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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
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Cassel, DAL – Cassel, who is just 5-10 percent owned in fantasy
leagues, had his best game as a Cowboy, throwing for 299-3-1 in
the OT loss to Philadelphia. He’s slated to take on the Bucs in
Week 10, and might be a one-week solution for owners needing a
QB. The WRs are healthy and Darren McFadden is a solid receiving
back, so the weapons are there – it’s just a matter of execution
and the ubiquitous “game flow” details you’ve heard so much about.
Kirk Cousins, WAS – The Patriots did an excellent job limiting
Cousins (15-30 percent owned) to 217-1-1, especially considering
the Washington QB had at least 40 pass attempts for the third
straight game. Cousins should have an easier time against the
Saints porous secondary in Week 10, though it’s important
to remember he has just one game this season (Week 7…you
like that?!?) with more than one passing TD.
Jones, PIT – With Ben Roethlisberger out a week or two after
suffering a foot sprain, Jones becomes a viable QB2 add against
the Browns. The Steelers are on a Week 11 bye and face the Seahawks
in Week 12, so Jones will only be worth an add if you’re desperate
at QB and looking for the “one-week solution” we discussed above.
Jones is familiar with the offense and while a definite risk,
could supply adequate numbers.
Carr, OAK – Carr’s 301-4-1 made him a top five fantasy QB
in Week 9. He’s a starting QB in 12-team leagues and should be
owned in all formats.
Josh McCown, CLE – McCown missed Week 9 but could start
in Week 10 against the Steelers. It’s worth watching and
we’ll update his status tomorrow (Tuesday).
UPDATE:Cutler completed 27-of-40
pass attempts for 345-2-1 in the win over San Diego Monday night.
He’s nothing more than a decent QB2 with decent upside in
Tyrod Taylor, BUF – Taylor returned to face the Dolphins
and looked sharp with 181-1-0 but it was the running game that
grabbed all the accolades from a fantasy perspective. The Jets
offer a more difficult matchup and he may be forced to increased
his passing attempts.
Mariota, TEN – Mariota, just 35-50 percent owned in fantasy
leagues, had a triumphant return to the Titans on Sunday with
371-4-0 and a two-point conversion in the comeback win over the
Saints. He’ll be right back in the QB1 conversation despite a
tough matchup against the Panthers in Week 10.
James Starks outperformed Lacy again and
has earned at least a 50-50 timeshare moving forward.
Williams, BUF – LeSean McCoy ran well but was pulled from
the game after suffering what is being described as a minor shoulder
injury, giving way to Williams, who rushed nine times for 110
yards and two TDs against the Dolphins. In his first game back
since a Week 4 concussion, Williams (65-80 percent owned) showed
explosiveness and should be owned in all formats moving forward,
even if McCoy is fine.
UPDATE:McCoy was present for
Monday’s walkthrough, but didn’t participate and is
listed as day-to-day heading into the Thursday matchup. Williams
could be a big factor versus the Jets if McCoy is a no-go.
Starks, GB – Starks was scooped up in a lot of leagues a few
weeks ago, but he’s still just 60 percent owned in CBS leagues
and was started in just 5-10 percent of leagues in Week 9. He
seems to have surpassed Eddie Lacy and finished Week 9 with 39
rushing yards on 10 carries but added 6-83-1 receiving, making
him a top priority ad in PPR leagues heading into Week 10.
Charles Sims, TB – Sims (75 percent owned in CBS leagues)
remains an explosive runner with plenty of upside, but he’s
a bit limited by the number of touches he’s receiving in
the Tampa Bay timeshare. He went for 78 rushing yards on eight
carries vs. the Giants and added one catch for 4 yards.
Ajayi, MIA – Lamar Miller is the unquestioned RB1 in Miami,
but the Dolphins are likely to get Ajayi (about 5 percent owned)
more touches in the coming weeks. He’s a speculative add and necessary
handcuff for Miller owners.
UPDATE:The Dolphins have waived
Jonas Gray, further solidifying Ajayi as the primary backup in
Bolden, NE – Bolden caught his first career receiving TD,
going for 3-27-1 and rushing for 12 yards on his lone carry. With
Dion Lewis (torn ACL) out for the rest of the season and if James
White (5-10 percent owned) remains out, Bolden could step up as
the change of pace to LeGarrette Blount (98 percent owned).
