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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.
Fitzpatrick, NYJ – Perhaps the Dolphins futility helped
lead FitzMagic to another solid stat line (277-4-0), but the Jets’
QB should be able to put up similarly excellent number against
the Giants in Week 13. He’s available in about half of fantasy
leagues and makes a solid roster addition if you just lost Tony
Romo or need to shore up the position heading into the playoffs.
Osweiler, DEN – Osweiler grew up quite a bit during
the comeback victory over a perennial AFC rival Patriots team
that hadn’t lost a game heading into Sunday night. He threw for
270-1-1 but engineered a couple efficient drives in the final
minutes, showing off accuracy on long throws and developing some
of the rapport that had been missing in previous drives. He’s
about 35-50 percent owned and has a favorable schedule the next
few weeks as he fills in for Peyton Manning. If he and DeMaryius
Thomas started meshing, he’d be a fantasy QB1.
Cassel, DAL – Romo has a hairline fracture in his left
clavicle and will miss the rest of 2015, vaulting Cassel back
to the top of the depth chart. His next matchup at Washington
seems like a favorable one, though it’s hard to imagine him leading
this team to a division win given how Washington played against
the Giants. Still – he’s a starting QB who’s available via the
waiver wire, so he could be worth a pickup in deeper formats and
is definitely worth a look as a plug-n-play in two-QB leagues.
Davis, CLE –With the news that Josh McCown
is likely dealing with a broken collarbone and is probably out
for the rest of the season, the Browns will look to either Austin
Davis or the much-maligned Johnny Manziel, who was demoted to
third string duties in Week 12 for disciplinary reasons. Davis
has less upside than Manziel, but did a good job relieving McCown
on Monday night.
Hoyer, HOU – Hoyer was quiet during the second half
as the Texans protected a lead against the Saints, but he did
throw for 205-2-1 in the win and appears to have the starting
job as long as he’s healthy. The next few weeks aren’t favorable
matchups (@BUF, NE, @IND) but he could be forced to throw more
and fill up the stat sheet with more yardage and passing TDs.
Hasselbeck, IND – The ancient wonder is still undefeated
on the year, and the Colts will likely be throwing the next couple
weeks as they take on Pittsburgh and Jacksonville in weeks 13
and 14. Hasselbeck (about 25 percent owned) threw for 315-2-0
in Week 12 and has a slew of viable receiving options – making
him a borderline QB1 in deeper formats and worth a look in DFS
With Chris Johnson (knee) and Andre Ellington
(toe) injured, David Johnson could get the start Wk 13.
Anderson, DEN – He’s owned in about 80-90 percent of
leagues, so it’s a longshot that he’d be available, but Anderson
is finally running well and getting important touches. His big
day against the Pats (15 carries for 113 yards, 4-40-0 receiving)
was capped off with a 48-yard TD run in OT. Osweiler’s presence
in the lineup has opened up running lanes because defenses have
to respect the QB’s mobility – preventing them from “pinching”
the backfield at the snap. In the past two games, the Broncos
have averaged 174.5 yards on the ground, and Anderson is looking
like a viable RB2 for the stretch run.
Johnson, ARI – If Chris Johnson (knee) and/or Andre
Ellington (toe) are forced to miss Week 13 with their “day-to-day”
injuries, then Johnson would likely get additional work or even
the bulk of touches – if both are out. When both RBs were forced
from action in Week 12, Johnson finished with eight carries for
21 yards and a TD, as well as 2-8-0 on four targets.
UPDATE:David Johnson will
likely be the top add this week after news broke that Chris Johnson
will be out 6-8 weeks with a broken tibia. Fantasy owners (including
me) who dropped the rookie recently will likely be scrambling
to pick him back up off the wire. The Cards also added Kerwynn
Williams since Ellington has been sidelined with turf toe.
Riddick, DET – Riddick (50-60 percent owned) had a
productive Thanksgiving, with 5-62-1 receiving and six yards on
two carries. He’s not really a factor as a rusher, but I’ve been
lauding his value in PPR leagues for much of the season.
Herron, IND – With Ahmad Bradshaw (wrist) on season-ending
IR and Frank Gore (knee) battling his usual array of injuries,
the recently reacquired Herron could get more work for the Colts
in the coming weeks. He’s almost universally available and is
definitely worth an add if you’re weak at RB.
Bolden, NE – Bolden (10-5 percent owned) had just eight
touches on Sunday night but tallied 11 rushing yards on four carries
and hauled in all four targets for 4-84-1 in the loss to Denver.
With the Pats’ looking for healthy bodies in their passing game,
we could see more of him the coming weeks.
Bell, DET – Bell (40-50 percent owned) saw the bulk
of his production Thursday with the game mostly out of hand, but
is probably worth a pickup for Ameer Abdullah owners. If one were
to get hurt, there’d definitely be an increase in value for the
Rawls, SEA – Rawls is most likely gone in all formats
at this point with the news emerging that Marshawn Lynch would
likely miss multiple weeks or even the remainder of the regular
season. He had 21 carries for 81 yards and a TD on Sunday and
is a strong RB2/low-end RB1 from here on out.
