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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.
Tony Romo's shoulder injury may put QB
Brandon Weeden in the saddle for the next eight weeks.
Carr, OAK – Carr lit up the Ravens defense for 351-3-1
and 23 rushing yards in a heroic last-minute victory. Despite
a thumb injury in Week 1 that initially threatened his Week 2
status, Carr spread the ball around to 10 different pass catchers
and clicked with both Amani Cooper and Michael Crabtree. He’s
a must-add in 12-team leagues, especially with the injuries to
Romo and Jay Cutler.
Bortles, JAC – Bortles is worth adding too, as he led
the Jags to a win over a tough Miami defense on 18-for-33 passing
(273-2-0) and 27 rushing yards. He should be owned in all deeper
leagues and promises to improve on his 2014 campaign.
Bridgewater, MIN – After a putrid Week 1, Bridgewater
looked better in the win over Detroit, throwing for 153-1-0 and
rushing for 21 yards and a TD. He’s still somewhat of a game manager,
but didn’t need to do much against a lackluster Lions team that
doesn’t look like much of a contender at this point.
Manziel, CLE – Dare I say it? When he wasn’t fumbling
(four in two games) Manziel (172-2-0) looked like an NFL QB in
a breakout game where he clicked with explosive WR Travis Benjamin.
I’m not buying him as a viable fantasy starter, but he’s worth
exploring in deeper leagues and could be worth reinvesting in
UPDATE:Mike Pettine is reportedly
considering moving Manziel ahead on the depth chart even when
Josh McCown (concussion) is healthy, which must be both amusing
and exhilarating for Browns fans. Godspeed, Johnny Football.
Weeden, DAL – There’s no way to predict how Weeden
will respond to becoming an NFL starter for the next 8 weeks or
so behind this line. He’s got weapons, though no Dez Bryant, and
this team has to feel deflated after losing Romo. Expect lots
of running plays and the occasional TD and INT, as Weeden has
some upside but carries inherent risk.
McCown, NO –The humorous Verizon spots notwithstanding,
McCown may very well be thrust into action in Week 3 with Drew
Brees dealing with a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder.
While there’s no tear, it’s still an injury that could
require a couple of weeks of the younger McCown, who seems to
maintain NFL relevance through some dubious necromancy involving
the football gods and possibly the voodoo of old New Orleans.
He’s not a recommended fantasy add in anything but DFS or
the deepest of redrafts.
Mariota, TEN – After a 257-2-0 performance with two
lost fumbles, they’ve apparently postponed his fitting for the
yellow Canton jacket.
Dalton, CIN – Another solid Dalton outing (214-3-0)
has him looking much better than 2014.
Smith, KC – It was Thursday, but 191-0-2 isn’t going
to get it done. He’s a backup QB2.
Foles, STL – Is this the same quarterback who took
down the Seahawks in Week 1? 17-32, 150 yards, 1 TD.
Taylor, BUF – Taylor was a top 5 fantasy QB on Sunday
(242-3-3; 43 rushing yards, TD), although the Pats secondary looked
awful at times.
Fitzpatrick, NYJ –UPDATE:The veteran QB threw for 244-2-1 on 22-for-34 passing in the
win over the Colts, but the possible short-term loss of Eric Decker
(PCL injury) could hurt his fantasy prospects, as there’s
not much reliability besides Brandon Marshall in Jets offense.
Jones, WAS – Jones (50 percent owned) barely out-touched
Alfred Morris (22 over 21) but really outperformed him, rushing
for 123 yards, 2 TDs on 19 carries and catching 3-23-0. This is
an offense that’s looking for a hero and given his involvement
and success this week, Jones must be owned in all formats moving
Starks, GB – Starks ran for 95 yards on 20 carries
filling in for the injured Eddie Lacy (ankle) in Sunday night’s
win over Seattle. It’ll be worth following Lacy’s progression
this week to determine if Starks is worth a high priority waiver
UPDATE:X-rays on Lacy’s
injured ankle came back negative, and it’s likely the bulldozing
back is just dealing with a sprain. He’s hoping to play
in Week 3 but if the Packers run out and grab a live body somewhere,
it could speak to Lacy’s availability (or lack thereof)
heading into the Monday night matchup with the Chiefs.
