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
final two 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
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (MIN, NYJ) – Tannehill is still available
in about 25-30 percent of fantasy leagues and has decent matchups
to close out the season. He’s coming off a productive-if-sloppy
week (346-1-2, 21 rushing yards) and is a dynamic QB who’s
improved this season.
Griffin III, WAS (PHI, DAL) – He looked sharp at times on
Sunday and should remain the starter in Washington for the last
two games. He’s not a terrible Week 16 options considering some
of the hideous numbers QBs put up in general last week.
Despite the palpable dysfunction
in Washington (and don’t even get me started on Congress)
the team still plans to start RGIII on Sunday versus Philly and
bring back Jay Gruden in 2015. Seriously, though – the Eagles
defense is banged up and Griffin just had arguably his best game
since Week 13 of last season and could be solid again this time
Scouring The Barrel
Anderson, CAR (CLE, @ATL) – He’s got a tough Week 16 matchup
and Cam Newton may be back, but Anderson played well enough in
the win over Tampa Bay (277-1-0, 14 rushing yards) to prove he
could have a job in 2015 and be thrust into relevance once again
as a fantasy backup.
Panthers head coach Ron
Rivera said Newton will only start on Sunday if he can “protect
himself,” adding that scrambling and keeping the play alive
are important factors to consider as he rehabs from his back injury.
Dalton, CIN (DEN, @PIT) – Dalton did very little against the
Browns (117-0-1), as Jeremy Hill and the defense did most of the
heavy lifting. It was a tough week for QBs, but the least he could
have done was tossed a TD pass.
Josh McCown, TB (GB, NO) – Turnovers bit McCown but he
tossed for 154-1-1 with two lost fumbles and a rushing TD. Still,
those numbers were good enough to finish among the Top 15 QBs
Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (@MIA, CHI) – Bridgewater was solid
from a fantasy perspective in the loss to Detroit, throwing for
315-1-2 with 30 rushing yards – about 7th best this week
in standard formats.
Derek Carr, OAK (BUF, @DEN) – Carr had 222-1-0 with a lost
fumble against the Chiefs and has a tough matchup against the
surging Bills in Week 16.
Off The Top
Hill, CIN (DEN, @PIT) – This is easy. He’s still available
in about 10-15 percent of leagues, so he’s a must-add in all formats
and should be worth a dynasty tag in keeper leagues.
Gerhart, JAC (TEN, @HOU) –
Gerhart (about 20-25 percent owned) makes an interesting pickup-and-play
in Week 16 facing the Titans on Thursday night. He toted the rock
13 times for 54 yards at Baltimore with two catches for 9 yards
and could hover around 100 total yards against one of the league’s
worst run defenses.
Martin, TB (GB, NO) – Martin had 14 carries for 96 yards in
the loss to Carolina and looked the best he’s been all season.
Why it’s taken this long for him to produce is anybody’s guess,
but the performance makes him an intriguing flex option for Week
Davis, KC (@PIT, SD) – After Jamaal Charles was knocked out
of the game in the third quarter, Davis got more work, rushing
for 11 yards and a TD and hauling in a 70-yard TD pass.
Charles was unhappy with coaches who removed him after
a big collision at the goaline, but he did admit his knee and
ankle bothered him during the game on Sunday. It’s worth
watching this week, as Davis is a viable option if Charles is
out or limited.
Hyde, SF (SD, ARI) – Hyde rushed for 55 yards on just six
carries in relief Frank Gore (concussion) before injuring his
ankle and back on an awkward play in the fourth quarter. You’ll
have to monitor this situation (he’s getting an MRI), but if he
can play in Week 16, he’s worth a look. Fullback Bruce Miller
and former Cardinal Alfonso Smith are next up on the San Fran
Results of Hyde’s MRI were not available as of Tuesday
morning, but Smith would be the best option for the Niners if
the talented rookie can’t go this week.
Scouring The Barrel
Polk, PHI (@WAS, @NYG) – Chip Kelly appears committed to Polk
in goal line situations, and the near universal fantasy free agent
vultured two rushing TDs on Sunday night. He’s definitely TD dependent
but would see more work if LeSean McCoy went down.
With DeMarco Murray's status up in the
air, Joseph Randle will be a hot pickup in Week 16.
Stewart, CAR (CLE, @ATL) – Stewart totaled 73 yards on 22
rushes and caught a six-yard pass in the win over TB. He’s a good
start against the Browns even if DeAngelo Williams is ready to
Randle, DAL (IND, @WAS) – I told you to pick up Randle! Murray
is undergoing surgery to repair a broken fourth metacarpal in
his left hand and Randle would be the primary back to own if the
stud RB misses any time. It’s not a devastating type of injury
for Murray or the Cowboys but Randle needs to be owned in all
Murray could still play on Sunday but there’s no
way of knowing what the Cowboys’ plans will be until they
make an announcement or we see who’s active before game
time. In any event, Randle will likely see increased touches and
possibly play a bit more on passing downs.
