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: Tuesday updates
highlighted in RED.
Off The Top
Bradford, STL (@DAL, SF, JAC, @HOU) – With the addition
of Tavon Austin, Jared Cook and the development of Austin Pettis
and second-year receiver Chris Givens, Bradford (47 percent owned
in Yahoo leagues) is establishing himself as a reliable fantasy
contributor. He’s also got weapons in the backfield, and Sunday
he threw for 352 yards and three TDs on 32-for-55 passing. While
he faced a lot of pressure and did throw an interception that
turned into an Osi Umenyiora pick six, it wasn’t on him, as it
bounced off Daryl Richardson’s hands and gift-wrapped itself for
the veteran DE. It’s clear the Rams are relying on his arm this
Rivers, SD (@TEN, DAL, @OAK, IND) – Rivers, who a few
years ago was a darling of the roto-community, dropped out of
the QB1 radar heading into 2013 but has quickly reestablished
himself this season as capable of putting up huge fantasy numbers.
He tossed for 419-3-0 in a 33-30 win over the Eagles and now has
seven TDs to just one INT on the season. He’s owned in just 38
percent of fantasy leagues and has a relatively easy road the
next few games. If you’re an Andrew Luck (@SF, @JAC, SEA) owner,
the next three games will be tough going and Rivers could offer
a viable alternative.
Scouring The Barrel
Tannehill, MIA (ATL, @NO, BAL, BYE) – Like Rivers,
Tannehill (15 percent owned) has a favorable schedule over the
next few games and is settling into his role as the leader of
the Miami offense. While his numbers aren’t off the charts, he’s
much more poised than a year ago and will make a decent bye week
fill-in if he continues to improve.
Cutler, CHI (@PIT, @DET, NO, NYG) – Cutler turned the
ball over thrice (two INT, one lost fumble), but threw for 290
yards and three TDs on 28-for-39 passing. He’s a borderline QB1
in 12-team formats – an extreme risk-reward fantasy option.
Pryor, OAK (@DEN, WAS, SD, @KC) – Pryor couldn’t get
much going against the Jaguars on Sunday, a team so bad it seems
to suck the life out of opponents. He’s a risky week-to-week fantasy
Smith, NYJ (BUF, @TEN, @ATL, PIT) – His 27.6 QB rating
in Week 2 tells you pretty much everything you need to know about
his 214-0-3 performance.
There are folks within
the Jets organization calling for backup QB Matt Simms to get
his shot. I’m not surprised, since this kind of chatter
is expected from the Jets brass and because folks desperately
want one of Phil Simms’ kids to succeed in the NFL.
Off The Top
Moreno, DEN (OAK, PHI, @DAL, JAC) – Moreno (53 percent
owned) gashed the Giants defense for 93 rushing yards and two
TDs on just 13 carries in Week 2, adding 3-14-0 receiving. He’s
emerged as the most reliable backfield contributor in Denver and
should get the bulk of work going forward.
Pierce, BAL (HOU, @BUF, @MIA, GB) – Pierce is owned
in just 45 percent of leagues despite being the primary backup
in a rush-centered offense. He was questionable heading into the
game but ran for a TD and took over primary duties when Ray Rice
was injured in the fourth quarter after falling to ground without
being touched. Rice was taken to the locker room to be examined
by medical personnel, and his status for Week 3 isn’t certain,
making Pierce a nifty waiver wire pickup.
Rice is day-to-day
and questionable for the matchup with the Texans. Ravens HC John
Harbaugh confirmed that Pierce will be the man as long as Rice
can’t suit up. Even if Rice is active, I think Pierce makes
a decent RB3/FLEX option.
Powell, NYJ (BUF, @TEN, @ATL, PIT) – The Jets offense
may be putrid, but Powell has been getting a steady workload (25
carries and 10 targets through two games) and Monday night accumulated
70 total yards and a score. He’s owned in about 35 percent of
league and could provide some value as a flex play in 12-team
Starks, GB (@CIN, BYE, DET, @BAL) – Starks (9 percent
owned) rushed for 132 yards and a TD on 20 carries and caught
five passes for 36 yards in relief of Eddie Lacy (concussion)
on Sunday. He’ll be hard-pressed to repeat those numbers against
the Bengals next week, and a Week 4 bye means Lacy might be back
in the saddle before long. Still – a head injury is a head injury,
so snag Starks if he’s available.
Lacy could miss multiple
games although his concussion doesn’t appear to be season-ending.
The Packers have said they are not adding a back. It’s Starks’
job for now.