Crowell, CLE – Crowell looked solid in a winning effort
with 72 yards and a TD on 15 carries in Week 2 and is still a
better option than Duke Johnson (12 carries, 43 yards on Sunday).
McCluster, TEN – McCluster is once again on the fantasy
radar after a 10-carry, 98-yard performance that saw him add 4-26-0
receiving. Expect inconsistent production from both him and Bishop
Sankey as Mariota and the offense finds its way.
Freeman, ATL – Freeman (12 carries, 25 yards, TD; 4-34-0)
ran well at times versus the Giants, and will get the majority
of work if rookie RB Tevin Coleman (who ran for 32 yards and a
TD on nine carries before leaving with a rib injury) is forced
to miss additional time.
UPDATE:Coleman has a broken
rib and will be sidelined “a couple of weeks,” according
to human text message Adam Schefter. While Freeman isn’t
the workhorse or gamebreaker back you’d like to see getting
the majority of touches, he’s the only other back except
UFDA Terron Ward on the Falcons roster.
Ball, FA –The Falcons had expressed interest
in Ball a few weeks ago, and following the bloodbath that was
Week 2 in the NFL, there must be teams willing to sign the once-acclaimed
RB. Just last summer, Ball was drafted in the first round of the
majority of fantasy football leagues before losing favor in Denver.
With so many backfield injuries, he could still have an impact
in 2015 and is worth a look as a deep-league waiver wire addition.
Vereen, NYG – I know Vereen (6 carries, 19 yards; 8-76-0
receiving in Week 2) is available in some shallow leagues, because
I inexplicably dropped him in one non-PPR 10-team league after
a disappointing Week 1. He’s obviously got more value in PPR leagues,
but should be owned in all formats.
Powell, NYJ –Powell’s production is
far from exciting, but Chris Ivory (groin) is still a bit banged
up and Powell could be worth adding in deeper PPR leagues. He
ran for 38 yards on 12 carries Monday night and caught 4-16-0
in the win over Indy.
Sankey, TEN – McCluster looked better this week, but
there’s still reason to be optimistic about Sankey in 2015.
Woodhead, SD – With 36 rushing yards and 6-68-0 receiving,
Woodhead gave us another solid performance from this PPR waiver
Johnson ARI – David emerged as must-add option and
made the most of his five carries (42 yards, TD) adding a 105-yard
kickoff return TD to start the game.
Hillman, DEN – Neither Hillman (nine carries, 34 yards)
nor C.J. Anderson could solve the Chiefs defense on Thursday.
This running game looks like it could be a problem in 2015.
Reece, OAK – With Latavius Murray looking good, there
wasn’t much need for Reece in Week 2.
Lewis, NE – For the second straight week, Lewis emerged
as a dynamic offensive weapon with 40 rushing yards and a TD on
seven carries and 6-98-0. LeGarrette who?
Williams, BUF – Williams vultured some touches and
a score from LeSean McCoy, who looked great despite a hamstring
injury that limited him in practice this week.
Dunbar, DAL – Dunbar’s role is in question with Weeden
at the helm, but he’s still a factor in the passing game and should
be owned in deeper leagues.
Robinson, NO – Even with C.J. Spiller active, Robinson
got carries (5 for 48 rushing yards and added a nine-yard reception.
Robinson, JAC – He’s available in at least 10 percent
of fantasy leagues after impatient owners dropped him in Week
1. But after a ridiculous Week 2 (6-155-2, 12 rushing yards),
he’ll be much closer to 100 percent owned.
Smith, SF – Smith (about 75 percent owned) turned back
the clock with 6-120-1 in the loss to Pittsburgh. Not every week
will see him getting seven targets, but it’s nice to see him making
the most of them.
Boldin, SF – Boldin eclipsed Smith with 10 targets
but hauled in 6-60-1. Some of this was in garbage time, but it’s
obvious Kaepernick and the 49ers will have to throw the ball once
in a while this season, providing both veteran receivers with
Crabtree, OAK – Crabtree (40-60 percent owned) saw
an incredible 16 targets on Sunday and caught 9-111-1, following
up an eight-target Week 1. He looks like a good fit in the Oakland
offense and could have a career resurgence in 2015. He should
be owned in all formats given his 24 targets through two games.
