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
Flacco, BAL (@CLE, CAR, @IND, @TB) – Flacco is worth a look
in two-QB leagues and as a spot starter for owners who are dealing
with quarterback injuries (Robert Griffin III, Carson Palmer).
He faces the Browns in Week 3 but I’d be wary about rolling him
out versus the solid Panthers-D in Week 4.
Cousins will get at least a few weeks to
cement his spot atop the Redskins quarterback depth chart.
Cousins, WAS (@PHI, NYG, SEA, @ARI) – With RGIII injured for
at least the foreseeable future, Cousins (22-for-33, 250-2-0 on
Sunday in relief of Griffin) jumps right in and gets a couple
tasty divisional matchups before facing the Seahawks in Week 5,
when he’s not a recommended start. HC Jay Gruden has been reported
to prefer Cousins as a pocket passer in this offense.
RGII doesn’t have
a fracture and although there is no set timetable for his return
it appears he will miss multiple weeks, opening the door for Cousins
to get comfortable.
Scouring The Barrel
Bortles, JAC (IND, @SD, PIT, @TEN) – Chad Henne is terrible,
and it’s only a matter of time before Bortles gets his shot. As
a relative fantasy unknown, it’s not a bad idea to take a flier
on the youngster and see what happens in what should be a better
offense this season.
Jags head coach Gus Bradley
did not rule out starting Bortles next week against the Colts,
and the general consensus among scouts is that Bortles gives Jacksonville
a better chance than Henne. Stay tuned.
Stanton, ARI (SF, BYE, @DEN, WAS) – Carson Palmer’s
throwing shoulder is really barking, and there’s an issue
with the nerve. This can’t be good for the Cards offense.
For now, there’s no timetable for his return; it could be
next week – or we could see Stanton lead the offense for
many weeks to come.
Eli Manning, NYG (ARI, HOU, @WAS, ATL) – Manning rebounded
with 277-2-2 in the loss to Arizona but remains a fantasy backup
with some matchup-specific upside.
Smith, NYJ (@GB, CHI, DET, @SD) – Geno improved from his Week
1 numbers, throwing for 176-1-1 and adding 26 rushing yards and
a score, but the Jets fell short against the Packers. He also
threw a late TD to Jeremy Kerley that was negated because the
Jets called time out.
Carr, OAK (HOU, @NE, MIA, BYE) – Carr finished with 263-1-2
and seems to have some rapport with James Jones, if no one else.
He might be off the redraft radar for now aside from two-quarterback
Cassel, MIN (NE, @NO, ATL, @GB) – Cassel had an epically bad
Week 2 performance (202-1-4) and may not be the quarterback when
Christian Ponder is healthy.
Bridgewater is now penciled in as the No. 2 in Minnesota,
but Mike Zimmer confirmed Sunday that Cassel will remain the starter
despite a four-INT game in Week 2.
Off The Top
Bradshaw, IND (@JAC, TEN, BAL, @HOU) - Bradshaw looked rejuvenated
and incredibly sharp running behind an unbalanced line on Monday
night (13 carries, 70 rushing yards; 5-26-2 receiving). His effectiveness
as a receiver and ability to make people miss has never been in
question - it's always been a matter of health and opportunity.
He's available in roughly 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, and while
he's in a time share with Trent Richardson, there's plenty of
value in this high-powered offense.
Asiata, MIN (@NO, ATL, @GB, DET) – Asiata got off to an excellent
start Sunday filling in for Adrian Peterson – catching a 25-yard
TD pass in the game’s opening minutes – but was quiet afterwards
as the Patriots defense clamped down. With Peterson expected to
play in Week 3, Asiata is a hold in case the league intervenes
with discipline of their own.
Peterson has been reinstated
and is expected to play Sunday at New Orleans unless the NFL hands
down discipline as the case is under review by the league. This
is a nightmare of a situation, and bad for both the NFL and Minnesota.
