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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 13
11/24/14; Updated: 11/25/14 Users...
Check out the most popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on your waiver wire this week by using the MFL Power feature at FF Today. Just input your league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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.

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 public leagues.

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 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 I can.

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

Andy Dalton, CIN (@TB, PIT, @CLE, DEN) Dalton invariably throws in a few stinkers each season, but hes still a reliable fantasy QB, with 31 total TDs (27 passing, four rushing) in 2012 and 35 (33 passing, two rushing) total TDs in 2013. His inconsistency in 2014 has been frustrating, but hes got a full complement of weapons and should be in-line for multiple-TD games in his next few matchups.

Eli Manning, NYG (@JAC, @TEN, WAS, @STL) The emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. gives Manning a viable No. 1 WR and puts him in the conversation as a Top 15 QB option down the stretch. Hes still available in over a third of fantasy leagues, so take note of his upcoming matchups.

Digging Deeper

Josh McCown, TB (CIN, @DET, @CAR, GB) - UPDATE: The Bucs will undoubtedly be throwing the ball against the Bengals and McCown has some very athletic and talented receivers at his disposal. He's still available in about two-thirds of Yahoo leagues and offers definite upside in the middle tier of NFL QBs.

Derek Carr, OAK (@STL, SF, @KC, BUF) Carr is a boom-or-bust option in two-QB leagues and the Raiders have nothing to lose. Im not banking on too many huge games, but next week at St. Louis could be a high-water mark for the rookie.

Scouring The Barrel

Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (CAR, NYJ, @DET, @MIA) Bridgewater (210-2-1, 32 rushing yards and a 2XP on Sunday) is coming off his best game since Week 4 and has favorable matchups the next two weeks. Hes not a recommended option in most redraft formats but hes worth monitoring in dynasty leagues and could be an effective QB once he has the requisite experience at this level.


Alex Smith, KC (DEN, @ARI, OAK, @PIT) Smith threw for 234-2-0 in the loss to Oakland but only completed 20 of 36 pass attempts. He should be forced to throw a lot again versus the Broncos next week.

Kyle Orton, BUF (CLE, @DEN, GB, @OAK) Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Orton passed for 230-2-0 and ran for 10 additional yards in Monday nights’ blowout of the Jets in Detroit. He’s shaping up to be a decent play as a QB2 next week against the Browns.

Shaun Hill, STL (OAK, @WAS, ARI, NYG) Hill was horrendous Sunday, throwing for 198-1-2 with a lost fumble on 18-for-35 passing. Hell be primed for a bounce-back game against the Raiders if he holds onto the starting job.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Andre Williams, NYG (@JAC, @TEN, WAS, @STL) Williams was utilized quite a bit near the goaline and in short yardage and should be viewed as a productive complement to Rashad Jennings with decent upside. Hes TD-dependent, but is a necessary handcuff for Jennings owners and ran well in limited use Sunday night.

UPDATE: LeGarrette Blount, NE (@GB, @SD, MIA, @NYJ) – There’s no telling what Bill Belichick might do next week at Green Bay, but it’s possible he utilizes heavy doses of Blount when the Pats get near the goaline, so Blount’s worth picking up in all formats. I just don’t like banking on any of these RBs because the game plans are so tenuous.

UPDATE: Carlos Hyde, SF (SEA, @OAK, @SEA, SD) – Hyde (36 percent owned on Yahoo) rushed seven times for 16 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 12 win over the Redskins, but lost a costly fumble. Frank Gore (hip) is also now on the Week 13 injury report with a knee issue. If Gore’s status gets cloudier, Hyde could be a decent fill-in.

Latavius Murray

RB Latavius Murray: If he wasn't picked up last week in your league, he will be this week.


Digging Deeper

Latavius Murray, OAK (@STL, SF, @KC, BUF) Murray (15-40 percent owned) sustained a concussion after busting out for 112 yards and two TDs on just four carries Thursday night against a tough Chiefs defense. Hes earned a much larger role going forward but is day-to-day and will have to get clearance before accepting duties as the lead back in Oakland. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Murray wasn’t practicing Monday, but that’s not a surprise given the NFL’s rigorous concussion protocol. Even if he gets in some work later this week, he’s a major risk as a fantasy starter.

