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
Palmer, ARI (@DAL, STL, DET, @SEA) – While the shoulder injury
and missed time damaged his fantasy value, Palmer has played well
the past three weeks (including 329-2-0 in Week 8) and is owned
in just 50-75 percent of fantasy leagues. He faces a Dallas defense
that’s average versus opposing quarterbacks and could yield some
The Cowboys defense
looked too aggressive at times on Monday night, and the season-ending
injury to Justin Durant will hurt them. Palmer is shaping up to
be a great value play in DFS and a possible top-5 play in 12-team
leagues this week.
Orton, BUF (BYE, KC, @MIA, NYJ) – He’s made a couple appearances
in this column already and is on a bye in Week 9, but he’s worth
mentioning again (8-20 percent owned) because of his low ownership
rates and ability to post big numbers in favorable matchups. In
a big week for quarterbacks, Orton posted 238-4-0 and was among
Hoyer, CLE (TB, @CIN, HOU, @ATL) –
I just can’t abandon this guy, even though he’s
now without his tight end and his performance has been lacking.
He’s not a great bet to finish 2014 with top-15 numbers,
but he’s got a great shot to be a top-10 quarterback facing
the Bucs. If you really need a quarterback this week and nobody’s
available, give Hoyer a long look.
Scouring The Barrel
Vick, NYJ (@KC, PIT, BYE, @BUF) –
I’m not a big fan of his play these days but he’s
apparently getting the start against the Chiefs in Kansas City
in Week 9. Vick turns the ball over too much and hasn’t
had a significant fantasy game since Week 2 last season. However,
those first two weeks were solid – 203-2-0 with 54 rushing
yards and a TD on the ground (and a lost fumble) in Week 1 at
Washington and 428-2-0, 34 rushing yards and another rushing TD
in Week 2 against the Chargers. Incidentally, he played the Chiefs
in Week 3 and that started his descent into the sad towns of Turnoverville
and Injury Junction. Now, he’s got to carry an entire team
on his back and is in play in DFS as salary relief in GPPs.
Carr, OAK (@SEA, DEN, @SD, KC) – Carr is an inconsistent fantasy
option and his low ownership rates reflect that, but in the right
matchups there’s plenty of QB2 value here. He’s a major risk,
but look for the Raiders to play catch-up the next few weeks and
give Carr a chance to post solid numbers.
Weeden, DAL (ARI, @JAC, BYE, @NYG) –
If the back contusion prevents Tony Romo from starting on
Sunday (in a short week), then Weeden makes an interesting add
in deeper leagues and would have value in DFS play. He looked
good on a couple drives Monday night while Romo was attended to
in the locker room.
Tannehill, MIA (SD, @DET, BUF, @DEN) – Tannehill was an unmitigated
disappointment in Week 8, throwing for just 196-1-1 with 48 rushing
yards in what should have been a productive matchup versus the
Jaguars. Instead, the Dolphins had zero offense in the first half
and were forced to rely on a pair of interception returns (one
for a 81-yard TD) to win in Jacksonville. His upside is too low
to trust on a week-to-week basis in single-QB formats.
Griffin III, WAS (@MIN, BYE, TB, @SF) – Update coming Tuesday.
Griffin was a no-go
and Colt McCoy got the start – and the win – on Monday
night. Even if he’s ready, he’s a major risk because
of his balky knees. With a Week 10 bye I don’t think Washington
will take the chance. But if he gets the start you have to like
the matchup, right?
Davis, STL (@SF, @ARI, DEN, @SD) – Davis couldn’t get much
done against the Chiefs, posting 160-1-1 and completing just 15-of-25
pass attempts. Like Tannehill, he’s not a great option in season-long
leagues, and is more of a game-to-game fill-in or cheap DFS option.
Bridgewater, MIN (WAS, BYE, @CHI, GB) – Bridgewater had a
turnover-free game with 241-1-0 in the win over Tampa Bay. He
could be in play as a desperation plug-in versus Washington, especially
with six teams on bye and so many quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers,
Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton) unavailable.