Scouring The Barrel
Reece, OAK (@DEN, WAS, SD, @KC) – Reece signed a three-year
contract extension with the Raiders on Friday and ran twice for
15 yards and a TD in the 19-9 win over Jacksonville Sunday. If
anything should happen to Darren McFadden, he’ll get a heavier
Snelling / Jacquizz
Rodgers, ATL (@MIA, NE, NYJ, BYE) – Rodgers (21 percent
owned) and Snelling (0 percent owned) relieved Steven Jackson
after the veteran back injured his thigh on an eight-yard TD reception.
While Rodgers received 11 carries to Snelling’s two, the latter
ran for a TD and two more yards (19) and caught 4-41-0 to Rodgers’
4-28-0 receiving line. While Jackson will probably be okay and
there’s not a lot of upside to either Snelling or Rodgers, the
injury (and Jackson’s age) adds some cause for concern.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
reports that Jackson is “uncertain” for Week 3; the
Falcons are likely to throw the ball a bit more and split snaps
between Snelling (short-yardage and goal-line) and Rodgers (early
and some passing downs).
Vereen, NE (TB, @ATL, @CIN, NO) – He’s done until Week
11 at the earliest.
Jackson, BUF (@NYJ, BAL, @CLE, CIN) – Jackson toted
the rock 12 times and was on the field for several crucial plays
on Sunday. He had 30 rushing yards, a TD and caught 4-23-0 in
the win over Carolina. Spiller may be the big-pay back, but Jackson
appears to have earned the respect of new coach Doug Marrone with
his workmanlike approach and reliability on third down.
Bell, DET (@WAS, CHI, @GB, @CLE) – He didn’t score,
but 72 total yards and five receptions is nothing to scoff at
in PPR formats. His value increases if Reggie Bush (dislocated
thumb, bruised hip, groin strain) misses any time.
Bush's Monday MRI confirmed
there is no structural damage to his left knee and he’s
expected to be listed as questionable heading into the weekend.
Thomas, MIA (ATL, @NO, BAL, BYE) – Thomas had 40 total
yards and remains a change-of-pace option in Miami. He’s a fantasy
Scot, NYG (@CAR, @KC, PHI, @CHI) – A mid-week injury
didn’t keep him out but the Giants signing of Brandon Jacobs and
Tom Coughlin’s insistence that David Wilson is the go-to back
means Scot has little value. Fortunately for owners who started
him in Week 2, Scott got a garbage time TD as he caught 4-30-1
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Hopkins, HOU (@BAL, SEA, @SF, STL) – Wow. Hopkins went
HAM on the Texan’s game-tying drive and caught a short TD pass
to clinch victory in a comeback win over the Titans. The 2013
first-round selection finished with 7-117-1 and could be an effective
WR2/3 going forward. He should be added in all formats.
Royal, SD (@TEN, DAL, @OAK, IND) – The speedy slot
man caught 7-90-3 in the win over the Eagles, proving Week 1’s
multi-TD game was no fluke. I’m just sorry it took me a week to
notice how enamored Rivers has been with the 5-10, 185-pound Royal
(20 percent owned). He’s worth adding in all formats.
Wright, TEN (SD, NYJ, KC, @SEA) – While fantasy owners
focused on the possible resurgence of uber-talent Kenny Britt,
Wright eluded most drafts. On Sunday, he showed how shrewd a pickup
he could be, hauling in 7-54-1 on 11 targets. Wright (17 percent
owned) appears to be a favorite of Jake Locker in an offense that’s
more committed to throwing the ball – a good combination for fantasy.
Scouring The Barrel
Pettis, STL (@DAL, SF, JAC, @HOU) – Pettis posted 8-78-1
in Week 2, solid once you consider that Austin caught two TD passes
and Givens finished with over 100 receiving yards. He’s nearly
universally available and could provide some value in deeper formats,
especially PPR leagues. The rub is that Jared Cook was absent,
meaning he attracted a lot of the LB coverage while Pettis attacked
from the slot.
Ginn Jr. CAR (NYG, BYE, @ARI, @MIN) – Ginn is a deep
threat who offers some value in leagues that give points for return
yardage and heavily reward big plays. He’s markedly inconsistent
as a fantasy contributor but was targeted eight times by Cam Newton
en route to a 3-62-1 receiving line to go along with 100 total
Floyd, ARI (@NO, @TB, CAR, @SF) – Floyd caught just
three of seven targets Sunday for 22 yards, a disappointing fantasy
performance after a promising Week 1. He’s a borderline WR3 with
Thomas, DEN (OAK, PHI, @DAL, JAC) – Thomas backed up
his Week 1 breakout with 6-47-1 on nine targets from Peyton Manning.
