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 a limitless resource when it comes to discovering
fantasy value. Each week, I’ll target both offensive and defensive
players — sometimes breakout stars that eluded your team’s
draft — as well as players who can help your squad that may
be lurking in deeper leagues.
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Off the Top - Includes my premier
recommendations. These are sometimes players available only in more
shallow leagues, and occasionally guys who are more readily but
are thrust into the fantasy spotlight because of opportunity or
Digging Deeper - Covers the next
tier of quality waiver wire specimens, usually players available
in a majority of online leagues. There are a lot of gems in this
range who can be plucked rather easily.
Scouring the Barrel - Chronicles
the deepest of fantasy adds — and sometimes highlights players
being tacked onto fantasy squads who I don’t have much confidence
in. Make sure you read the fine print.
Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 20-30 players
I covered the previous week. It’s the most accurate, comprehensive
one-stop waiver-wire column available on the Internet, and it’s
only available here at fftoday.com.
Feedback is always welcome,
appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as
Note: Each player’s
next four matchups are listed in parentheses ()
Off The Top
Sanchez, NYJ (@WAS, KC, @PHI, NYG) – I’ve said this multiple
times in several different columns this season, but it’s painfully
obvious that the Jets need to throw the ball to Dustin Keller
and Plaxico Burress to be successful. With such a talented array
of weapons, it should be getting easier for Sanchez (65 percent
owned), who has a few favorable matchups in his final few games.
Orton, KC (@CHI, @NYJ, GB, OAK) – Orton was inactive on Sunday
night, but he’ll get the chance to win eth starting job this week
in practice, when he’ll get first team reps along with Tyler Palko
(and possibly even Ricky Stanzi). Both Orton and Stanzi have more
upside than Palko, who’s thrown six INTs and no TDs in two starts
since Matt Cassel’s season-ending injury.
Scouring The Barrel
Yates, HOU (ATL, @CIN, CAR, @IND) – Although the Texans are
working out Jeff Garcia and Jake Delhomme (and expressed interest
in former backup Sage Rosenfels before the Dolphins announced
they wouldn’t be releasing him), it appears Yates will get the
nod in Week 13 against the Falcons. Yates has received positive
marks from Gary Kubiak for his mobility and athleticism, which
will come in handy as teams will likely apply blitz pressure and
force him to move around.
Alex Smith, SF (STL, @ARI, PIT, @SEA) – Smith stained the
proverbial sheets on Thanksgiving, turning in his worst fantasy
outing of his season (140-0-1). Look for a rebound this week at
home versus the Rams.
Matt Moore, MIA (OAK, PHI, @BUF, @NE) – Moore’s game
was middle-of-the-road among NFL QBs (288-1-0), although he did
almost get the Dolphins a victory. The next few weeks could mean
decent come-from-behind passing numbers.
Caleb Hanie, CHI (KC, @DEN, SEA, @GB) – He had one of the
better fantasy performances among QBs this week, posting 254-2-3
and 50 rushing yards. Not a bad plug-in if you needed him, but
the Chiefs defense is to be avoided in Week 13.
Off The Top
Helu: The starting RB "for sure."
Helu, WAS (NYJ, NE, @NYG, MIN) – Helu’s effectiveness as an
interior runner and pass-catching back were on display yet again
this past Sunday in Seattle, where the rookie exploded for 108
rushing yards and a score on 23 carries, and added 7-54-0 as a
receiver. If Mike Shanahan was uncertain if Helu was an every-down
back before, he’s positive he can handle the load now. You’ve
got to love his last few matchups in PPR leagues, and he’s on
a team that’s still capable of grinding out a couple more wins.
Spiller, BUF (TEN, @SD, MIA, DEN) – Spiller’s no Fred Jackson,
but he’s got a lot of game breaking ability and is atop the short
list of available RBs in Buffalo. He’s a solid pass catcher and
could provide some value in all formats against the next few opponents.
Morris, DET (@NO, MIN, @OAK, SD) – We’re not sure if the Lions
are bluffing when they say Kevin Smith is really okay after injuring
his ankle in the Thanksgiving loss to Green Bay, but Morris looked
damn good (39 rushing yards 9-81-0 receiving) in relief of the
Week 11 breakout star.
Brown, IND (@NE, @BAL, TEN, HOU) – Joseph Addai returned to
the lineup and got the “start,” but Brown was the Colts’ go-to
RB, posting 97 total yards and a TD. He’s still available in the
majority of fantasy leagues, and he could have some RB3/flex value
down the stretch, even if Addai is healthy.
Scouring The Barrel
Ware, NYG (GB, @DAL, WAS, @NYJ) – If Ahmad Bradshaw returns
next week, he won’t be worth much – but with some of the best
teams in the NFC on the upcoming docket, the Giants will be utilizing
the screen pass a lot. Ware had eight catches for 45 yards on
Monday night in the loss to New Orleans, as well as 23 rushing
yards. It’s clear he’s just as valuable in PPR leagues as Brandon
DeAngelo Williams, CAR (@TB, ATL, @HOU, TB) – Bingo! Williams
broke out with 69 rushing yards and two TDs in the Panthers win
over Indy. Williams was started in only about 30 percent of leagues
last week, so he wasn’t a no-brainer play.
Gerhart, MIN (DEN, @DET, NO, @WAS) – Owners couldn’t have
expected much more than what Gerhart got them in Week 12: 44 rushing
yards, TD; 2-19-0 receiving. There’s a chance Adrian Peterson
could be back in Week 13, though I think it’s unlikely, so for
now, sit tight on Gerhart and consider a plug-n-play against one
of the worst run defenses in football.