Glennon, TB (@CLE, ATL, @WAS, @CHI) – He finished Sunday with
171-1-1 but the Bucs are bad and there’s no semblance of a dependable
passing game – even in decent matchups. Avoid Glennon against
the Browns and the rest of the way unless you’re a big-time gambler
with a Quasimodo-sized hunch.
Off The Top
Mark Ingram, NO (@CAR, SF, CIN, BAL) – Ingram (still just
69 percent owned on Yahoo) had the best game of his career Sunday
night, rushing for 172 yards and a TD on 24 carries. His running
helped put away the Packers and he solidified himself as a RB1
in certain matchups. From now on, he’ll be a big factor
in the Saints offense.
Knile Davis, KC (NYJ, @BUF, SEA, @OAK) – The Chiefs have
made an effort to get Davis the ball more, and he’s explosive
on special teams, factors that led him to a 49-yard rushing day
(16 carries) and a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD. He might be
worth rolling out in deeper formats next week against the Jets.
Stewart, CAR (NO, @PHI, ATL, BYE) – Stewart doesn’t have a
lot of upside, but he’s a serviceable RB3/flex as long as DeAngelo
Williams is out. His main problem is Cam Newton’s need to pick
up TDs on the ground and scamper for a few yards himself behind
a less-than-ideal offensive line.
Taliaferro, BAL (@PIT, TEN, BYE, @NO) – Taliaferro (10-30
percent owned) had his best game thus far, toting the rock seven
times for 27 yards and two TDs and adding 2-42-0 receiving. While
this may have been partially due to Bernard Pierce’s inactive
status, he appears to be a bigger part of the offense going forward.
Taliaferro is looking
more and more like a decent add this week facing the Steelers.
He’s a big load at over 225 pounds and the Steelers line
and linebackers are definitely a weakness.
Scouring The Barrel
Sims, TB (@CLE, ATL, @WAS, @CHI) -
Sims (5-20 percent owned, depending on site) is expected to
get a long look when he returns from the IR/Designated to Return
list, largely because the team doesn't believe in Bobby Rainey as
their long-term answer at the position and Doug Martin could be
traded before the impending deadline. He's drawn comparisons to
Matt Forte, who was underwhelming for many scouts when he first
joined the Bears. If you can't get Rainey, Sims could be a great
Riddick, DET (BYE, MIA, @ARI, @NE) – Riddick had a monster
game as a receiver Week 8, hauling in 8-74-1 despite only three
carries for 5 yards as a runner. He’s worth a look in deeper formats
but this may have been his only major window for big-time fantasy
Jim Caldwell said this
week the Lions plan to use both Riddick and Reggie Bush going
forward, with Riddick in a Darren Sproles role. Riddick is now
firmly on the RB4/FLEX radar in PPR leagues.
Thompson, DEN (@NE, @OAK, @STL, MIA) – Thompson scored twice
on two TD plunges, and could be more involved in the next few
weeks if Montee Ball isn’t ready to return and the Broncos jump
out to some early leads.
Hillman, DEN (@NE, @OAK, @STL, MIA) – Hillman tallied 109
rushing yards and 3-29-0 receiving – and had a pair of rushing
TDs vultured by Thompson. Hillman is clearly the back to own in
Denver, but Thompson is worth a look as a TD-dependent lottery
ticket play in GPP tournaments.
McFadden, OAK (@SEA, DEN, @SD, KC) – McFadden had just 59
rushing yards and lost a fumble on 12 carries, while contributing
4-26-0 receiving in the loss to Cleveland. He’s a RB3/flex but
his value is capped by the presence of MJD and a lack of Raiders
Robinson / Travaris
Cadet, NO (@CAR, SF, CIN, BAL) – Robinson was scratched with
a forearm injury and Cadet was used mainly as a receiver, hauling
in 4-40 on five targets.
