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 ()
Off The Top
Tannehill, MIA (CIN, @TB, SD, CAR) – If Tannehill had some
protection, he’d approach low-end QB1 status, but he just doesn’t
have time to get the ball downfield to his deep threats. Losing
Brandon Gibson will hurt, but there are a couple matchups down
the stretch where he could put up decent numbers.
Locker, TEN (@STL, JAC, IND, @OAK) – In his last four starts,
Locker has 922-8-1 as well as 124 rushing yards and a TD. He’s
an excellent option filling in for Week 9 bye QBs like Peyton
Manning, Matthew Stafford and Colin Kaepernick.
Scouring The Barrel
Campbell, CLE (BAL, BYE, @CIN, PIT) – He’s probably not worth
adding in anything but two-QB leagues and 14-16 teamers (and his
upcoming schedule is a difficult one), but Campbell looked sharp
compared to Brandon Weeden and could provide some value as a low-end
Dalton, CIN (@MIA, @BAL, CLE, BYE) – Dalton was my top recommendation
last week and responded with 325-5-1, the best fantasy performance
of his career and the top week for any quarterback other than
Drew Brees. I’ve been harping on this all year long – Dalton is
highly underrated as a fantasy QB and has already racked up 2,249-16-7
on the season.
Pryor, OAK (PHI, @NYG, @HOU, TEN) – Once again, Pryor got
off to a wonderful start, racing 93 yards for a TD – and the longest
run by a QB in league history. Unfortunately, he fizzled for the
remaining three quarters, totaling just 88-0-2 passing and finishing
with only 13 more rushing yards.
Keenum, HOU (IND, @ARI, OAK, JAC) – The Texans were on a bye
in Week 8 but Keenum will start in Week 9. Matt Schaub might be
healthy but he’s not guaranteed to get his job back.
Clemens, STL (TEN, @IND, BYE, CHI) –
Off The Top
Ellington, ARI (BYE, HOU, @JAC, IND) – Ellington is still
available in about 20-40 percent of fantasy leagues and got his
chance to shine on Sunday, rolling for 154 rushing yards and a
TD on 15 carries and adding 2-8-0 receiving in the win over Atlanta.
If he hasn’t surpassed Rashard Mendenhall (toe) on the depth chart,
something’s amiss in Arizona.
Mike Tolbert, CAR (ATL, @SF, NE, @MIA) – Tolbert gets goal
line carries and passing down work, making him a RB4 in 12-team
leagues with some decent flex value. You could do a lot worse
if your RBs are on a bye.
Scouring The Barrel
Starks, GB (CHI, PHI, @NYG, MIN) – Starks ran seven times
for 57 yards and a TD against the Vikings on Sunday night, likely
earning himself more carries as the Packers look to reduce the
workload on rookie Eddie Lacy. Starks could be in line for a few
solid fantasy games as a low-end flex option starting next week
against the Bears who are without LBs Lance Briggs and D.J. Williams.
Brown, NYG (BYE, OAK, GB, DAL) – Brown is available in anywhere
from 80 percent of leagues to less than 50, but he’s worth stashing
if you’ve got the roster room. He’ll likely assume a large part
of the workload when he gets back in action, and Week 11 makes
sense as a possible return.
Stacy, STL (TEN, @IND, BYE, CHI) –
Helu, WAS (SD, @MIN, @PHI, SF) – Helu managed just 11 rushing
yards on five carries and one catch (for 14 yards) on one target
in Sunday’s loss to Denver. Alfred Morris was the more effective
back but there’s no telling what Mike Shanahan’s plans are for
Bolden, NE (PIT, BYE, @CAR, DEN) – Bolden has just 22 rushing
yards on eight carries but scored a TD and caught 2-7-0. His value
will decline once Shane Vereen returns.
Hillis, NYG (BYE, OAK, GB, DAL) – The veteran back rushed
for 70 yards on 20 carries and added 3-15-0 on five targets in
the passing game. Now that he’s just getting the hang of things,
Andre Brown is getting healthy enough to resume action.
James, TB (@SEA, MIA, ATL, @DET) – Despite gaining just 39
rushing yards on 10 carries, James was pretty effective standing
in for Doug Martin, adding 4-25-0 receiving and looking sharp
on a few runs. He’ll likely get the call once again in Week 9,
but no determination has been made on Martin for Week 10 and beyond.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Harvin, SEA (TB, @ATL, MIN, BYE) – There’s still a few leagues
out there (about 10-30 percent) where Harvin is still available
on the waiver wire. While he’s already been ruled out for Week
8, the versatile weapon could be an enormous part of the offense
when he’s active.
Jones, CIN (@MIA, @BAL, CLE) – I told you a couple weeks ago
to grab Jones and reiterated my belief he’d be a focal point of
the offense moving forward. Well – Jones went off for 8-122-4
on Sunday. For those of you who listened, congrats. For those
of you who didn’t, now you’ll have to fight for him.
