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 three 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 (@CLE, DEN, @PIT) – Dalton has a knack
for stepping up big late in the season and he certainly did that
with his performance Sunday (302-2-0, rushing TD). There are better
options, but not too many are available in over 40 percent of
Yahoo leagues this late in the game.
McCown, TB (@CAR, GB, NO) – McCown is still available in over
75 percent of Yahoo leagues despite a bevy of talented WRs and
solid upside. The Lions pressured him quite a bit and forced some
turnovers, but next week he has a good matchup against the Panthers.
: Lovie Smith will not
rule out turning to Mike Glennon for the tilt with Carolina, since
they’re out of the playoff hunt and Glennon is the better
long-term option. Stay tuned.
Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (@DET, @MIA, CHI) – Bridgewater
is providing a boost to a struggling Vikings team and should definitely
be targeted in 2015, but he’s also someone to watch for
the final weeks of the regular season and in daily fantasy as
a cheap QB option. His 309-2-1 game against the Jets wasn’t
totally unexpected, but it’s a good indicator of things
to come. Even against the Lions, he’s not a terrible option
in two-QB leagues.
Scouring The Barrel
Derek Carr, OAK (@KC, BUF, @DEN) – Carr tossed three TD
passes in a tough matchup with the 49ers, leading the Raiders
to their second win of the season. He’s owned in just 7
percent of Yahoo leagues and has some tough matchups, but this
is an Oakland team with nothing to lose – as we witnessed
Manning, NYG (WAS, @STL, PHI) – Manning wasn’t all that impressive
(260-1-1) against the Titans, but he didn’t have to be in a matchup
that favored the Giants running game. Next week, however, he could
tear apart the Redskins.
Manziel, CLE (CIN, @CAR, @BAL) – Surprisingly, Mike Pettine
went with Brian Hoyer again over Manziel, but if the rookie stays
out of the clubs and doesn’t hit up any NBA games this week, he
should draw the start according to sources inside the organization.
The matchup isn’t great, but that goes out the window with a hard-to-assess
mobile QB like Johnny Football.
Manziel was officially
named the starter for Sunday against the Bengals. This is going
to be interesting, but at the very least, Josh Gordon should improve
on his paltry Week 14 numbers.
Fitzpatrick, HOU (@IND, BAL, JAC) – Fitzpatrick couldn’t follow
up his six-TD outing with another big game (135-0-0), but he did
have a nice rushing TD. He’ll be forced to throw more next week.
Locker, TEN (NYJ, @JAC, IND) – The Titans quarterback situation
is a mess, and Mettenberger (shoulder) is done for the season.
Look at Locker, but temper your expectations even against the
It’s unclear which
Titans receivers will be healthy enough this Sunday to face the
Jets, but Locker is a risky play in standard leagues regardless.
He’s a decent lottery ticket in daily fantasy tournament
play given his low cost, but there’s just no continuity
to his game and he remains a high-risk-moderate reward fantasy
option without a ton of success despite many favorable opportunities.
Colt McCoy, WAS (@NYG, PHI, DAL) – McCoy had weak game
(199-0-2) before straining his neck and being removed for RGIII
and Week 15 could once again feature the enigmatic QB. It’s
a situation to avoid.
Off The Top
Stewart, CAR (TB, CLE, @ATL) – Stewart (40 percent owned)
had the best game of his career on Sunday, scampering for a 59-yard
TD and totaling 155 rushing yards on the day. He’s a must-add
in all formats and a solid RB2 going forward.
The Cam Newton car accident
– coupled with Ron Rivera’s refusal to anoint him
the clear starter – does cloud the outlook a bit, but Stewart
is capable of carrying the offensive workload on Sunday against
a relatively poor Tampa defense.
Randle, DAL (@PHI, IND, @WAS) – If you’re a DeMarco Murray
owner and you don’t own Randle (who had a 17-yard TD run on his
only carry Thursday), you’re doing it wrong. Anything can happen
and rostering Randle is an absolute necessity for those who’ve
benefited from Spray Tan’s services this season. Go get Randle
and stash him on your bench.
