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.
Joe Flacco's five first half TDs will grab
your attention but he's just a spot starter moving forward.
Off The Top
Flacco, BAL (ATL, @CIN, @PIT, TEN) – Flacco had the best fantasy
game of his career Sunday, and the numbers (306-5-0) could have
been even more garish had the Bucs stayed competitive. It’s hard
to define what his value will be this fantasy season, but he clearly
has value in daily fantasy contests as a mid-range QB in certain
Palmer, ARI (@OAK, PHI, @DAL, STL) – Palmer surprised a lot
of folks by suiting up and starting on Sunday, throwing for 250-2-0
and helping the Cards to a 30-20 win over Washington. If his shoulder
continues to improve, he’ll make a fine QB2 this season, with
Bruce Arians said Palmer
“felt good” on Monday following his first start since
Week 1. It appears that his shoulder should be okay heading into
Week 7 against the Raiders.
Blake Bortles, JAC (CLE, MIA, @CIN, DAL) – Bortles had
the best game of his young career, throwing for 336-1-1 with 38
rushing yards. He looked sharper and clearly enjoys having Cecil
Shorts back healthy.
Kyle Orton, BUF (MIN, @NYJ, BYE, KC) – Orton was relatively
effective on Sunday facing the Patriots, throwing for 299-2-1
on 24-for-38 passing in the loss. He gives the Bills the best
chance to win, but won’t be of much value to fantasy owners
save for two-QB leagues and/or the occasional bye week fill-in.
Scouring The Barrel
Derek Carr, OAK (ARI, @CLE, @SEA, DEN) – Carr (ankle) ended
up getting the start and finishing with 282-4-1 on 18-of-34 passing.
It wasn’t quite enough to notch a win but good for a 107.7
QB Rating and his most impressive performance of his rookie season.
He’s most definitely earned the starting job and will likely
be forced to throw a lot in the coming weeks.
Tannehill, MIA (@CHI, @JAC, SD, @DET) – Tannehill is still
awaiting his breakout game, but finished Sunday with 244-2-2 and
49 rushing yards – just outside the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks
for Week 6.
Davis, STL (SEA, @KC, @SF, @ARI) – Update coming Tuesday.
Davis looked sharp
to start the Monday night game, but as the 49ers gained momentum
and the defense responded, he started having accuracy problems.
Eventually, he turned in a weak fantasy line (236-1-1) and should
have similar troubles next week versus Seattle.
Hoyer, CLE (@JAC, OAK, TB, @CIN) – Hoyer had just 217-1-0
in the win over Pittsburgh, but will likely be throwing more in
the second half of the season as teams start to crowd the line
and stop the run.
Off The Top
McKinnon, MIN (@BUF, @TB, WAS, BYE) – McKinnon was much more
effective than Matt Asiata and finished with an okay fantasy day,
tallying 6-42-0 receiving on six targets to go along with 40 rushing
yards on 11 carries. He’ll provide decent value as a daily fantasy
play next week against the Bills and is a high-upside RB4/flex
in standard formats with better value in PPR leagues.
Crowell, CLE (@JAC, OAK, TB, @CIN) – Crowell continued his
impressive running, finishing with 11 carries for 77 yards and
a TD against the Steelers. He’s clearly a big part of the red
zone offense and an effective change-of-pace back to compliment
Smith, ATL (@BAL, DET, BYE, @TB) – Smith (two carries, 5 rushing
yards; 4-64-1 receiving on four targets Sunday) now has 346 yards
and five TDs on the season despite just 23 total touches. Is anybody
else curious what he’d do with 12-15 touches per game?
Mason, STL (SEA, @KC, @SF, @ARI) –
Zac Stacy got just eight carries Monday night and looked stiff
in the wake of his calf injury, Benny Cunningham had nine touches
(seven carries for 21 yards and a TD; 2-12-0) and was the most
productive fantasy-wise, and Mason saw his first action and responded
with five carries for 40 yards and 1-12-0 receiving. The Rams
have never been satisfied with their backs, and Mason (5-10 percent
owned) appears to be the latest candidate to lead the committee
should Stacy continue to struggle.
Scouring The Barrel
Bolden / James
White, NE (NYJ, CHI, DEN, BYE) -
There's some question as to who will pick up the carries in
the wake of Stevan Ridley's injury (ACL/MCL tears), but since Shane
Vereen is likely unavailable (85-95 percent owned) in your league,
owners will be scrambling to pick up either Bolden - a special teams
operative who's been unimpressive in limited action, or White -
a rookie from Wisconsin who's been a healthy scratch for much of
the season but shows a lot more promise as a runner. I'm predicting
about a 50-25-25 split among Vereen-Bolden-White in the next week,
with the hot hand emerging as the lead back. All three have similar
size, with Bolden getting the slight edge on goal line carries -
but anything could happen given Belichick's fickle guidance.
Randle, DAL (NYG, WAS, ARI, @JAC) – Randle (2 percent owned)
rushed for 52 yards on just five carries versus the vaunted Seahawks
defense, largely because of an offensive line that looked as impressive
as ever. He’s a must-stash handcuff due to DeMarco Murray’s checkered
injury history and the Cowboys’ mandate to spell their bell cow.
