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
your waiver wire this week by using the MFL
Power feature at FF Today. Just input your
league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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
Manning, NYG (ARI, HOU, @WAS, ATL) – Manning is still available
in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues. He had a poor preseason
and expectations are low, but there’s a chance he surprises in
2014 and will be worth using in spot starts and two-QB leagues.
Eli looked abysmal in the
season debut (163-1-2), but there’s still a chance he puts
up meaningful fantasy numbers this season. While he should be
avoided as a fantasy starter for the near future, I’m not
giving up hope.
Geno Smith, NYJ (@GB, CHI, DET, @SD) – Smith (10 percent
owned in Yahoo leagues) is a beast of an athlete, and while he’s
probably not going to be a premium quarterback anytime soon, the
Jets offense looks much improved this season. He should be owned
in deeper leagues as a backup.
Carr, OAK (HOU, @NE, MIA, BYE) – The Raiders wideouts aren’t
spectacular, but James Jones can make plays and the running backs
can still be effective receivers – a recipe for decent production
from Carr. He’s almost universally available, and while far from
elite, he might be serviceable in certain matchups this season.
Though his debut was inauspicious, Carr has value in keeper
leagues as a spot-starting backup, and as a second QB.
Scouring The Barrel
Cassel, MIN (NE, @NO, ATL, @GB) – Cassel has held the starting
gig for one week, beating up on the punchless Rams in the season
opener. The Vikings have some excellent offensive weapons in Cordarrelle
Patterson and Adrian Peterson and are capable of putting some
big numbers on the board.
Anderson, CAR (DET, PIT, @BAL, CHI) – With Cam Newton out
for possibly a few weeks, Anderson (1 percent owned) drew the
start and notched a win with a solid performance (230-2-0, 10
rushing yards). He’s a journeyman quarterback who’s had success
in the past.
Cam Newton was named the starter ahead of this week’s
practice schedule, where he plans on participating in a limited
fashion. For now, Anderson has no real fantasy value.
Palmer, ARI (@NYG, SF, BYE, @DEN) – Update coming Tuesday.
Palmer completed 24 of 37 passes for 304-2-0 in Monday
night’s win over San Diego. His two fourth-quarter TD drives
were the difference, and it appears that he, Michael Floyd and
rookie John Brown have a nice thing going to start off 2014. He’s
an excellent play next week against the Giants.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (@BUF, KC, @OAK, BYE) – Tannehill wasn’t
particularly sharp on Sunday (178-2-1), but the underdog Dolphins
unveiled a faster-paced offense and got a win over the Patriots,
outscoring their division rivals 23-0 in the second half. Tannehill
remains a serviceable backup with spot-starting upside.
Alex Smith, KC (@DEN, @MIA, NE, @SF) – Smith had a disaster
of a performance, throwing three INTs and managing just 202 passing
yards and a score (36 rushing yards). He’s not a preferred
fantasy option at this point, though his numbers should get better
next week in Denver.
Joe Flacco, BAL (PIT, @CLE, CAR, @IND) – Flacco threw for
345 yards and a TD (one INT), utilizing veteran receiver Steve
Smith on the 80-yard score, but the Ravens fell short. With the
running game in some disarray and a host of decent receivers at
his disposal, Flacco might in line for more robust statistical
production. He should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Josh McCown, TB (STL, @ATL, @PIT, @NO) – It was a relatively
ugly debut for McCown (183-2-2, 27 rushing yards) and the Bucs.
Although this is a talented team with plenty of upside in the
receiving corps, McCown’s job is far from safe.
Jake Locker, TEN (DAL, @CIN, @IND, CLE) – Locker completed
22 of 33 pass attempts for 266-2-0, adding 14 rushing yards on
six carries, in a decisive win over the Chiefs. He could be a
worthwhile free agent pickup and should fare well at home versus
the Cowboys next week.
EJ Manuel, BUF (MIA, SD, @HOU, @DET) – Manuel turned the
ball over just once to the Bears and squeaked out a win in overtime,
throwing for 173-1-1 and adding a 19 rushing yards and a TD on
Off The Top
Ingram, NO (@CLE, MIN, @DAL, TB) – If the Saints are serious
about running the ball this season, Ingram (owned in 54 percent
of Yahoo leagues) could be in line for a breakout. He tallied
60 yards and 2 TDs on 13 carries Sunday.