Scouring The Barrel

Daniel Thomas, MIA (@NYJ, BAL, @NE, MIN) Thomas had a score on Sunday and would likely see the bulk of carries should anything happen to Lamar Miller. Hes TD dependent for value at the moment but could emerge down the stretch as a viable deep-league flex option.

Dan Herron, IND (WAS, @CLE, HOU, @DAL) Herron earned the favor of coaches and got a lot of playing time Sunday, tallying 65 yards on 12 carries and adding 5-31-0 in receptions. Unfortunately, he also lost a fumble, but Trent Richardsons overall ineffectiveness means Herron should continue to see touches and scoring opportunities in such a potent offense.


Alfred Blue, HOU (TEN, @JAC, @IND, BAL) Blue drew another start with Arian Foster (groin) inactive again, but failed to capitalize with just 46 rushing yards and 3-20-0 receiving.

UPDATE: Texans HC Bill O’Brien said Monday that Foster “could play” in Week 13 against the Titans and their horrific run defense, but that doesn’t sound like a resounding vote of confidence. Even if he returns, the Texans would likely split touches between the two backs and give Foster every opportunity to get healthy. Consider Blue an RB2 with upside until you see Foster warming up with his uniform on – which would drop Blue down to an RB3/flex.

Charles Sims, TB (CIN, @DET, @CAR, GB) Questionable to play at Chicago, Sims was active but was an offensive afterthought (33 total yards) with both starter Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey getting touches and targets. Still, he outgained both players and should be owned in 12-team leagues.

UPDATE: The Bucs have a full-blown committee situation, and it’s better off to avoid it entirely heading into Week 13 against the Bengals.

Roy Helu, Jr., WAS (@IND, STL, @NYG, PHI) Helu didnt get any carries and posted just 2-9-0 receiving in his least productive game of the season.

James Starks, GB (NE, ATL, @BUF, @TB) Starks carried the ball once for negative-4 yards and saw just one target n the passing game.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (@JAC, @TEN, WAS, @STL) Wowzer. Beckhams circus catch has already been added him to the GOAT pantheon and despite the team taking a tough loss to a division rival on Sunday night, the Giants offense is looking up. Beckham is still available in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues, so he may somehow be out there in yours. He should be considered a low-end WR1 going forward.

UPDATE: We’ve had a little time (36 hours) to put the Beckham Incident of 2014 in some perspective, and the superlatives keep on coming. Eli Manning is raving about his route-running ability, and it’s clear he’s smitten with his new favorite red zone target.

Mohamed Sanu, CIN (@TB, PIT, @CLE, DEN) Sanu is still a great athlete with major upside, and hes now at 49-719-5 on the year on a whopping 86 targets impressive considering the Dalton factor thus far this season. Hes gone in most formats, but consider him a decent matchup plug-n-play for Week 13 in even shallower leagues where hes available.

Digging Deeper

Justin Hunter, TEN (@HOU, NYG, NYJ, @JAC) Hunter tends to rely on blown coverage opportunities for his scores, and despite limited upside is owned in about 15-30 percent of fantasy leagues. Hes worth a look for the stretch run.

TE Tim Wright, NE (@GB, @SD, MIA, @NYJ) Wright had two TDs on Sunday, and he remains a boom-or-bust fantasy option in the Patriots fickle offensive game planning. He should be owned in all formats for his upside, but hes always a major risk.

Scouring The Barrel

Charles Johnson, MIN (CAR, NYJ, @DET, @MIA) Johnson (1-2 percent owned) is emerging as a favorite target of Bridgewater and has the size and skills to be a productive red zone target and fantasy WR3. For now, hes a fringe option WR4 with decent upside in 12-team leagues.

Louis Murphy, TB (CIN, @DET, @CAR, GB) Murphy has bursts of success, as he did against the Bears on Sunday (6-113-0 on eight targets), and hes worth adding in deep formats as a WR4/5. Theres just no way to tell when hell blow up, especially with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson getting so many of Josh McCowns targets.


Cecil Shorts, JAC (NYG, HOU, @BAL, TEN) Shorts was targeted just three times by Blake Bortles and hauled in one catch for 6 yards far and away his worst game of 2014. He killed me in daily fantasy contests where Id deployed him as a low-cost PPR-dependent option.