Cunningham, STL (@SF, @ARI, DEN, @SD) – Cunningham had four
carries for 27 yards but caught just one pass for 8 yards. This
is a full-fledged committee with not-so-clearly defined roles,
making it a situation to avoid for fantasy owners.
Robinson, JAC (@CIN, DAL, BYE, @IND) – Robinson got the start
for the second straight week, totaled 108 rushing yards on 18
carries and added 1-10-0 receiving, even though Toby Gerhart was
available. He’s a limited upside RB3/flex play.
Brown / Anthony
Dixon, BUF (BYE, KC, @MIA, NYJ) – As expected, Bryce and Boobie
both had trouble breaking through against the Jets tough run defense,
averaging around 2.0 yards per carry on a 3-to-1 Dixon-Brown carry
split. The Bills are on a Week 9 bye.
Taylor, ARI (@DAL, STL, DET, @SEA) – Taylor (calf) left the
Week 8 game against the Eagles without a carry and did not return.
He’s off the redraft radar in all but the deepest of leagues.
Taylor will miss approximately
2-4 weeks, and Marion Grice takes over as Ellington’s backup.
Grice is nothing more than a deep-league stash.
Antonio Andrews, TEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @PHI) – With Shonn Greene
active (but firmly in the doghouse after his Friday night arrest),
Andrews wasn’t activated for Sunday’s game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
LaFell, NE (DEN, BYE, @IND, DET) – LaFell (just 35 percent
owned on Yahoo) has established himself as one of Tom Brady’s
favorite options, and he should be busy against Denver in week
9 as the Pats try to stay with Peyton Manning and move the ball
more vertically on offense.
Miller, PIT (BAL, @NYJ, @TEN, BYE) – Miller is 60 percent
owned on Yahoo and re-established himself as a viable TE with
a monster Week 8 against the Colts. The Steelers offense looked
awesome and Miller still has some upside in the right matchup.
Hawkins, CLE (TB, @CIN, HOU, @ATL) –
Hawkins has been getting consistent targets this season except
for one game in Week 6 (2014: 10, 12, 10, BYE, 9, 2, 9, 9) and
the Browns are now likely without Jordan Cameron (concussion)
for a couple weeks. While savvy fantasy owners have already snatched
up Hawkins, he’s still available in about two-thirds of
Yahoo leagues, where his ownership rates are similar to Riley
Cooper and Greg Jennings. Hawkins (36-470-1 on 61 targets) has
seven more catches and 15 more targets than Cooper (29-305-1,
47 targets) and seven more catches and 14 more targets than Jennings
(29-383-2 in eight games). This could be a decent Week to stack
a couple passing-oriented Browns (Hoyer & Hawkins) in salary
cap tournaments and pay up at RB and TE.
Bryant, PIT (BAL, @NYJ, @TEN, BYE) – Both Bryant (7 percent
owned) and Markus Wheaton (38 percent owned) were impressive on
Sunday, but who wasn’t? Still, I’d value Bryant as a more traditional
complement to Antonio Brown and a better red zone target going
Brown, ARI (@DAL, STL, DET, @SEA) – Brown caught the go-ahead
75-yard TD pass that beat the Eagles, and he had a total of 5-119-1
on the day. Michael Floyd went without a catch and both appear
to be boom-or-bust WR3/4 going forward.
Scouring The Barrel
Moncrief, IND (@NYG, BYE, NE, JAC) – Moncrief (just 3 percent
owned) was one of many waiver wire darlings who made themselves
known during the crazy Week 8 tilt between Pittsburgh and Indy.
Moncrief looks like he’s got plenty of value from here on out
with Reggie Wayne on the shelf once again. Snatch him up while
Mychal Rivera, OAK (@SEA, DEN, @SD, KC) – If Carr continues
to take only what the defense gives him, he’ll be throwing
Rivera’s way quite a bit in the coming weeks. He hauled
in 7-83-0 on nine targets Sunday against the Browns, who are usually
stingy with opposing tight ends.
Beckham Jr., NYG (IND, @SEA, SF, DAL) – Beckham was on a Week
9 bye and has an excellent matchup this week against the Colts.