He should be started at TE with confidence in all formats.
Randle, NYG (@CAR, @KC, PHI, @CHI) – Randle saw nine
targets on Sunday but caught just 3-14-0. The Broncos defense
was just too much for Eli Manning and the Giants.
Hartline, MIA (ATL, @NO, BAL, BYE) – A 5-68-0 line
(eight targets) is a decent follow-up to his monster Week 1 stats
but it’s didn’t help fantasy owners this week. Hartline is a good
complement to the big-play ability of Mike Wallace.
Edelman, NE (TB, @ATL, @CIN, NO) – 18 targets, 13 catches
for 78 yards. PPR maven, standard-scoring crap shoot. That’s the
scoop on Edelman.
Simpson, MIN (CLE, PIT, BYE, CAR) – Simpson had 2-49-0
on five targets Sunday. He’s a week-to-week option at flex in
Winslow, NYJ (BUF, @TEN, @ATL, PIT) – Winslow couldn’t
get off the blocks against the Pats in Thursday night but neither
could anybody else in the Jets offense. In certain matchups, he
could have value; it’s just going to be very hard to tell when
to trust him.
Off The Top
Jordan, NO (ARI, MIA, @CHI, @NE) – Jordan is the Saints
best pass rusher and could have a breakout year for a defense
that looks a lot like the ’09 version. He’s got a very favorable
schedule coming up, is a great DL2 option, and is worth a look
Foster, TB (@NE, ARI, BYE, PHI) – I picked up Foster
in one relatively deep league (12-team; DL, LB, DB, D-flex, D-flex
starters) but didn’t start him in Week 2, opting for Green Bay
LB Brad Jones at the last flex spot instead. Big mistake. The
third-year LB went off for seven tackles, two PD and an INT returned
85 yards for a TD. If he’s somehow available, he’s worth picking
up, as he’s clearly matured as an MLB and could challenge Lavonte
David’s IDP numbers this season.
Mathieu, ARI (@NO, @TB, CAR, @SF) – Honey Badger don’t
care if he wasn’t on too many IDP draft boards in August, because
a late surge in camp made him an IDP sleeper and so far he’s made
some big stops for the Cards as a valued member of their secondary.
He’s got 13 solos, a forced fumble and a PD through two games.
Hayes, JAC (@SEA, IND, @STL, @DEN) – Hayes, an SLB
in the Jags 4-3, is manning the field on all three downs and has
surpassed WLB Russell Allen. Hayes had 10 total tackles (seven
solos) to lead the Jags in Week 2 against Oakland
Scouring The Barrel
McLeod, STL (@DAL, SF, JAC, @HOU) – McLeod is the starting
free safety for the Rams, and he’s got 12 tackles through two
games. He’s only an option in deeper formats, but he’s been largely
ignored and could post solid numbers this season.
Hatcher, DAL (STL, @SD, DEN, WAS) – Hatcher is doing
from the 4-3 the kind of work that Jay Ratliff used to do from
the NT spot in the Dallas 3-4. The key is having a healthy DeMarcus
Ware drawing double teams and Anthony Spencer forcing pressure
from the other DE spot. The veteran DL has seven solos, 2.0 sacks
and a Pd through two games and he’s available in almost all IDP
Alonso, BUF (@NYJ, BAL, @CLE, CIN) – While teammate
Mario Williams had a career game (4.5 sacks), Alonso tallied 10
total tackles, a sack and an INT. He’s emerging as an LB1 in all
LaRon Landry, IND (@SF, @JAC, SEA, @SD) – Landry had
11 total tackles (six solos) in the loss to Tennessee. He’s got
a realistic shot at 100 tackles this season.
Quinn, STL (@DAL, SF, JAC, @HOU) – Quinn had four solos
and a sack on Sunday. He’s a rising DL2 with DL1 upside.
Brinkley, ARI (@NO, @TB, CAR, @SF) – Brinkley only
has one solo on Sunday while teammate Karlos Dansby (eight solos,
PD) did the bulk of the IDP work among the Cards LBs.
Searcy, BUF (@NYJ, BAL, @CLE, CIN) – Searcy had seven
total tackles (four solos) in the win over Carolina. He’s a DB2
with upside if he holds onto the job.
Church, DAL (STL, @SD, DEN, WAS) – For the second week
in a row, Church registered seven solo tackles and looks like
a solid DB2 option in fantasy formats going forward.