In a bizarre twist,
Randle (who's making $495,000 this season) was arrested by police
Monday night on shoplifting charges. He was popped for a Class
B Misdemeanor Theft $50-$500, at Dillard's. Police say he was
arrested for stealing underwear and cologne. He's still Murray's
main early-down backup, and while this probably doesn't change
that, it's clearly not good news.
Dunbar, DAL (NYG, WAS, ARI, @JAC) – He’s not much of a factor
in the running game, but Dunbar saw four targets and caught all
of them, totaling 48 receiving yards. With the Cowboys making
more of an effort to get him and Randle the ball, he should be
owned in deeper formats.
Rainey, TB (BYE, MIN, @CLE, ATL) – Rainey had 42 rushing yards
on seven carries Sunday in the blowout loss to Baltimore. Doug
Martin (48 total yards on 12 touches) didn’t fare any better.
Hillman, DEN (SF, SD, @NE, @OAK) – Despite concerns about
carrying the full workload, Hillman was impressive on Sunday,
rushing for 100 yards on 14 carries and adding 3-16-0 on five
targets in the passing game. With Montee Ball on the shelf, he’s
the running back to own in Denver, since C.J. Anderson saw three
touches in Week 6.
Oliver, SD (KC, @DEN, @MIA, BYE) – Oliver was the most dynamic
of the three popular free agent running back adds of Week 6, rushing
for 101 yards and a TD on 26 carries and adding 4-23-0 in the
win over Oakland.
Cunningham, STL (SEA, @KC, @SF, @ARI) – Update coming Tuesday.
As mentioned previously,
Cunningham was productive on Monday night in limited work and
projects to be the default passing down back in the St. Louis
Forsett, BAL (ATL, @CIN, @PIT, TEN) – Forsett had another
nice game, rushing for 111 yards on just 14 carries. He’s an RB3
with upside and is averaging 6.38 yards per carry this season
through six games.
Sankey, TEN (@WAS, HOU, BYE, @BAL) – Sankey had 18 carries
for 61 yards and 1-7-0 receiving, but Jackie Battle vulture a
TD run, killing his fantasy value.
Williams, NYG (@DAL, BYE, IND, @SEA) – The Giants never got
a chance to establish the running game, and when they attempted
to pound Williams he was corralled shortly after first contact.
He’ll likely be used more effectively against the Cowboys penetrable
defensive line in Week 7.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Shorts, JAC (CLE, MIA, @CIN, DAL) – Shorts was targeted 16
times by Bortles, hauling in 10-103-0 and losing a fumble. His
value is on the rise (especially in PPR formats) and he is a must-own
in 12-team leagues.
Floyd, SD (KC, @DEN, @MIA, BYE) – Floyd is making the most
of his limited usage, converting 14 targets into 11-214-2 during
the past three weeks. He’s re-establishing fantasy relevance with
Keenan Allen struggling to make plays.
Reed, WAS (TEN, @DAL, @MIN, BYE) –
Reed returned from the hamstring injury that’s kept
him out since Week 1, playing a little over half of Washington’s
snaps and reeled in 8-92-0 on a team-high 11 targets. He’s
owned in just 55-60 percent of fantasy leagues and will be the
top TE pickup heading into Week 7.
Brandon LaFell, NE (NYJ, CHI, DEN, BYE) – LaFell was Tom
Brady’s flavor of the week, posting 4-97-2. He now has three
TDs over the past three games and remains a boom-or-bust WR4.
Andre Holmes, OAK (ARI, @CLE, @SEA, DEN) – With the return
of Derek Carr, Holmes had the best game of his career, hauling
in 4-121-2 – the touchdowns coming on the first drive (77)
and in the red zone (6) during the fourth quarter.
Murphy, TB (BYE, MIN, @CLE, ATL) – Murphy has 27 targets over
his past three games, and while Mike Evans’ absence was contributing
to that exposure, Murphy still went for 7-72-1 on nine targets
in Week 6.
Scouring The Barrel
Woods, BUF (MIN, @NYJ, BYE, KC) – Orton and Woods connected
for 7-78-1 on 10 targets Sunday. He’s surpassed Mike Williams
in value and has almost as much upside as rookie WR Sammy Watkins.
The disgruntled Williams,
who is pushing for a trade, may also gain some fantasy value on
another squad -- though he's a longshot for redraft relevance.
Landry, MIA (@CHI, @JAC, SD, @DET) – The highly touted rookie
had a nice breakout performance with 6-75-1 on eight targets from
Tannehill. Landry saw increased action with Brandon Gibson (hamstring)
sidelined and enters the fantasy fray as a WR4 with moderate upside.
Amaro, NYJ (@NE, BUF, @KC, PIT) – UPDATE: The talented
but enigmatic rookie out of Texas Tech had a breakout performance
Sunday, racking up 10-68-1 on 12 targets from Geno Smith –
a sign he’ll be seeing more balls thrown his way as the
team tries to find some semblance of an offensive identity. He’ll
make a solid TE2 and should be considered for spot starts in the
Quick, STL (SEA, @KC, @SF, @ARI) – Update coming Tuesday.
