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
Andy Dalton, CIN (@TB, PIT, @CLE, DEN) – Dalton invariably
throws in a few stinkers each season, but he’s still a reliable
fantasy QB, with 31 total TDs (27 passing, four rushing) in 2012
and 35 (33 passing, two rushing) total TDs in 2013. His inconsistency
in 2014 has been frustrating, but he’s got a full complement
of weapons and should be in-line for multiple-TD games in his
next few matchups.
Manning, NYG (@JAC, @TEN, WAS, @STL) – The emergence of Odell
Beckham Jr. gives Manning a viable No. 1 WR and puts him in the
conversation as a Top 15 QB option down the stretch. He’s still
available in over a third of fantasy leagues, so take note of
his upcoming matchups.
McCown, TB (CIN, @DET, @CAR, GB) -
The Bucs will undoubtedly be throwing the ball against the Bengals
and McCown has some very athletic and talented receivers at his
disposal. He's still available in about two-thirds of Yahoo leagues
and offers definite upside in the middle tier of NFL QBs.
Derek Carr, OAK (@STL, SF, @KC, BUF) – Carr is a boom-or-bust
option in two-QB leagues and the Raiders have nothing to lose.
I’m not banking on too many huge games, but next week at
St. Louis could be a high-water mark for the rookie.
Scouring The Barrel
Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (CAR, NYJ, @DET, @MIA) – Bridgewater
(210-2-1, 32 rushing yards and a 2XP on Sunday) is coming off
his best game since Week 4 and has favorable matchups the next
two weeks. He’s not a recommended option in most redraft
formats but he’s worth monitoring in dynasty leagues and
could be an effective QB once he has the requisite experience
at this level.
Smith, KC (DEN, @ARI, OAK, @PIT) – Smith threw for 234-2-0
in the loss to Oakland but only completed 20 of 36 pass attempts.
He should be forced to throw a lot again versus the Broncos next
Orton, BUF (CLE, @DEN, GB, @OAK) – Update coming Tuesday.
Orton passed for 230-2-0
and ran for 10 additional yards in Monday nights’ blowout
of the Jets in Detroit. He’s shaping up to be a decent play
as a QB2 next week against the Browns.
Hill, STL (OAK, @WAS, ARI, NYG) – Hill was horrendous Sunday,
throwing for 198-1-2 with a lost fumble on 18-for-35 passing.
He’ll be primed for a bounce-back game against the Raiders if
he holds onto the starting job.
Off The Top
Williams, NYG (@JAC, @TEN, WAS, @STL) – Williams was utilized
quite a bit near the goaline and in short yardage and should be
viewed as a productive complement to Rashad Jennings with decent
upside. He’s TD-dependent, but is a necessary handcuff for Jennings
owners and ran well in limited use Sunday night.
Blount, NE (@GB, @SD, MIA, @NYJ) – There’s
no telling what Bill Belichick might do next week at Green Bay,
but it’s possible he utilizes heavy doses of Blount when
the Pats get near the goaline, so Blount’s worth picking
up in all formats. I just don’t like banking on any of these
RBs because the game plans are so tenuous.
Hyde, SF (SEA, @OAK, @SEA, SD) – Hyde (36 percent
owned on Yahoo) rushed seven times for 16 yards and a touchdown
in the 49ers’ Week 12 win over the Redskins, but lost a
costly fumble. Frank Gore (hip) is also now on the Week 13 injury
report with a knee issue. If Gore’s status gets cloudier,
Hyde could be a decent fill-in.
RB Latavius Murray: If he wasn't picked
up last week in your league, he will be this week.
Murray, OAK (@STL, SF, @KC, BUF) – Murray (15-40 percent owned)
sustained a concussion after busting out for 112 yards and two
TDs on just four carries Thursday night against a tough Chiefs
defense. He’s earned a much larger role going forward but is day-to-day
and will have to get clearance before accepting duties as the
lead back in Oakland. Stay tuned.
practicing Monday, but that’s not a surprise given the NFL’s
rigorous concussion protocol. Even if he gets in some work later
this week, he’s a major risk as a fantasy starter.