McKnight, NYJ (@WAS, KC, @PHI, NYG) – McKnight played well
in the limited opportunities he was given, but managed just 40
total yards. Rex Ryan and the Shonn Greene supporters are just
too stubborn for their own good.
Shane Vereen, NE (IND, @WAS, @DEN, MIA) – Vereen saw some
late-game action again, tallying up 18 yards on seven carries.
Keep him in mind for keeper leagues.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Reggie Wayne, IND (@NE, @BAL, TEN, HOU) – Wayne (still
available in about 10-15 percent of fantasy leagues because of
his team’s futility) had his best game of the season and
only great performance other than Week 1. If he’s out there
in your league, he might be worth a grab after his most recent
WR Eric Decker, DEN (@MIN, CHI, NE, @BUF) – Even though
he caught just three passes, Decker (72 percent owned) had a Top
25 fantasy performance among WRs in Week 12 (3-65-1) and gets
a slew of favorable matchups in the coming weeks. He’s a
solid WR2 in all formats because of his big-play ability –
and regardless of his passing-challenged QB.
Keller, NYJ (@WAS, KC, @PHI, NYG) – Keller (66 percent owned)
had a nice little two-TD game in Week 12, and he’s poised for
a few more big games before the season’s out.
WR Doug Baldwin, SEA (PHI, STL, @CHI, SF) – With Sidney
Rice (head) and Ben Obamanu (ankle, knee) hurting, Baldwin could
see a bunch of targets down the stretch for the Seahawks, who
have every reason to throw the ball like gangbusters in the next
few games. The rookie has quietly amassed 604 receiving yards
on just 37 catches this season – a 16.3 YPC average.
Scouring The Barrel
Avant, PHI (@SEA, @MIA, NYJ, @DAL) – DeSean Jackson is in
the doghouse, Jeremy Maclin is still hurt and both Riley Cooper
(5 percent owned) and Jason Avant (10 percent owned) have been
very active as Vince Young’s go-to receivers.
WR Riley Cooper, PHI (@SEA, @MIA, NYJ, @DAL) – In deeper
leagues, he’s worth a shot.
TE Kellen Davis, CHI (KC, @DEN, SEA, @GB) – He’s got
four TDs this season and could be a deep play in two-TE leagues
based on the next few matchups and the fact that he’s got
the inexperienced Hanie at the helm.
WR Torrey Smith, BAL (@CLE, IND, @SD, CLE) – Smith followed
up his huge Week 11 with a quiet 2-23-0 line. He’s the biggest
hit-or-miss receiver in the game.
WR Michael Crabtree, SF (STL, @ARI, PIT, @SEA) – In PPR
leagues, he was serviceable – posting 6-54-0, but the lack
of TDs is a problem.
WR Nate Burleson, DET (@NO, MIN, @OAK, SD) – Burleson had
a solid game (5-39-0, 11 rushing yards), but the Lions fell short.
WR Jerome Simpson, CIN (@PIT, HOU, @STL, ARI) – Simpson
had just 2-15-0 on Sunday, as the Browns did a good job on the
Stallworth, WAS (NYJ, NE, @NYG, MIN) – With Santana Moss back,
the Redskins saw no need to rush Stallworth back from his foot
Off The Top
LB Kevin Burnett, MIA (OAK, PHI, @BUF, @NE) – For some
reason, teams continue to pound the ball straight up the middle
versus the Dolphins, and Burnett keeps racking up the tackles.
He’s coming off a 12-tackle game against Dallas and has
67 total stops on the season (including 28 solos in his last four
games). I like the next two matchups quite a bit.
LB/DL Connor Barwin, HOU (ATL, @CIN, CAR, @IND) – Barwin
is on an absolute tear, posting 4.0 sacks last week and 6.5 in
his last three games. He’s up to 9.0 on the season and is
available in plenty of IDP formats. If he’s available as
a DL, all the more reason to snag him.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Tracy Porter, NO (DET, @TEN, @MIN, ATL) – Porter and
the high-scoring Saints are in a perfect position for their DBs
to rack up monster IDP totals. They shift to a prevent defense
by the middle of the second half, and the corners are very active.
If you need a deep-league sleeper DB for the stretch run, Porter
is a nearly universally available option.
LB Takeo Spikes, SD (@JAC, BUF, BAL, @DET) – As expected,
Spikes was a busy man on Sunday, racking up 14 total tackles in
the loss to Denver. He finishes the season with several favorable
matchups, and should be started at LB2/LB3 in most formats.
DB Troy Polamalu, PIT (CIN, CLE, @SF, STL) – Polamalu stayed
on the ground after delivering a hit to the legs of a Chiefs player
early in the game and didn’t return. He reported concussion-like
symptoms following the contest but is now supposedly “fine”
for Week 13.
DL Geno Atkins, CIN (@PIT, HOU, @STL, ARI) – Atkins registered
a sack, three total tackles and two PD in the win over Cleveland.
It was one of his best IDP performances of the season.
DL Ndamukong Suh, DET (@NO, MIN, @OAK, SD) – Suh had one
tackle before his ejection on Thanksgiving for his actions, and
he’s likely to face suspension. Forget him.
LB Rob Ninkovich, NE (IND, @WAS, @DEN, MIA) – Ninkovich
had three solos and a sack, his third straight game with a sack
DB Cedric Griffin, MIN (DEN, @DET, NO, @WAS) – Just two
assists in the loss to Atlanta.