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
of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on
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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
Alex Smith, KC (@OAK, DEN, @ARI, OAK) – Even though Jamaal
Charles is the bell cow of this offense, Smith (37 percent owned
on Yahoo) has played pretty well recently and the Raiders will
likely stack the box and force Smith to throw downfield –
which could boost his fantasy numbers next week.
Kyle Orton, BUF (NYJ, CLE, @DEN, GB) – Orton’s been
having trouble getting the offense going with the backfield injuries
and tough secondaries, but the Jets can be thrown on. I’ll
be rolling out Orton (13 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) next
week in at least one deep league and consider him a decent salary
relief option in DFS.
Scouring The Barrel
Shaun Hill, STL (@SD, OAK, @WAS, ARI) – Hill (just 2 percent
owned) wrested the starting job back from Austin Davis and led
the Rams to a stirring upset win over the Broncos. While the team
has been moving more toward a heavy running attack, the matchup
against the Chargers next week is a favorable one for quarterbacks.
He’s worth consideration in two-QB and 14-16 team leagues.
Griffin III, WAS (@SF, @IND, STL, @NYG) – RGIII salvaged a
forgettable fantasy day with 41 rushing yards and a second half
TD pass to Roy Helu, but the 207-1-2 passing line isn’t what owners
expect out of the dynamic quarterback. He’s not a recommended
fantasy play at San Francisco next week.
Hoyer, CLE (@ATL, @BUF, IND, CIN) – Throwing for 330-1-1,
Hoyer wasn’t horrible for fantasy purposes, but he completed just
20 of his 50 pass attempts on Sunday. Stay tuned to see how he’ll
fare once he has Josh Gordon back from his suspension.
McCown, TB (@CHI, CIN, @DET, @CAR) – McCown had a top-10 fantasy
day among quarterbacks, throwing for 288-2-0, with both scores
going to rookie WR Mike Evans. Next week against the Bears could
be another shootout.
Bridgewater, MIN (GB, CAR, NYJ, @DET) – Bridgewater couldn’t
get much going against the Bears, who stepped up on both sides
of the ball. He finished with 158-1-1 and just 2 rushing yards.
Mettenberger, TEN (@PHI, @HOU, NYG, NYJ) – Update coming Tuesday.
Mettenberger put up
solid numbers (263-2-1) in the 27-24 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday
night, showing some toughness in the pocket and flashing his big
arm on a couple TD throws, but he still looks very raw as an NFL
QB. He threw an INT that was returned by William Gay for a TD
on his first pass, but settled in and caught the Steelers secondary
sleeping on an 80-yard TD bomb to Nate Washington just before
halftime. Mettenberger makes a decent option in two-QB leagues
and could end up getting involved in a high-scoring affair next
week versus the Eagles, but he’s a high-risk start.
Stanton, ARI (@SEA, @ATL, KC, @STL) – Stanton had a solid
stat line (306-2-1), hooking up for a couple TDs with Michael
Floyd, who was on most fantasy owners’ benches for Sunday’s victory
36 carries will get your attention. If
by chance Blue is available in your league, you know what
Off The Top
Blue, HOU (CIN, TEN, @JAC, @IND) – With Arian Foster out with
a groin injury, Blue rushed 36 times for 156 yards on Sunday.
While he didn’t receive a target in the passing game and would
likely only be a change-of-pace option once Foster is healthy,
he’s shown he can shoulder a heavy load and needs to be rostered
in all formats.
Foster is expected
to return in Week 12 against the Bengals, but Blue success on
Sunday shows the Texans don’t have to push Foster as an
every-down back. Stay tuned – groin injuries are easy to
reinjure; just ask Montee Ball.
Sims, TB (@CHI, CIN, @DET, @CAR) – Sims, who had 13 carries
for 36 yards and 3-8-0 receiving Sunday, should continue to get
more touches and will likely surpass bobby Rainey and Doug Martin
as the primary ball carrier in the coming weeks. He’s still available
in over two–thirds of Yahoo leagues.
Helu, , WAS (@SF, @IND, STL, @NYG) – Helu had his best game
of the season Sunday, hauling in 6-57-1 in the loss to Tampa Bay.
He’s far from a sure thing but has put up relatively consistent
receiving numbers and now has 32-366-1 on 36 targets this season
– not bad for deep-league PPR purposes.
Scouring The Barrel
Starks, GB (@MIN, NE, ATL, @BUF) – Starks is primarily a handcuff
for Eddie Lacy owners, but had 10 touches Sunday in the win over
Philly. If the Packers blow out the Vikings next week, he could
get some activity in garbage time.