Starks, GB (@TB, DET) – Starks had just 29 total yards as
Eddie Lacy (hip) was good to go Sunday. He could see some work
if the Packers blow out Tampa Bay next week.
Williams, ARI (SEA, @SF) – Williams had 75 rushing yards on
15 carries and 2-11-0 receiving in the win over St. Louis on Thursday
night. He’s got tough matchups the next couple weeks but the Niners
are really banged up and he could find some room to run in Week
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Decker, NYJ (NE, @MIA) – The Jets don’t stand much of a chance
at beating the Pats next week, but Decker is becoming more involved
in the offense and had a big game Sunday (7-100-0) in the win
over Tennessee. He’s about 70 percent owned and worth a look as
Landry, MIA (MIN, NYJ) – Landry continued to be Tannehill’s
top target, hauling in 8-99-0 in the loss to New England. He’s
a WR2 with upside.
TE Owen Daniels, BAL (@HOU, CLE) – Daniels is still
a productive TE and gets an opportunity for a revenge game this
week against his old team. He hauled in 4-62-1 against the Jaguars
in Week 15 and his back seems healthy now. Plug him in as a high-upside
Jones, OAK (BUF, @DEN) – It’s hard to say what the Oakland
game plan will be facing the Bills next week, but Jones (8-57-1
against the Chiefs) is a solid red zone option with some upside.
Washington, TEN (@JAC, IND) – The Titans are hurting at WR
and QB and will probably be rolling with Charlie Whitehurst the
next couple weeks. Washington is coming off a 6-102-0 game and
looks like the only healthy pass-catching option other than Delanie
The Titans hope Kendall Wright (hand) can go on Thursday
against the Jags, which could reduce the number of targets Washington
Scouring The Barrel
Hester, ATL (@NO, CAR) – The Falcons looked to Hester to fill
Julio Jones’ ample shoes and he responded with 5-85-1 in the loss
to Pittsburgh. He’s not a great play in standard leagues, but
his famous return capabilities add intrigue in some formats.
Garcon, WAS (PHI, DAL) – Garcon had 4-36-0 on seven targets
Sunday and could be a bigger factor in Week 16.
Baldwin, SEA (@ARI, STL) – The Seahawks grinded out a victory
and Baldwin contributed with 3-53-0 on six targets. He seems underutilized
but could explode for a big game if needed.
Wright, MIN (@MIA, CHI) – Johnson (5-72-0) and Wright (4-49-0)
couldn’t find paydirt like Greg Jennings (3-43-1) but are both
involved in the Vikings with Bridgewater at QB.
Wilson, CHI (DET, @MIN) – Update coming Tuesday.
Wilson caught three balls for 16 yards, including one
of two TD passes thrown by Jay Cutler in the embarrassing home
loss to the Saints.
Beasley, DAL (IND, @WAS) – Beasley caught all of his targets
for 4-42-0 and could be a bigger factor next week with Vontae
Davis likely shadowing Dez Bryant, who exploded for three TD reception
on Sunday night.
Devon Kennard, NYG (@STL, PHI) – Kennard had seven solos
against Washington and has a great matchup in Week 16 against
the Rams, who run the ball more than just about any other team
in the league. He’s a sneaky sleeper play going forward
and should be on the IDP radar for 2015.
Patrick Chung, NE (@NYJ, BUF) – Chung found new life this
season and has over 10 tackles in two of the past three weeks.
He’s got enormous upside facing the Jets in Week 16.
Chandler Jones, NE (@NYJ, BUF) – Jones returned after missing
six weeks due to injury and had a solid Week 14 with seven total
tackles and 1.5 sacks. He’s likely available in many IDP
Bradham, BUF (@OAK, @NE) – Bradham was busy Sunday (8 total
tackles, two PD) as the Bills defeated the Packers in a defensive
Bowman, SF (SD, ARI) – Bowman was deactivated back to IR shortly
after his activation last week. The 49ers linebacking corps is
in serious trouble.
Now Chris Borland (ankle) is getting an MRI and could
miss Week 16. The 49ers defense and 2014 season has been an unmitigated
disaster, with no relief in sight. LBs Dan Skuta, Ahmad Brooks
and Michael Wilhoite will likely get the start and collect most
of the tackles on Sunday.
Joseph, HOU (BAL, JAC) – Joseph had just there solo tackles
in the loss to Indy. Not what I was expecting in what should have
been more of a shootout.
Bryant, CLE (@CAR, @BAL) – The Browns were terrible but Bryant
played well, posting four total tackles and a sack in the 30-0