Starks, GB (@BUF, @TB, DET) – :
Starks looked great on Monday night and Eddie Lacy (hip bruise)
sat out the final series against the Falcons. If Lacy can’t
go on Sunday, Starks makes a nice RB2 with RB1 upside. Even if
Lacy does go, he’s a relevant flex play.
Despite telling us otherwise, HC Bruce
Arians knew Kerwynn Williams was going to be the lead RB.
Scouring The Barrel
Williams, ARI (@STL, SEA, @SF) – Williams (3 percent owned
on Yahoo) rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries and should be the
back with the most value with Andre Ellington on IR. He’s got
a tough matchup next week but should be added in all formats.
Tre Mason, STL (ARI, NYG, @SEA) – Mason had 20 carries
Sunday but finished with just 66 rushing yards and no catches.
It was a precipitous drop from last week’s monster game
and his matchup in Week 15 is a difficult one.
Doug Martin, TB (@CAR, GB, NO) – Five carries, 22 yards.
The Bucs backs are useless right now. There’s a shot at
a decent game against the Panthers, but I’m not holding
Roy Helu, Jr., WAS (@NYG, PHI, DAL) – Has Helu ever had
two good games in row? I’m asking seriously, because he
didn’t get a touch on Sunday and is now apparently nursing
a toe injury. He’s safe to drop/avoid across the board.
Davis, KC (OAK, @PIT, SD) – Davis had three catches for 3
yards as the Chiefs failed to get much going other than the involvement
of Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles. Another swing, and another
Stepfan Taylor/Marion Grice/Michael Bush, ARI (@STL, SEA, @SF)
– Stepfan Taylor actually drew the start but carried only
six times for 19 yards and caught one pass for 7 yards, while
Williams got the bulk of work. Michael Bush has been released.
Reece, OAK (@KC, BUF, @DEN) – Despite Latavius Murray being
active, Reece was Oakland’s most productive back on Sunday, catching
7-64-1 in the upset of San Francisco. I told you he’d be involved!
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Garcon, WAS (@NYG, PHI, DAL) – RGIII loves this guy, and anything’s
possible in a division matchup. I’m bullish on Garcon (who hauled
in 9-95-0 on Sunday) the rest of the way, especially if DeSean
Jackson remains sidelined.
Doug Baldwin, SEA (SF, @ARI, STL) – The Seahawks finish
up with three division games against tough defenses, but Baldwin
(5-97-1 on seven targets Sunday) is the safest among Seattle’s
WRs – and they will definitely be throwing against those
teams. He’s still out there in over two-thirds of Yahoo
leagues and makes a fine WR3 going forward.
Charles Johnson/Jarius Wright, MIN (@DET, @MIA, CHI) –
The Bridgewater-Johnson connection is a thing of beauty but it
could have been even better for those smart enough to start the
second-year receiver from Grand Valley State on Sunday. Johnson
(20 percent owned) had 4-103-1 but fumbled on the one-yard line
on another would-be TD and a teammate covered up the fumble in
the end zone. Good for the Vikings bad for fantasy. He’s
the top target for Minnesota and both he and Jarius Wright (1
percent owned; 4-123-1, 23 yards rushing on Sunday) should continue
to produce, even in tougher matchups.
Scouring The Barrel
Marquess Wilson, CHI (NO, DET, @MIN) – With Brandon Marshall
(ribs, lung) done for the year, Wilson will step in as the second
wide receiver slot for the Bears. The former Washington St. standout
has an excellent matchup as an every-down player facing the scuffling
Saints in Week 15.
Beasley, DAL (@PHI, IND, @WAS) – I actually used Beasley in
a few Thanksgiving Day daily lineups and wasn’t shocked when he
caught two TD passes on Thursday against the Bears. Not every
matchup will be this nice, but Tony Romo uses him as a third-down
chain mover and looks to him once in a while in the red zone.