Jackson, BUF (NYJ, CLE, @DEN, GB) – Jackson re-aggravated
his groin injury during practice on Tuesday and missed Thursday’s
game. The veteran back hopes the extra time off will have him
ready to play in Week 12.
Doug Marrone said Monday
that Jackson is expected to be back at full capacity this week,
barring a setback.
Mason, STL (@SD, OAK, @WAS, ARI) – Mason was a workhorse for
the Rams on Sunday, helping to beat the Broncos with 113 rushing
yards on 29 carries. He didn’t find the end zone, but he’s clearly
the back to own in St. Louis at the moment.
Anderson, DEN (MIA, @KC, BUF, @SD) – Montee Ball re-injured
his groin early in Sunday’s action and Anderson saw the bulk of
the workload, rushing for 29 yards on nine carries but hauling
in 8-86-0 on 10 targets from an unusually errant Peyton Manning.
With so many question marks heading into Week 12, Anderson is
poised for another big performance.
Ball is expected to
miss 2-3 weeks, leaving Anderson and Juwan Thompson as the only
healthy running backs in Denver. Anderson is a must-start in all
formats, and should be a PPR beast in the coming weeks.
Crowell, CLE (@ATL, @BUF, IND, CIN) – Crowell drew the start
against Houston and gained 61 rushing yards on 14 carries, adding
2-30-0 but losing a costly fumble. He’s an RB3 with some upside
against the Falcons.
The RB situation in
Cleveland is getting clearer with the release of Ben Tate. Each
running back has played quite well at times this season, but it’ll
likely continue to be a hot-hand approach between Crowell and
Gray, NE (DET, @GB, @SD, MIA) – Well, HELLO, Mr. Gray. The
undrafted Notre Dame product had a fantasy day for the ages Sunday
night, rushing for 199 yards and four TDs on 38 carries. Not too
many folks started him, but he’ll certainly see more touches going
forward and is a must-own in all formats after his monster prime
Riddick, DET (@NE, CHI, TB, MIN) – Riddick handled just two
carries for 2 rushing yards, but added 3-24-0 receiving in the
loss to Arizona. He’s simply a TD-dependent PPR lottery ticket
at this point.
Reggie Bush (ankle)
expects to be ready for Week 12 against the Patriots, after getting
extra rest in the Week 11 loss to Arizona. Riddick essentially
returns to fantasy obscurity unless another injury to Bush or
starter Joique Bell changes things.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Shorts III, JAC (@IND, NYG, HOU, @BAL) – If Shorts is available
in your league, you need to grab him right away. The veteran is
the only healthy, experienced receiver on Jacksonville right now
and has 26-315-0 on 47 targets over his last five games. I could
see him getting 10-20 targets Sunday in Indy.
The latest depth charts
list Shorts as the starter alongside rookie Allen Hurns (concussion),
as the two receivers are expected to play just about every snap,
with Marquise Lee as the No. 3. Hurns is a viable deep threat
and expected to be cleared from the concussion protocol in time
for Week 12, but Shorts will be the chain mover and see a boatload
Welker, DEN (MIA, @KC, BUF, @SD) –
The veteran receiver is likely to receive more targets this
week without Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) and possibly Julius
Thomas (ankle). Welker is owned in just 55-65 percent of leagues
and hasn’t been much of a factor this season, but he was targeted
six times on Sunday and is a good bet to see 8-10 targets and
receive more red zone looks.
Stills, NO (BAL, @PIT, CAR, @CHI) –
With Brandin Cooks (thumb surgery) expected to miss 4-6 weeks,
Stills and Marques Colston will likely see an expanded role in
the Saints offense. Stills (15 percent owned in Yahoo leagues)
caught 4-32-1 in the loss to Cincy in Week 11. Colston caught
4-56-0 and is still owned in 73 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Kenny Britt, STL (@SD, OAK, @WAS, ARI) – Britt exploded
for 4-128-1 on seven targets Sunday and appears to be the big-play
threat the Rams have been looking for. While he’s TD-dependent
for value, it’s likely he’ll see more targets in the
red zone in the coming weeks.
Landry, MIA (@DEN, @NYJ, BAL, @NE) – Landry is a dynamic rookie
who could be a true No. 1 WR if he continues to improve. He’s
a favorite of Ryan Tannehill’s in the red zone and can make big
plays, and he already has 42-400-3 on 55 targets this season.
He should be owned in all formats.
Scouring The Barrel
Chris Hogan, BUF (NYJ, CLE, @DEN, GB) – Hogan is a possible
deep-league gem who’s receiving more targets as the Bills
search for viable offensive performers. Since Week 6, he’s
seen 29 targets in five games and has 25-307-2 on the season in
just six total games. In looking for cheap DFS options next week,
I’ll be mixing in Hogan for his PPR upside.
