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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.
Bortles, JAC – Despite the sprained AC joint in his
shoulder, Bortles piled up 331-3-3 with 37 rushing yards, and
seems to have a bevy of viable receiving weapons in an offense
that relies heavily on the pass (he completed 30 of 53 attempts
Sunday in the loss to Houston). The Jags QB is now up to about
55-60 percent ownership but should be rostered in all 12-team
leagues. The upcoming schedule isn’t ideal (BUF, BYE, @NYJ, @BAL)
but weeks 11-14 (TEN, SD, @TEN, IND) could translate into monster
QB2 numbers during the fantasy playoff push.
Fitzpatrick, NYJ – Fitzpatrick (still just 40-50 percent
owned) passed for 253-2-1, adding 31 rushing yards and a TD on
the ground in the win over Washington. The more-than-temporary
Jets QB should hold onto the job unless he gets injured or really
starts screwing up. He’s not consistently sharp, but he’s done
well with Eric Decker healthy and Brandon Marshall providing a
stable presence. He’ll be busy next week, as the Patriots will
undoubtedly force him to throw early and often.
Tannehill, MIA –Tannehill had been left for dead
before a big Week 6 performance in which he threw for 266-2-2,
but he’s still available in about 20 percent of fantasy leagues.
The interceptions are troubling, since he’s thrown seven to just
six TD passes over his last three games, but the matchup with
Houston portends a better outcome, especially since the coaching
change seems to have put the team back on track.
Carr, OAK –Carr is coming off his bye and
has a solid matchup with the Chargers in Week 7. He’s been
efficient and has a legitimate superstar in Amari Cooper, as well
as a capable supporting cast in the. He’s just 50-60 percent
owned and may be available in your league’s free agent pool.
Hoyer, HOU – Hoyer (15-20 percent owned) threw for
293-3-0 in the win over Jacksonville and has stolen the starting
gig from Ryan Mallett. He now has seven passing TDs in his last
three games and just one INT.
Kaepernick, SF – There were a lot of excellent QB performances
this week, so Kaepernick’s 340-2-0 in the 25-20 win over Baltimore
could get a bit overshadowed.
Cassel, DAL – We’ll see what he’s got in his bag of
tricks next week!
UPDATE:Jerry Jones said the
team is making the switch because Cassel is more aggressive, which
seems in line with the Cowboys philosophy, or at least the way
Tony Romo operated down the middle of the field as a fearless
gunslinger. Again…WE’LL SEE….but the return
of WR Dez Bryant (whenever that is) will undoubtedly play a huge
factor in Cassel’s success or failure.
James Starks out-touched Eddie Lacy and
was far more productive, totaling 117 yds and scoring twice.
Stewart, CAR – I wouldn’t normally include a running
back owned in about 85 percent of fantasy leagues, but since he
was left on the waiver wire in one of my 10-team leagues last
week (before I scooped him up to bolster an embarrassment of RB
riches), it’s worth repeating that Stewart is still a very good
runner and a dynamic back who shoulders a great deal of the load
in Carolina. His TD total gets eaten up by Cam Newton and the
occasional Tolbert vulture, but Stewart is a solid veteran who
can break tackles grinds out yardage -- and he should definitely
be owned across the board in fantasy.
Starks, GB – Eddie Lacy’s ankle doesn’t seem 100 percent,
and Starks (40-45 percent owned) took advantage of extra work
on Sunday with a monster two-touchdown day (10 carries for 112
rushing yards, TD; 1-5-1 receiving). He’s long been a capable
plug-n-play RB2 when he gets the start, and even behind Lacy he’s
getting solid production and should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Starks appears to be the top RB pickup heading into Week 7, even
though his team is on a bye.
Michael, DAL –With word coming out of Dallas that
Michael (50-60 percent owned) will get a larger workload against
the Giants in Week 7, it’s a good idea to pick him up, especially
in 12-team and deeper leagues. There’s really no way of
predicting the impact he will have on the offense, since he’s
yet to break through with more than nine carries in any single
game since he joined the league in 2013, but the hype surrounding
this guy is enough to warrant a waiver wire pick.
