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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 7
10/19/15; Updated: 10/20/15 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 highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can help your squad and may still be available in your league.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Blake 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.

Ryan 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.

UPDATE: Ryan 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.

UPDATE: Derek 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.

QB Updates

Brian 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.

Colin 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.

Matt 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

James Starks out-touched Eddie Lacy and was far more productive, totaling 117 yds and scoring twice.

Running Backs

Jonathan 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.

James 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.

UPDATE: Christine 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.

Branden 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.

Dexter 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.

Chris 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 Alfred Morris.

UPDATE: Tevin 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.

RB Updates

Charcandrick 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.

Knile 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.

Javorius 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.

Denard 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.

Shane Vereen, NYG – Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Inexplicably, Vereen 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.

Charles Sims, TB – The Bucs were on a Week 6 bye, but Sims is gaining value heading into Week 7 versus Washington.

Theo 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 down work.

Marcel Reece, OAK – The Raiders were on a Week 6 bye, and Reece remains a deep flex option in PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Marvin 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.

Lance 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.

Torrey 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.

Stefon 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.

Bryan 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.

Jeff 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.

TE Ben 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.

UPDATE: TE Austin 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.

WR/TE Updates

Andre Johnson, IND – Johnson had just 3-35-0 on six targets, with Donte Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton hauling in TD passes.

Jaelen 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.

Anquan 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.

Marquess 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.

Josh Huff, PHI – Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Huff caught 3-19-0 on three targets Monday and he’s essentially a deep-league bench option and/or dynasty player.

Ty Montgomery, GB – Montgomery went down on Sunday and left the game with an ankle injury. He’ll have a bye week to recover.

Chris Hogan, BUF – Hogan had just 2-31-0 with Sammy Watkins starting, though the Bills No. 1 WR went down with another injury. Stay tuned.

TE Gary 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.

TE Brent Celek, PHI – Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: The 30-year-old TE was held without a catch Monday facing the Giants. He just wasn’t involved in Chip Kelly’s game plan against the division rivals.

TE Jacob Tamme, ATL – Tamme’s 3-32-0 on Thursday night was okay considering both Julio Jones and Leonard Hankerson were active. He’s a TE2 with some upside when the big targets are out.