Wes Welker, DEN (@KC, BUF, @SD, @CIN) Even with Emmanuel Sanders active, Welker had a solid game with 4-18-1, catching all four of his targets. He remains a risky play despite his efficiency.

Kenny Stills, NO (@PIT, CAR, @CHI, ATL) Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Stills didn’t disappoint Monday night, hauling in 8-98-0 on nine targets, but failed to find the end zone. He’s worth a look in all formats as the Saints start throwing the ball more in desperation mode.

Kenny Britt, STL (OAK, @WAS, ARI, NYG) Britt had 2-37-0 on six targets, his worst game since Week 7 but will be a decent WR3 play next week facing the Raiders.

Jarvis Landry, MIA (@NYJ, BAL, @NE, MIN) Its about time I hit one. The rookie had the best game of his young career, going for 7-50-2 on 11 targets from Ryan Tannehill. Hes fast becoming a reliable WR2 with plenty of upside.

Chris Hogan, BUF (CLE, @DEN, GB, @OAK) Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Hogan had just two catches for 5 yards on Monday night as the Bills opened up the offense more to Robert Woods (9-118-1).



LB Rolando McClain, DAL (PHI, @CHI, @PHI, IND) McClain, alongside rookie Anthony Hitchens, has been a big part of the Cowboys success on defense this season. Hes relatively healthy now, and with the Eagles re-establishing the run, I expect both McClain and Hitchens to be busy next week and in Week 15.

LB Avery Williamson, TEN (@HOU, NYG, NYJ, @JAC) Williamson is the every-down LB for the Titans and has been big for their defense over the past four games with 34 total tackles, 3.0 sacks and a PD.

Defensive Backs

DB James Ihedigbo, DET (CHI, TB, MIN, @CHI) Ihedigbo remains criminally underowned in IDP leagues despite being an impact player since being activated in Week 4. Hes coming off an 11-tackle game where he notched an INT.

DB Antrel Rolle, NYG (@JAC, @TEN, WAS, @STL) Rolle will give you steady production and could have much bigger upside facing the Jaguars and Titans over the next couple of weeks. Plug him in as a DB2.

Defensive Lineman

DL Carlos Dunlap, CIN (@TB, PIT, @CLE, DEN) Dunlap hasnt been great this season, but hes an effective pass rusher who can take over a game something I think hell do in Week 13 versus the Bucs.

DL Michael Bennett, SEA (@SF, @PHI, SF, @ARI) Bennett came out of the gates strong in 2014 but has fizzled in recent weeks, posting pedestrian tackle numbers and a lack of sacks. I think hell get busy against the Niners, since he tends to step up in big games.


LB DeMario Davis, NYJ (MIA, @MIN, @TEN, NE) Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Davis had eight total tackles against the Bills but couldn’t muster any junk points. He’s still got the most upside of any Bills LB.

LB Julius Peppers, GB (NE, ATL, @BUF, @TB) Peppers had a quiet week (two tackles) at Minnesota, but remains a solid LB3/DL1 depending on eligibility.

LB Christian Kirksey, CLE (@BUF, IND, CIN, @CAR) Despite Karlos Dansby being inactive, Kirksey had just five total tackles on Sunday. Hes just not getting the passing down opportunities many assumed during the preseason that hed eventually have.

DB Mike Adams, IND (WAS, @CLE, HOU, @DAL) Adams tuned in a decent performance with five total tackles and PD, but failed to record at least eight solos for the first time since Week 7.

DB Kemal Ishmael, ATL (ARI, @GB, PIT, @NO) Ishmael had a monster Week 12, recording 11 total tackles, a PD and INT. Hes a DB2 with plenty of upside going forward unless William Moores return displaces him from the starting secondary.

DL Sheldon Richardson, NYJ (MIA, @MIN, @TEN, NE) Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Richardson easily had his worst game of 2014 Monday night, as the Bills lineman moved him and Muhammed Wilkerson (who suffered a toe injury and is getting an MRI) around like rag dolls. Both standout defensive linemen finished with one measly tackle apiece – terrible considering the matchup.

DL Jurrell Casey, TEN (@HOU, NYG, NYJ, @JAC) – Casey posted four total tackles and a sack on Sunday in the loss to Philly. He’s a consistent DL2 with marginal upside.