Oliver, SD – Oliver (nearly universally available in
fantasy leagues) took over for Melvin Gordon after the rookie
RB fumbled twice in the first half (lost one) and was benched.
The backup ball carrier rushed seven times for 23 yards but hauled
in 4-40-0 in the loss to Green Bay. He’s a limited talent but
capable of occasional production here and three and remains a
deep pickup who could see more work in the offense, but Danny
Woodhead is still the most valuable fantasy option in San Diego,
especially in PPR leagues. The biggest problem with the Chargers
right now is their debilitated offensive line, which is preventing
standout RB production.
McCluster, TEN – McCluster is owned in just 3-5 percent
of fantasy leagues, and with good reason, as he only sees about
6-10 targets/touches per game. But in an offense that seems to
have a new focal point every week, he’s got as good a shot as
any for a big-play TD. He’s only a deep-league (14+ teams) option.
Thompson, WAS – The diminutive Thompson (10-20 percent
owned) suffered a back strain in the first quarter against the
Jets but returned later in the game, rushing for 12 yards in five
carries and totaling 6-26-0 on 10 targets. If Matt Jones (toe)
continues to sit, expect Thompson to get regular work behind starter
Coleman, ATL –Coleman’s untimely rib injury,
coupled with Devonta Freeman’s emergence as a touchdown-scoring
beast has landed the former on the waiver wire in about 25-35
percent of fantasy leagues. But the dynamic rookie gained 40 yards
on just four carries Thursday night and could be in line for more
work as he’s close to 100 percent. Don’t sleep on
this guy. Even a minor Freeman injury or simply a change in who
has the hot hand could once again land him with the majority of
work in the offense.
West, KC – Despite assurances from Andy Reid that West
was a “good fit” (usually the kiss of death for any prospective
waiver wire pickup), the former Abilene Christian standout rushed
for just 33 yards on nine carries and caught just 1-6-0 on two
targets, losing a fumble in the process. This doesn’t bode well
for West or the struggling Chiefs.
Davis, KC – Davis had five carries for 13 yards and
1-12-0 on one target. The timeshare used to replace Jamal Charles
was a bust in its first week. Expect more passing game work for
both backs in Week 7 facing the Steelers.
Allen, BAL – Justin Forsett (ankle) got the start and
Allen tallied just 21 total yards on five touches. He’s a high-upside
handcuff at this point, and all his value is latent right now.
Robinson, JAC – Shoelace had a decent but quiet game
on Sunday, carrying the ball seven times for 19 rushing yards
and 3-19-0 receiving on three targets. I’d expect Yeldon back
after the Week 8 bye.
had just four carries for zero yards and 1-6-0 on four targets
in the Giants’ loss to Philly on Monday night. It was a
game pegged by many to feature Vereen prominently. Rashad Jennings
fumbled and Andre Williams looked sluggish and has little value
as a passing game option, so it appears the Giants are just being
stubborn by not including the shifty back in their game plan.
Sims, TB – The Bucs were on a Week 6 bye, but Sims
is gaining value heading into Week 7 versus Washington.
Riddick, DET – Riddick was questionable with a groin
injury but finished with seven carries for 28 yards and 3-50-0
on six targets. He’s a big-play back primarily suited for third
Reece, OAK – The Raiders were on a Week 6 bye, and
Reece remains a deep flex option in PPR leagues.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Jones, CIN – Jones had two awesome plays in a three-play
span on Sunday, somehow catching a perfect Andy Dalton pass on
a seam route (with two defenders draped over him) and adding a
catch-and-run, one-handed cartwheel TD just one play later following
a Giovani Bernard run. He had 9-95-1 on the day (12 targets) and
appears to have a stronghold on the No. 2 WR spot in Cincy, where
defenses tend to focus on A.J. Green.