Fantasy owners appear to have their first-round pick back in uniform
for Week 3, but everyone should hold Asiata until the fog clears.
McFadden, OAK (@NE, MIA, BYE, SD) – I listed McFadden prior
to the Week 1 games and I’m glad to see he got plenty of work
filling in as the starter Sunday with Maurice Jones-Drew injured.
He grabbed a TD and remains the likely lead back should MJD miss
any more time.
Davis, KC (@MIA, NE, @SF, BYE) – Jamaal Charles may have eluded
a serious injury, but he didn’t return to action after spraining
his ankle. Like McFadden, Davis made my Week 1 column and remains
a must-own in all formats heading into Week 3.
Andy Reid said Davis will
step right into Jamaal’s role if the stud back is forced
to miss any time, giving the second-year back possible RB1 status
for the time being.
Freeman, ATL (TB, @MIN, @NYG, CHI) – Freeman caught
both passes thrown to him (22 yards) but didn’t have a single
carry on Sunday. Still, he deserves a bigger role in this offense
and could be a great lottery ticket stash in 12-14 team leagues.
Dwyer, ARI (SF, BYE, @DEN, WAS) – Dwyer isn’t a prodigious
talent, but he’s a capable fill-in and will likely continue to
get red zone touches spelling Andre Ellington, who isn’t a great
Scouring The Barrel
Brown, SD (@BUF, JAC, NYJ, @OAK) – With Ryan Mathews (MRI
scheduled) out for a few weeks, Brown appears to be in a much
more productive situation alongside Danny Woodhead in San Diego.
He should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Mike McCoy seems smitten with Brown, who’s an experienced
back with plenty of career snaps in this type of offense. He will
be a hot commodity this week.
Blue, HOU (@NYG, BUF, @DAL, IND) – Blue got a lot of work
with the game out of reach – and while that may not be a common
theme every week, it’s clear the Texans want to get him touches
over the pedestrian Jonathan Grimes. Blue had 40 rushing yards
on 11 carries Sunday and should be owned in deeper formats and
as the primary Arian Foster handcuff.
Ingram, NO (MIN, @DAL, TB, BYE) – Ingram had his second straight
productive week, tallying 83 rushing yards and a TD on just 11
carries and adding 3-21-0 on four targets. He’s almost universally
owned now (75-95 percent of leagues), a big change since Week
1. Bad news is he’s expected to miss a month with a broken hand.
The broken hand will force Ingram to miss at least a month.
Ivory, NYJ (CHI, DET, @SD, DEN) – Like Ingram, Ivory has two
straight weeks with a rushing TD. He also had 43 rushing yards
on 13 carries and caught one pass for 3 yards in Week 2. He and
Chris Johnson are likely to keep the time share going all season.
West, CLE (BAL, BYE, @TEN, PIT) – With Ben Tate out, West
filled in admirably with 68 rushing yards and a TD on 19 carries,
adding 2-22-0 receiving. As long as he’s the starter, West is
a low-end RB2.
Robinson, NO (MIN, @DAL, TB, BYE) – Robinson ran for 31 yards
on eight carries but lost a fumble. The injury to Mark Ingram
(hand) gives life to Robinson's fantasy value as both he and Pierre
Thomas should have their roles increased.
Robinson now gets a huge opportunity with Ingram injured.
He’s slated to get goaline carries and do some of the power
running, while Pierre Thomas is more the passing component back.
Rainey, TB (@ATL, @PIT, @NO, BAL) – Rainey went for Doug Martin
in Week 2 and had himself a solid game (144 rushing yards, 3-30-0
receiving). He didn’t find the endzone (quarterback Josh McCown
scrambled for two scores) but he’s a good runner who’ll put up
points if he continues to get opportunities.
Starks, GB (@DET, @CHI, MIN, @MIA) – With Eddie Lacy (concussion)
healthy enough o play, Starks was a non-factor against the Jets.