White, NE – White was actually a healthy scratch last
week and is considered the prime candidate for an expanded role
in the Pats’ offense. He’s a longshot for steady production, but
could see more touches in the wake of Lewis’ injury. It’s also
possible the Patriots resign Jonas
Gray, who was just waived by Miami.
Jones, OAK – Some form of this three-headed monster will
assume RB duties if Latavius Murray (concussion) isn’t cleared
for Sunday’s tilt with Minnesota. Reece has the most upside
in PPR leagues and makes the most sense as a waiver wire selection,
while Helu has just 12 carries for 31 yards this season and has
been a healthy scratch the past two weeks.
DeAngelo Williams, PIT – Williams stepped up in the absence
of Le’Veon Bell and picked up right where he left off as
the Steelers’ bell cow in Week 2, rushing for 170 yards
and two TDs and adding 2-55-0 receiving in the win over Oakland.
He’s a top 10 fantasy RB moving forward.
UPDATE:Langford rushed for
72 yards and a TD on 18 carries, hauling in 3-70-0 in the win
over the chargers. With Matt Forte (knee) expected to miss Week
10, he’s looking like a solid option next week as well.
Langford, who took over at Michigan State after Le’Veon
Bell left for the pros, was sharp in all aspects of his RB duties,
including blitz pickup, pass catching and patience in the run
Joique Bell, DET – Bell was on a Week 9 bye and remains
a viable add heading into Week 10.
Shane Vereen, NYG – Vereen had a productive week with 4-29-1
receiving, adding 12 rushing yards in the win over Tampa Bay.
He’s a solid RB3/flex in PPR leagues, though he’ll
likely been an inconsistent play.
Kendall Gaskins/Shaun Draughn, SF – Draughn remained largely
unowned but contributed 58 rushing yards on 16 carries and 4-38-0
in the win over Atlanta. Gaskins handled some of the late-game
carries and finished with seven rushes for 20 yards.
UPDATE:Smith had one carry
for 11 yards and once again appears to be a talented back lost
in the RB shuffle – just like he was in Atlanta.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Beasley, DAL – The Cowboys finally got Beasley (5-10 percent
owned) involved, and in his first game with over 10 targets, the
diminutive slot receiver went for 9-112-2, the second best receiving
line of Week 9 (Antonio Brown’s 17-284-0 on 23 targets topped
the list). I’ve spoken at length of my appreciation for what Beasley
offers in a Wes Welker-type role, but those sentiments have faded
in the past few weeks. Remember – especially for DFS purposes
– to reassess your prior evaluations of fantasy options, because
you never know when they’ll come back into play. Beasley became
relevant because for the first time since early in the season,
the Cowboys had a viable target hog (Dez Bryant) looming downfield,
which opened up the slot.
Sammy Watkins, BUF – I know, he’s probably not available
in your league, as he’s about 70-85 percent owned across
the fantasy landscape, but if he is, don’t hesitate to pick
him up. Watkins was only started in about 25-30 percent of fantasy
leagues last week, and went for 8-168-1 in the win over Miami.
He’s got major upside in the right matchup, though it may
be tough sledding versus the Jets in Week 10.
Devin Funchess, CAR – Funchess (5-10 percent owned) got
more looks in the Carolina offense and hauled in 3-71-1 on four
targets, including his first career TD in the win over Green Bay.
He’s not a must-add by any means, but should have more upside
as the Panthers head to Tennessee in Week 10. The rookie is probably
a WR5 moving forward with some flex appeal in deeper formats.
Adams, GB – Finally healthy, Adams (50-75 percent owned) broke
out for 7-93-0 on 11 targets (as well as a 2XP) in the loss to
Carolina. Look for the Packers No. 2 WR to see increased involvement
in the offense and 6-10 targets per week.
Green-Beckham, TEN – Although Beckham caught just
five balls for 77 yards on Sunday, he was targeted 10 times by
Mariota and is poised for a bigger role in the offense with Kendall
Wright (MCL) still hurting and the new coaching staff promising
to get him more involved. DGB is a big man at 6-5, 237 lbs, but
needs to learn to block better and do some of the small things
better before he’s a bona fide starting WR.