Baldwin, SEA (OAK, NYG, @KC, ARI) – Baldwin had 6-61-0 on
eight targets Sunday but the Seahawks offense looks out of sync.
He’s a slight downgrade from last week, when it looked like he
might emerge as a top 20 wide receiver.
Robinson, JAC (@CIN, DAL, BYE, @IND) – The rookie had the
most productive game of his young career with 5-82-1 on 10 targets
from QB Blake Bortles. With the possible exception of Cecil Shorts,
he’s the top receiving option on the Jags.
Stills, NO (@CAR, SF, CIN, BAL) – Stills had a decent follow-up
to his Week 7 breakout with 4-57-0 on four targets from Drew Brees
on Sunday night.
Escobar, DAL (ARI, @JAC, BYE, @NYG) – Update coming Tuesday.
Escobar was a non-factor
on Monday night, and is a desperation play even in DFS.
Fuller, DET (BYE, MIA, @ARI, @NE) – Fuller tallied 3-43-0
on six targets Sunday against the Falcons. He’s on a Week 9 bye
and is temporarily off the fantasy radar.
LB Anthony Barr, MIN (WAS, BYE, @CHI, GB) – Barr finished
off a big day (eight solos, a sack, PD, forced fumble) with a
27-yard fumble return TD that ended the game in OT. Over the last
two weeks, Barr has 18 total tackles, three FR, the TD and two
PD, He’s beasting right now and is still available in a
smattering of IDP leagues.
Williamson, TEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @PHI) – Williamson (10 total
tackles, sack, PD in Week 8) is on a bye this coming week but
is on the field in nickel packages with Wesley Woodyard and is
really starting to produce.
DB Kenny Vaccaro, NO (@CAR, SF, CIN, BAL) – Vaccaro is
one of the most consistent IDP safeties in the game and had 10
total tackles on Sunday night. He’s tallied 40 total tackles
a sack, INT and three PD this season in seven games.
DB Joe Haden, CLE (TB, @CIN, HOU, @ATL) – Haden is a playmaker
who still draws plenty of action his way. He’s coming off
a big game versus the Raiders (nine total tackles, two PD, FR)
and is a solid tackler for his size.
DL Robert Quinn, STL (@SF, @ARI, DEN, @SD) – Quinn, dropped
in many IDP formats due to lack of production) finally had his
breakthrough game (five solos, 2.0 sacks, FF) and is worth plugging
in against the 49ers in Week 9.
DL Sharrif Floyd, MIN (WAS, BYE, @CHI, GB) – Floyd is a
risky deep-league play at DL but he’s had two big weeks
in a row, posting 13 tackles and 2.0 sacks over that span. He
gets Washington in Week 9.
LB Chad Greenway, MIN (WAS, BYE, @CHI, GB) – Greenway had
an okay game (nine total tackles) but was upstaged by Barr. The
veteran is still an LB2 gong forward.
Hightower, NE (DEN, BYE, @IND, DET) – Hightower posted 10
total tackles and a half-sack on Sunday in the win over Chicago.
He and Jamie Collins have really been stepping up with Jerod Mayo
DB Reshad Jones, MIA (SD, @DET, BUF, @DEN) – Jones (eight
total tackles and a sack in Week 8) hasn’t missed a beat
since returning from suspension. He’s got 24 total tackles,
an INT, three PD and a sack in just three games this season.
DB James Ihedigbo, DET (BYE, MIA, @ARI, @NE) – Ihedigbo
posted nice tackle numbers on Sunday with seven solos in the win
over the Falcons in London. He’s a DB2 going forward but
is on a Week 9 bye.
DL Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (@KC, PIT, BYE, @BUF) – Wilkerson
had a relatively quiet game but managed five total tackles and
a half-sack in the loss to Buffalo. He’s one of the most
consistent IDP ends out there.
DL/LB Derrick Morgan, TEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @PHI) – Morgan
had just two solos and a PD in the loss to Houston Sunday. He’s
on a bye Week 9.