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
Colin Kaepernick, SF (@NE, @SEA, ARI) – It took a while
for Kaepernick to get going in Week 14, but when he did, he gashed
the Miami defense for a 50-yard TD run that greatly assisted his
185-0-0 passing day. Kaepernick protected the football and completed
18 of 23 passes, so he’s probably not in danger of losing
his starting job.
Jake Locker, TEN (NYJ, @GB, JAC) – Locker threw for 262-1-2
and had 51 rushing yards in the loss to Indy. He’s an option
in two-QB leagues the next few weeks, but you’d have to
be desperate to roll the dice with him as your No. 1 guy.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (JAC, BUF, @NE) – Tannehill has a favorable
Week 15 matchup and he played relatively well against the 49ers.
His stock is on the rise as the season winds down.
Scouring The Barrel
Cousins, WAS (@CLE, @PHI, DAL) – If anything’s seriously wrong
with RGIII’s knee, then Cousins would get the start in Week 15.
He’s universally available and doesn’t have huge upside, although
the creative pistol offense could yield decent numbers with such
favorable matchups the last three weeks of the season.
Cutler, CHI (GB, @ARI, @DET) – The Vikings neutralized Cutler
for a large portion of the game and eventually knocked him out
with a neck injury, but he managed to compile 260-1-2 on 22-for-44
passing and 16 rushing yards on two carries – stats on par with
his per-game average for 2012.
Sam Bradford, STL (MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Bradford did what
he needed to do to beat the Bills – protect the football.
He had 209-1-0 passing, 13 rushing yards and a two-point conversion
Weeden, CLE (WAS, @DEN, @PIT) – Weeden had 217 passing yards
but no TDs or INTs – Trent Richardson did much of the heavy lifting
in the red zone.
Nick Foles, PHI (CIN, WAS, @NYG) – Foles had the second-best
game for any QB in Week 14, finishing with 381-2-0 and three carries
for 27 yards and a TD on the ground. He’ll have a much tougher
time against the Bengals than he did against the Bucs.
Brady Quinn, KC (@OAK, IND, @DEN) – The quixotic Quinn
came back down to earth against the Browns, throwing for 159-0-1
in a brutal loss to the Browns.
McElroy, NYJ (@TEN, SD, @BUF) – Mark Sanchez got the start
and was predictably boring and McElroy was simply an afterthought.
Off The Top
Wilson, NYG (@ATL, @BAL, PHI) – Wow. Now that was unexpected.
Wilson broke out with 13 carries for 100 yards, including a six-yard
TD run and an impressive 52-yard scamper that found paydirt. He
also added a 97-yard kickoff return TD. Regardless of whether
or not Ahmad Bradshaw gets the start next week, the Giants will
have to get Wilson (50 percent owned) the ball a lot more.
Bell, DET (@ARI, ATL, CHI) – Bell had a decent Week 14 in
prime time, rushing for 49 yards on 12 carries and hauling in
5-47-0 on seven targets. He’s available in about half of fantasy
leagues and could be a major contributor in Week 15.
Turbin, SEA (@BUF, SF, STL) – Turbin is owned in only about
19-20 percent of fantasy leagues and gets regular carries for
the Seahawks as the change-of-pace back for Marshawn Lynch. He’s
worth a look as a possible flex in deeper formats.
Scouring The Barrel
Grant, GB (@CHI, TEN, @MIN) – The Packers will look to grind
out some wins down the stretch and with Starks on the shelf, Alex
Green, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant will all get looks to be the
“hot hand” go-to running back. Of this lot, I like Harris because
he projects as a powerful red zone option, while Green looks a
bit soft and Grant is bound to be rusty.
Dwyer, PIT (@DAL, CIN, CLE) – Dwyer had 50 total yards (3-18-0
receiving) in a disappointing Week 14 loss to the Chargers. A
TD would’ve made it okay.
Ballard, IND (@HOU, @KC, HOU) – Ballard rushed for 94 yards
on 19 carries and added a 10-yard reception. He’s the feature
back but doesn’t see a lot of work in the red zone in this pass-first
Powell, NYJ (@TEN, SD, @BUF) – Powell continued his effectiveness
as a flex play, totaling 78 rushing yards (19 carries) and a TD
against the Jags.
Starks, GB (@CHI, TEN, @MIN) – Starks sustained an injury
last week and after a Monday flare-up was announced out for multiple
Casey, HOU (IND, MIN, @IND) –
Owens, JAC (@MIA, NE, @TEN) – As expected, Owens shouldered
most of the load against the Jets and finished with solid numbers:
91 rushing yards, TD and 1-11-0 receiving.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Jeremy Maclin, PHI (CIN, WAS, @NYG) – While he’s
only available in about 10-15 percent of fantasy leagues, plenty
of fantasy owners cut bait on Maclin after a couple of dud performances
in the heart of their playoff runs. But a 9-104-1 day on Sunday
versus the Bucs has reignited his fantasy flame.
