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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.
Mark Sanchez may fill in for Bradford for
a couple weeks, but he's not necessarily a fantasy upgrade.
Cutler, CHI – Cutler (65-75 percent owned) had his
best fantasy game of the season Sunday in a win over the Rams,
throwing for 258-3-0 and adding 24 rushing yards on three carries.
The Bears have a tougher test against the Broncos, but Denver
is looking more and more like a team without an identity, and
they’ll still be missing DeMarcus Ware. Cutler has made good use
of Jeremy Langford in the passing game and with a full complement
of healthy receiving weapons, he could be in for a nice run.
Fitzpatrick, NYJ – The Jets are not playing well, but
they’re throwing the ball a lot more and relying on Fitzpatrick’s
arm in the red zone. The veteran QB is owned in fewer than 50
percent of fantasy leagues and he remains a viable option in two-QB
Winston, TB – Winston’s had a couple of quiet weeks
against NFC East opponents, but the Eagles high-volume of plays
means he’ll have more opportunities than usual when the Bucs travel
to Philly in Week 11. He won’t be on the radar in too many formats
(still only about 50 percent owned), but he’s a moderate risk-reward
play in DFS and deeper formats and he’s doing more with his legs
as he gains confidence as an NFL QB.
Sanchez, PHI – More than a few Eagles fans have been
calling for Sanchez to get his chance, and with the injuries to
Sam Bradford (sprained AC joint, concussion), “The Man Who Buttfumbled”
has been thrust into fantasy relevance. Tread cautiously, folks.
UPDATE:Sam Bradford is expected
to miss two weeks and Sanchez gets a decent matchup against the
Bucs in Week 11. This could get interesting.
Mariota, TEN –UPDATE:Mariota (50 percent owned) is definitely worth adding with
the Jaguars on the docket, and despite the early week, it’s not
a bad time to deploy him in 12-team leagues where your normal
QB is on a bye. I’d still prefer Tony Romo (80 percent owned),
but he’s still a moderate risk and is likely owned.
Osweiler, DEN –UPDATE:The Broncos offense has been sacrificing a lot of its explosiveness
to keep a broken-down Peyton Manning (out, plantar fasciitis)
under center. And while Osweiler’s decision-making and general
effectiveness is a relative unknown, we can expect upside when
considering he has a great weapon in Demaryius Thomas, plenty
of veteran offensive leadership surrounding him, the guidance
of Manning himself, and two (seemingly) capable running backs.
The opponent is another plus, as the Bears defense is far from
a juggernaut. Osweiler (0-5 percent owned) is worth adding.
Manziel, CLE –UPDATE:Are you really this desperate? You are? Well, first of all,
he’s on a bye this week, so slow down. Second, Manziel makes more
sense as a dynasty league grab, because there’s still a lot of
development going on in the Browns offense. Third, after this
week, there are no more byes, so even with the news that Johnny
Football is the new Browns’ starter, it’s not likely you’ll have
much of an opportunity to deploy him in most formats.
Keenum, STL –UPDATE:No. Step away from the waiver wire. You’re in dangerous
territory, amigo. Keenum was relevant for about two weeks in 2013,
but on a team where the WRs accept handoffs as much as receptions,
it’s hard to see much value in the quarterback.
Cassel, DAL – His 186-0-1 was a huge disappointment
and he effectively cost the Cowboys the game with inefficiency
and general uselessness. He’s finally out of the picture, with
Tony Romo slated to start in Week 11.
Cousins, WAS – Cousins looked excellent for the Redskins
in Week 10 and was the highest-scoring fantasy QB with 324-4-0,
earning himself a perfect QB rating (158.3). He’s going to have
a much tougher time with the Panthers next week, but it’s nice
to see a waiver wire plug-n-play do well. I played him in several
DFS contests and one season-long league and it paid off.
Jones, PIT – Jones (ankle) was injured early, necessitating
an early return from Big Ben, who was active as the second QB.
Jones can be safely dropped in all redraft leagues, as the bye
in Week 11 helps assure Roethlisberger will likely be good to
go moving forward.