Whalen, IND – Whalen (0 percent owned) saw six targets in
the win over Denver, and the Broncos defense had difficulty keeping
track of the fourth-year WR as he went for 5-73-0. He’s on a Week
10 bye, but could be a sneaky add in deeper leagues.
Welker, STL – Welker was added to replace Stedman
Bailey on the Rams roster, which could prompt owners to jump the
gun and add him. Unfortunately, he’s yet to learn the offense
and the Rams are not a high-volume passing team, so Welker is
not likely to revisit his fantasy glory from New England or Denver.
He may be a deep-league lottery ticket, but there are likely much
better pickups this week.
Walker, TEN – Walker (75 percent owned, started in fewer than
50 percent of lineups in Week 9) will likely be unavailable off
the waiver wire after his week, as he blew up for 7-95-2 on eight
targets from Mariota. He has great chemistry with the rookie QB
and looks like a top five fantasy TE moving forward.
TE Owen Daniels, DEN – Was this guy hurt? Whatever has
kept Daniels (15-30 percent owned) from being a useful offensive
weapon may be a mystery, but he exploded for 6-102-1 on nine targets
in the loss to Indy. He’ll likely be an inconsistent option,
but week-to-week deployment will depend largely on matchup.
Celek, SF – I’m not going crazy recommending this guy, because
he only saw two targets in the win over Atlanta and is on a Week
10 bye. But with Vernon Davis in Denver and both of his targets
going for TDs makes me think he’s a viable red zone threat worth
considering as we look ahead to the Niners’ future.
Ebron, DET – The Packers have been terrible at defending
TEs this season, and Ebron will likely be a popular target for
Matthew Stafford this week if the Packers get up early. He’s
also a high-risk, high-reward play who’s not a terrible
bet for DFS success at a cheap salary.
Seferian-Jenkins, TB – It’s hard to say what
kind of role ASJ will have or if he’ll return this week
against the Cowboys, but surefire HOF TE Tony Gonzalez recently
sang his praises and said he’d be a Rob Gronkowski/Jimmy
Graham type beast if he paired with a capable QB – something
that Jameis Winston is not at this point. Still, he may be worth
adding in deeper leagues and could blow up during the fantasy
playoffs if he’s healthy.
Tavon Austin, STL – Austin remains heavily involved in
the Rams offense, tallying 66 rushing yards on eight carries and
4-15-0 on seven targets in the loss to the Vikings.
UPDATE:Floyd left Monday night’s
contest with a shoulder injury and without a catch. The injury
didn’t look good and he’s may even be a longshot to
play in Week 11 when the Chargers return from their bye. Stevie
Johnson is the receiver to add if you’re speculating for
Snead, NO – Snead (now 80-90 percent owned) has his second-highest
target total of the season catching 6-95-0 on 10 targets from
Drew Brees in Week 9.
Dwayne Harris, NYG – Harris busted on Sunday, hauling in
just one grab for 1 yard on three targets. It may be time to move
Andre Holmes, OAK – Holmes had just two balls thrown his
way and zero catches in Week 9.
Aiken, BAL – Aiken (60 percent owned) was on a Week 9 bye
but is still a solid add heading into the Week 10 matchup with
UPDATE:Aiken was targeted
on almost half of Joe Flacco’s passes when Steve Smith (IR/Achilles’
rupture) left the game in Week 8, so he’ll likely see high-volume
targets and should be owned in 12-team leagues.
TE Ben Watson, NO – Watson (now about 85-90 percent owned)
had a quiet week but still finished with 5-60-0 on five targets.
He’s a top 10 fantasy TE with lots of upside moving forward.
TE Jacob Tamme, ATL – Tamme had 6-61-0 on 10 targets in
Week 9 but is on a Week 10 bye.
Gillmore, BAL – Gillmore (Week 9 bye) could get some looks
in Week 10 versus the Jags, and is a TE2 with some upside in that
UPDATE:I’ll be dialing
up Gillmore as a risk/reward, TE-dependent red-zone target this
week in a deeper league.