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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.
Goff had his best fantasy game of the season
and gets HOU, @MIN, NO, @ARI the next four weeks.
Goff, LAR – I included Goff in my Week 8 column and
recommended him in my updates last week, but it’s essential I
bring him back at the outset of the column to discuss his success
in Week 9 – a dominant performance that saw him tally 311-4-0
as the best fantasy QB of the week. Goff is still available in
about 10-20 percent of fantasy leagues and should be rostered
in all formats heading into a favorable Week 10 matchup against
the Texans. He’s also worth targeting in trades, especially dynasty
leagues where he could be a viable QB1 if he continues to develop.
Taylor, BUF – Like Goff, Taylor made an appearance
in the Week 8 Through the
Wire and was updated last week, described as “an adequate
bye-week fill-in against the Jets.” Well, he ended up with a pretty
big game (285-2-0; 35 rushing yards with a TD and a lost fumble)
and Top 5 fantasy numbers among QBs. The Saints have been quite
stingy against opposing QBs this season, but Taylor remains a
low-end QB1 in a week where it’ll be hard to find 10-12 better
options at the position.
Fitzpatrick, TB –UPDATE:
Fitzpatrick gets the nod the next few weeks with Jameis Winston
shut down to allow his ailing shoulder to recover. The veteran
would have a little more value if the pugnacious Mike Evans wasn’t
suspended this week, but Fitzpatrick does have 358-4-2 in just
two partial games and is a good option facing one of his old teams
– the Jets.
Cutler, MIA – Owned in just 15-25 percent of fantasy
leagues, Cutler hasn’t done much in 2017, but passed for a season
high 311-3-0 in the Sunday night loss to Oakland. Reports assumed
he’d be playing through a lot of pain with his rib injury but
the fact that he didn’t turn the ball over and seemed mostly accurate
on his throws (34-for-42) shows he could have some QB2 value and
might be worth a look in deeper leagues.
Beathard, SF – Beathard completed 24 of his 51 pass
attempts for 294-0-1 in Week 9, adding 16 rushing yards and a
TD against the Arizona Cardinals, and has largely been pedestrian
as a rookie backup thrust into the starting role. But if there’s
one matchup that’s looking more and more like a free square for
opposing QBs, it’s the Giants. Beathard doesn’t have the weapons
that many of his fellow QBs so, and there aren’t many formats
where I’d start him over a trusted QB, but he’s worth a look in
DFS and deeper formats if you’re in a pinch at the position.
Brissett, IND – Brissett lost a fumble but otherwise
turned in a solid game (308-2-0) and truly got T.Y. Hilton involved
for the first time since Week 5. He’s facing a tougher matchup
against the Steelers but could be worth a start in DFS and deeper
formats in what might end up as a shootout.
Hundley, GB –UPDATE: Hundley has a long way to go
before he’s a viable QB, but Mike McCarthy think he’s
shown improvement since being thrust into the role of starter
a few weeks back. He was 26-of-38 for 245-0-0 in the loss to Detroit,
adding 22 yards and a rushing TD. It’s a good sign that
Hundley didn’t turn the ball over, but it’s clear
from the read-option oriented play-calling that the youngster
is a game manager and won’t be asked to peel off too many
Stanton, ARI – As expected, the Cards relied heavily
on Adrian Peterson in Week 9, but Stanton had an okay fantasy
total and threw for 201-2-1, though he completed just 50 percent
of his pass attempts. He’s probably not on the fantasy radar in
Week 10 facing the Seahawks.
Forte, NYG – Forte turned back the clock with a big
fantasy performance on Thursday night, running for 77 yar5ds and
two TDs on 14 carries and hauling in 4-19-0 on four targets. It’s
hard to know if he’ll have as much success against the Bucs in
Week 10, as he’s still part of a committee with Elijah McGuire
and Bilal Powell, but he’s available in about 25-30 percent of
fantasy leagues and the Jets running game looks pretty formidable
at the moment.
Rawls, SEA – Aside from Russell Wilson’s designed scampers,
the entire Seahawks running game is atrocious, but Rawls took
advantage of an Eddie Lacy groin injury (what else is new?) and
picked up 39 rushing yards on nine attempts in Week 9 against
Washington, adding 2-31-0 on two targets. He’s owned in just 25-40
percent of fantasy leagues and could see more consistent touches
Woodhead, BAL – Woodhead is slated to return from IR
(hamstring) in Week 11 after the Ravens’ Week 10 bye, and at only
50-60 percent owned, the versatile pass-catching back should be
a waiver priority. Woodhead will add some spark to a struggling
offense, receive a handful of carries each game and plenty of
looks on check-downs from the conservative Joe Flacco. The veteran
is a useful red zone option as well, and scored nine TDs in 2015,
his last full season – though he isn’t without additional risk
given the nature of soft-tissue injuries.