Scouring The Barrel
Thomas, MIA (@NYJ, BAL, @NE, MIN) – Thomas had a score on
Sunday and would likely see the bulk of carries should anything
happen to Lamar Miller. He’s TD dependent for value at the moment
but could emerge down the stretch as a viable deep-league flex
Herron, IND (WAS, @CLE, HOU, @DAL) – Herron earned the favor
of coaches and got a lot of playing time Sunday, tallying 65 yards
on 12 carries and adding 5-31-0 in receptions. Unfortunately,
he also lost a fumble, but Trent Richardson’s overall ineffectiveness
means Herron should continue to see touches and scoring opportunities
in such a potent offense.
Blue, HOU (TEN, @JAC, @IND, BAL) – Blue drew another start
with Arian Foster (groin) inactive again, but failed to capitalize
with just 46 rushing yards and 3-20-0 receiving.
Texans HC Bill O’Brien
said Monday that Foster “could play” in Week 13 against
the Titans and their horrific run defense, but that doesn’t
sound like a resounding vote of confidence. Even if he returns,
the Texans would likely split touches between the two backs and
give Foster every opportunity to get healthy. Consider Blue an
RB2 with upside until you see Foster warming up with his uniform
on – which would drop Blue down to an RB3/flex.
Sims, TB (CIN, @DET, @CAR, GB) – Questionable to play at Chicago,
Sims was active but was an offensive afterthought (33 total yards)
with both starter Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey getting touches
and targets. Still, he outgained both players and should be owned
in 12-team leagues.
The Bucs have a full-blown
committee situation, and it’s better off to avoid it entirely
heading into Week 13 against the Bengals.
Helu, Jr., WAS (@IND, STL, @NYG, PHI) – Helu didn’t get any
carries and posted just 2-9-0 receiving in his least productive
game of the season.
Starks, GB (NE, ATL, @BUF, @TB) – Starks carried the ball
once for negative-4 yards and saw just one target n the passing
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Beckham Jr., NYG (@JAC, @TEN, WAS, @STL) – Wowzer. Beckham’s
circus catch has already been added him to the GOAT pantheon and
despite the team taking a tough loss to a division rival on Sunday
night, the Giants offense is looking up. Beckham is still available
in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues, so he may somehow be out there
in yours. He should be considered a low-end WR1 going forward.
We’ve had a little
time (36 hours) to put the Beckham Incident of 2014 in some perspective,
and the superlatives keep on coming. Eli Manning is raving about
his route-running ability, and it’s clear he’s smitten
with his new favorite red zone target.
Sanu, CIN (@TB, PIT, @CLE, DEN) – Sanu is still a great athlete
with major upside, and he’s now at 49-719-5 on the year on a whopping
86 targets – impressive considering the Dalton factor thus far
this season. He’s gone in most formats, but consider him a decent
matchup plug-n-play for Week 13 in even shallower leagues where
Justin Hunter, TEN (@HOU, NYG, NYJ, @JAC) – Hunter tends
to rely on blown coverage opportunities for his scores, and despite
limited upside is owned in about 15-30 percent of fantasy leagues.
He’s worth a look for the stretch run.
TE Tim Wright, NE (@GB, @SD, MIA, @NYJ) – Wright had two
TDs on Sunday, and he remains a boom-or-bust fantasy option in
the Patriots fickle offensive game planning. He should be owned
in all formats for his upside, but he’s always a major risk.
Scouring The Barrel
Charles Johnson, MIN (CAR, NYJ, @DET, @MIA) – Johnson (1-2
percent owned) is emerging as a favorite target of Bridgewater
and has the size and skills to be a productive red zone target
and fantasy WR3. For now, he’s a fringe option WR4 with
decent upside in 12-team leagues.
Murphy, TB (CIN, @DET, @CAR, GB) – Murphy has bursts of success,
as he did against the Bears on Sunday (6-113-0 on eight targets),
and he’s worth adding in deep formats as a WR4/5. There’s just
no way to tell when he’ll blow up, especially with Mike Evans
and Vincent Jackson getting so many of Josh McCown’s targets.
Shorts, JAC (NYG, HOU, @BAL, TEN) – Shorts was targeted just
three times by Blake Bortles and hauled in one catch for 6 yards
– far and away his worst game of 2014. He killed me in daily fantasy
contests where I’d deployed him as a low-cost PPR-dependent option.
