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 an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. 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 still be lurking in deeper leagues.
I’ll also provide an occasional daily fantasy recommendation,
as I’m hopelessly addicted to DFS sites.
|Check out the most
popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands
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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 ready but are
thrust into the fantasy spotlight because of opportunity or exceptional
production. Usually, they are available in at least 25 percent of
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. Usually, these players are
available in at least 50 percent of public leagues.
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 because I don’t always
love them. For the most part, you’ll find these players available
in about 75-100 percent of fantasy leagues
Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 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. Let’s get to some of
the players who could be still out there on the waiver wire and
in the free agent pool as you prepare for Week 1!
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 ( ). Since IDP league
composition is so varied, I’ll just list defensive players
per position and use their Yahoo ownership rates – which due
to site ranking anomalies and the high rate of variance in availability,
are often much lower than actual ownerships rates.
Off The Top
Dalton, CIN (CLE, @NO, @HOU, @TB) – Dalton is a much better
quarterback when he has A.J. Green at his disposal, and the Browns
secondary does have its lapses. I like the remaining schedule
for the Bengals and while I’ve heard a lot of people advocating
dropping Dalton, I’m doing just the opposite. Pick him up.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (@DET, BUF, @DEN, @NYJ) – Tannehill
had a solid Week 9 for owners who were brave enough to plug him
in despite his struggles, getting 288-3-0 and 47 rushing yards
from the former Aggie in what was definitely his best game of
2014. He’s still available in about half of fantasy leagues
and there are a couple matchups down the line that look favorable.
Davis, STL (@ARI, DEN, @SD, OAK) – Davis had a rough Week
9 (105-1-2) but managed to secure a win in San Francisco. He takes
on the Cards next week and could get into a shootout.
Bortles, JAC (DAL, BYE, @IND, NYG) – Bortles will look to
exploit the porous Dallas secondary in Week 10 before his bye,
and he’s starting to develop rapport with his deep threats. I’m
considering him for daily fantasy contests next week as valuable
As the trigger man in Chip Kelly's offense,
Mark Sanchez can help fantasy owners down the stretch.
Scouring The Barrel
Glennon, TB (ATL, @WAS, @CHI, CIN) – Glennon’s fantasy day
was rife with miscues, but he managed 260-2-2 after hooking up
with rookie Mike Evans on a couple TD passes. The Falcons secondary
is in shambles, so fire him up in deep leagues as a QB2 or if
your quarterback is on a bye and you’re suddenly without a viable
backup in Week 10.
Sanchez, PHI (CAR, @GB, TEN, @DAL) – Sanchez is much more
suited to Chip Kelly’s decision-making system than the one he
endured with the Jets, where the emphasis was on making tough
throws. Here, he can check down and free up the occasional bomb
to Jeremy Maclin – instead of having to move the chains via deep
outs. With Nick Foles out about a month (maybe more), he’s a more
valuable add than you might imagine.
The latest is that
Foles will miss at least six weeks, and likely the rest of the
regular season, vaulting Sanchez into the starting role. While
the former Jets QB struggles to hit targets outside the numbers,
he’s an effective game manager who could thrive in this
offense. He should be owned in all formats, at least as a speculative
Palmer, ARI (STL, DET, @SEA, @ATL) – Palmer had his fourth
straight solid performance, throwing for 249-3-1 against Dallas
on Sunday. The Cards are now 7-1 and Palmer is limiting his turnovers,
moving the ball down the field and finishing off drives. He’s
a second-tier QB1 with plenty of upside next week against the
Orton, BUF (KC, @MIA, NYJ, CLE) – Orton’s coming off a bye
but isn’t a recommended start against the Chiefs in Week 10. I’d
look elsewhere, but keep him in mind for Week 12-13 against the
Jets and Browns.
Hoyer, CLE (@CIN, HOU, @ATL, @BUF) – Statistically, Hoyer
had his second-best game of the season, throwing for 300-2-2 in
the win over Tampa Bay. He also appears to have held onto his
job for at least another week, as the Cleveland brass had considered
experimenting with Johnny Manziel.