Baldwin, SEA – Baldwin (25-50 percent owned) turned
in a 7-92-1 performance on Sunday night in the loss to Green Bay,
but it’s hard to trust Tough Doug as anything more than an inconsistent
fantasy contributor with marginal upside.
Hankerson, ATL – Hankerson had a solid 6-77-1, but
the 11 targets is what fantasy owners should be looking at. He’s
the new Roddy White (RIP?) in Atlanta, and should thrive this
season playing for a team with a real QB under center.
Heyward-Bey, PIT – The much-beleaguered DHB saw fewer
targets in Week 2 but caught 4-77-1 in the win over San Fran.
His role will diminish when Martavis Bryant comes back, but for
now, he’s getting looks and seems a trustworthy target for Big
Woods, BUF – Woods (5-10 percent owned) doesn’t get
enough targets to be a consistent contributor, but he makes the
most of his limited work by catching everything thrown to him.
Perhaps the 3-60-1 performance will have Taylor looking his way
Brown, CAR – “Philly” is the team’s best WR right now,
but he’s not getting many looks from Cam Newton. With 3-57-1 on
four targets in Week 2, he’s a similar option to Ted Ginn, Jr.,
who caught 4-41-1 on nine targets.
Matthews, MIA – Matthews (2-5 percent owned) has double-digit
fantasy totals in two straight weeks in PPR leagues, following
up a solid Week 1 with 6-115-0 against Jacksonville.
Gillmore, BAL – Gilmore came out of nowhere with a
monster fantasy performance (5-88-2 on six targets) and even outscored
Rob Gronkowski (7-113-1). He’s on the fantasy radar and should
be added in 12-team leagues.
Fasano, TEN – Fasano filled in admirably for Walker
at TE (5-84-1) and could remain involved in the offense even when
the titans top TE returns. Stay tuned.
Wright, TEN – Four target and just 2-17-0 despite the
absence of Delanie Walker. Mariota needs to look his way more
Jones, GB – Jones caught just one pass on Sunday night,
but it was a 29-yard TD. He’s over 90 percent owned now.
Benjamin, CLE –If you took a shot on him after Week
1, congrats. He exploded for 3-115-2 (including a 50-yard TD and
60-yard TD) and returned a punt 78 yards for a TD. Wow. He’s got
three TD receptions on just seven targets this season.
Harvin, BUF – Just 4-47-0 in a game where the Bills
threw a lot. He’s a marginal WR4/5 with some upside.
Moncrief, IND –UPDATE:Even with T.Y. Hilton active, Moncrief led the team with 7-122-1
on eight targets and showed off some impressive ability on several
athletic catches. He’s looking more and more like a better
fantasy option than veteran Andre Johnson and should be owned
in all formats.
Coleman, NO – Coleman will continue to get looks in
this offense but has just 3-33-0 on six targets Sunday.
Washington, HOU – The veteran had eight targets Sunday
and caught 3-63-0.
Cotchery, CAR – With 1-11-0 on one target, Cotchery
all but disappeared this week.
UPDATE:According to Ron Rivera,
Cotchery suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 and could miss
Beasley, DAL – He had 4-14-0 receiving and his value
takes a serious hit with the injury to Romo.
Seferian-Jenkins, TB – In a much closer game and with
Mike Evans back, ASJ tallied just 2-29-0 on three targets. He’s
still got huge upside with a rookie QB.
UPDATE:ASJ is dealing with
a sore shoulder and could miss 4-6 weeks, according to reports
from the Tampa Tribune. Brandon Myers and Luke Stocker don't offer
a lot of fantasy excitement.
Eifert, CIN – Eifert followed up his huge Week 1 with
4-49-1 and remains a top 5 fantasy TE moving forward.
UPDATE:Cleaning up my mixup.
The other Fells (Daniel with NYG) was inactive. Darren was active
for the Cardinals but saw zero targets in Week 2.
Green, SD – Green caught five of six targets for the
second straight week, but went from 74 yards and a TD to 47 and
no score. He’s still a low-end No.1 fantasy TE.
Cook, STL – He caught 5-47-0 on seven targets –
quiet but steady production.
Jake Stoneburner, MIA –With Jordan Cameron dealing
with a groin injury, Stoneburner caught 2-18-1 in the loss to
Jacksonville. He could be worth a look in deeper leagues since
Cameron has been a slow healer in his career and will likely miss
Week 3 against the Bills.