LaFell, NE (DET, @GB, @SD, MIA) – LaFell had a quiet Week
11, catching three passes for 62 yards on four targets from Tom
Brady. He remains a WR2.
Hunter, TEN (@PHI, @HOU, NYG, NYJ) – Update coming Tuesday.
Hunter caught just
2-48-0 on Monday night and remains a limited upside option in
most formats as well as DFS.
Floyd, SD (STL, @BAL, NE, DEN) – Floyd caught 4-44-1 in the
win over Oakland and is a moderate-upside WR3 play in the right
Matthews, PHI (TEN, @DAL, SEA, DAL) – Matthews caught a TD
pass for the third straight week and after posting 5-107-1 in
Week 11, has 44-558-6 on the season (69 targets).
Brown, ARI (@SEA, @ATL, KC, @STL) – Brown had 5-69-0 but it
was Michael Floyd who did most of the damage with two TD catches.
Next week might be Brown’s turn to shine.
Larry Fitzgerald has
a Grade 2 MCL sprain and plans on playing through the injury.
Even so, both Brown and Floyd get a bump in value heading into
Parker, NYG (DAL, @JAC, @TEN, WAS) – Parker had just one catch
for 9 yards in the loss to San Fran where he was never really
a big part of the offense, which centered around Rueben Randle
(7-112-0) and his 15 targets. Can’t say I didn’t warn you!
Davis, NYJ (@BUF, MIA, @MIN, @TEN) – Davis is coming off a
bye and may have been dropped in a few leagues. Get him in your
starting lineup against the Bills.
Peppers, GB (@MIN, NE, ATL, @BUF) – Peppers is playing like
a man possessed and gets to face the Vikings in Week 12. He’s
a good bet for solid LB2 numbers in that matchup.
Kirksey, CLE (@ATL, @BUF, IND, CIN) –
With Karlos Dansby (knee) out about a month or more, Kirksey
will likely see more action on passing downs and tackle opportunities.
He’s got some sneaky upside as one of the more talented
young LBs in the game.
DB Mike Adams, IND (JAC, WAS, @CLE, HOU) – Adams had a
monster IDP performance Sunday night, racking up 11 total tackles,
two INT and two PD in the loss to New England. He’s a versatile
defender with a lot of ability and should make some big plays
against the Jaguars next week.
DB Kemal Ishmael, ATL (CLE, ARI, @GB, PIT) – Ishmael has
improved his play dramatically in the past few weeks and now has
56 tackles (37 solos), three INT and four PD on the season. He’ll
be busy the next few weeks and should be considered a DB2 going
Richardson, NYJ (@BUF, MIA, @MIN, @TEN) – Richardson has a
prime matchup facing Buffalo and is an oft-ignored IDP option
alongside DE Muhammad Wilkerson, the bigger of the two names.
He’s also DT-eligible, unlike his colleague.
Casey, TEN (@PHI, @HOU, NYG, NYJ) – Since he plays tonight,
I’ll provide a Tuesday update, but Casey is a solid run defender
and occasional pass rusher (37 total tackles and two 2.0-sack
games this season in nine games) who flies under the radar in
a lot of IDP leagues.
Casey had another solid
IDP performance (seven total tackles) but the Titans front seven
was savaged by LeVeon Bell on Monday night. He’s a premier
one-gap penetration DL on a team where he’s relied on quite
LB Mason Foster, TB (@CHI, CIN, @DET, @CAR) – Foster had
five total tackles and a PD in the win over Washington, and is
an LB3 going forward.
Humber, NO (BAL, @PIT, CAR, @CHI) – David Hawthorne was healthy
enough o start this week, relegating Humber to the bench and giving
him a fat goose egg in IDP leagues.
DB James Ihedigbo, DET (@NE, CHI, TB, MIN) – Ihedigbo was
nursing a back injury but managed five solos and two PD in the
loss to Arizona. He’s still a marginal upside DB2.
DB Buster Skrine, CLE (@ATL, @BUF, IND, CIN) – Skrine may
not be the best CB in the league, but he’s active from a
fantasy perspective and had four solos and a PD in his most quiet
performance since Week 5.
DL Marcell Dareus, BUF (NYJ, CLE, @DEN, GB) – Dareus didn’t
do much on Thursday night and this week faces the Jets, who he
doesn’t play that well against. I’m fading him for
DL Ziggy Ansah, DET (@NE, CHI, TB, MIN) – Ansah had just
three total tackles against the Cards but remains a viable DL2
option in deeper IDP leagues.