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
Joe Flacco, BAL (@IND, @TB, ATL, @CIN) – He’s still
available in 35-65 percent of fantasy leagues and it’s obvious
from last week that the offense is starting to click. Flacco threw
for 327-2-0 against Carolina and should have ample opportunity
to post big numbers in the matchup against Indy next week.
Blake Bortles, JAC (PIT, @TEN, CLE, MIA) – Although the
Jags lost 33-14, there’s still plenty to like about Bortles,
who takes over as the starting quarterback in Jacksonville. He
threw for 253-1-2 in his debut as the starter. I think he could
be a popular cheap QB option in tournament play on daily fantasy
Scouring The Barrel
Mike Glennon, TB (@NO, BAL, BYE, MIN) – He led Tampa Bay
to victory (302-2-1) and Lovie Smith didn’t endorse Josh
McCown (thumb) as an automatic start when healthy. The Saints
are struggling right now, so you can expect a shootout next week
when the Bucs travel to New Orleans. While the Saints defense
plays better at home, they’re still going to yield a few
big plays and redzone scores. You could do worse than Glennon
as a second QB in a spot start.
Kyle Orton, BUF (@DET, NE, MIN, @NYJ) – Orton has been
named the Bills new starting QB, and while he’s not any
kind of superstar, there’s a chance he improves the Bills
offense, which has sputtered with Manuel under center. He’s
worth rostering as a backup in deeper leagues.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (BYE, GB, @CHI, @JAC) – Tannehill held
onto his starting job, threw for 278-2-1 and ran for 35 yards
in the 38-14 win over Oakland in London. He’s on a Week
Manning, NYG (ATL, @PHI, @DAL, BYE) – Manning was the top
QB of Week 4, throwing for 300-4-1 and rushing for a score. He’s
benefited greatly from the developing rapport with TE Larry Donnell.
Fitzpatrick, HOU (@DAL, IND, @PIT, @TEN) – Fitzpatrick threw
for 268-1-2 against his old team and will likely struggle to find
a consistent possession receiver if Andre Johnson (ankle) misses
any time. One thing the Texans have going for them next week is
Watt and the defense could force Tony Romo and the Cowboys
into some mistakes and a short field for the Houston offense.
Brian Hoyer, CLE (@TEN, PIT, @JAC, OAK) – Hoyer was on
a Week 4 bye but returns to face the lowly Titans in Week 5. He’s
still the starter and the Browns have some beatable opponents
Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (@GB, DET, @BUF, @TB) – Bridgewater
was excellent in his debut, even if the running game was the story.
The rookie passed for 317 yards (no TDs or INTs) but added a two-point
conversion and scored a rushing TD (five carries, 27 yards). He
tweaked an ankle (a Monday MRI came back okay) but should be ready
to play again by Thursday. He’s a risky option on a short
week, but there could be lots of scoring going on in Green Bay.
Davis, STL (@PHI, SF, SEA, @KC) – Davis is still slated to
start in Week 5 against the Eagles in what could be a high-scoring
game. He’s worth a look in two-QB leagues and as a contrarian
play in DFS.
Jerick McKinnon is more talented than Matt
Asiata but remains his backup for the time being.
Off The Top
Bishop Sankey, TEN (CLE, JAC, @WAS, HOU) – Sankey made
hay with just eight touches, rushing for 34 yards and a TD on
six carries and hauling in both his targets for 2-23-0. Ken Whisenhunt
even conceded Monday that the youngster’s “footwork”
– which has been an excuse to limit his touches –
is improving. His value is definitely on the rise, and he’s
available in 25-45 percent of redraft leagues.
McKinnon, MIN (@GB, DET, @BUF, @TB) – Adrian who? While the
Vikings haven’t forgotten about their stud running back, it’ll
be easier to craft game plans now that they know McKinnon (18
carries for 135 yards and 1-17-0 receiving) can do some heavy
lifting and take on 10-15 carries per game while Matt Asiata (20
carries 78 rushing yards, three TDs; 3-22-0 receiving) can grind
out yards and handle the goaline carries. McKinnon’s ownership
rates are all over the charts (he’s just 15-16 percent owned in
Yahoo leagues but is as high as 35 percent owned on other sites)
and Mike Zimmer is still referring to him as a “change-of-pace
back,” but he should be owned in all 12-team formats and even
a few 10-teamers.
Forsett, BAL (@IND, @TB, ATL, @CIN) – Forsett finished with
14 carries for 66 yarsd and a TD and 3-31-0 receiving in Sunday’s
win over Carolina, and remains a low-end RB2 or excellent RB3
in 12-team leagues. Bernard Pierce (quad) was listed as probable
and active for Sunday’s game, but didn’t play a snap – a sign
that the Forsett-Taliaferro timeshare is for real.