Ware, KC – Ware’s 114 rushing yards and TD were solid
in the absence of Charcandrick West, who missed Week 12 with a
hamstring injury. We anticipate a timeshare going forward with
Ware assuming the bulk of duties as the “hot hand” RB.
no word on West’s progress following his inactive status
for Week 12, so it appears Ware might be safe for another RB2
start in Week 13, at least as of this early stage. Ware is likely
the better back anyway. Teams soured on him a few years back because
of off-field issues.
Bradshaw, IND – Bradshaw has been placed on season-ending
IR with a wrist injury. He can be dropped in all formats. Dan
Herron and Zurlon Tipton will assume his workload.
Allen rushed 12 times for 55 yards and caught 4-of-5 targets for
29 yards and one touchdown in the Ravens’ Week 12 win over
the Browns on Monday night. Terrance West saw some action but
Allen is the undisputed lead back in Baltimore.
Coleman, ATL – Coleman filled in admirably for the
injured Devonta Freeman (concussion) in Week 12, rushing for 110
yards on 18 carries but losing a fumble. Freeman is expected back
in Week 13.
UPDATE:Coleman may have earned
a few more touches going forward, but Freeman has progressed through
the protocol and is fully expected to carry the load in Week 13,
according to HC Dan Quinn.
White, NE – White (31) outsnapped both Brandon Bolden
(15) and LeGarrette Blount (27) but managed just 1 yard on three
carries and 2-5-0 receiving. It’s anyone guess how the Pats game-plan
for Week 13, but it’s likely that more White touches will be involved.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Baldwin, SEA – I listed Baldwin (now 70-75 percent
owned) a couple of weeks ago and updated him last week, but even
I didn’t expect the monster 6-145-3 day he had against the Steelers
in what turned out to be an aerial assault in the fourth quarter.
Baldwin’s production has been spotty, but he’s clearly capable
of big days in this offense.
Wheaton, PIT – Wheaton’s upside depends largely on
the availability of Ben Roethlisberger and game flow, as the third-year
receiver had a career day with 9-201-1 on 13 targets from Big
Ben with Antonio Brown shadowed by Richard Sherman. Wheaton (5-10
percent owned) has long been an underachieving No. 2 WR with big-game
potential, but something may have clicked this week.
Parker, MIA – Parker and the rest of the Dolphins receivers
benefitted from garbage time’s soft prevent by the Jets secondary
in the final quarter, and Parker went for 4-80-1 on 10 targets.
Parker (5-10 percent owned) still has a lot to learn about route
running and using his body to make plays, but with the season
in the tank, he’ll be getting looks in the final five weeks.
Boldin, SF – Boldin is available in about 30-40 percent
of fantasy leagues and he’s the unquestioned top receiving option
for the 49ers. He was targeted 11 times on Sunday and hauled in
8-93-0. He’s a good bet for solid WR3 numbers next week facing
Sanu, CIN –With Tyler Eifert’s status
(neck stinger, no structural damage) up in the air for Week 13,
it’s possible Sanu, who has been very quiet lately but offers
some upside in the right matchup, gets a few more targets against
the Browns. Stay tuned.
Thomas, JAC – Thomas is still available in about 20-25
percent of fantasy leagues and had a huge week, hauling in 9-116-1
in the loss to San Diego. He’ll be owned in all formats heading
into Sunday, so jump on him now if you can.
Chandler, NE – Even if Rob Gronkowski (knee) is okay
to play in Week 13 and beyond, adding Chandler makes sense. He
saw 11 targets and caught 5-58-1 and Gronk wasn’t hurt until the
final drive of regulation. He’ll be a popular add this week and
is available in about 95-98 percent of fantasy leagues.
UPDATE:Gronk is “week-to-week”
with a bone bruise, which means Belichick will likely reveal pertinent
information under penalty of death. You’ll probably have
to take a chance on Chandler and decide whether or not to play
him in the moments leading up to game time.
Lockett, SEA – Lockett had 3-38-0 in Sunday’s won over
the Steelers. He’s a high-risk WR4/5.
Williams, DAL – Williams is likely done as a fantasy
option this season with the Romo injury. He’s safe to drop despite
a hint of big-play upside.
Funchess, CAR – Funchess had just 2-19-0 on four targets
Thursday but remains a distinct WR4 option with upside in deeper
Tate, DET – Tate played second fiddle to Megatron on
Thanksgiving but had 7-50-1 on eight targets in the win over Philly.
He’ll likely be unavailable in almost all formats after this week.
Latimer, DEN – Latimer was quiet with 1-7-0 in the
win over New England. There are better options on the wire.
Rudolph, MIN – Rudolph failed to reach paydirt but
caught 7-53-0 on 10 targets in the win over Atlanta. He’s due
for a trip to the end zone and should see another 8-10 targets
against the Seahawks in Week 13.
Cameron, MIA – Cameron had three targets and 2-13-0
in the loss to the Jets. He’s just not involved in this
offense, even when it makes sense for him to be.