Ivory, NYJ (@GB, CHI, DET, @SD) – Chris Johnson looked good
Sunday (seeing action on 33 of 70 snaps), but Ivory saw almost
an equal workload, rushing for 102 yards on 10 carries and a TD
(30 of 70 offensive snaps). He’s a bit more durable than Johnson,
but expect both backs to share time going forward.
West, CLE (NO, BAL, BYE, @TEN) – West was the bellcow
after Ben Tate went down in the second quarter, but universally
available Isaiah Crowell (an undrafted rookie) did vulture a couple
touchdowns. The early guess is that West and Crowell will form
a committee if Tate can't play in Week 2, but West (39 percent
owned in Yahoo leagues) is the better add for now.
Robinson, NO (@CLE, MIN, @DAL, TB) – He’s second fiddle to
Ingram, but Robinson rushed for 28 yards and a TD on six carries.
He’s an excellent interior runner and offers limited upside and
consistency, but Ingram isn’t always healthy and the Saints offense
can score a lot of points. Robinson could easily see about 100-125
carries this season.
Rainey, TB (STL, @ATL, @PIT, @NO) – With Doug Martin (left
knee) hobbled, Rainey could be in line for enough touches to make
him a viable RB3/4. He’s a must-add in all formats.
There’s no official
word yet on the severity of Martin’s injury and we likley
won't know much of anything until practice on Wednesday.
Starks, GB (NYJ, @DET, @CHI, MIN) – If Eddie Lacy misses
time, Starks would likely get the majority of touches in the Packers
offense and post adequate RB3/flex numbers with some notable upside.
He’s an experienced player who can run, catch and do everything
required of an NFL running back.
Justin Forsett is inline for more work
thanks to a Bernard Pierce fumble and the release of Ray Rice.
Scouring The Barrel
Forsett, BAL (PIT, @CLE, CAR, @IND) – Bernard Pierce was benched
early after losing a fumble and Forsett shouldered much of the
workload, totaling 84 yards on 16 touches (11 carries for 70 yards
and a TD, 5-14-0 receiving). He’s likely earned the Week 2 start
against Pittsburgh and perhaps more now that Ray Rice has been
released. He will be an extremely hot waiver wire pickup this
Forsett isn’t a long-term solution, though he’s
a capable back with the ability to post RB3/flex numbers while
the Ravens figure things out. Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro will also
get some additional work moving forward, though it appears Forsett
is the smart pickup, with Taliafero and Pierce as lottery tickets.
Crowell, CLE (NO, BAL, BYE, @TEN) – Brown coach Mike Pettine
confirmed after the game that Crowell (five carries for 32 yards
and two TD) was not in the game plan until Ben Tate went down
with a knee injury. In the wake of Tate’s injury, the running
back situation remains uncertain. Still, Crowell is worth adding
in 12-team leagues until we have a clearer picture emerge.
Tate will probably sit out in Week 2, given the fact that
he didn’t return to action on Sunday. Crowell could be a
sneaky add in deeper leagues.
Moreno, MIA (@BUF, KC, @OAK, BYE) – Moreno was the player
of the game on Sunday, rushing for 134 yards and a TD on 24 carries
as he got most of the interior running work. Lamar Miller, who
will likely get most of the passing down snaps, rushed for 59
yards on 11 carries and adding 4-19-1. This appears to be an offense
big enough for both backs to be relevant this season.
Carlos Hyde, SF (CHI, @ARI, PHI, KC) – Hyde had 50 rushing
yards and a TD on just seven carries Sunday, as the 49ers defense
stepped up and the offense took advantage of excellent field position
and red zone opportunities. He’s definitely part of San
Fran’s current offensive playbook and the powerful rookie
runner is a must-own in 12-team leagues as it appears he could
step into Gore’s role should the veteran miss any time this
McFadden, OAK (HOU, @NE, MIA, BYE) – Maurice Jones-Drew was
ineffective on his nine carries, and McFadden wasn’t much better,
totaling 25 yards on five touches. Still, McFadden is the more
explosive of the two backs and I envision a 50-50 timeshare.
Shonn Greene, TEN (DAL, @CIN, @IND, CLE) – Greene rushed
15 times for 71 yards and was the team’s leading rusher
in the win over Kansas City. He’s a worthy RB3/flex option
against the Cowboys next week.
Davis, KC (@DEN, @MIA, NE, @SF) – With Jamaal Charles struggling
and not much offense to speak of, Davis was a non-factor (two
touches, six total yards) in the loss to Tennessee.