Vick, NYJ (PIT, BYE, @BUF, MIA) – Vick had 196-1-0 and 18
rushing yards Sunday in the loss to Kansas City. He’s the Jets’
best option but has little fantasy value until he can show some
meaningful production. The matchup with Pittsburgh could end up
manufacturing some fantasy points, but I’d find a more consistent
option if possible.
Carr, OAK (DEN, @SD, KC, @STL) – Carr finished with 192-2-2
Sunday and the Raiders lost their eighth straight. He could be
worth a look next week against Denver as he’ll likely throw a
couple TD passes in garbage time, but for the most part, the situation
in Oakland is one to avoid from a fantasy perspective.
Weeden, DAL (@JAC, BYE, @NYG, PHI) – Despite getting the start
and having a full week’s worth of reps to prepare for what seemed
to be a relatively favorable matchup, Weeden (183-1-2) put up
about the same number of fantasy points in a full game Sunday
as he did in two drives last week against Washington. Unfortunately,
the erratic quarterback is still on the QB2/daily fantasy radar
with the Cowboys facing the Jaguars next week, six teams on bye,
and Tony Romo’s (back) status up in the air.
Romo made the trip
to London and a similar injury to Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty
kept the youngster out just a week. While Romo is a little long
in the tooth and his prior back problems don’t ensure as
quick a recovery, it’s more likely than not he’ll
suit up against the Jaguars.
Off The Top
Hill, CIN (CLE, @NO, @HOU, @TB) -
I hadn't considered that Hill may still be available in some
leagues, but he's still owned in just 74 percent of Yahoo leagues
coming off his Week 9 breakout (154 rushing yards, 2 TD; 1-9-0 receiving).
Obviously, he's the top add this week if he's somehow still on your
waiver wire, and with Bernard likely out again Thursday, he's primed
for another big performance.
Rainey, TB (ATL, @WAS, @CHI, CIN) – Rainey is the leader of
the new committee in Tampa Bay (for now) and is coming off a productive
day tallying 121 total yards in a tough loss. His upside isn’t
great, but he’s an every down back if they need him to be – and
we don’t know if Charles Sims can fill that role yet.
ESPN is reporting that
Doug Martin is now relegated to the No. 3 RB role in the Bucs
offense, clearing the way for Rainey to handle the majority of
carries. Plug Rainey in as a low-end RB2/solid flex against the
Asiata, MIN (BYE, @CHI, GB, CAR) – Asiata had three TDs on
Sunday and is on a Week 10 bye. The Vikings are improving and
will likely be seeing more red-zone opportunities in the coming
West, CLE (@CIN, HOU, @ATL, @BUF) – The rookie out of Towson
State was the better runner on Sunday as Ben Tate struggled to
find lanes. West had 15 carries for 48 yards and caught a 2-yard
TD pass from Hoyer and figures to be a popular add this week.
West figures to handle
most of the carries in the Browns committee, with Tate taking
a back seat. Don’t hesitate to grab West as the first (or
second) RB off the wire this week.
Dixon, BUF (KC, @MIA, NYJ, CLE) – Boobie was on a bye but
figures to be heavily involved in the offense alongside Bryce
Brown in Week 10 against the Chiefs. Distribution will be hard
to project and likely will follow a hot hand approach, but Dixon
was the guy to own the past two games.
Fred Jackson wasn’t
practicing Monday and there won’t be a clear picture until
later in the week. The smart money is on Dixon starting Sunday
and F-Jax missing one more game before returning in Week 11.
Scouring The Barrel
Thomas, MIA (@DET, BUF, @DEN, @NYJ) – If Lamar Miller misses
any time, the underwhelming Thomas would likely see more touches
and assume the early-down work. He’s not great, but you’ll have
to stay tuned to the injury report.
Miller is day-to-day
with a sprained AC joint (shoulder) and still has a shot to play
in Week 10 against the Lions.
Polk, PHI (CAR, @GB, TEN, @DAL) – Polk saw some significant
work on Sunday, toting the rock eight times for 50 yards and a
TD. He’s worth acquiring just to see if the Eagles run the ball
more while Foles is out.
Ingram, NO (SF, CIN, BAL, @PIT) – While I wasn’t going out
on a limb recommending Ingram last week, he had a great game (100
rushing yards, two TDs; 1-10-0 receiving) and was still available
in over 30 percent of Yahoo leagues when the Week 9 column posted.
