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
final 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
Manning, NYG (@TEN, WAS, @STL, PHI) – Though it’s obvious
that Giants fans and many fantasy owners have given up on Manning
(50-85 percent owned), he’s in the conversation for Week 14 after
the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick carved up the Titans for six TD
passes. Manning hasn’t been the main problem, as an ineffectual
offensive line, myriad injuries and wildly inconsistent skill
position play have combined to lead to the majority of the Giants
Manziel, CLE (IND, CIN, @CAR, @BAL) – Manziel (10-15 percent
owned) came on in the fourth quarter of the Week 13 game against
Buffalo after Brian Hoyer failed to put together any semblance
of a drive in the second half. The brash rookie put together an
impressive 80-yard touchdown drive, scoring the TD himself on
a 10-yard scramble – as mobility is one of his strengths. He’s
probably going to be the QB unless Hoyer can somehow convince
the coaching staff he’s poised for better play.
Browns coach Mike Pettine
is playing it close to the vest early in the week, but we suspect
that Manziel gets the call against Indianapolis, as Hoyer has
been remarkably ineffective his last two starts (0:5 TD:INT).
Manziel looked far from polished, but he provided the spark that
Pettine said he hoped would come from the QB change. They’ll
need a raging fire – not just a spark – to beat the
juggernaut Colts, but it appears the Johnny Football era has begun.
Fitzpatrick, HOU (@JAC, @IND, BAL, JAC) – Fitzpatrick was
the No. 1 fantasy QB on Sunday, finishing with 358-6-0 on 24-for-33
passing. The six TDs were a career high and a nostalgic throwback
to his more freewheeling days in Buffalo. He makes a decent QB2
start in Week 14 and could be worth a look in DFS over the next
Scouring The Barrel
Locker, TEN (NYG, NYJ, @JAC, IND) – Before you start laughing,
I’ll just point out that the Titans have some decent matchups
in the final few games, and they are clearly committed to heaving
the ball downfield. Whether it’s the rookie, who’s playing well
but dealing with a sprained AC joint, or the more experienced
Locker (who filled in Sunday and went 6-for-12 with 91-1-2 and
a lost fumble) – it’s going to be a chuckfest these next few weeks.
Ken Whisenhunt said
that Mettenberger’s throwing shoulder injury is “not
bad,” and while it’s still unclear if he’ll
be able to play in Week 14, the Titans think he can go if the
soreness is tolerable.
Colt McCoy, WAS (STL, @NYG, PHI, DAL) – Those brave enough
to start Colt McCoy in Week 13 were rewarded with an impressive
392-3-0 performance, as the Washington-Indy shootout got wild
in the middle quarters. McCoy isn’t a recommended start
next week facing the Rams, but he’s got some decent matchups
down the stretch against division rivals.
Andy Dalton, CIN (PIT, @CLE, DEN, @PIT) – The talented
but wild Dalton completed 19-of-27 passes for 176 yards, a TD,
and three interceptions as the Bengals pulled off a squeaker win
over the Bucs. He saved his fantasy performance with a two-yard
rushing score, but he’ll be tough to trust heading into
the fantasy playoffs.
Josh McCown, TB (@DET, @CAR, GB, NO) – This is the Josh
McCown we know (and hate). He essentially laid an egg against
the Bengals, throwing for 190-0-1 and devastating owners who started
Carr, OAK (SF, @KC, BUF, @DEN) – Wait a minute – we found
a worse fantasy QB in Week 13! Carr finished with 173-0-2 and
was pulled for Matt Schaub in the fourth quarter Sunday as the
Raiders were handed a 52-0 shutout at the hands of the Rams. There’s
just nowhere to go from here.
Bridgewater, MIN (NYJ, @DET, @MIA, CHI) – Bridgewater wasn’t
all that impressive Sunday, but he did finish with 138-2-0 and
19 rushing yards – which was somewhere between Dalton and Drew
Stanton (294-1-2) on the crappy fantasy outing scale.
Off The Top
Mason, STL (@WAS, ARI, NYG, @SEA) – Mason, who had one TD
on the season heading into Week 13 and is still just 70 percent
owned in Yahoo leagues, exploded for 117 rushing yards and two
rushing TDs, as well as 3-47-1 receiving in the 52-0 drubbing
of Oakland. He’s getting the bulk of touches in the Rams’ offense
and has relegated Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham to change-of-pace
roles. He’s a must-own RB1 given his current usage and ability.