Andre Williams, NYG (ATL, @PHI, @DAL, BYE) – Williams finally
got involved in the offense on Thursday (15 carries, 66 rushing
yards, TD), though he’s not projected to be part of the
passing game. He’s available in 70-85 percent of fantasy
leagues and could be a helpful contributor the next three weeks.
Scouring The Barrel
Smith, ATL (@NYG, CHI, @BAL, DET) – Steven Jackson just doesn’t
have the home-run hitting ability that Smith does right now, and
while Smith’s upside is limited (like his touches), he’s a highlight
waiting to happen. Last season, he had 145 rushing yards and two
TDs on just five carries, and so far this year, he’s totaled 192
yards and three TDs on just 13 touches (10 carries for 119 yards
& 3-73-1 receiving). He’s actually tallied 347 yards from scrimmage
on his last 20 touches – five of which have gone for scores. I
don’t care how bad he is picking up blitzes, if that’s not a jarring
enough statistic to get him the rock a bit more, I don’t know
DeAngelo Williams, CAR (CHI, @CIN, @GB, SEA) – Williams
has a right ankle injury that forced him from Sunday’s game
(11 carries, 34 yards). He could miss a significant amount of
time (he’s been listed as week-to-week) but there’s
nothing exciting about the Panthers running game right now.
Shonn Greene, TEN (CLE, JAC, @WAS, HOU) – With just three
carries for 10 yards in the loss to Indy, it’s obvious that
coaches are starting to phase out Greene in favor of Sankey.
LeGarrette Blount, PIT (@JAC, @CLE, HOU, IND) – Blount had
25 rushing yards on four carries during the Week 4 loss to Tampa
Bay. He’s a TD-dependent handcuff with moderate upside as
a flex play.
Starks, GB (MIN, @MIA, CAR, @NO) – The Packers stuck with
Eddie Lacy (who scored a TD but still appeared sluggish) and Starks
finished Week 4 without a touch.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (@IND, @TB, ATL, @CIN) – Taliaferro
split touches with Forsett and finished with 58 rushing yards
on 15 carries. He’s in a timeshare that could bend either
way based on future performance.
Darrin Reaves, CAR (CHI, @CIN, @GB, SEA) – Reaves got some
action (12 carries for 26 yards, 3-11-0 receiving) after DeAngelo
Williams went down and could be used more next week against the
Bears. He’s an “x” factor with a relatively
low ceiling, but he’ll be getting carries against Chicago.
Roy Helu, WAS (SEA, @ARI, TEN, @DAL) – He had 5-78-0 receiving
and two rushes for 8 yards on Thursday night and has clear value
in deep PPR leagues.
Joe McKnight, KC (@SF, BYE, @SD, STL) – McKnight tore his
Achilles in practice on Thursday and is done for the season.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Donnell, NYG (ATL, @PHI, @DAL, BYE) – By now, you’ve likely
heard about Donnell’s monster three-touchdown day on primetime
Thursday. He should be owned in all formats.
Devin Hester, ATL (@NYG, CHI, @BAL, DET) – The dynamic
Hester is getting involved on offense and still has what it takes
to bring it to the house. He’s a must-add in 14-team leagues
and deep roster formats, especially since the Falcons’ wide
receivers have trouble staying healthy.
Scouring The Barrel
Williams, BUF (@DET, NE, MIN, @NYJ) – Williams caught a big
TD pass from EJ Manuel in Week 4 and while he’s a capable receiver,
there’s not going to be much consistency the week-to-week. The
switch to Orton, however, could shake things up and boost the
value of Williams, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.
Jarius Wright, MIN (@GB, DET, @BUF, @TB) – Heading into
Week 4, fantasy owners had left Wright for dead as he was owned
in 0.5 percent of fantasy leagues. That’ll change after
his 8-132-0 (10 target) day. His value hinges on the status of
Bridgewater, who he clearly has a connection with.
Kelce, KC (@SF, BYE, @SD, STL) – Kelce hung 8-93-1 on the
Patriots Monday night and is clearly one of Alex Smith’s favorite
targets. Barring any major setbacks, he’ll be a TE1 with top-5
upside for the remainder of the season and should be owned in
Brian Quick, STL (@PHI, SF, SEA, @KC) – Quick was on a Week
4 bye and remains the most consistent fantasy option among the
Rams receivers right now.
