
initial outlook favors Allen, especially in the red zone.
Allen (hip) had an MRI after the game that came back negative.
Pagano hopes he can play Sunday versus the Dolphins.
Woods, BUF (CAR, @NYJ, BAL, @CLE) – Woods hauled in
just one catch, but it was an 18-yard score that showed Manuel
will be looking for him in the red zone. Get excited, Bills fans.
Streater, OAK (JAC, @DEN, WAS, SD) – Streater was targeted
a team-high eight times on Sunday and finished with five catches
for 70 yards. He showed good chemistry with Pryor on the shorter
routes and should be the possession receiver of value in the Raiders’
fledgling offense, even if the young QB continues to struggle
to connect with him on deep balls.
Off The Top
Alonso, BUF (CAR, @NYJ, BAL, @CLE) – The rookie linebacker
was an every-down defender against the Pats on Sunday, posting
nine total tackles and recording both a forced fumble and fumble
recovery. He’ll be an effective LB2 in IDP leagues.
Landry, IND (MIA, @SF, @JAC, SEA) – Landry is the DB
to own on the Colts. He had 15 total tackles (10 solos) and a
PD on Sunday.
Quinn, STL (@ATL, @DAL, SF, JAC) – Quinn posted 3.0
sacks in the first game of 2013, going from IDP sleeper to star
in the blink of an eye. I’m not bullish on him repeating that
stat line, but he’s worth a pickup if you’re shallow at DE.
Brinkley, MIN (@CHI, CLE, PIT, BYE) – Brinkley had
eight solos and a PD, but he’s likely to drop in production when
Daryl Washington comes back from his suspension. For now, you
can ride him, but a pickup-and-sell scenario could work.
Scouring The Barrel
Searcy, BUF (CAR, @NYJ, BAL, @CLE) – Searcy went from
roster bubble to starting safety in the wake of the latest Jairus
Byrd injury/drama. He was all over the field in Week 1, notching
nine total tackles, a sack and returning a fumble for a TD. He’s
worth rostering in most IDP formats.
Church, DAL (@KC, STL, @SD, DEN) – Church is the only
DB I’d want to own in Dallas and while the Tampa-2 isn’t usually
the best IDP fit for safeties, Church could get freed up to make
some of the big plays he did in Week 1, when he scampered for
a fumble return TD to go along with eight total tackles and a
Cyprien, JAC (@OAK, @SEA, IND, @STL) – The rookie DB
didn’t make any huge plays, but managed to tally three solo tackles
in Week 1. If he stays on the field and meets expectations this
season, he could be a Top 25 fantasy DB.
Campbell, ARI (DET, @NO, @TB, CAR) – Despite being
questionable (quad) heading into Sunday, Campbell recorded three
solo tackles and remains a solid DL2 in IDP formats.
Liuget, SD (@PHI, @TEN, DAL, @OAK) –
Liuget didn’t get to Matt Schaub on Monday, notching just
two total tackles. He’ll start producing as he eases back
into action from a preseason shoulder injury.
Carter, DAL (@KC, STL, @SD, DEN) – Carter posted nine
total tackles and a sack, flashing some of the brilliance that
have some pegging him as an emerging star in Monte Kiffin’s 4-3.
His projected fantasy output seems to be on the rise.
Reid, SF (@SEA, IND, @STL, HOU) – Reid arrived in a
big way on Sunday, posting seven solo tackles and snaring an INT
in his first NFL game. He also picked off another ball, a free-play
heave by Rodgers that was negated by an offsides penalty. He could
be an IDP stud from day one.
Bostic, CHI (MIN, @PIT, @DET, NO) – Bostic yielded
the starting job to D.J Williams and worked primarily on special
tams Sunday. He’s
safe to drop unless he supplants Williams again.
Fokou, TEN (@HOU, SD, NYJ, KC) – Fokou had six solo
tackles and a fumble recovery ion Sunday and should continue to
see decent IDP numbers as the season progresses.