Doug Martin, TB (@DET, @CAR, GB, NO) – The much-beleaguered
Martin, who was on plenty of waiver wires earlier in the season
after getting injured and losing his starting job, rushed 18 times
for 58 yards and a touchdown and caught a three-yard pass in the
Bucs’ Week 13 loss to Cincinnati. He’s still available
in about half of Yahoo leagues and could provide low-end RB2 or
decent flex value in the fantasy playoffs.
Helu, Jr., WAS (STL, @NYG, PHI, DAL) – Helu continues to be
hit or miss from a fantasy perspective, but he caught all four
of his targets for 61 yards and a touchdown Week 14 against the
Colts. He also carried the ball for the first time in three games
and appears to be a risky RB4/flex option unless something happens
to Alfred Morris.
Davis, KC (@ARI, OAK, @PIT, SD) – While Jamaal Charles played
through a knee bruise in Week 13 and next week’s matchup probably
won’t yield fruit for Davis (who didn’t have any carries against
Denver), it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Davis
gets heavy work in Week 15 against Oakland so the Chiefs can spell
their starting RB. Keep him in mind.
Scouring The Barrel
Bush, ARI (KC, @STL, SEA, @SF) – The matchups aren’t favorable
and there’s not a ton of upside in these guys right now. But if
Andre Ellington misses Week 14, there’s a shot one of them could
emerge as a hot hand back and tally some decent numbers against
a run defense that was gashed for over 200 rushing yards on Sunday
Bruce Arians said this
week that Grice will probably get the start if Ellington (hip)
can’t go against the Chiefs. The 22-year-old Arizona state
product was drafted in the sixth round by the Chargers but lost
out to Branden Oliver in camp. While he’s clearly not a
world-beater, Grice could see a high number of touches if he gets
off to a good start, and will serve as a decent RB3/flex PPR option
in deeper formats if Ellington is inactive.
Reece, OAK (SF, @KC, BUF, @DEN) – If Latavius Murray misses
additional time, Reece might be a decent PPR option as the team
struggles to establish a running game and is forced to throw.
My gut tells me that
Murray sits out at least another game and Reece gets a heavy dose
of touches on Sunday against San Fran, but my gut also told me
to play Ryan Tannehill on Monday night against the Jets over Jay
Cutler in Detroit on Thanksgiving.
Williams, NYG (@TEN, WAS, @STL, PHI) – The Giants change-of-pace
back had eight carries for 21 yards in Sunday’s Week 13 loss to
Jacksonville, and could see more work as Rashad Jennings left
with an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter. The rookie out
of Boston College will be on the RB2 radar for a matchup against
the Titans’ league-worst run defense in Week 14 if Jennings can’t
Jennings is unlikely
to miss time, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport,
who said the ankle injury he suffered near the end of the Jacksonville
game is “not believed to be serious.” Jennings expects
to play in Tennessee, but it’s still a situation to monitor
as the 3-9 Giants have no good reason to force their No. 1 RB
into action if he’s not at least 90-95 percent.
LeGarrette Blount, NE (@SD, MIA, @NYJ, BUF) – The resurgent
Blount toted the rock 10 times and finished with 58 yards in New
England's Week 13 loss to the Packers.
The Pats didn’t have a chance to run much with the Packers
at full throttle much of the game, but he remains a touchdown-dependent
RB3 with plenty of upside.
Hyde, SF (@OAK, @SEA, SD, ARI) – The rookie rushed five times
for 19 yards and caught 3-38-0 against the Seahawks, and looked
more effective than Frank Gore in limited opportunities. He could
see significant work against Oakland in Week 14.
Murray, OAK (SF, @KC, BUF, @DEN) – Murray was inactive Sunday
after being limited in practice this week and failing his final
concussion test. He’s about the only player on the Raiders who
stands to help during the fantasy playoffs, but he’s got to get
on the field and stay healthy.
It’s hard to
see anyone from the Raiders doing especially well against the
49ers defense in Week 14, but Murray is close to returning from
his concussion and could suit up. Given what we know about head
injuries, I don’t understand why a team with no shot at
the playoffs would put their best RB’s future in jeopardy
by rushing him back into action, but since Tony Sparano hasn’t
ruled him out, we can’t either.
Thomas, MIA (BAL, @NE, MIN, NYJ) – Update coming Tuesday.
