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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.
It took a couple weeks, but Ladarius Green
rewared fantasy owners with 110 yards and a TD.
Flacco, BAL – Hopefully you added Flacco a couple weeks
ago on my recommendation, because the Week 13 matchup with Miami
was a good one, and he delivered a standout 381-4-1 performance
that made him Sunday’s best fantasy QB. He’ll have a tougher time
against the Patriots, but the Ravens have healthy receiving weapons
and will likely try to keep up with Tom Brady and the potent New
England offense. He’s still only about 30-55 percent owned in
Dalton, CIN – Even missing A.J. Green (who could be
out until Week 17) and Giovani Bernard (torn ACL), Dalton had
a solid Week 13, throwing for 332-2-0 in the win over Philly.
The Bengals play the Browns in Week 14, and that’s all you really
need to know, right? I’ll add this: Over his last three games
(2015-16) against Cleveland, Dalton has 762 passing yards, 7 TDs
and 0 INTs.
Petty, NYJ –UPDATE:
It would probably be a mistake to start Petty in the fantasy playoffs
in one-QB leagues, but there’s a case to be made for a guy
with such a strong arm and a mandate from his head coach that
he’s starting the final four games. The Jets benched Ryan
Fitzpatrick in the first half after the veteran completed just
5-of-12 passes for 81 yards and an INT. Petty wasn’t much
better, throwing for 135-1-2. Still, the Jets face the 49ers in
Week 14 and after the embarrassing loss on Monday night, it makes
sense that the team rallies around Petty and puts forth a real
Palmer, ARI – Palmer rewarded fantasy owners with his
best game (300-3-0) since Week 2, and the Cards offense is looking
sharp heading into matchups with the Dolphins and Saints in weeks
14 and 15.
Kaepernick, SF – Oh boy. This is what happens when
you put your faith in a struggling team on the road in inclement
weather, my friends! Hopefully you saw the weather forecast (it
was snowing) and switched to a safer option before lineup lock,
because Kaepernick (1-for-5 for 4 passing yards; 20 rushing yards)
and the entire 49ers offense (excluding a decent day by Carlos
Hyde) was hideous. Kaep got benched in the fourth quarter with
the game out of reach, allowing Blaine Gabbert to get some snaps
under center (4-for-10, 35 yards passing). I’d avoid both QBs
against the Jets.
Richard, OAK – Richard (30-50 percent owned) has run
well all season, and the Raiders will need a capable complimentary
back to spell Latavius Murray, who’s due for a reduced workload
as soon as the Raiders clinch a playoff berth. The rookie ran
for 53 yards in nine carries Sunday and is worth a speculative
add in most formats heading into the fantasy playoffs.
Gillislee, BUF – It was poetic justice that the Bills
lost to Oakland after screwing LeSean McCoy out of three (3!)
rushing TDs in Week 13, handing two to Gillislee (50-65 percent
owned) and one to QB Tyrod Taylor. He’s a nice piece to have,
especially if you’re a McCoy owner.
Grimes, HOU – Grimes rushed five times for 43 yards
and caught 1-15-0 in Houston's 21-13 loss to Green Bay in Week
13. He also saw more snaps (31) than Alfred Blue and could be
more involved in Week 14 at Indy with Lamar Miller (ribs) ailing
and seeing less action.
Zenner, DET – Zenner has nine carries for 40 yards
in the win over New Orleans and is primed for more work when then
Lions face Chicago next week. A powerful runner at 5-11, 222 pounds,
Zenner has just as much fantasy upside as the Lions backs not
named Theo Riddick, who’s troublesome ankle is just one tweak
away from forcing him to miss some action.
Forsett, DEN –UPDATE: The Broncos claimed Forsett
off waivers from the Lions and it’s a move that brings him back
in the fray with Gary Kubiak's offense. Forsett played for him
in Baltimore and had the best year of his career with the Ravens'
2014 offense. Kapri Bibbs is out of commission with a high ankle
sprain, so Forsett could get a chance to carve out a role with
Devontae Booker struggling.
Morris, DAL –UPDATE: Is he available? If so, then
he’s a must-own in all formats as the Cowboys approach their
clinching protocol and the possibility that Morris will assume
lead back duties once the games no longer matter. Ezekiel Elliott
could use the break, and Morris could use the reps.
Dixon, BAL – Dixon ran for 56 rushing yards on six
carries and hauled in 4-21-0 on four targets, while Terrance West
got the glory with two TDs. This is an equal timeshare, but eventually
Dixon will get more looks in the red zone to help even the fantasy
Henry, TEN – The Titans were on a Week 13 bye but return
to face the Broncos in Week 14.