WR Kenny Britt, TEN (NYJ, @GB, JAC) – The Titans are committed
to getting Britt the ball as the season finishes up, and the next
three weeks should continue to offer opportunities for the offense
to click. Britt is still available in about a third of fantasy
WR Brandon Gibson, STL (MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Gibson had his
best game of 2012 with 6-100-1 in the win over Buffalo. He’s
got some tasty matchups the next couple weeks and should be worth
starting as a WR3/flex in 12-team leagues.
WR Rod Streater, OAK (KC, @CAR, @SD) – The rookie wideout
had 4-100-0 in the loss to Denver and now has 7-196-1 over his
last two games. He’s a risky WR4/flex play in 12-team leagues
but has plenty of upside.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Marvin Jones, CIN (@PHI, @PIT, BAL) – Jones caught 3-45-0
on four targets in the loss to Dallas and had a 37-yard rush on
an end around. He’s a useful target in the red zone and
could be worth a look in deep leagues.
Harbor, PHI (CIN, WAS, @NYG) – With Brent Celek suffering
a concussion and likely on the shelf for Week 15, Foles will continue
to look to Harbor (6-52-1 in Week 14) as a safety valve.
Myers, OAK (KC, @CAR, @SD) – Myers followed up his epic Week
13 performance with a dud on Thursday night against the Broncos:
One measly catch for 7 yards.
Tate, SEA (@BUF, SF, STL) – The Seahawks barely needed a passing
game in their 58-0 drubbing of the Cards and Tate hauled in just
2-6-0 on three targets.
Avery, IND (@HOU, @KC, HOU) – The Titans did an excellent
job limiting Andrew Luck’s big-play effectiveness, and Avery finished
with just 3-31-0 on nine targets. He also had a rush that gained
Hawkins, CIN (@PHI, @PIT, BAL) – Hawkins played well in the
loss to Dallas (6-44-1) and looks like a good bet for a big game
in Week 15.
Thomas, DET (@ARI, ATL, CHI) – Strangely, Thomas had zero
targets against the Packers but managed to gain 25 yards on two
Jean, HOU (IND. MIN, @IND) –
Off The Top
LB Bobby Wagner, SEA (@BUF, SF, STL) – Wagner has 110 total
tackles this season and three INTs over his last three games.
He’s been a welcome addition to what’s become one
of the best defensive units in football and he’s a playmaker
with plenty of fantasy upside.
DB Harrison Smith, MIN (@STL, @HOU, GB) – The rookie safety
has been all over the field for the Vikings the past few weeks
and he capped off another monster day with a pick-six against
the Bears. A ballhawking defender who’s on pace for around
100 tackles, Smith will likely finish among the top 10 fantasy
DBs in 2012.
DL Jabaal Sheard, CLE (WAS, @DEN, @PIT) – Sheard has been
an IDP disappointment in 2012 but has 3.0 sacks and 14 total tackles
in his last five games. He’s a risky play but could be worth
a look in super-deep formats.
Davis, CAR (@SD, OAK, @NO) – Davis has been coming on strong
since the Panthers lost Jon Beason for the remainder of the year.
Over the past four weeks he’s racked up 38 total tackles – and
he had an INT against the Falcons.
Scouring The Barrel
DL Desmond Bryant, OAK (KC, @CAR, @SD) – Bryant is coming
off a solid game against the Broncos and has a favorable schedule
in the last three weeks. He’s my super sleeper DL option
of the week.
DB Reshad Jones, MIA (JAC, BUF, @NE) – Jones has played
extremely well down the stretch for the Dolphins with 37 total
tackles (32 solos) in his last four games. The Jags, Bills and
Pats all offer plus matchups for the Miami DB.
DL Cliff Avril, DET (@ARI, ATL, CHI) – Avril finished the
Sunday night battle with just two solos and a sack – an
LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (MIN, @TB, @SEA) – Dunbar had one of his
better games of the season in Week 14, racking up seven total
tackles as well as a PD and INT.
DB Jordan Babineaux, TEN (NYJ, @GB, JAC) – Eight total tackles
but no junk points – an average game for Babineaux.
LB Demorrio Williams, SD (CAR, @NYJ, OAK) – Williams didn’t
follow up with a monster game, finishing with five total tackles
against the Steelers.
DB Janoris Jenkins, STL (MIN, @TB, @SEA) – After scoring
in consecutive weeks, Jenkins turned in a decent game in Week
14 with six total tackles and a PD.
DL Corey Liuget, SD (@PIT, CAR, @NYJ, OAK) – Another solid
game from Liuget, who had 1 tackle, a sack and two PD in the win
over Pittsburgh. He’s a top 20 fantasy DL.