His matchup with the 49ers isn’t exactly favorable, but he’s clearly
being used as he was intended when the Saints drafted the former
Heisman Trophy winner in 2011.
Davis, KC (@BUF, SEA, @OAK, DEN) – Strangely, Davis had just
three carries for 9 yards and wasn’t targeted as a receiver against
Stewart, CAR (@PHI, ATL, BYE, @MIN) – With DeAngelo Williams
active, Stewart was relegated to a timeshare and 46 yards on eight
carries. He’s the better running back but the Panthers use him
only sparingly when possible.
Taliaferro, BAL (TEN, BYE, @NO, SD) – Taliaferro rushed for
21 yards on seven carries, lost a fumble and tallied 3-34-0 receiving.
The Ravens never got into position to use him repeatedly near
the goaline, where he’s at his best.
Sims, TB (ATL, @WAS, @CHI, CIN) – Sims was inactive Sunday
but figures to take on part of a committee as soon as he’s up
to speed in the offense.
See Rainey blurb above
– Sims has apparently passed Martin on the depth chart and
should be active this week against Atlanta.
Theo Riddick, DET (MIA, @ARI, @NE, CHI) – Riddick was on
a Week 9 bye but the Lions plan on using a committee to handle
running back duties the rest of the way, guaranteeing him more
Thompson, DEN (@OAK, @STL, MIA, @KC) – Hillman saw most of
the work and Thompson was an afterthought as the Pats jumped out
to a big lead and C.J. Anderson received touches in the final
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Evans, TB (ATL, @WAS, @CHI, CIN) – Evans had his rookie breakout
game and hauled in 7-124-2 in the loss to Cleveland. Games like
this usually represent a shift in targets, where you can expect
to see him getting 7-10 consistently for the rest of the way.
Remember though, Vincent Jackson has been drawing the No. 1 CB
and some double coverage from opposing teams.
Allen Hurns, JAC (DAL, BYE, @IND, NYG) – Hurns is undoubtedly
a popular waiver wire addition this week after he went off for
7-112-2, but he’s a true boom-or-bust option with a high-ceiling
and low floor. Those expecting him to repeat his Week 1 performance
had to wait eight weeks for a similar line. While you don’t
want to be that guy, he should be owned in 12-team leagues and
considered against the Dallas secondary.
Landry, MIA (@DET, BUF, @DEN, @NYJ) – He makes a fine contrarian
play in daily fantasy and should be rostered in season-long leagues
as a WR4 with upside. Sunday, he tallied 5-46-1 and is becoming
a popular red zone target for Tannehill.
Britt, STL (@ARI, DEN, @SD, OAK) – Britt has taken over primary
receiver duties from the injured Brian Quick and turned in a decent,
even if low-volume, performance (2-32-1) Sunday in a tough matchup.
His targets should go up and he’s still capable of some big plays.
Britt played on 93
percent of the Rams snaps on Sunday and figures to see a bunch
of looks against the Cards this week. He’s a talented guy,
a sneaky add in 12-team leagues, and a cheap roster fill-in for
Scouring The Barrel
Harry Douglas, ATL (@TB, @CAR, CLE, ARI) – Don’t
forget about Harry. The third receiver in Atlanta has caught 15-163-1
on 22 targets this season, but is a security blanket for Matt
Ryan. He’s a decent salary relief option in daily fantasy
and WR5 with some marginal upside.
Taylor Gabriel, CLE (@CIN, HOU, @ATL, @BUF) – Gabriel is
the flavor of the week for Hoyer and the Browns, as he was targeted
six times and caught 5-87-1 on Sunday. His upside is minimal but
is worth adding in dynasty leagues, as he’s receiving consistent
targets as a rookie.
LaFell, NE (BYE, @IND, DET, @GB) – LaFell was relatively quiet
in the first half but finished with 6-53-1 as the Patriots easily
dispatched the Broncos. He should be owned and started as a WR3
in 12-team leagues.
Miller, PIT (@NYJ, @TEN, BYE, NO) – Miller had just 1-14-0
on two targets in the win over Baltimore Sunday night. His former
consistent role has been reduced to a boom-or-bust TE2 play.