Welker, DEN (@KC, BUF, @SD, @CIN) – Even with Emmanuel Sanders
active, Welker had a solid game with 4-18-1, catching all four
of his targets. He remains a risky play despite his efficiency.
Stills, NO (@PIT, CAR, @CHI, ATL) – Update coming Tuesday.
disappoint Monday night, hauling in 8-98-0 on nine targets, but
failed to find the end zone. He’s worth a look in all formats
as the Saints start throwing the ball more in desperation mode.
Britt, STL (OAK, @WAS, ARI, NYG) – Britt had 2-37-0 on six
targets, his worst game since Week 7 – but will be a decent WR3
play next week facing the Raiders.
Landry, MIA (@NYJ, BAL, @NE, MIN) – It’s about time I hit
one. The rookie had the best game of his young career, going for
7-50-2 on 11 targets from Ryan Tannehill. He’s fast becoming a
reliable WR2 with plenty of upside.
Hogan, BUF (CLE, @DEN, GB, @OAK) – Update coming Tuesday.
Hogan had just two
catches for 5 yards on Monday night as the Bills opened up the
offense more to Robert Woods (9-118-1).
McClain, DAL (PHI, @CHI, @PHI, IND) – McClain, alongside rookie
Anthony Hitchens, has been a big part of the Cowboys success on
defense this season. He’s relatively healthy now, and with the
Eagles re-establishing the run, I expect both McClain and Hitchens
to be busy next week and in Week 15.
LB Avery Williamson, TEN (@HOU, NYG, NYJ, @JAC) – Williamson
is the every-down LB for the Titans and has been big for their
defense over the past four games with 34 total tackles, 3.0 sacks
and a PD.
DB James Ihedigbo, DET (CHI, TB, MIN, @CHI) – Ihedigbo
remains criminally underowned in IDP leagues despite being an
impact player since being activated in Week 4. He’s coming
off an 11-tackle game where he notched an INT.
DB Antrel Rolle, NYG (@JAC, @TEN, WAS, @STL) – Rolle will
give you steady production and could have much bigger upside facing
the Jaguars and Titans over the next couple of weeks. Plug him
in as a DB2.
DL Carlos Dunlap, CIN (@TB, PIT, @CLE, DEN) – Dunlap hasn’t
been great this season, but he’s an effective pass rusher
who can take over a game – something I think he’ll
do in Week 13 versus the Bucs.
DL Michael Bennett, SEA (@SF, @PHI, SF, @ARI) – Bennett
came out of the gates strong in 2014 but has fizzled in recent
weeks, posting pedestrian tackle numbers and a lack of sacks.
I think he’ll get busy against the Niners, since he tends
to step up in big games.
Davis, NYJ (MIA, @MIN, @TEN, NE) – Update coming Tuesday.
Davis had eight total
tackles against the Bills but couldn’t muster any junk points.
He’s still got the most upside of any Bills LB.
Peppers, GB (NE, ATL, @BUF, @TB) – Peppers had a quiet week
(two tackles) at Minnesota, but remains a solid LB3/DL1 depending
Kirksey, CLE (@BUF, IND, CIN, @CAR) – Despite Karlos Dansby
being inactive, Kirksey had just five total tackles on Sunday.
He’s just not getting the passing down opportunities many assumed
during the preseason that he’d eventually have.
Adams, IND (WAS, @CLE, HOU, @DAL) – Adams tuned in a decent
performance with five total tackles and PD, but failed to record
at least eight solos for the first time since Week 7.
Ishmael, ATL (ARI, @GB, PIT, @NO) – Ishmael had a monster
Week 12, recording 11 total tackles, a PD and INT. He’s a DB2
with plenty of upside going forward – unless William Moore’s return
displaces him from the starting secondary.
Richardson, NYJ (MIA, @MIN, @TEN, NE) – Update coming Tuesday.
Richardson easily had
his worst game of 2014 Monday night, as the Bills lineman moved
him and Muhammed Wilkerson (who suffered a toe injury and is getting
an MRI) around like rag dolls. Both standout defensive linemen
finished with one measly tackle apiece – terrible considering
Casey, TEN (@HOU, NYG, NYJ, @JAC) – Casey posted four
total tackles and a sack on Sunday in the loss to Philly. He’s
a consistent DL2 with marginal upside.