Quick never got going
and was hounded by Perrish Cox and the other active 49ers’
corners (Chris Culliver, Jimmie Ward and Donate Johnson) did an
excellent job shutting down the Rams wide receivers on Monday
night. His Week 7, 8 and 9 matchups aren’t much better,
but he should be back producing by the fantasy playoffs.
Hunter, TEN (@WAS, HOU, BYE, @BAL) – Hunter finished with
3-77-0 on five targets Sunday. He’s a big-play threat but needs
a better QB to maximize his value. Perhaps we’ll see Zach Mettenberger
get another crack in 2014.
Sanu, CIN (@IND, BAL, JAC, CLE) – Sanu got the start in Week
6 with A.J. Green on the shelf and had a monster day, posting
10-120-1 on 14 targets from Andy Dalton. With the news that Green
could miss another week and Marvin Jones (foot/ankle) may need
surgery, Sanu could be in line for another huge week on the road
Green has a “shot”
at playing in Week 7 according to Marvin Lewis, but it’s
a long shot. I’m not budging on my endorsement of Sanu as
one of the best athletes in the AFC and a matchup nightmare for
opposing defenses and undersized CBs.
Wright, NE (NYJ, CHI, DEN, BYE) – Wright played on just 16
of 74 snaps in Sunday’s win at Buffalo, a sign Belichick refuses
to help out fantasy owners by game planning around the same receiver
in consecutive games. The “move TE” did haul in the only target
he saw for a 1-yard TD. For now, he’s simply a TE2 with upside.
Benjamin, CLE (@JAC, OAK, TB, @CIN) – Benjamin was targeted
just once and caught it – a 31-yard reception. He should be a
bigger part of the offense, but the Browns did fine running the
ball against the Steelers. Stacked with young talented athletes,
this could be an offense to fear once Josh Gordon returns.
Nigel Bradham, BUF (MIN, @NYJ, BYE, KC) – Bradham returned
to action in Week 6 and posted 11 total tackles (seven solos).
He’s a solid LB2 facing the Vikings in Week 7.
Whitehead, DET (NO, @ATL, BYE, MIA) – Whitehead has been a
pleasant surprise for the Lions since sliding into a starting
job following the season-ending injury to Stephen Tulloch. He
finished Sunday with seven total tackles, two PD and an INT. He’s
a high-upside LB2 play against the Saints in Week 7.
Cyprien, JAC (CLE, MIA, @CIN, DAL) – Cyprien had 15 total
tackles (12 solos) Sunday, and is becoming a must-play in IDP
formats that require two starting DBs. He’s got limited upside
next week but is a solid tackler with a high floor.
McCourty, TEN (@WAS, HOU, BYE, @BAL) – McCourty is rebounding
as a relevant fantasy DB, with 35 total tackles, two INT (both
in Week 1) and six PD through six games this season. McCourty,
Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Michael Griffin are both poised for big
matchup against Washington in Week 7.
Marcell Dareus, BUF (MIN, @NYJ, BYE, KC) – Dareus had a
quiet game against the Pats but gets a favorable matchup in Week
7 facing the Vikings – who the Lions defensive line dismantled
Ziggy Ansah, DET (NO, @ATL, BYE, MIA) – Ansah was the main
benefactor of the Vikings shoddy O-line play in Week 6, tallying
five total tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He’ll
have a tough matchup against New Orleans, but it’s a home
game and he’s a solid long-term IDP add.
LB Christian Kirksey, CLE (JAC, OAK, TB, @CIN) – Kirksey
had his best game as a pro Sunday, totaling six tackle (three
solos) and a PD.
LB Avery Williamson, TEN (@WAS, HOU, BYE, @BAL) – Williamson
had three solos and a fumble recovery against the Jaguars, and
the rookie appears to be making serious IDP headway in the Titans
DB Kyle Fuller, CHI (MIA, @NE, BYE, @GB) – Fuller had five
solos a PD and a forced fumble. I’d consider him a DB2 with
upside going forward.
Johnson, ARI (@OAK, PHI, @DAL, STL) – Bada-boom. Johnson filled
the stat sheet on Sunday with the best IDP performance of the
season (next to J.J. Watt’s monster TNF game), making eight total
tackles (six solos, two assists), two PD, and two INT, which included
a 28-yard TD return.
DB Reshad Jones, MIA (@CHI, @JAC, SD, @DET) – I’m
including a Jones update since he was on a bye in Week 5. The
veteran safety had nine solos and a PD on Sunday against the Packers.
He’s a borderline DB1/2.
DL Brian Robison, MIN (@BUF, @TB, WAS, BYE) – Robison didn’t
go nuts on Sunday, but he did get credit for a half-sack and posted
four total tackles.
DL Frostee Rucker, ARI (@OAK, PHI, @DAL, STL) – Rucker was
a Week 6 bust, posting just one solo tackle.