Hawkins, CLE (@CIN, HOU, @ATL, @BUF) – Hawkins was targeted
eight times but missed some opportunities, finishing with 3-34-0
against the Bucs. He’s a low-end WR3 on a short week Thursday
night in Cincinnati – his former home.
Bryant, PIT (@NYJ, @TEN, BYE, NO) – Bryant had another big
night, hauling in a pair of TDs and finishing with 3-44-2 in the
win over Baltimore. He’s clearly a popular red zone option for
Big Ben and should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Brown, ARI (STL, DET, @SEA, @ATL) – Brown was targeted five
times but caught just 2-10-0 in the win over Dallas, as the complement
of Cards receivers spread around the production. As I mentioned
here before, he’s just a risky WR4 with a relatively high ceiling
but a very low floor.
Moncrief, IND (BYE, NE, JAC, WAS) – Update coming Tuesday.
Moncrief took a back
seat and played only a handful of snaps with Reggie Wayne healthy
and active Monday night.
Rivera, OAK (DEN, @SD, KC, @STL) – Rivera (8-38-2 on Sunday)
was one of two pass catchers I recommended in this column who
hauled in two TD passes this week. He’s heating up and should
continue to be utilized on 3rd down and in the red zone against
the Broncos next week.
LB Mychal Kendricks, PHI (CAR, @GB, TEN, @DAL) – Kendricks
is finally healthy and had a monster Week 9 (12 total tackles,
sack, FF). He should be owned in all IDP formats and is a LB2
LB Chris Borland, SF (@NO, @NYG, WAS, SEA) – Borland’s
Week 9 breakout (15 solos, three assists) could have been due
to the hometown official scorer, but he’s clearly emerging
as a quality IDP option with the 49ers LB corps in disarray.
DB Antoine Bethea, SF (@NO, @NYG, WAS, SEA) – Bethea has
had a productive 2014 (42 total tackles, sack, two INT, five PD)
through eight games and has been cleaning up a lot of the tackles
that get through the 49ers front seven. He’s a consistent
DB2 with upside.
Wright, TB (ATL, @WAS, @CHI, CIN) – Wright is the new safety
to own in Tampa Bay with Mark Barron traded to St. Louis, and
he didn’t waste any time putting up decent IDP numbers (13 total
tackles) in his first week starting. He’s universally available
and could surprise down the stretch.
DL Gerald McCoy, TB (ATL, @WAS, @CHI, CIN) – After a slow
start and some nagging injuries, he’s had a couple good
games in row (three total sacks in his last two) and could abuse
the Falcons offensive line next week. In leagues that require
a DT, he’s money if he’s eligible.
DL Dontari Poe, KC (@BUF, SEA, @OAK, DEN) – Another DT-eligible
lineman, Poe makes tackles and should be able to make some plays
at the point of attack Sunday. He’s worth a look in deeper
LB Anthony Barr, MIN (BYE, @CHI, GB, CAR) – Barr didn’t
blow up the stat sheet but complied four solos and a sack in Sunday’s
29-26 win over Washington. He’s a bona fide LB1 if his quiet
days are this good.
LB Avery Williamson, TEN (@BAL, PIT, @PHI, @HOU) – On a
Week 9 bye, Williamson will look to continue his burgeoning effectiveness
against the Ravens this week.
DB Kenny Vaccaro, NO (SF, CIN, BAL, @PIT) – Vaccaro had
just three total tackles Thursday in the win over Carolina.
DB Joe Haden, CLE (@CIN, HOU, @ATL, @BUF) – Haden turned
in another stellar performance with just three total tackles but
three PD in the win over Tampa Bay.
DL Robert Quinn, STL (@ARI, DEN, @SD, OAK) – Patience is
paying off for the owners who hung onto Robert Quinn, and the
savvy owners who picked him up before Week 8. He now has 4.0 sacks,
nine solos, two FF and a PD in his last two games.
DL Sharrif Floyd, MIN (BYE, @CHI, GB, CAR) – Floyd had five
total tackles and a half-sack in the win over Washington. He’s
coming into his own on that improving defensive line.