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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.
Keenum, MIN – It’s bizarre I must keep harping on this,
but Case Keenum is still available in about 15-20 percent of competitive
fantasy leagues, which means there are likely a bunch of 10-team
leagues where he’s on the waiver wire. He’s had at least two passing
TDs in four out of his last five games and had passed for 280+
yards in four straight heading into Week 13, when he went 227-2-0
on 25-for-30 passing in a road win over Atlanta.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco may not be elite, but he’s got
a great sense of humor and did an excellent job clowning
Jameis Winston, eating the W at the podium after the vistory
over Detroit. Flacco had his best game of 2017 with 269-2-0, and
his stock goes up the next three games against beatable opponents
(@PIT, @CLE, IND) who usually yield big games to opposing QBs.
Flacco may not be an exciting option or have huge upside, but
he’s a steady contributor who probably won’t give you a goose
Savage, HOU – Like Flacco, Savage had his best game
of the season in Week 13, throwing for 365-1-1 against the Titans.
He’s got a little more upside than Flacco but a much lower floor,
as he’s capable of throwing multiple INTs. Thankfully, he’s facing
a suspect 49ers-D in Week 14 and could be worth a look in deeper
formats. Savage is owned in less than 10 percent of competitive
Rodgers, GB –UPDATE:
While Rodgers has not been medically cleared for a return and
will not be until we’re into Week 15, it’s obvious
that he’s looking at a possible return for the last couple
weeks of the fantasy playoffs. He’s yet to receive a scan
that lets him (and fantasy owners) know if his clavicle is fully
healed, and the matchups are not favorable for a rusty QB with
a damaged wing. But based on the reports of his arm strength in
recent workouts, there’s some reason to be optimistic. Stay
tuned, because Rodgers is available in about 30-40 percent of
Hundley, GB – Even in a favorable matchup, Hundley
went right back into the fantasy toilet in Week 13, going just
13-for-22 for 84-0-1 and adding 66 rushing yards. Still, his team
eked out a win in OT and he did flash his usual mobility in what
became a true “game manager” performance. He’s got another favorable
matchup in Week 14 but since it’s the first round of the fantasy
playoffs for most teams this week, he’s going to be hard to trust.
Winston, TB – Winston finished with 270-2-0 and a lost
fumble (18 rushing yards) in the loss to Green Bay. He looked
decent in his first game back from the shoulder injury. Winston
was clicking with the offense (especially TE Cameron Brate) though
Mike Evans tallied just 2-33-0 on six targets.
McCown, NYJ – McCown had another big statistical day
in the win over the Chiefs, throwing for 331-1-0 but adding two
rushing TDs. He’s now eclipsed 300 passing yards in back to back
weeks, though the matchup with Denver in Week 14 is a difficult
one, as the Broncos will have Aqib Talib back from suspension.
Bortles, JAC – Bortles and the Jaguars were sharp against
the hapless Colts on Sunday, as the oft-maligned QB threw for
309-2-0 adding 27 rushing yards and a 2XP pass. His matchup for
fantasy playoff Week 1 (SEA) isn’t quite as favorable, but it
gets better in Week 15 (HOU) and in Week 16 @SF.
Peyton Barber's 102 rushing yards was the
first time a Bucs RB has cracked the century mark in 2017.
Bernard, CIN -UPDATE: Joe Mixon was diagnosed with a
concussion on Monday night, which was a brutal game from an injury
perspective. Let's all send some positive vibes to Steelers LB Ryan
Shazier and hope he recovers from that spine contusion. As for Bernard,
he was excellent in relief of Mixon (77 rushing yards, 2-19-0) and
would be a high-upside RB2 against the Bears in Week 14 should Mixon
not be available.
Forte, NYJ – Forte finished with 58 rushing yards and
3-33-1 Sunday even though he was out-touched by Bilal Powell.
Still, Forte is part of the Jets offense and should continue to
see 12-18 touches per game if he stays healthy enough to play
through the knee issue. He’s owned in about 50-75 percent of leagues.
Riddick, DET – Even though Ameer Abdullah is expected
back next week, Riddick’s Week 13 performance should serve as
a gateway to more touches and involvement in the Lions offense.
The passing-down back had 5-41-0 receiving and added 21 rushing
yards and a TD on nine carries against a tough Ravens defense.
He’s also owned in about 50-75 percent of leagues.
UPDATE: If Abdullah misses Week 14, both Riddick and Tion Green
will be options against a weak Tampa Bay run defense.
Williams, ARI – Williams filled in a starting role
for Adrian Peterson (neck) and rushed for 97 yards on 16 carries.
He’d likely get the start at Tennessee in Week 14 and moving forward
should Peterson miss any more time.
Drake, MIA – Drake busted out for 120 yards and a TD
on 20 carries and added 3-21-0 in the decisive Week 13 win over
Denver. The former Alabama RB benefited from a makeshift Broncos
defensive line that got worn down all day by the Dolphins offense.
Drake appears to be a solid RB2 moving forward, especially with
Damien Williams (shoulder) on the shelf for a while.
UPDATE: While Drake is still the best option in the Miami backfield,
there’s a chance that Williams suits up for Week 14, which
hurts his overall value.