Sims, TB – Sims was inactive in Week 13 but could return
as soon as the matchup with New Orleans in Week 14. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Martin missed the final three drives after being “bent
back” awkwardly, but the veteran back said he’s fine.
Still, even if Martin plays in Week 14, Sims will have a fantasy-worthy
role in a good matchup against the Saints. He’s the better
pass-catching back and the Bucs probably don’t want to overwork
Robinson, JAC – Robinson rushed for 53 yards on 17
carries and added 1-11-0 on his lone target – a decent showing
despite the tough matchup. T.J. Yeldon only finished with a few
more points, rushing for 55 yards on 14 carries and adding 3-27-0
on seven targets.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Lockett, SEA – I’ve been holding onto Lockett in a
14-team league since I drafted him, knowing he makes his hay at
the end of the season and when healthy. It appears we’ve finally
arrived there, as Lockett (15-30 percent owned) broke out for
5-63-0 on six targets and a 75-yard rushing TD, representing his
highest reception and fantasy point totals of the season. He’s
the perfect offensive weapon to outmaneuver the Packers in Green
Bay next week.
Mitchell, PIT – It’s Mitchell’s second appearance in
the Wire, and his ownership has likely doubled or tripled since
we discussed him prior to the Week 12 games, but he’s still available
in about 45-65 percent of fantasy leagues. He’s going to be a
risk in such a crowded field of New England pass catchers, but
his upside is there.
Thielen, MIN – Thielen has 25 targets and 20-204-1
over his last three games and should be used quite a bit on short
routes in Week 14 against Jacksonville, a team that defends the
long pass well. His ownership levels are even lower than Mitchell’s,
and his upside is almost as high. Minnesota State – Mankato may
not be much of a breeding ground for NFL talent, but his excellent
hands and route-running ability certainly belongs in the league!
Pitta, BAL – Pitta’s 9-90-2 was tops among TEs in terms
of fantasy production, and his scores represented the first time
he’d hit paydirt since 2013. With Pitta off the schneid, expect
more looks going his way in the red zone.
Garcon, WAS –UPDATE: Garcon had another solid
week (7-78-0 on nine targets) in the absence of Jordan Reed, and
continue to get looks from Kirk Cousins. He’ll be a decent
WR3/4 or flex play against the Eagles.
Hill, KC – Tyreek wasn’t spectacular in Week 13, hauling
in 5-53-0 on six targets and adding 19 rushing yards on two carries,
but he’s still a solid WR3 option in most formats heading into
the fantasy playoffs and matchups with Oakland and Tennessee the
next two weeks.
Enunwa, NYJ –UPDATE: Enunwa was quiet on Monday night
(1-10-0 on two targets) and Robbie Anderson seems to be Petty’s
favorite target, but I imagine the 49ers will take note and force
Petty to complete some passes to the bigger Enunwa. He’s
not a great option, but if you’re desperate, he could be
worth a look, as could Anderson.
Wilson, CHI – Wilson was targeted just once and didn’t
record a catch in Week 13. It’s possible the weather or his previous
foot injury played a factor, as he was conspicuously absent from
the box score.
Inman, SD – Inman’s two-catch, 49-yard day was his
lowest reception total since Week 6, but one of those catches
was a 35-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers. He’ll be a solid WR4/flex
facing the Panthers in Week 14.
Watkins, BUF – The Bills passing game was atrocious
in Week 14, with Watkins going for just 3-38-0 on nine targets.
His foot is still reportedly a problem, even if the third-year
receiver is underplaying its effect. They’ll need him active and
involved to beat the Steelers next week.
Fuller, HOU – Fuller had 5-59-0 in Week 13 against
the Packers and makes a solid WR3 play in deeper formats next
week against Indy.
UPDATE: If you’re looking even further ahead to Week 17,
Fuller has a nice matchup against Tennessee.
Green-Beckham, PHI – Green-Beckham’s 4-29-0 was a disappointment
in a game where he saw 10 targets from Carson Wentz, and if he’s
still working to shed the “project” label and see consistent looks
from his QB, this didn’t help.
Gabriel, ATL – Gabriel returned to normalcy with 5-44-0
on six targets on Week 13, but could see more plays designed for
him if Julio Jones continues to struggle in the red zone and deal
with his balky ankle.
UPDATE: It’s actually turf toe that’s bothering Jones,
and Gabriel might be a decent start against the 49ers in Week
15, when the Falcons will look to solidify a playoff spot.
Green, PIT – There were a lot of flashier names available
off the waiver wire in Week 13, but I’m glad that Green
was the only one I included, as he erupted for 6-110-1 and finished
second only to Pitta in terms of fantasy production among TEs.
He’s clearly going to be part of the Steelers game plan
in the coming weeks.