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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.
The disappointing injury to Carson Wentz
leads to an opportunity against the Giants for Nick Foles.
Bortles, JAC -UPDATE:
I had assumed Bortles would be almost universally owned after a
couple of big weeks, but he's still available in about 30-35 percent
of fantasy leagues, and he's got a good matchup at a home against
the Texans in Week 15. I'm currently trying to snag him in one league
where I was riding Carson Wentz and had the quicksilver Josh McCown
as my backup. He's got four passing TDs over the last couple weeks
and his young WR corps just keeps improving. Giddyap, Blake!
Garoppolo, SF – The Niners notched a win over Houston
and Garoppolo had a solid if unexciting outing (334-1-1) in the
victory, but the matchup is better in Week 15 at home against
the Titans. He’s a low-end streaming option who’s owned in fewer
than 50 percent of fantasy leagues, but this could be his week
to shine as he won’t be an option in Week 16 facing the Jags.
Foles, PHI – The injury to Carson Wentz, confirmed
Monday as an ACL tear, put the reins of one of the best teams
in the NFC in the fallible hands of Foles – a short-lived fantasy
darling who’s going to be a hot commodity this week given the
matchup against the Giants. Foles is coming off a win and will
get a full week of practice, so he should be able to post decent
numbers even if he’s a little rusty.
Cutler, MIA –UPDATE:
Did you watch that game last night? That was crazy, man. Cutler
didn’t just keep pace with Brady, he actually looked better
than the Golden Boy in that small sample, throwing for 263-3-0
in the win over New England. Cutler (about 20-30 percent owned)
now has a pair of three-TD games in 2017 and gets a more difficult
matchup with the Bills. He wouldn’t be my first option this
week, but he’s worth considering if the pickings are slim.
Kizer, CLE – The Browns are still looking for their
first win despite leading by a couple TDs over the Packers in
Week 14 and Kizer throwing for 214-3-2. The Ravens may try to
slow things down against Cleveland, but the Browns are most susceptible
to the pass, which makes me think Flacco and Kizer could engage
in a bit of a shootout in Week 15. The Ravens secondary looked
awful against the Steelers Sunday night, and while we’re talking
about a superior offense, the Browns do have capable wideouts
who are clicking with the rookie QB. Consider Kizer (about 20
percent owned) a two-QB option and DFS large-field tourney dart.
Trubisky, CHI – Trubisky threw for 271-1-0 and added
a rushing TD in the win over Cincinnati on Sunday that marks his
best game of his young career. The Bears were bolstered by solid
defensive play and a great performance from Jordan Howard, and
looking forward to the remaining matchups, this could serve as
a jumping point for fantasy relevant play. Trubisky (15-20 percent
owned) gets the Lions in Detroit next week, but after that faces
the Browns at home, a matchup that makes him an option in two-QB
Keenum, MIN – Keenum had another effective fantasy
day despite taking a difficult loss to the Panthers. He threw
for 280-2-2, lost a fumble and added 40 rushing yards and a 2XP
pass. He gets a relatively favorable matchup against the Bengals
in Week 15 and is worth starting in 12-team leagues.
Flacco, BAL – Flacco threw for 269-2-1, the second
week in a row he threw for exactly 269 passing yards, and the
Ravens played tough but lost because of some overwhelming offensive
output from the Steelers in the second half. In Week 14, he faces
the lowly Browns in Cleveland and could be worth a pickup for
Carson Wentz owners reeling from the loss of their star QB.
Savage, HOU – The Texans QB got bounced early from
Sunday’s game after suffering a concussion when his head slammed
into the turf, and T.J. Yates took over. Savage finished with
63-0-0, while Yates threw for 175-2-0. Neither will be a viable
option against the Jaguars in Week 15.
Rodgers, GB – Rodgers will have a CT scan this week
to determine his availability for Week 15 against the Panthers
in a must-win game. He’s looked excellent in practice but the
Packers are notoriously conservative with their treatment of injuries.
Stay tuned, but be ready to deploy Rodgers if he’s starting.