Burkhead, NE – Burkhead has his best game as a Patriot
thus far, running for 78 yards and two TDs on 12 carries and adding
3-25-0 on four targets from Tom Brady. He’s a high-upside RB3/flex
play given how potent this offense can be, but always a risk given
Bill Belichick’s game planning.
Rodgers, TB – Barber didn’t score on Sunday but had
102 rushing yards on 23 carries and added 4-41-0 receiving, while
Rodgers was relegated to a change of pace role, finishing with
25 yards on three carries. Charles Sims wasn’t much of a factor
wither, with 2-35-0 receiving and 16 rushing yards on three carries.
UPDATE: It’s highly unlikely that the Bucs go right back
to Doug Martin (concussion) with a full workload even if he suits
up, so Barber is viable this week against the Lions.
Davis, SEA – Davis looked the best of all the Seattle
backs, rushing for 64 yards on 16 carries and adding 4-37-0 on
four targets from Russell Wilson. He’s the clear No.1 back for
the Seahawks and should be a popular pickup again this week as
he’s owned in just 15-20 percent of competitive leagues.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Lee, JAC – Lee had 7-86-1 on 10 targets in a decisive
win over the Colts. Regardless of matchup, Lee (70-85 percent
owned) is the Jags’ best receiver and should see a high volume
of targets moving forward.
Brate, TB – Brate hauled in only two catches for 39
yards, but both were TDs. He’s 70-75 percent owned but having
Winston back greatly increases his fantasy value as a popular
red zone target.
Gordon, CLE – He’s not going to be available in any
leagues after this week (I told you to pick him up a couple weeks
ago), but Gordon had a nice debut for the Browns, going for 4-85-0
on 11 (!) targets from Kizer, who overthrew him a few times. He’s
going to be even more involved in Week 14 against the Packers.
Goodwin, SF – Goodwin (50-55 percent owned) caught
all eight of his targets for 99 yards in Week 13 – a type of perfection
he hadn’t accomplished since a pair of one- and two-catch games
as a fledgling NFL WR in 2014 and 2015. It’s worth noting that
he has a new QB in Jimmy Garoppolo, and is healthy heading into
a Week 14 matchup with Houston.
Grant, WAS – Grant is coming off his best game of 2017
(5-76-1 on nine targets) in the Thursday loss to Dallas. He’s
been a bit of a lightning rod for controversy, as many coaches
and players believe he’s not as talented as Jay Gruden thinks
he is. Still, Grant (5-10 percent owned) is likely to see 4-6
targets in Week 14 and could be worth a flex play in deeper formats.
Anderson, HOU – Anderson had been pretty quiet heading
into Week 13, when he exploded for 5-79-1 on 12 targets from Savage.
He’s on the TE2 radar heading into a favorable matchup with the
49ers, who are arguably the worst in the league against opposing
UPDATE: His upside could suffer if any of the Texans’ injured
receivers are good to go this week, but Anderson could be a sneaky
TE1 facing the 49ers.
Patterson, OAK – Patterson had 4-97-0 in the win over
the Giants and could see some more targets in Week 14 should Amari
Cooper miss any more time. Patterson also gets the occasional
carry because of his explosiveness and is an unreliable option
with capped upside. But he’s available in over 85 percent of leagues
and has been getting some opportunities – and making the most
of them in a Raiders season that’s somehow not yet beyond salvation.
Kupp, LAR – Kupp is still without a TD since Week 7,
but he did catch 5-68-0 on six targets in Week 13. He’s got a
great future as a reliable PPR guy.
Bryant, PIT –UPDATE: Antonio Brown was active on Monday
and had a signature game, putting a dent in the number of targets
Bryant would have seen. The embattled WR still hauled in 4-40-0
on six targets and makes for a high-upside, high-risk WR3/4 heading
into Week 14 against the Ravens.
Cobb, GB – Cobb wasn’t targeted in Week 13 which is
somewhat inexplicable considering his effectiveness and efficiency
the previous week @PIT. He’s an unreliable option given the current
state of the offense.
UPDATE: I’ve yet to see an explanation why Cobb wasn’t
targeted last week despite being on the field for 41 of the Packers
55 snaps, and that’s not helpful because the matchup with
Cleveland isn’t that terrible. I’ll update in the
comments if anything more emerges about this situation.
Kearse, NYJ – Kearse had a monster day, going for 9-157-0
on 10 targets from McCown. He’s a solid WR3 with some upside given
the target volume he’s seen the past three games (29 targets,
Jones, BUF – Jones had just 2-22-0 despite seven targets
form the Buffalo QBs (Tyrod Taylor left with a knee injury). His
stock falls further with Nathan Peterman likely to start Week
Westbrook, JAC – Westbrook had his best game thus far
with 6-78-0 on nine targets from Bortles. He’s worth considering
as a WR3/flex play in deeper formats and DFS.
UPDATE: An Allen Hurns return could throw a monkey wrench into
his target volume, but there’s no word of that happening
anytime soon. Westbrook was in on a season-high 82 percent of
the snaps in Week 13 and should be viewed as a WR4/flex option
with some upside.
Roberts, OAK – Filling in as a starter for Michael
Crabtree (one-game suspension) Roberts had 5-46-0 on six targets.
He’s not much of an option moving forward save for super-deep
leagues and DFS GPPs.