Thomas rushed for 5
yards on one carry and caught a 3-yard pass in the win over the
Jets Monday night. With Lamar Miller healthy, he’s off the
fantasy radar for the stretch run. There are better handcuff-style
Herron, IND (@CLE, HOU, @DAL, @TEN) – Herron lost a fumble
in the second quarter and had just eight carries and two targets
in the passing game, but was able to finish with 88 yards on eight
carries, including a 49-yard touchdown, adding 2-8-0 receiving.
He’ll be a capable lead back in the potent Colts offense if he
can hang onto the football.
Chuck Pagano wasn’t
deterred by Herron’s fumble, and he realizes he’s
a talented back with “long speed.” It’s important
to point out that Herron’s eight carries Sunday yielded
more yardage than any of Trent Richardson’s individual rushing
totals in 26 games as a Colt. This means that Herron will essentially
resume Ahmad Bradshaw’s role in the offense and is the more
valuable back – a fantasy RB2 with more upside and a considerably
higher floor – than the disappointing T-Rich.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Kendall Wright (7-132-1 in Wk 13) will
see more targets if Hunter (spleen) misses the final four
Off The Top
Wright, TEN (NYG, NYJ, @JAC, IND) – The Titans, regardless
of who is under center, must pass the ball to stay in games, because
their running game is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Wright
is a talented, athletic possession receiver who figures to be
featured prominently in the offense with Justin Hunter injured.
Stills, NO (CAR, @CHI, ATL, @TB) – Stills had an epic 5-192-1
game on Sunday and appears to be the primary deep threat on the
Saints. He was targeted just six times but is in line for plenty
of looks against the woeful Panthers secondary in Week 14. He
should be owned in all formats.
Reed, WAS (STL, @NYG, PHI, DAL) –
Reed is available in about 50-60 percent of fantasy leagues
and had a big game in his return from his second hamstring injury.
McCoy looked Reed’s ay from the jump and the talented TE
tallied 9-123-0 on 11 targets. With some uncertainty clouding
the immediate fatasy prospects of two of football top fantasy
TEs (Julius Thomas with the nagging ankle injury, and Jimmy Graham
getting zero targets Sunday), Reed offers a viable alternative
and plenty of upside when healthy.
Greg Jennings, MIN (NYJ, @DET, @MIA, CHI) – The rookie
QB seems to be getting his footing, so Jennings is worth a look
in deep formats as an underrated red zone target. He could have
a season-high in targets and catches next week against the pitiful
Jets pass defense.
Moncrief, IND (@CLE, HOU, @DAL, @TEN) – Moncrief blew up for
3-134-2 in the win over Washington, and while you can’t count
on that kind of production from a TD-dependent youngster, it’s
still nice to be the third WR in Andrew Luck’s potent offense.
He’s under-owned, especially considering his potential as a high-upside
Scouring The Barrel
Nate Washington, TEN (NYG, NYJ, @JAC, IND) – Like Wright,
Washington could see a bunch of targets as the Titans throw caution
to the wind and open up their offense down the stretch. He’s
a veteran receiver who excels in long catch-and-run TDs, and he’s
only 1 percent owned on Yahoo.
Marqise Lee, JAC (HOU, @BAL, TEN, @HOU) – The rookie had
a huge hand in defeating the Giants with his 6-75-1 line –
a solid outing that could be interpreted as a breakout. I’m
anticipating more targets next week against the Texans, who will
undoubtedly go after the Jags and give Lee some valuable garbage
time to rack up catches and yardage.
Beckham Jr., NYG (@TEN, WAS, @STL, PHI) – Beckham hauled in
seven passes for 90 yards (eight targets) but failed to reach
paydirt in a game he was expected to dominate. He was nursing
a minor back injury that he appeared to tweak on an awkward tackle
in the first half, but played the entire game.
Sanu, CIN (PIT, @CLE, DEN, @PIT) – Sanu had yardage in all
three offensive categories (2-19-0 receiving; 10 rushing yards
on one carry; and an 11-yard pass completion) but the offense
focused on the RB timeshare and A.J Green. He’s a risk/reward
WR3 going forward.
Hunter, TEN (NYG, NYJ, @JAC, IND) – Hunter suffered a lacerated
spleen in Sunday's Week 13 loss at Houston, getting lit up by
Danieal Manning after not aggressively pursuing an INT early in
the game. He had 1-18-0 and did return to the game, but ultimately
left after experiencing stomach pain and was taken to the hospital.