Lance Dunbar, DAL (@TEN, @STL, NO, HOU) – Dunbar didn’t
get a carry but caught all three balls thrown his way, totaling
21 receiving yards. He’s the prime handcuff for DeMarco
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Smith, BAL (PIT, @CLE, CAR, @IND) – Smith and Flacco were
locked in on Sunday. Even though he’s getting long in the tooth,
he’s a great possession receiver and the presence of a solid No.
1 in Torrey
Smith means Steve could have a big year. He’s a must-add in
Jennings, MIN (NE, @NO, ATL, @GB) – Another veteran receiver
with an impressive résumé, Jennings (6-58-1 on seven targets Sunday)
still appears to have something left in the tank. His 38 percent
ownership rate is going to increase dramatically this week.
Gordon, CLE (NO, BAL, BYE, @TEN) -- If suspended Browns WR
Josh Gordon is available in your league, you need to pick him
up. There's a chance he gets reinstated as soon as this week (if
the players agree to a propose new drug policy) and he's a game-changing
fantasy player with nearly unlimited upside.
TE Dwayne Allen, IND (PHI, @JAC, TEN, BAL) – The red zone
offense will lean heavily on Allen (4-64-1 on Sunday) this season.
Owned in just 7 percent of fantasy leagues, he’s a great
risk-reward backup tight end option and should be owned in all
Rod Streater, OAK (HOU, @NE, MIA, BYE) – Streater (5-46-1)
may finally have a quarterback he can work with. Still, Streater’s
production has always been relatively steady – he just doesn’t
have a ton of upside in the Oakland offense. He’s owned
in just 5 percent of Yahoo leagues, and is worth adding in 12-teamers.
Scouring The Barrel
Hurns, JAC (@WAS, IND, @SD, PIT) – Cecil Shorts was inactive
on Sunday and Hurns filled in admirably, hauling in a pair of
TDs and finishing with 4-110-2 on the day. He had a solid preseason,
but it remains to be seen if he is a one-week wonder – since he’s
not going to steal the starting gig from Shorts and Marquise Lee
shows so much promise.
Shorts will try to run Tuesday, but that nagging hamstring
injury could give Hurns more opportunities than initially expected
Quick, STL (@TB, DAL, BYE, @PHI) – The quarterback situation
in St. Louis may be hopelessly jacked up, but Quick has received
rave reviews from scouts in the past and he caught seven of nine
targets for 99 yards in the loss to Minnesota. He’s an interesting
option in deeper formats.
Wheaton, PIT (@BAL, @CAR, TB, @JAC) – Wheaton caught six of
seven targets for 97 yards on Sunday, solidifying him as the speed
counterpart to WR1 Antonio Brown in the Steelers offense. It’s
a group that could put up big numbers this season.
Hartline, MIA (@BUF, KC, @OAK, BYE) – Hartline had just 2-26-0
on four targets, as the Dolphins found most of their success with
the running game and with WR Mike Wallace.
Amendola, NE (@MIN, OAK, @KC, CIN) – Targeted just five times
despite the absence of Aaron Dobson, Amendola finished with 3-16-0
in the loss to Miami. His stock is dropping, but he still has
Walker, TEN (DAL, @CIN, @IND, CLE) – Walker saw just four
balls go his way, but he managed 3-37-1 and finished as the eighth
highest scoring fantasy TE on Sunday. He could be a busy man next
week against the Cowboys, so pick him up right away if he’s still
Eifert, CIN (ATL, TEN, BYE, @NE) – Eifert also caught three
passes for 37 yards, but didn’t find paydirt and suffered dislocated
elbow. He could miss a few weeks of action, but when he returns
he’s worth a look as a starter in deeper formats (14-20 team leagues).
He remains a medium-upside backup in 12-team leagues.
Dobson, NE (@MIN, OAK, @KC, CIN) – Dobson was inactive (technically
a healthy scratch since he didn’t appear on the injury report)
on Sunday but has been dealing with some issues in his surgically
repaired foot. He’s a stash in 12-team leagues.
Austin, CLE (NO, BAL, BYE, @TEN) – Austin’s value takes a
hit with the emergence of Andrew Hawkins and news that Josh Gordon’s
suspension could be reduced or lifted this season. He’s safe to
drop in most formats.
Johnson, SF (CHI, @ARI, PHI, KC) – Johnson caught just 2-33-0
in the win over Dallas and has moderate upside if Michael Crabtree
(calf) misses any time this season.
Brown, ARI (@NYG, SF, BYE, @DEN) – Update coming Tuesday.
