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.
|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!
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 ()
Off The Top
Andy Dalton, CIN (@BUF, @DET, NYJ, @MIA) – Dalton is owned
in just 64 percent of Yahoo leagues but has some very favorable
matchups on the horizon. Perhaps he’ll get some much-needed
confidence from the victory over the Patriots and start chucking
it downfield a bit more.
Flacco, BAL (GB, @PIT, BYE, @CLE) – Flacco is still available
in about 40 percent of fantasy leagues. If you’re a Matt Ryan
owner, Flacco facing the Packers makes some sense as a bye week
Pryor, OAK (@KC, BYE, PIT, PHI) – Pryor showed us in the first
quarter on Sunday night/Monday morning why he’s such an exciting
young fantasy option, but for three quarters he reminded us why
he’s available in over 70 percent of Yahoo leagues. The upcoming
schedule isn’t favorable, but Week 9 against the Eagles promises
to be a fantastic matchup.
Smith, NYJ (PIT, NE, @CIN, NO) – I’ll update this again tomorrow,
but Smith is worth a grab in two-QB leagues for the latter half
of the season. He’s far too talented to be available in 93 percent
of fantasy leagues and he’s likely to remain the starter for the
duration of 2013.
Scouring The Barrel
Glennon, TB (PHI, @ATL, CAR, @SEA) – Glennon isn’t great and
has one game under his belt, but you could do worse than the Bucs
matchup in Week 6.
Freeman, MIN (CAR, @NYG, GB, @DAL) – Freeman was snagged by
the Vikings, who plan to give him every chance to be the starter.
This week might not be feasible, but there’s a chance he gets
a start against the woeful Giants defense in Week 7.
Cutler, CHI (NYG, @WAS, BYE, @GB) – Cutler was tied for the
third highest scoring fantasy QB with Russell Wilson and Sam Bradford
in standard-scoring leagues in Week 5, throwing for 358-2-0 with
a lost fumble and 27 rushing yards. He’s got a very favorable
schedule over the next few weeks, with the obvious exception of
the Week 8 bye.
Brian Hoyer, CLE (DET, @GB, @KC, BAL) – Football can be
cruel. Hoyer was probably on the way to another quality start
when he tore his ACL on an awkward play early in the Thursday
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (BYE, BUF, @NE, CIN) – Tannehill finished
just outside the Top 12 QBs with 307-1-0 in the loss to Baltimore.
The Dolphins are on a bye in Week 6.
Fitzpatrick, TEN (@SEA, SF, BYE, @STL) – Fitzpatrick faced
a tough opponent but managed to match Drew Brees in terms of fantasy
production in Week 5, posting 247-1-2 and adding six carries for
50 yards and a rushing TD. Meanwhile, RBs Jackie Battle and Chris
Johnson combined for just 56 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Off The Top
Pierre Thomas, NO (@NE, BYE, BUF, @NYJ) – Thomas had 9-55-2
receiving and 36 rushing yards, his best game in PPR leagues this
decade. The Saints RB carousel is sometimes hard to solve, but
Thomas is the most complete back of the bunch and remains a solid
flex option in 12-team leagues.
Willis McGahee, CLE (DET, @GB, @KC, BAL) – He had 72 rushing
yards and a TD in Week 5 and looks to be the feature back in Cleveland
moving forward. If he can stay healthy, McGahee could see a fantasy
resurgence as a viable, albeit low-end RB2.
Hillman, DEN (JAC, @IND, WAS, BYE) – Hillman was used quite
a bit (4-42-0 on four targets; seven carries for 17 rushing yards)
and figures to be used a lot against the Jaguars in Week 6. He’s
a risky but high-upside flex play with nearly unlimited scoring
potential in what should be a lopsided victory.
Stacy, STL (@HOU, @CAR, SEA, TEN) – Stacy (18 percent owned)
got the start against the Jaguars and finished with 78 rushing
yards on 14 carries. The committee in St. Louis isn’t a great
situation but he’s worth a roster add in all 12-team leagues.
Scouring The Barrel
Brown, IND (@SD, DEN, BYE, @HOU) – Brown is the only viable
backup the Colts have behind Trent Richardson right now and Ahmad
Bradshaw’s (neck) prognosis keeps getting worse. It’s purely speculative,
but I think Brown will get more work as the season wears on and
the Colts get a good look at T-Rich’s flaws.