Moore, DET – Moore is available in just about every
redraft fantasy league, and following a big week 6 (5-106-1),
he now has TDs in two straight games. Moore’s seen 14 targets
over his last two games and is finally on the fantasy radar with
the Lions passing game starting to pick up steam. He’s worth a
pickup in 12-team leagues.
Smith, SF – I knew the 49ers passing game was looking
much better, and Smith (40-45 percent owned) took advantage of
a decent throw from Kaepernick and used his speed to separate
for a long TD against the Ravens. He finished with just 3-96-1
on six targets, but the big blow was the 76-yard TD pass.
Diggs, MIN – Diggs (5 percent owned) caught seven passes
off nine targets for 129 yards in Sunday’s victory over the Chiefs,
establishing himself over the past two games as a dynamic fill-in
option for injured WR Charles Johnson (rib). The rookie receiver
should be owned in 12-team leagues for his high upside and developing
rapport with QB Teddy Bridgewater.
UPDATE:A fellow Vikings wide
receiver compared Diggs’ skill set to a young Antonio Brown,
with whom he was teammates with in Pittsburgh. That’s high
praise for the former Maryland product, but Wallace is a veteran
familiar with the energy and route-running it takes to compete
in the NFL. He’s a great pickup entering Week 7.
Walters, JAC – With Allen Robinson nursing a leg injury
that saw him leave before the end of Sunday’s contest, Walters
tallied 8-87-0 on 12 targets from Bortles. He’s seen more targets
over the past two weeks and while he doesn’t have the upside of
a healthy Marqise Lee (hamstring), he’s worth looking at in deep
leagues and dynasty formats.
Janis, GB – Davante Adams was inactive and Ty Montgomery
left the game with an ankle injury, so Janis got some work and
caught 2-79-0 in the win over San Diego. Janis (1 percent owned)
is a big target with plenty of upside considering the uncertain
status of the Packers’ receiving corps.
Watson, NO – Perhaps the biggest story to come out
of Thursday night was the reemergence of Benjamin Watson, who
found the fountain of youth en route to a 10-127-1 line on 12
targets from Drew Brees. He’s playing the majority of snaps and
could be worth an add in 12-team leagues as a low-end TE1.
Seferian-Jenkins, TB –Remember this guy? He’s
been out since Week 2 with a shoulder injury but hauled in 5-110-2
in Week 1, when the Bucs were without Mike Evans. With the rapidly
changing TE landscape, it appears anyone can emerge on a week-to-week
basis. Keep ASJ in mind as you forge through the uncertainty and
make your picks, since the team was hopeful he’d return
following the Week 6 bye.
Johnson, IND – Johnson had just 3-35-0 on six targets,
with Donte Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton hauling in TD passes.
Strong, HOU – Strong took ill this week but managed
to play, accumulating just one catch for 5 yards. We’ll see how
he’s used at Miami next week.
Boldin, SF – Boldin had 5-102-0 on nine targets, but
Smith caught the big TD pass from Kaepernick. Still – this was
an encouraging game from a fantasy stalwart.
UPDATE:Boldin is reportedly
dealing with a hamstring issue, and would not have participated
on Monday even if the 49ers had held a practice. Keep an eye on
this situation, as it could mean increased fantasy value for Bruce
Ellington (calf) and Quinton Patton, who just got over a concussion.
Wilson, CHI – Both Alshon Jeffrey and Eddie Royal were
back Sunday, limiting Wilson’s output to just 2-54-0. He’s a solid
pass catcher but has limited upside with the other WRs healthy.
UPDATE:Huff caught 3-19-0
on three targets Monday and he’s essentially a deep-league
bench option and/or dynasty player.
Montgomery, GB – Montgomery went down on Sunday and
left the game with an ankle injury. He’ll have a bye week to recover.
Hogan, BUF – Hogan had just 2-31-0 with Sammy Watkins
starting, though the Bills No. 1 WR went down with another injury.
Barnidge, CLE – Barnidge was targeted nine times by
Josh McCown and caught just three passes for 39 yards, but two
of those went for TDs. He’s a one of the premier TEs moving forward
and is a usage monster in the red zone.