He’s safe to drop in all redraft formats, as he’s likely headed
Hunter should be released
from the hospital soon, but he’s no longer on the fantasy
radar for 2014. Go grab somebody special, amigos.
TE Tim Wright, NE (@SD, MIA, @NYJ, BUF) – Tim Wright hauled
in his lone target for 12 yards in Week 13, as the game plan did
not include much of the Week 12 standout. There's no easy way
to predict how Bill Belichick will use Wright going forward, making
him a TE2 with upside in the right matchup.
Charles Johnson, MIN (NYJ, @DET, @MIA, CHI) – Johnson caught
2-41-0 on four targets during the Vikings' Week 13 win over the
Panthers. With a three-score lead, the Vikings ran a ball-control
offense in the second half, but Johnson is the Vikings No. 1 WR
and a high-upside WR3 who might have a breakout against the Jets'
terrible secondary in Week 14.
Louis Murphy, TB (@DET, @CAR, GB, NO) – After a big Week
12, Murphy managed just one catch for 7 yards despite seeing five
targets in the Bucs' Week 13 loss to Cincinnati. He’s an
inconsistent slot receiver and a hit-or-miss fantasy contributor
with marginal upside.
Hitchens, DAL (@CHI, @PHI, IND, @WAS) – I like his chances
for another big game versus the Bears, who will likely use a lot
of Brandon Marshall on crossing routes and Matt Forte in the flanks,
where Hitchens excels in side-line-to-sideline tackling.
LB Telvin Smith, JAC (HOU, @BAL, TEN, @HOU) – Smith is playing
some impressive football right now, and his ability helped put
some of the pressure on the Giants as they caved on Sunday. The
rookie out of FSU has 63 total tackles, 2.0 sacks, an INT and
three PD on the season.
DB Reggie Nelson, CIN (PIT, @CLE, DEN, @PIT) – Nelson is
a veteran safety who often gets forgotten as one of the best in
the game, and do far he’s having a great season with 79
total tackles, 1.5 sacks, two INT and nine PD. He’ll be
forced to step up next week against the Steelers.
DB Richard Sherman, SEA (@PHI, SF, @ARI, STL) – Sherman
is playing excellent football right now and looks like the player
that tore through the playoffs last season as the league’s
premier cornerback. He’s coming off a two-INT Thanksgiving
game and should be busy in Week 14 against the Eagles and Chip
Kelly’s quick-hitting offense.
DL Jurrell Casey, TEN (NYG, NYJ, @JAC, IND) – Casey is
among the best one-gap DTs in the league and should excel against
the weak Giants offensive line this Sunday. He’s one of
the top DT-eligible lineman in all of IDP, even if his ownership
rates don’t reflect it.
DL Everson Griffen, MIN (NYJ, @DET, @MIA, CHI) – The underrated
Griffen now has 11.0 sacks on the season and is coming off a monster
IDP performance (five total tackles, 2.0 sacks, blocked punt TD)
where he showed off his next-level athleticism. More big games
McClain, DAL (@CHI, @PHI, IND, @WAS) – McClain finished with
just seven total tackles (six solos), and Hitchens tallied more
tackles (12 total) against Philadelphia.
Williamson, TEN (NYG, NYJ, @JAC, IND) – Williamson had an
uncharacteristically quiet Week 13, notching just one assist and
a PD in the loss to Houston.
Ihedigbo, DET (TB, MIN, @CHI, @GB) – Ihedigbo had just one
solo tackle on Thursday but added a PD an INT against Chicago.
He now had three INTs over his last four games.
Rolle, NYG (@TEN, WAS, @STL, PHI) – Rolle had seven total
tackles and a PD in the devastating loss to Jacksonville, as the
Giants imploded in the second half. Rolle gets plenty of chances
in this questionable defense.
Dunlap, CIN (PIT, @CLE, DEN, @PIT) – Dunlap had one
of his better games this season Sunday at Tampa, finishing with
seven total tackles (five solos) 0.5 sacks and a PD.
Bennett, SEA (@PHI, SF, @ARI, STL) – As expected, Bennett
stepped up big on Thankgiving night with four solos and a sack,
his best IDP line since Week 2. He’s a good bet for another
solid week at Philly on Sunday.