Kelley, WAS – Kelley, who was questionable with an
ankle injury and had a tough matchup against a stout Seattle defensive
front, struggled to gain meaningful yardage on Sunday. In addition,
he hadn’t seen double digit carries since Week 2. But two rushing
TDs (both 1-yard scores) saved his fantasy day and showed that
he’s still the guy who’ll get the goal line carries for Washington.
Next week won’t be any easier in a tilt with the Vikings, but
Kelley should be owned in more than 40-60 percent of fantasy leagues
and still retains some TD-dependent fantasy value as the lead
ball carrier on a team without much of an offensive line.
Murray, MIN –UPDATE: Murray yields most of the
RB upside on the Vikings to Jerick McKinnon – the more versatile
and dynamic back. But he’s getting most of the goal line
work (10 touches inside the red zone and four inside the 10-yard
line over the last five games) and the Vikings will likely play
it conservative against Washington in week 10, which means there
could be a lot of north-south running for Murray between the 20s
and well. The former Raider is owned in about 60-80 percent of
competitive leagues and makes for a fine waiver wire addition
if you need the help at RB.
Clement, PHI – The Eagles blew out Denver, allowing
Clement a larger role in what might have been more of a timeshare
between new acquisition Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount. But Clement
is an excellent pass protector and seized the opportunity, running
the ball 12 times for 51 yards and a TD. He also hauled in his
only target for a 15-yard TD from Carson Wentz and played his
biggest role of the year despite the addition of Ajayi. Clement
will maintain a role after the Week 10 bye, though he’ll have
a difficult time repeating what might end up being a career performance.
Collins, BAL – Collins rushed for 43 yards on 13 carries
and added one catch for 3 yards, while Javorius Allen was more
active in the passing game (7-44-1). Both Allen and Collins stand
to lose touches once Woodhead returns after the bye, though it’s
hard to say how the roles will be divvied up until Woodhead tests
out the hamstring in a live game.
Breida, SF – Carlos Hyde was ejected late in the game
Sunday after a scuffle that followed a late hit on Beathard, and
Breida played a minor role with one carry (for 1 yard) and 2-18-0
on four targets. If Hyde gets suspended (which isn’t likely at
this point), he’d have more than latent handcuff value. But right
now, Hyde is getting most of the touches in the 49ers offense.
Burkhead, NE – Burkhead and the Patriots were on a
Week 9 bye, and the matchup with Denver isn’t all that favorable.
Still, the Eagles shredded the Broncos on Sunday and Bill Belichick
might be anxious to increase Burkhead’s workload to see what he’s
UPDATE: Still no word on how Belichick plans to use his backfield
weapons this week (big surprise there), but looking back we can
see that Burkhead’s role before the bye week consisted of
27 snaps (seven more than James White), and seven targets from
Tom Brady, which was one more than White received.
Morris and Darren
McFadden, DAL – McFadden was inactive as Ezekiel Elliott
was given another legal reprieve, but it’s becoming obvious that
Morris is the back to own if Zeke’ suspension ever takes hold.
UPDATE: The temporary stay granted to Elliott last week does
not sunset, which means he will be eligible to play until the
court hands down a ruling following the Thursday hearing. The
fact that it’s so late in the week suggests the court probably
won’t have a verdict before Sunday's game, and Elliott will
be allowed to play this week against the Falcons. Stay tuned.
Drake and Damien
Williams, MIA – Both Drake and Williams had solid games
with Drake piling up more yardage (69 yards on nine carries; 6-35-0
and a fumble) and Williams providing an additional spark in the
passing game (6-47-1; 14 rushing yards on seven carries). This
will likely be a hot-hand approach as the season wears on, though
it’s currently a relatively even timeshare where both should be
owned in 12-team formats.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Sanu, ATL – I’m noticing a pattern here. I recommended
Sanu and Woods (below) in Week 8 and updated them last week, and
while Sanu was only targeted three times, he hauled in all three
catches for 23 yards, and one was for a TD. The Falcons have a
favorable matchup with the Cowboys in Week 10, as many of the
Dallas games tend to pick up the pace in second half – and Sanu
has been a steady contributor this season in an underwhelming
Atlanta offense. He’s still available in about 15-20 percent of
fantasy leagues, so make sure he’s rostered in yours.