UPDATE: There’s still plenty of uncertainty surrounding
Rodgers’ status for this weekend, and fantasy owners run
the risk of him reinjuring the shoulder in live game action. I’d
avoid unless we get word he’s good to go before the weekend.
Stewart – I included Stewart in my RBs to consider
last week and he responded with 103 rushing yards and three TDs
– one of the best individual performances of a high-scoring Week
14. He’s worth starting in all formats against the defensively
Smith, DAL – Another fringe back who made my list of
players to consider, Smith (30-40 percent owned) exploded for
5-113-1 receiving (aided by an 81-yard TD reception) and added
47 rushing yards and a TD on just six carries. Part of this was
due to a poor Giants defense allowing big chunks of yardage to
Dallas throughout the second half, but he remains a viable flex
play in Week 15 against the Raiders, the final week of Ezekiel
Elliott’s six-game suspension.
Gallman, NYG – The Week 15 matchup with Philly is not
a favorable one, but Gallman can handle all the aspects of a starting
RB and emerged as a solid pass-catching option in Week 14 against
Dallas. He finished the day with 7-40-0 on nine targets from Eli
Manning and added 59 rushing yards on 12 carries. He’s a deep-league
RB3/flex option moving forward.
UPDATE: Gallman has a tough road ahead of him this week, but
if I’m the Giants I might want to give him an extra look
now that 2017’s prospects have dimmed to the point of a
blackout. He’s worth a look in deep leagues and DFS.
Davis, SEA –UPDATE:
I thought that maybe the rib injury he suffered Sunday would hamper
his early-week status and get the running back replacement gnomes
going again in Seattle, and there is some uncertainty, according
to Pete Carroll. Davis (about 40-60 percent owned) looked okay
in Week 14 (66 rushing yards on 15 carries) but I may be inclined
to give J.D. McKissic a look if Davis is questionable heading
Bernard, CIN – It was a good week for RBs, and even
though Bernard didn’t find the end zone, he rushed for 62 yards
on 11 carries and added 6-68-0 receiving on eight targets. He’ll
remain the primary RB option for Cincinnati and be in the RB2
consideration as long as Joe Mixon (concussion) remains out.
Forte, NYJ – Forte had just 13 rushing yards and 2-21-0
on three targets as the Broncos shut out the Jets. He looked like
a solid play heading in, but the Broncos defense looked like a
different unit at home and the Jets strides on offense came to
a screeching halt. The probable loss of Josh McCown (broken non-throwing
hand) also hurts his chances at viability in Week 15 @NO.
UPDATE: Josh McCown is done for the season and Forte is the best
bet to log most of the volume out of the Jets backfield.
Riddick, DET – We’re finally seeing what Theo Riddick
can do when he’s given the ball, as the versatile back ran for
29 rushing yards and two TDs, adding 6-64-0 on 10 targets in Week
14 @ TB. Regardless of whether or not Ameer Abdullah is back for
Week 15, expect Riddick to remain involved in this offense against
UPDATE: Since Abdullah (neck) was technically a healthy scratch
last week and the Lions came away with a victory, I’d roll
the dice on Riddick one more time. Jim Caldwell is no longer calling
Abdullah the starter, so that helps.
Williams, ARI – There weren’t any TDs for Kerwynn in
week 14, but he did accumulate 73 rushing yards on 20 carries
and add a reception for 15 yards – serviceable RB3/flex numbers
that could serve as a decent statistical floor against Washington
in Week 15. There’s still no timetable for the return of Adrian
Peterson (neck), so Williams (20-25 percent owned) could still
be worth adding in all formats.
UPDATE: Peterson didn’t get an update so it appears that
Williams will hang onto some RB2/3 value heading into Week 15.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Coleman, CLE – Coleman had a solid day (5-53-1) in
what probably should have been the Browns first victory of 2017,
and the arrival of Josh Gordon undoubtedly makes the entire offense
better. Look for Coleman (50-60 percent owned) to see 6-10 targets
in Week 15 against the Ravens and don’t be afraid to use him as
a WR3/flex play the next few weeks.