Langford, CHI – Langford, still available in about
15 percent of fantasy leagues, was the top RB of Week 10 with
a TD and 73 rushing yards as well as 7-109-1 receiving. There’s
no reason to rush Forte back with the offense clicking this well
with Langford. If he’s available, grab him. He’s going to be involved
from here on out.
Jones, WAS – Jones (50-60 percent owned) had another
monster day (like Week 2), this time rushing for 56 yards on 11
carries and adding 3-131-1, the big blow coming on a 78-yard catch-and
run score. He’s got the most upside of the Washington backs but
remains in a committee with Alfred Morris and Chris Thompson.
McCluster, TEN – I’ve been arguing against Antonio
Andrews for some time, and on Sunday, McCluster (10-15 percent
owned) proved me right, running for 25 yards and a TD on three
carries and adding 4-27-0, completely outclassing the ineffective
Andrews. He’s a solid RB3/flex add heading into a Week 11 game
versus the Jaguars.
UPDATE:The addition of David
Cobb to the active in-game roster Thursday won’t likely
hurt McCluster’s usage, at least right away. But if Cobb
gets carries and steps into a full-time role after performing
well, McCluster will likely be reduced to third-down and passing
Ellington, ARI – Ellington emerged as the top-scoring
Cards back in Week 10, rushing for 61 yards on just five carries
and adding 3-27-0 in the win over Seattle. He’s owned in about
70-75 percent of leagues but will likely be used a lot more against
the Bengals in Week 11.
UPDATE:Cards reporters are
saying that Ellington will continue to be used as a “specialty
back,” which means about 8-10 touches instead of 12-15.
Sproles, PHI – If Ryan Mathews (concussion) misses
any time, Sproles should see more touches. He’s a relatively low-ceiling
deep-league add in PPR formats, but he does have a big play now
Robinson, JAC –UPDATE:With T.J. Yeldon (foot) in a walking boot, the Jags will likely
turn to the elusive, enigmatic Robinson (10-15 percent owned)
for the bulk of RB work on Thursday. Yeldon has been ruled out,
but the boot is never a good sign. I prefer Matt Jones for long-term
value, but if he and Langford are already gone, Robinson is the
Cobb, TEN –UPDATE:There’s no telling if the Titans will actually activate Cobb
for Thursday, but the early word is that they’ll give him
some looks as they desperately seek a reliable ball carrier. Cobb
is a solid all-around back that doesn’t necessarily leap
off the page in any one attribute, but he could be marginally
effective and give the Titans a primary, early-down option they
have been lacking. He’s about 25-35 percent owned in fantasy
Williams, BUF – Williams (80 percent owned) had seven
carries for 24 yards but added a 26-yard TD reception that made
his fantasy day a success. He should be owned in all formats,
especially with LeSean McCoy’s “shady” injury history.
Starks, GB – Eddie Lacy was inactive on Sunday and
Starks totaled 96 yards (42 rushing, 54 receiving) in the loss
to Detroit. He’ll likely continue to see the bulk of RB work in
the Packers’ backfield and gets the Vikings in Week 11.
Sims, TB – Sims totaled 31 yards on seven offensive
touches in the win over the Cowboys. He’ll definitely get more
work against the Eagles.
Ajayi, MIA – Ajayi rushed six times for a team-high
48 yards against the Eagles Sunday, but is still second fiddle
to Lamar Miller. Ajayi’s physicality is a nice change of pace
from Miller, but his ceiling is obviously limited by the current
Bolden, NE – He had one carry for -3 yards. Nice work,
White, NE – White actually has TWO touches against
the Giants. Wow! Seriously, though – it appears LeGarrette Blount
is not being threatened for touches in the New England backfield.
UPDATE:White should get the
passing game work that once went to Dion Lewis (IR), but it doesn’t
seem like a safe deployment this week. There’s upside in
there so White is a good add if you’re looking at a fantasy
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Floyd, ARI – Despite a difficult matchup with Seattle
and tight coverage from Richard Sherman, Floyd had 7-113-2 on
nine targets. He’s about 75 percent owned and remains a high-upside
play heading into Week 11 against the Bengals.