Battle, TEN (@SEA, SF, BYE, @STL) – Battle figures to get
some use against the Seahawks, who will likely crowd the box on
Chris Johnson and play relaxed zone coverage when Battle gets
inserted. He’s not a great option but could provide some RB4/flex
value in deeper PPR leagues.
Bell, PIT (@NYJ, BAL, @OAK) – The Week 5 bye should provide
additional opportunity for the Steelers to get Bell acclimated
to the offense. He had an impactful debut in Week 4 and should
be a big help getting the Steelers some wins.
Helu, WAS (@DAL, CHI, @DEN) – Helu’s done everything he can
to earn more touches but if Alfred Morris (rib) is healthy, he’ll
take a back seat.
Hunter, SF (ARI, @TEN, @JAC, BYE) – Hunter’s touchdown streak
ended while starter Frank Gore and situational back Anthony Dixon
both scored. His fantasy value takes a hit.
Blount, NE (NO, @NYJ, MIA) – With Stevan Ridley out, Blount
got the bulk of carries (12) but rushed for just 51 yards and
lost a crucial fumble. The backfield depth chart remains unclear
heading into Week 6 against the 5-0 Saints.
Jennings, OAK (@KC, BYE, PIT, PHI) – With Terrelle Pryor back
in action, Jennings wasn’t targeted in the passing game and had
41 rushing yards on 10 carries before suffering a hamstring injury
and leaving before the half. The injury coupled with Darren McFadden’s
impending return spells doom for his fantasy value. He’s probably
safe to drop heading into Week 6.
Ogbonnaya, CLE (DET, @GB, @KC, BAL) – Ogbonnaya left Thursday’s
game after sustaining a concussion in the second quarter.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Emmanuel Sanders, PIT (@NYJ, BAL, @OAK, @NE) – Sanders
is available in about half of fantasy leagues, but he’s
been targeted 38 times in four games and has 20-231-0. He’s
a much better option in PPR leagues and as one of my buddies pointed
out recently, remains a viable WR4/flex option in most formats.
Rueben Randle, NYG (@CHI, MIN, @PHI, BYE) – Randle (37 percent
owned in Yahoo leagues) had a career fantasy day against the Eagles,
picking up 6-96-2 on 13 targets. He’s a sneaky WR3 play
against the Bears in Week 6 as the Giants appear to have no plans
on ever running the ball again.
Williams, DAL (WAS, @PHI, @DET, MIN) – Williams has been one
of the most efficient WRs in the game this season, hauling in
16-282-1 on 19 targets. His Week 5 breakout included an 82-yard
TD catch and the rookie is emerging as a viable deep threat in
the potent Cowboys offense with Miles Austin sidelined. He’s a
must-add, especially in keeper leagues.
Leonard Hankerson, WAS (@DAL, CHI, @DEN, SD) – The Redskins,
coming off a Week 5 bye, head to Dallas with the 24-year-old wideout
as a centerpiece of their offensive game plan. The Cowboys tend
to give up large chunks of yardage through the air and RGIII will
do everything he can to get Hankerson the ball on a few deep routes.
He’s a risk/reward WR3/flex play, and he’s available
in tons of leagues.
Pettis, STL (@HOU, @CAR, SEA, TEN) – Pettis is now tied for
fourth in the NFL for TD receptions alongside Calvin Johnson,
Demaryius Thomas and Victor Cruz, yet he’s owned in just 10 percent
of Yahoo leagues. He’s worth an add in all formats, as he’s the
favorite red zone option of Sam Bradford who’s targeted him five
times inside the 20 and 36 times overall this season.
Scouring The Barrel
Rod Streater, OAK (@KC, BYE, PIT, PHI) – A talented possession
receiver, Streater (7 percent owned) figures to be heavily involved
on short routes versus the Chiefs, who will likely pressure Pryor
and keep him from setting up too many downfield heaves to Denarius
Moore. Streater has 16-228-1 on 23 targets this season, but hasn’t
caught more than three passes in any game since Week 1.
Keenan Allen, SD (IND, @JAC, BYE, @WAS) – Allen (4 percent
owned in Yahoo leagues) had a monster Week 6 against Oakland,
hauling in six of nine targets for 115 yards and a TD. He now
has 11-195-1 over his last two games. The rookie is emerging as
a favorite of Laserface and should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Jeffery, CHI (NYG, @WAS, BYE, @GB) – Jeffery had a career
day on Sunday, hauling in 10 catches for 218 yards (a franchise
record) and two TDs. His breakout portends good things for the
entire Bears offense, as teams will now have to think twice about
rolling double-coverage to Brandon Marshall.