Forsett, BAL (@CLE, CAR, @IND, @TB) – Forsett had eight carries
for 56 yards and 4-16-0 receiving. He’ll be the change of pace
back to Bernard Pierce if nothing more changes in the Ravens backfield.
Crowell, CLE (BAL, BYE, @TEN, PIT) – Crowell stole a few touches
from West (11 carries for 54 yards, 1-3-0 receiving) and could
be worth a look in deeper formats.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
TE Delanie Walker, TEN (@CIN, @IND, CLE, JAC) – Walker
(now 63 percent owned in Yahoo leagues) made my list of Week 1
recommendations and he really exploited the Cowboys poor LB pass
coverage in Week 2, finishing with 10-142-1 in the loss to Dallas.
He’s a low-end TE1 in most matchups, but has the ability
to go off – as we saw this week.
Hawkins, CLE (BAL, BYE, @TEN, PIT) – Hawkins (6-70-0 on Sunday)
saw double-digit targets for the second straight week. He’s the
Browns’ number one receiving option with Jordan Cameron injured
and Josh Gordon suspended.
Jones, OAK (@NE, MIA, BYE, SD) – Two weeks, two TDs. Jones
went for 9-112-1 but lost a fumble Sunday in the loss to Houston.
He’s the No. 1 receiver in Oakland despite concerns about his
Daniels, BAL (@CLE, CAR, @IND, @TB) – Daniels caught two TD
passes (5-28-2) on Thursday and appears to be taking some of the
red zone looks that were supposed to go to Dennis Pitta. While
he’s not an every-week option, Daniels might make sense as a low-cost
option in specific matchups on DFS sites.
Sanu, CIN (TEN, BYE, @NE, CAR) – With A.J. Green sidelined
with turf toe, Sanu stepped up on Sunday (3-84-1), catching a
long TD pass and even passing for 50 yards in the win over Atlanta.
He’s still available in about 75-90 percent of fantasy leagues.
Upon closer inspection, Green has a strained ligament
in his foot, not turf toe. Expected to return after the Week 4
bye, the star receiver will yield some of his would-be targets
Austin, CLE (BAL, BYE, @TEN, PIT) – Until Gordon comes back,
expect the veteran receiver (6-44-1 on Sunday) to get some looks.
He’ll be inconsistent, but what else is new with the fragile Austin?
Scouring The Barrel
Adams, GB (@DET, @CHI, MIN, @MIA) – Adams got more attention
(seven targets, 5-50-0) and snaps than Jarrett Boykin on Sunday
and could be a high-upside stash in deeper leagues. If you’re
near the end of the waiver wire list and all the hot RBs are gone,
Adams could be sneaky add that pays dividends down the stretch.
Roberts, WAS (@PHI, NYG, SEA, @ARI) – If DeSean Jackson misses
a significant amount of time, Roberts looks to be the guy that
fills his offensive role. The former Cardinal had 4-57-0 on five
targets and added 19 rushing yards Sunday.
Jackson is day-to-day with
a shoulder strain but there’s no word on his availability
for Sunday. At least he appears to have avoided major injury.
Paul, WAS (@PHI, NYG, SEA, @ARI) – Paul is the Washington
tight end until Jordan Reed is healthy enough to return, and he
capitalized with 8-99-1 on Sunday in the win over Jacksonville.
He’s a solid deep-league add and could provide some matchup-specific
value in 12-team leagues.
Gordon, CLE (BAL, BYE, @TEN, PIT) – With the new drug policy
agreement in place, Gordon’s suspension has been reduced to 10
games. He’ll be back for your playoff run – now you just have
to work around that roster slot and make sure you stash him. He’s
definitely worth it.
Smith, BAL (@CLE, CAR, @IND, @TB) – Smith caught six passes
for 71 yards and was targeted 10 times in the win over Pittsburgh.
He’s a WR4 with upside.