He’s a decent 12-team add this week.
Wright, TEN (NYJ, @JAC, IND) – Inactive Sunday, Wright was
replaced in the starting lineup by Derek Hagan. Stay tuned for
his status in Week 15.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt
has expressed hope that Wright could play with a splint on his
hand “if the swelling and pain subside.” That doesn’t
sound too promising. Washington and Hagan are probably the best
bet for fantasy production among the WRs, with TE Delanie Walker
being the best bet for consistent targets from Locker.
Stills, NO (@CHI, ATL, @TB) – Stills and the Saints disappointed
on Sunday, getting blown out by the Panthers and struggling to
move the ball all day. His 3-23-0 was actually one of the better
receiving lines for New Orleans. Expect a Week 15 bounce-back
against the terrible Chicago pass defense.
Reed, WAS (@NYG, PHI, DAL) – Reed had just 3-25-0 against
the Rams and isn’t trusted option unless RGIII makes him a focus
versus the Giants.
Jennings, MIN (@DET, @MIA, CHI) – Jennings had 5-52-0 on seven
targets, but it was the Johnson/Wright tandem that stole the show.
Moncrief, IND (HOU, @DAL, @TEN) – The Colts didn’t look his
way very often, but Moncrief finished with 3-33-0 on four targets
Sunday in the last minute win over Cleveland. He’s a decent option
as a Week 15 sleeper in DFS.
Washington, TEN (NYJ, @JAC, IND) – Washington had 3-56-0 in
Sunday’s debacle and should get plenty of deep looks against the
Jets, regardless of who’s at QB for Tennessee.
Lee, JAC (@BAL, TEN, @HOU) – Lee had 5-67-0 and was third
on the Jags with eight targets Sunday to Allen Hurns (10) and
Cecil Shorts (9).
Bradham, BUF (GB, @OAK, @NE) – Bradham has 28 total tackles
over the past three weeks and should have plenty of opportunities
for more in the final three. He’s a sneaky play in IDP formats
and has plenty of upside.
Bowman, SF (@SEA, SD, ARI) – Bowman has been activated by the 49ers and if he’s
available to play, he’s a must-add in all IDP formats. Unfortunately,
many folks believe he’s done for the year, so you’ll
have to monitor the inactives before each game.
Joseph, HOU (@IND, BAL, JAC) – Joseph is the best DB the Texans
have, but he’ll be a busy man next week as he’ll try to cover
T.Y. Hilton in a tough matchup. He’s worth a look.
DL Desmond Bryant, CLE (CIN, @CAR, @BAL) – Bryant has quietly
put together a solid season for the Browns, and has 43 total tackles
and 4.0 sacks this season. He’s a good lineman with plenty
LB Anthony Hitchens, DAL (@PHI, IND, @WAS) – Hitchens had
four solo tackles but no extra stuff on Thursday night and remains
a solid dynasty pick with some redraft upside.
LB Telvin Smith, JAC (@BAL, TEN, @HOU) – The rookie had
five tackles and a PD against the Texans – not his best
game, but still okay for deeper leagues.
DB Reggie Nelson, CIN (@CLE, DEN, @PIT) – Just four total
tackles in what should have been a prime matchup versus the Steelers.
He may be a better play against Manziel’s Browns in Week
Sherman, SEA (SF, @ARI, STL) – The Eagles didn’t look to Sherman’s
side very often, the exception being a TD catch by Jeremy Maclin
early in the game. Next week will be interesting.
DL Jurrell Casey, TEN (NYJ, @JAC, IND) – Casey had just
four tackles Sunday as the Giants generally avoided the Titans
pass rush. He should fare better against the Jets.
DL Everson Griffen, MIN (@DET, @MIA, CHI) – Griffen didn’t
go crazy Sunday, but he did finish with two solos, an assist a
sack and a PD – a semi-complete IDP stat sheet for the Vikings.