Brown caught a late TD – one of just two catches
for 29 yards on the day. Still, the speedy rookie saw a promising
five targets and will benefit from heavy coverage on Michael Floyd
and Larry Fitzgerald in three-WR sets. He fits the T.Y. Hilton
mold that’s becoming a staple for up-tempo offenses utilizing
quick slot receivers.
Woods, BUF (MIA, SD, @HOU, @DET) – Woods caught 4-78-0 on
six targets from Manuel Sunday, and got the start over Mike Williams.
He clicks with his quarterback, is a great route runner and is
definitely worth adding in 12-team leagues as a WR4.
Rodgers, GB (NYJ, @DET, @CHI, MIN) – The rookie suffered a
second-quarter neck stinger and wasn’t targeted in the loss to
Seattle. He’s a question mark from both a health and production
standpoint heading into Week 2 and qualifies as a safe drop in
Lamur, CIN (ATL, TEN, BYE, @NE) – Lamur (2 percent owned in
Yahoo IDP leagues) had 11 total tackles and an INT, and an injury
Burfict could increase his IDP value dramatically.
Vincent Rey will work the WLB spot if Burfict misses time,
and Lamur could benefit as well.
Moore, OAK (HOU, @NE, MIA, BYE) – With Nick Roach out, Moore
stepped up, recording 11 solos, two assists, a sack and two forced
fumbles in the loss to the Jets. He’s an LB3 with upside depending
on the status of Roach.
DB Leodis McKelvin, BUF (MIA, SD, @HOU, @DET) – McKelvin
was once an emerging IDP cornerback with big play upside, but
injuries and depth chart issues stagnated his development. He
got 2014 of on a great foot (13 solo tackles) and could be the
star the Buffalo secondary is looking for.
Whitner, CLE (NO, BAL, BYE, @TEN) – Whitner (13 total tackles
Sunday) may have found a home in Cleveland after his numbers diminished
in San Francisco. He’s taken over for the departed T.J. Ward and
remains a solid IDP safety despite relatively low ownership.
DL Linval Joseph, MIN (NE, @NO, ATL, @GB) – Joseph is poised
for a breakout season with the Vikings, and he’s making
his mark already, posting five solos and a sack in Week 1. He’s
a great option in leagues where you are required to start a DT.
DL Willie Young, CHI (@SF, @NYJ, GB, @CAR) – Young (1 percent
owned) is a solid pass rusher who can make tackles – and
he’s getting a lot of work among the Chicago front seven.
He’s worth a look in deeper IDP leagues.
Roach, OAK (HOU, @NE, MIA, BYE) – Roach missed Week 1 with
a concussion. Stay tuned.
Riley, WAS (JAC, @PHI, NYG, SEA) – Riley totaled six tackles
(four solos) in Sunday’s loss to Houston. He’s an LB2 and should
be steady, even if his upside is low.
Foster, TB (STL, @ATL, @PIT, @NO) – Foster had nine total
tackles (five solos) in the loss to Carolina.
Foote, ARI (@NYG, SF, BYE, @DEN) – Update coming Tuesday.
Foote tallied eight solo tackles and a PD in his 2014
debut. He’s firmly on the LB2/3 radar and pears poised for
another solid fantasy season.
Reid, SF (CHI, @ARI, PHI, KC) –Reid had a nice day, notching
four solos and intercepting Tony Romo in what was almost a pick-six.
He’s a big-play ballhawk who should contribute more with the LB
corps dealing with injuries and suspensions.
Moore, ATL (@CIN, TB, @MIN, @NYG) – Moore had six total tackles
and as forced fumble in the OT win over New Orleans. He’s a DB2
Elam, BAL (PIT, @CLE, CAR, @IND) – Elam was relatively quiet
in his first game at strong safety (three total tackles, PD) but
should be more busy against the Steelers no-huddle next week.
Dareus, BUF (MIA, SD, @HOU, @DET) – Dareus had an okay game
(two solos, two assists) but it was fellow Buffalo DL who made
the big play, picking off Jay Cutler for his first career INT.
Johnson, TB (STL, @ATL, @PIT, @NO) – Johnson tallied six total
tackles (there solos) but didn’t get to the quarterback. If he
can have these type of productive games without a sack, he’ll
be a solid DL this season in deeper IDP leagues.
Heyward, PIT (@BAL, @CAR, TB, @JAC) – Heyward picked up right
where he left off, registering four total tackles (three solos)
and a sack against Cleveland.