Jennings, MIN (@NO, ATL, @GB, DET) – Jennings was shadowed
by Darrelle Revis Sunday and was quiet, catching just one pass
for 4 yards in the loss to New England. The offense was out of
sync without Adrian Peterson – but they’ll be forced to look for
ways to get the veteran receiver involved in the future.
Allen, IND (@JAC, TEN, BAL, @HOU) –
Allen didn’t have a catch on Monday night, as the Colts
focused on short cuts and dump-offs to Bradshaw and their slot
Streater, OAK (@NE, MIA, BYE, SD) – Streater (1-6-0) was quiet
on Sunday and has limited fantasy value in standard leagues. Streater
left Sunday’s game with a hip injury. He’s a candidate for the
free agent pool this week.
Hurns, JAC (IND, @SD, PIT, @TEN) – Hurns had two catches for
13 yards but left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Stay tuned.
Hurns is considered day-to-day
and was on crutches after the Week 2 tilt with Washington.
Quick, STL (DAL, BYE, @PHI, SF) – For the second straight
week, Quick caught seven of the nine balls thrown his way, this
time going for 745 yards. He’s a solid WR4/5 addition in PPR leagues.
Lewis, JAC (IND, @SD, PIT, @TEN) – The Jaguars quarterback
situation and receiving corps is a muddled mess right now. He
totaled 2-71-1 on Sunday, the big 63-yard TD bomb supplying most
of his fantasy production for the day. However, Lewis is out 6-8
weeks with an ankle injury. He’s safe to drop.
Marshall, DEN (@SEA, BYE, ARI, @NYJ) – No, not that Brandon
Marshall. The Broncos will eventually get Danny Trevathan back,
but in the meantime, Marshall has filled in admirably and has
18 total tackles (14 solos) and a sack this season.
LB Rolando McClain, DAL (@STL, NO, HOU, @SEA) – McClain
has played surprisingly well so far, even making a spectacular
INT Sunday. He’s a talented athlete who could provide some
decent numbers this season. So far, he’s tallied 15 tackles
and a sack to go along with his INT.
DB Antoine Cason, CAR (PIT, @BAL, CHI, @CIN) – Cason is
the top IDP performer through the first two weeks, as he’s
made 19 total tackles (16 solo), and has added an INT, two forced
fumbles, two PD and a fumble recovery.
DB D.J. Swearinger, HOU (@NYG, BUF, @DAL, IND) – Swearinger
remains the top IDP option in the Houston secondary and should
make close to 100 tackles this season.
DL Chandler Jones, NE (OAK, @KC, CIN, @BUF) – A few owners
in shallow leagues may have dropped Jones after a humdrum Week
1, but he notched two sacks and totaled eight tackles in Week
2. He’s the third best DL in IDP.
DL Calais Campbell, ARI (SF, BYE, @DEN, WAS) – Campbell
is a solid veteran run defender and pass rusher with lots of upside
in fantasy. He had a monster Week 2 with 10 solo tackles and a
LB Emmanuel Lamur, CIN (TEN, BYE, @NE) – Though Vontaze
Burfict suited up, Lamur still got his with six solos, three assists
and a PD. He’s a decent LB3 with upside.
LB Sio Moore, OAK (@NE, MIA, BYE) – Moore had six total
tackles Sunday but failed to meet the lofty expectations after
a breakout Week 1.
DB Leodis McKelvin, BUF (SD, @HOU, @DET) – McKelvin boosted
his fantasy numbers with a late-game INT (against me in one league!).
He’s a decent CB to own in leagues where that specific position
DB Donte Whitner, CLE (BAL, BYE, @TEN) – Whitner had a quiet
game (five total tackles) but remains a quality DB in IDP formats.
DL Linval Joseph, MIN (@NO, ATL, @GB) – Joseph had a measly
two assist in the loss to New England. The Vikings defensive line
had trouble stopping the Pats backs all day.
DL Willie Young, CHI (@NYJ, GB, @CAR) – Young played quite
well in his situational role, tallying four tackles and 2.0 sacks
in the win over San Fran Sunday night.