Aaron Dobson, NE (PIT, BYE, @CAR, DEN) – Dobson had been
wildly inconsistent this season, but with Danny Amendola clearly
not 100 percent, he totaled 4-60-1 on five targets in the win
over Miami. He’s a WR with upside but has some tough matchups
Kenny Stills, NO (@NYJ, DAL, SF, @ATL) – A potent deep threat,
Stills got behind the secondary for a couple long TDs (69, 42),
racking up 129 receiving yards on just three catches and four
targets. He’ll be hit-or-miss most weeks, but against defenses
who tend to give up big plays, he’s a wise risk/reward option.
Scouring The Barrel
Wright, TB (@SEA, MIA, ATL, @DET) – Wright appears to be a
favorite target of Mike Glennon (19-195-1 on 26 targets over his
last four games) and he plays a lot of WR for a guy with TE eligibility.
Wright is worth adding in all 12-team leagues, especially two-TE
Davis, ATL (@CAR, SEA, @TB, NO) – Davis benefited from Ryan’s
seven targets to the tune of 5-77-1 in the loss to Arizona. He’ll
be off the fantasy radar once Roddy White gets healthy, but for
now he’s being used quite a bit in the Falcons offense.
Douglas, ATL (@CAR, SEA, @TB, NO) – White was inactive again
and Douglas caught 12-121-0 on 18 targets from Matt Ryan – who
clearly trusts him implicitly. Until White returns, Douglas remains
Williams, DAL (MIN, @NO, BYE, @NYG) – The rookie receiver
(2-64-1 on Sunday) has now scored in four straight games. Play
him with confidence at WR3 during the next couple weeks.
Reed, WAS (SD, @MIN, @PHI, SF) – As projected, Reed saw a
boatload of targets (14) and managed a solid fantasy day for a
TE (8-90-0), though expectations were high in this matchup. There’s
only about four or five TEs I’d rather have moving forward.
Jarrett Boykin, GB (CHI, PHI, @NYG, MIN) – Boykin couldn’t
repeat the brilliance of his Week 7 outing, but did snag five
of his six targets for 89 yards. He’s a WR3 with upside.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, IND (@HOU, STL, @TEN, @ARI) – On a
Week 8 bye, DHB could shine against the Texans.
Kerley, NYJ (NO, BYE, @BUF, @BAL) – Kerley was targeted just
four times by Geno Smith and totaled just 3-27-0 in the blowout
loss to Cincy. All of the Jets had a bad week, so look for Kerley
to bounce back against the Saints in Week 9.
Gibson, MIA (CIN, @TB, SD, CAR) – Gibson caught a short TD
pass in Week 8 and then suffered a devastating knee injury (torn
patella tendon) that will likely end his season.
LaVon Brazill, IND (@HOU, STL, @TEN) – We’ll see
what happens in Week 9, but all indications are Brazill should
get some looks.
Off The Top
DB Bernard Pollard, TEN (@STL, JAC, IND, @OAK) – Pollard
may have been dropped by somebody in Week 8 due to his bye and
he remains a solid safety with oodles of IDP potential.
LB Daryl Smith, BAL (@CLE, CIN, @CHI, NYJ) – Just take a
gander at the Ravens next four games and give me one good reason
why you shouldn’t pick up Smith if he’s available.
I know a couple leagues where bye week issues forced desperate
owners to cut bait on him in Week 8, and I’ll be doing my
best to grab him.
DL Jurrell Casey, TEN (@STL, JAC, IND, @OAK) – Casey is
likely available in almost all redraft IDP formats because he’s
coming off a Week 8 bye. He’s a steady if unspectacular
IDP contributor and he’s got a couple good matchups on the
LB Brandon Spikes, NE (PIT, BYE, @CAR, DEN) – Excluding
the Week 10 bye, Spikes should put up excellent numbers for the
next few weeks as the primary run-stopping LB on the Pats D.
Scouring The Barrel
DL Brett Keisel, PIT (@NE, BUF, DET, @CLE) – Keisel is
heating up and had three solos, a sack and a FR against the Raiders.
His upcoming schedule is favorable for opposing 3-4 DEs.
DB Darius Butler, IND (@HOU, STL, @TEN, @ARI) – Butler is
a classic high-risk/high-reward cornerback with ball-hawking skills
and a great Week 9 matchup. I’m using him in deeper formats
this week and hoping for a pick six and a handful of tackles and
Jordan, NO (@NYJ, DAL, SF) – Jordan only had one tackle, but
it was strip sack and he recovered the fumble, so it was a productive
Houston, KC (@BUF, BYE, @DEN) – Houston also had one tackle
(a sack) but it was his only appearance on the stat sheet. I’m
downgrading him to an LB4 with upside.
Jones, MIA (CIN, @TB, SD) – Jones has seven assisted tackles
but no solos – a bizarre stat line in a weird game.
Atkins, CIN (@MIA, @BAL, CLE) – Wow. Another single tackle
performance – and again for a sack. This is trending strangely.
Woodley, PIT (@NE, BUF, DET) – Woodley was active for Sunday’s
game but didn’t make any plays. Update tomorrow.
Wolff, PHI (@OAK, @GB, WAS) – Wolff had just four solos in
the loss to the Giants, who didn’t throw the ball much.
Greene, CHI (@GB, DET, BAL) – I’ll provide a Week
9 update after we see how he’s used in the Bears D.