Burton, PHI – Burton (included in last week’s TEs to
consider) parlayed another Zach Ertz absence into 5-71-2, but
the loss of Wentz and return of Ertz could disrupt his fantasy
relevance. Still, Nick Foles will undoubtedly look his way in
the red zone if Ertz isn’t ready to go against the Giants in Week
Ebron, DET – Ebron is wildly inconsistent as a fantasy
option, but he does have his moments. He lost a fumble in Week
14 but finished with 10-94-0 on 11 targets from Matthew Stafford,
whose hand injury could have been a factor in the increased volume
for Ebron (40-45 percent owned).
Davis, WAS –UPDATE:
Davis burned me brutally a couple times this season in absolute
smash spots, so if you want to run the risk of a goose egg but
like unrealized upside, go for it. I’m staying away but
I never could figure this guy out, even when he was with the 49ers.
James, PIT – James had 10-97-0 on 12 targets in Sunday
night’s victory over the Ravens, and the injury to Vance McDonald
assures he’ll continue to see targets in one of the NFL’s top
offenses. With a lack of consistent TE options lately, James ranges
as a high-end TE2 or low-end TE1.
Westbrook, JAC – Westbrook (40-50 percent owned) continues
to improve every week, hauling in 5-81-1 and the first TD of his
young career in a big Week 14 win over the Seahawks. With 27 targets
over his last three games, he’s a Top 40 fantasy WR play with
Top 25 upside moving forward (HOU, @SF, @TEN) if Allen Hurns remains
out for the Jags.
UPDATE: Hurns appears to be still bothered by the sprained ankle
and Westbrook should get another big workload opposite Marqise
Williams, LAC – Williams had a 75-yard TD reception
that helped bolster his 4-132-1 receiving line on Sunday, and
the matchup in Week 15 with the Chiefs could turn into a high-flying
affair. With Marcus Peters back from his suspension to work on
Keenan Allen, it’s possible that Williams and Hunter Henry have
more looks go their way. Consider him a risk-reward WR4/flex play
and DFS GPP option.
Wright, CHI – Wright saw a whopping 11 targets from
Trubisky on Sunday and tallied 10-107-0 in the victory. Look for
him to keep the momentum going in a decent Week 15 matchup with
the Lions, and plan on a big Week 16 against the Browns. Wright
is just 10-15 percent owned in competitive leagues.
Lee, JAC – Lee caught just 5-65-0 on six targets from
Blake Bortles but should improve on those numbers over the next
couple of weeks in favorable matchups.
Brate, TB – Brate had just 1-11-0 on his lone target
from Jameis Winston in the Week 14 loss to Detroit, and projects
as a decent TE2 with upside against the Falcons at home.
Gordon, CLE – Gordon (now about 90 percent owned) had
a monster first half (3-69-1) but didn’t record a catch after
the second quarter as the Packers made a concerted effort to stop
him. The Browns conservative approach in the second half cost
them the game, so expect Gordon to have a bounce-back week and
be hungry in a divisional matchup with the Ravens who continue
to be without Jimmy Smith and saw Brandon Carr struggle in single
coverage on Sunday night.
Goodwin, SF – Goodwin saw a season-high 12 targets
in Week 14, hauling in 6-106-0 but failing to reach paydirt for
the third consecutive week. He’s obviously a favorite of Jimmy
Garoppolo’s, and makes for a fine WR3 in Week 15 against the Titans.
Grant, WAS – Grant was a bust in Week 14, catching
just one pass for 28 yards in the loss to the Chargers.
Anderson, HOU – Anderson had just 2-16-0 on Sunday
and can be avoided in Week 15 at Jacksonville.
Patterson, OAK – Amari Cooper was active Sunday, and
the Raiders offense didn’t really get to fully explore Patterson’s
abilities in what turned out to be a lopsided game. The versatile
offensive player had just 3-8-0 on six targets with no rushes.