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
remaining games listed in parentheses, e.g. (@NYG, MIN, @PHI)
Off The Top
Palmer, OAK (DET, @KC, SD) – He put up a stinker in Green
Bay (245-1-4), but should be able to post okay numbers against
the Lions – if eh can get a couple of his receivers back. Denarius
Moore and Jacoby Ford missed another week of action, and Chaz
Schilens – who was active along with Darrius Heyward-Bey on Sunday
– is now nursing an injury.
T.J. Yates, HOU (CAR, @IND, TEN) – Yates showed poise and
professionalism on Sunday, leading the Texans down the field in
the final moments on a game-winning TD drive and sending Houston
to the playoffs for the first time in their 10-year history. He
threw for 300-2-1 and lost a fumble but looks like a solid play
for Week 15 against the Panthers.
Scouring The Barrel
Locker, TEN (@IND, JAC, @HOU) – Locker relieved the injured
Matt Hasselbeck and was 13-for-29 for 282 yards and one TD in
Week 14 against the Saints. He also rushed for 36 yards and one
touchdown on six carries and should get the start against hapless
Indy if Hasselbeck (calf) can’t go next week.
Kolb, ARI (CLE, @CIN, SEA) – Hurt after one throw and replaced
by John Skelton. I’d stay away at this point.
Moore, MIA (@BUF, @NE, NYJ) – Moore had one of his worst games
of the season, throwing for just 95 yards, and is now dealing
with a possible concussion. He threw for just two first downs
all game and was replaced by journeyman J.P. Losman late in the
third quarter. It’s tough to say who’ll get the start in Week
15 against the Bills with Tony Sparano out, but since Moore’s
head is rattled, I’d lean toward Losman.
Rex Grossman, WAS (@NYG, MIN, @PHI) – “Good”
Rex showed up and threw for 252-2-1 in the loss to New England.
He should keep the job and makes a good QB2/low-end QB1 play in
Off The Top
The top waiver wire add for Wk 15.
Jones, DAL (@TB, PHI, @NYG) – With the apparent season-ending
injury to DeMarco Murray (broken ankle), Jones will be forced
to step up as the Cowboys’ only real rushing option. The Cowboys
picked up Sammy Morris on Tuesday morning, but he won’t get many
touches. Jones finished Sunday night with 106 yards on 16 carries
and 6-31-0 receiving (seven targets). Because of Murray’s success,
owners will expect RB1 numbers from Jones, so he won’t be available
in too many leagues after waivers this week.
Grant, GB (@KC, CHI, DET) – Grant had a monster Week 14, tallying
85 rushing yards and two TDs on just 10 carries. With James Starks
(ankle) injured and Brandon Saine (concussion) nursing his own
injury, Grant is a hot ticket for the final few weeks. No word
yet on Starks’ availability, but the early word is that Saine
will probably play against the Chiefs.
Scouring The Barrel
Kahlil Bell, CHI (SEA, @GB, @MIN) – Bell did exactly what
we thought he would do in Week 14 – run a few times (nine
carries, 40 yards) catch a few balls (5-24-0) and spell Barber,
who could see fewer touches in Week 15 after he ran out of bounds
(the time saved was crucial in Denver’s comeback) and then
later fumbled on third down at the Denver 33 in OT.
Marion Barber, CHI (SEA, @GB, @MIN) – Barber put up solid
fantasy numbers (140 total yards, TD), but as I explained above,
screwed up when it mattered most.
Toby Gerhart, MIN (NO, @WAS, CHI) – Once again, I targeted
a couple backs who finished in the Top 10 among RBs with my first
couple selections this week. Gerhart had 109 total yards and a
TD in the loss to Detroit.
Dexter McCluster, KC (GB, OAK, @DEN) – McCluster carried
the ball four times for one yard in Kansas City's Week 15 loss
to the Jets, and was held without a catch for the first time this
Ogbonnaya, CLE (@ARI, @BAL, PIT) – Ogbonnaya led the Browns
backfield with 27 snaps in Thursday's loss to Pittsburgh, but
finished with just 31 yards (two carries). He’ll continue to split
carries and snaps with Montario Hardesty and starter Peyton Hillis.