Watkins & Robert
Woods, LAR – I had Woods starting in one of my main
leagues this week, and would have really benefited from his 4-70-2
day performance had my opponent not started Goff at QB. Regardless,
Woods is a solid playmaker in a potent offense and should be started
in all formats as a WR3/flex (and part of game stacks in DFS)
against the Texans in Week 10. He’s owned in about 40-60 percent
of leagues and sees 7-8 targets every week. Watkins is also getting
some looks and is owned in a much larger number of leagues (80-85
percent), but is more big-play dependent. Both have excellent
upside this week.
Thomas, MIA – I’ve been waiting all season for the
Dolphins to start targeting Thomas, who had 6-84-1 and scored
his first TD of the season on Sunday night. He’s a big-bodied
target and should continue to get looks in the red zone moving
forward. Owned in about 15-20 percent of leagues, Thomas checks
in as a high-end TE2 with some upside down the stretch.
Lee, JAC – Lee posted 8-75-1 on 12 targets, season-highs
in catches and targets. His TD was his first of 2017 and he has
a great matchup with the Chargers in Week 10. The Jaguars may
have thrown more than usual without Leonard Fournette (suspended
Sunday for a violation of team rules), but Lee is a talented WR
owned in about 50 percent of fantasy leagues who has been targeted
58 times through eight games (32-438-1 receiving on the season).
Davis, WAS – Davis started at TE for Washington and
saw nine targets from Kirk Cousins, catching 6-72-0. If Jordan
Reed remains out and the WR corps is still decimated in Week 10,
Davis is a must-own low-end TE1 who’s still available in about
30-40 percent of leagues.
Coleman and Josh
Gordon, CLE –UPDATE:
Coleman (15-20 percent owned in competitive leagues) is a talented
receiver, just like Gordon, and his upside is probably relatively
similar considering Gordon’s extended time away from the
game. It’s also a wonderful thing that Gordon has been reinstated
and is eligible to return to action in a few weeks, but Coleman
will likely be ready in Week 11. Coleman projects to remain the
No.1 receiver for the Browns once both are healthy, and while
Gordon is worth a speculative add for teams with the roster space,
Coleman (who caught 5-53-1 in Week 1 before a Week 2 injury landed
him on IR) will be the more productive contributor this season.
Jones, BUF – Jones has been improving in recent weeks
and had a solid game Thursday night (5-63-1) but suffered a leg
injury that will force him to miss practice time this week. He’s
worth monitoring to see if this will keep him out of any game
action, and the addition of Kelvin Benjamin also complicates the
issue. Still – having a proven outside receiver could allow Jones
to do more work in the slot and get more looks. Just keep an eye
on his injury status moving forward.
Thompson, BUF – Like Jones, Thompson could see his
role change with Benjamin in town, but he had a monster game Thursday
(7-81-1) and the 10 targets was more than he saw in any one game
for the Bears this season. The Bills were forced to throw more
than usual after falling behind to the Jets, but Thompson can
be a productive receiver when he sees consistent targets. He’s
on my radar despite an ownership rate of about 5-10 percent in
Richardson & Tyler
Lockett, SEA – These guys were both huge busts (Richardson
with 3-41-0; Lockett with 2-10-0) in the loss to Washington, though
playing conditions were not ideal for the passing game and Doug
Baldwin had a big day (7-108-1). They’re both borderline WR3/flex
moving forward but have a decent matchup in Arizona next weekend
stand a good chance at posting adequate numbers.
Davis, TEN – Davis had just 2-28-0 on five targets
in his first game back from injury, as Rishard Matthews was the
passing game star for the Titans. Expect better numbers in a favorable
matchup with the Bengals in Week 10.
Doyle, IND – Doyle (now owned in 90-95 percent of competitive
leagues after a monster Week 8) was relatively quiet in the first
half on Sunday but ended up with another solid game, hauling in
8-63-0 on nine targets from Brissett. He’s an unquestioned TE1
and should be targeted frequently versus the Steelers in Week
Anderson, NYJ – Anderson hauled in 4-48-1 in the win
over Buffalo and has seen his ownership level skyrocket to 75-80
percent in the past few weeks. He needs to be owned in all formats.
Crowder, WAS – Crowder (hamstring) was ruled out against
the Seahawks after not practicing during the week, and Ryan Grant
took his place in the slot and caught 3-39-0 in the win over Seattle.