UPDATE:Floyd is day-to-day
with a hamstring injury and is a situation worth monitoring as
the week progresses.
Baldwin, SEA – Baldwin had a big day against the Cards
with 7-134-1 on 10 targets. He’s only 50-60 percent owned and
could be used more as the Seahawks explore more offensive strategies
and expand the passing game against the next couple of opponents
Crowder, WAS – Crowder is just 10 percent owned but
had a big day Sunday, catching his first career TD en route to
a 4-6-01 day on five targets. He’ll likely have inconsistent production
from week-to-week, but remains an easy grab in deeper formats
and a solid speculative add in 12-team leagues – especially since
DeSean Jackson’s health and hamstring can’t be counted on. Even
Jordan Reed, targeted quite a bit in Week 10, can go down at any
Amendola, NE – When Julian Edelman (foot) is out of
the picture, Amendola (40-50 percent owned) becomes a popular
target for Brady. He saw 11 targets on Sunday and finished with
10-79-0 in the exciting win over the Giants. Edelman has a Jones’
fracture (broken fifth metatarsal – same as Dez Bryant’s) and
will miss a bunch of contests following his surgery. Amendola
is a must-add in all formats.
Inman, SD –UPDATE:It appears as though Malcom Floyd could be done for the year
with a torn labrum, which elevates Inman into fantasy relevance
once again. If Stevie Johnson is unavailable, Inman is an option.
Gillmore, BAL – Gillmore had 4-42-1 in Week 10 and
remains a low-end TE1 when healthy. He’s a talented receiver and
sees a lot of time on the field in the Ravens offense.
Miller, CHI – Miller’s 5-107-2 breakout was completely
unexpected, as he is 0 percent owned and was not started by any
fantasy owners on Sunday. That’ll likely change after his big
day, though owners who pick him up will probably be chasing those
Week 10 numbers.
Beasley, DAL – After his monster Week 9, Beasley turned
in a disappointing performance with just one catch for 8 yards.
He’s a major risk, but could be used more when Romo returns. Stay
Watkins, BUF – Watkins was targeted seven times by
Tyrod Taylor but had just 3-14-0, as he drew coverage from Darrelle
Revis on Thursday night. He’ll be a safer target against the Patriots.
Funchess, CAR – Funchess caught 2-41-0 on two targets
Sunday. He could be in line for more looks facing the Redskins
in Week 11 – but he’s not worth owning in most 12-team redraft
UPDATE:Funchess could be worth
a stash in leagues with deep benches, because he’s a big
play waiting to happen, but it’s actually a crowded receiving
crops in Carolina – as well as a conservative offense.
Adams, GB – Adams had a whopping 21 targets in Week
10 and caught 10-79-0 in the loss to Detroit. He’s yet to find
the end zone this season but he’s finally healthy and his arrow
is pointing up in a big way.
Green-Beckham, TEN – Owners taking a stab with Green-Beckham
got a goose egg from the rookie WR (two targets). We knew he was
a big risk.
UPDATE:With Justin Hunter
(broken ankle) on IR and Kendall Wright (knee) doubtful to play
on Thursday, Green-Beckham could be a sneaky add, especially if
some jamoke dropped him after his disappointing performance on
Sunday. Veteran WR Harry Douglas also becomes a viable option
on a short week.
Welker, STL – Welker hauled in 3-32-0 on six targets
Sunday. It’s about the level of involvement we anticipated.
Walker, TEN – Walker’s 3-52-0 wasn’t much, but he’ll
be more heavily targeted next week against Jacksonville.
UPDATE:With the thin Titans
receiving corps discussed above, I expect we’ll see a lot
of Walker on Thursday facing the Jags. Get him in your lineup
if you added him last week, and snag him for a plug-n-play if
he’s still available.
Daniels, DEN – Daniels succumbed to the Manning meltdown
and had 1-14-0 on five targets. He can be safely ignored for now.