LaRod Stephens-Howling, ARI (CLE, @CIN, SEA) – LSH totaled
just 25 yards on four touches Sunday. With John Skelton connecting
with receivers so well in the second half, the shifty back wasn’t
Saine, GB (@KC, CHI, DET) – Saine was concussed in Sunday’s
win over Green Bay, but he was able to walk to the locker room
under his own power. Stay tuned.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Floyd, SD (BAL, @DET, @OAK) – The Chargers offense looks to
be back in business, and that means a healthy Malcom Floyd is
once again a relevant fantasy option. He only had two catches
for 29 yards last week, but they really didn’t need his services
to beat the Bills. The Ravens, on the other hand, will bracket
Antonio Gates and force Rivers to target his No. 2 WR a little
Winslow, TB (DAL, @CAR, @ATL) – I love Winslow’s matchup against
the Cowboys in Week 15, largely because the Bucs will be forced
to throw the ball and Winslow is their best option other than
Mike Williams. It’s been a down year for KW2, but he always makes
at least a couple catches and is long overdue for a score.
Gaffney, WAS (@NYG, MIN, @PHI) – The return of Santana Moss
has been good for Gaffney, who caught six passes for 92 yards
and a TD against the Pats last week. The foot injury seems to
be behind him, and the next few games promise to be high-scoring.
Ballard, NYG (WAS, @NYJ, DAL) – Ballard played well against
the Cowboys (4-52-1) and didn’t drop any passes – a major plus
for Eli Manning and the Giants. He’s an average TE1 heading into
the final three games, and should do well against the Skins this
Scouring The Barrel
TE Marcedes Lewis. JAC (@ATL, @TEN, IND) – My third TE
of the week, Lewis has been a disappointment this year. But he
got behind the defense against the Bucs in Week 14 and could be
in line for more targets as the season winds down. He’s
not a TE1, but in two-TE or deep W/T flex leagues I’d give
him a shot.
WR Titus Young, DET (@OAK, SD, @GB) – Young has been a up-and-down
performer this season, largely because he’s a rookie and
he does stupid things – as well as some impressive stuff
– on the field. Last week, he finished with 4-87-1, and
the matchup with Oakland means he’ll get plenty of looks.
WR Lance Moore, NO (@MIN, ATL, CAR) – Moore fizzled in
Week 14, recording just 4-20-0 in a forgettable win over Tennessee.
Heyward-Bey, OAK (DET, @KC, SD) – The Raiders got blown out,
but Heyward-Bey was solid, posting 5-78-0. He’s a decent WR3 play
in Week 15 against the Lions.
WR Demaryius Thomas, DEN (NE, @BUF, KC) – Thomas was targeted
13 times in Week 14, second among all WRs (Harvin led with 15).
The talented young wideout dropped a couple balls but still managed
7-78-1, hauling in a late TD to keep the Broncos in the game.
WR Golden Tate, SEA (@CHI, SF, @ARI) – Tate was relatively
quiet, hauling in 3-39-0 and rushing for 14 yards.
WR/QB Brad Smith, BUF (MIA, DEN, @NE) – Five targets, no
Off The Top
LB Stephen Tulloch, DET (@OAK, SD, @GB) – Tulloch should
see plenty of work against the Raiders, who yield big points to
opposing MLBs. He’s been putting up better numbers lately
(19 total tackles, fumble return for TD over his last two games).
DB Tyvon Branch, OAK (DET, @KC, SD) – Branch has had a
quiet but consistent season, recording at least four tackles in
every game. Aside from a big Week 3 against the Jets (10 total
tackles, INT), he’s yet to have a monster IDP impact –
but I really like his matchup against the Lions.
Scouring The Barrel
Johnson, CIN (@STL, ARI, BAL) – Johnson gets to go after Sam
Bradford and the hideous Rams offensive line. He’s an amazing
athlete who’s starting to figure out the league, and he makes
an excellent spot start as a DL2 in Week 15.
LB Lance Briggs, CHI (SEA, @GB, @MIN) – Briggs finished
Sunday’s OT loss with nine solo tackles – his second-highest
solo total of the season – but couldn’t make the big
play necessary to turn the tide in the waning moments. Still –
he was a serviceable LB2.
DL Chris Clemons, SEA (@CHI, SF, @ARI) – Clemons took advantage
of a lackluster Rams O-line and recorded four tackles and a sack
– acceptable numbers for any DL.
DB Vontae Davis, MIA (@BUF, @NE, NYJ) – Davis made just
two solo tackles versus the Eagles.
LB Kevin Burnett, MIA (@BUF, @NE, NYJ) – Burnett also disappointed
in Week 14, recording four total tackles.
Barwin, HOU (@CAR, @IND, TEN) – The promising young pass rusher
finished with five tackles and a huge sack against the Bengals.
On the play, Barwin forced a fumble that was recovered deep in
Bengal territory by the Texans, who scored on a TD pass from Yates
to TE Joel Dreessen a couple minutes into the second half.
DB Tracy Porter, NO (@MIN, ATL, CAR) – Porter only had three
solo tackles but added a pair of PDs that made him an okay DB