Clay, MIA (BYE, BUF, @NE, CIN) – Clay had another solid day
(3-52-1) and is showing he can be trusted as a TE1 in 12-team
Brown, BAL (GB, @PIT, BYE, @CLE) – Brown (thigh) was declared
inactive before Sunday’s game but should be ready to go for the
tilt with Green Bay.
Graham, HOU (STL, @KC, BYE, IND) – Schaub had a horrific day
and Graham finished with just 3-15-0. He’s going to be a hit-or-miss
TE2 the rest of the way unless an injury befalls Owen Daniels.
Woods, BUF (CIN, @MIA, @NO, KC) – Woods was targeted 13 times
by Bills QBs in Week 4, finishing with 5-64-0. Stevie Johnson
left with a back injury, but the injury to Manuel hurts Woods’
McGrath, KC (OAK, HOU, CLE, @BUF) – McGrath (knee) suited
up and grinded out 4-54-0 in the win over Tennessee. He’s a decent
value TE2 next week against the Raiders if veteran Anthony Fasano
(knee, ankle) and Travis Kelce (knee) remain sidelined.
Kerley, NYJ (PIT, NE, @CIN, NO) – Update coming Tuesday.
Off The Top
DL Michael Johnson, CIN (@BUF, @DET, NYJ, @MIA) – Johnson
sat out Week 5 against the Patriots with concussion symptoms so
there’s reason to be cautious, but I love his upcoming matchups
and he’s likely to be available in a bunch of leagues after
sitting out last week. If he’s active, he’s a solid
DB Morgan Burnett, GB (@BAL, CLE, @MIN, CHI) – The standout
IDP defensive back had five total tackles and a PD in his 2013
debut, and is likely available in leagues with limited bench space.
He’s safe to plug in going forward as your low-end DB1/high-end
DB2 with oodles of upside.
Kelly, NE (NO, @NYJ, MIA, PIT) – He’s being forced into a
bigger role with Vince Wilfork out for the season, and he had
a solid performance in Week 5 (two solos, assist, sack). Kelly
has some favorable matchups on the way and he’s DT eligible in
most formats that require an interior DL.
LB Kevin Burnett, OAK (@KC, BYE, PIT, PHI) – Burnett had
14 total tackles (12 solos) and a sack in the win over San Diego
and he’s only owned in about 10-20 percent of IDP leagues.
He now has 38 total tackles on the season.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Devin McCourty, NE (NO, @NYJ, MIA, PIT) – McCourty has
a god matchup versus the Saints and now has 21 total tackles (14
solos) in his last two games. He’s owned in just a small
percentage of IDP leagues.
LB Moise Fokou, TEN (@SEA, SF, BYE, @STL) – He isn’t
flashy, but Fokou is a viable LB4 option in IDP leagues and now
has 32 total tackles (23 solos) on the season. He should be busy
against the Seahawks in Week 6.
DL Charles Johnson, CAR (@MIN, STL, @TB, ATL) – Johnson
had a solo and a sack on Sunday. Not great, but not a complete
IDP loss for a DL.
LB Brad Jones, GB (@BAL, CLE, @MIN, CHI) – Jones got off
to an excellent start with three solo tackles and a sack before
leaving Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury. He did not
return and his status for next week is unknown.
Searcy, BUF (CIN, @MIA, @NO, KC) – With Jairus Byrd still
inactive, Searcy had another solid game, posting six total tackles
(there solos). The Bills are considering trading Byrd who is expected
to be ready for Week 6.
LB Spencer Paysinger, NYG (@CHI, MIN, @PHI, BYE) – Paysinger
had another excellent fantasy game on Sunday, posting 10 total
tackles (nine solos) and a PD. He’s a high-end LB3 going
forward for the struggling Giants.
DB Buster Skrine, CLE (DET, @GB, @KC, BAL) – Skrine continued
his steady play with six solos, a sack and two PD in the win over
Buffalo. He’s emerging as a reliable DB2 in IDP leagues.
DL Cedric Thornton, PHI (@TB, AL, NYG, @OAK) – Thornton
didn’t go nuts, but four solo tackles from your DL2 is a
fair-enough tally that’s not going to hurt you most weeks.
He’s a decent play next week versus the Bucs.