Jordan Matthews, PHI (STL, NYG, BYE, @ARI) – Matthews had
four catches for 28 yards on seven targets Sunday in a bizarre
game that featured three TDs by the Philadelphia D/ST.
John Brown, ARI (@DEN, WAS, @OAK, PHI) – Brown was on a
Week 4 bye and has some upside facing the Broncos in Week 5.
Johnson, SF (KC, @STL, @DEN, BYE) – Johnson caught a 12-yard
TD pass for his only reception on two targets from Colin Kaepernick.
If Vernon Davis (back spasm, knee & ankle) misses week 5 for any
of his current ailments, he might make a sneaky play as a WR3/flex.
Kerley, NYJ (@SD, DEN, @NE, BUF) – Kerley was targeted just
three times by Geno Smith and hauled in one catch for 3 yards
– debilitating a few of my daily fantasy lineups in the process.
Eddie Royal, SD (NYJ, @OAK, KC, @DEN) – Royal exploded again
for 5-105-2 in the win over Jacksonville. He’s the single
most infuriating boom-or-bust WR in fantasy over the past few
Allen Robinson, JAC (PIT, @TEN, CLE, MIA) – Even with Cecil
Shorts back (briefly – he pulled his hamstring again and
is expected to miss some more time), Robinson hauled in 5-38-0
on seven targets, and remains a WR5 with some upside.
MarQueis Gray, MIN (@GB, DET, @BUF, @TB) – Gray was not
targeted in Sunday’s win over Atlanta.
LB Alec Ogletree, STL (ARI, @NYJ, SF, SD) – The punishing
six-team bye schedule may have caused plenty of desperate (or
inpatient owners) to drop Ogletree in Week 4. This may be your
only chance to get him on your roster.
Marshall, DEN (@PHI, SF, SEA, @KC) – While Marshall (30 total
tackles, sack, two PD through three games) has played well this
season and is among the top scoring IDP linebackers in the game,
he could be replaced as a starter when Danny Trevathan returns
this week or in the near future. It’s worth keeping tabs on.
DB Malcolm Jenkins, PHI (STL, NYG, BYE, @ARI) – Jenkins
has both a high floor and high ceiling as an IDP playmaker and
has already racked up 21 total tackles and three INT this season.
The latest he returned 53 yards for a TD. He could finish as a
Top 10 DB this season.
DB Reggie Nelson, CIN (@NE, CAR, @IND, BAL) – Like the LBs
listed above, Nelson was on a bye in Week 4, and could be available
in your league’s waiver wire. He’s a consistent veteran
performer with 21 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, an INT and two PD
through three games.
DB Reshad Jones, MIA (BYE, GB, @CHI, @JAC) – Jones is coming
off a four-game suspension and is on a bye in Week 5, but makes
for a sneaky selection in IDP formats where you have the roster
rom. He’s got Top 5-10 DB upside and is a great tackler
the Dolphins will rely on. Last season he finished fourth among
DBs with 84 solo tackles and had 107 total stops, 1.5 sacks, four
PD, an INT and a TD.
DL Carlos Dunlap, CIN (@NE, CAR, @IND, BAL) – He’s
owned in about half of IDP leagues, and he’s become a relatively
consistent performer the past couple seasons. And yep –
you guessed it – he’s coming off a bye.
DL Michael Bennett, SEA (@WAS, DAL, @STL, @CAR) – A goose
egg in Week 3 and a Week 4 bye may have cast him off a few rosters,
but he’s apparently healthy and the next few matchups look
Jenkins, MIA (BYE, GB, @CHI, @JAC) – Jenkins wasn’t quite
100 percent heading into Week 4 and managed just here solo tackles
in Sunday’s win over Oakland. He’s played well this season, so
hopefully he’ll remain a starter even when Koa Misi gets back
on the field after the Week 5 bye.
Hitchens, DAL (HOU, @SEA, NYG, WAS) – Rolando McClain got
the start (so Hitchens didn’t play) but Carter had a good game
(six total tackles, two PD) and is on the rise in fantasy value.
Carter (quad) is not expected to play in Sunday’s game versus
Houston He’s week-to-week, and will be replaced by Kyle Wilber
in base sets.
Maxwell, SEA (@WAS, DAL, @STL, @CAR) – The Seahawks had a
Week 4 bye but he stands a decent shot at picking up an INT in
Week 5 playing the Redskins.
Williams, BUF (@DET, NE, MIN, @NYJ) – Williams had a quiet
Week 4 with just three solos and a PD.
Liuget, SD (NYJ, @OAK, KC, @DEN) – Liuget had just two solo
tackles against the Jaguars – a disappointing result after his
Week 3 breakout.