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
Andy Dalton, CIN (@JAC, MIA, @CLE, PIT) – Dalton (73 percent
owned) didn’t throw the first TD pass of the game, but he
threw for 328-3-1 and led the Bengals to a victory over the Redskins.
The Cincy offense looked downright explosive and Dalton could
be making the necessary steps to be considered for week-to-week
starting duty in some formats.
Christian Ponder, MIN (@DET, TEN, @WAS, ARI) – The Vikings
manhandled the 49ers and Ponder was the offensive star, hooking
up with his young TE for two scores. The upcoming matchups portend
a world of fabulous fantasy possibilities and he’s available
in about two-thirds of fantasy leagues.
Locker, TEN (@HOU, @MIN, PIT, @BUF) – Like Ponder, Locker
is a mobile young QB who’s starting to show off his big-play ability.
He’s owned in just 30 percent of fantasy leagues and could be
of value as a bye-week-worthy backup and spot starter.
Russell Wilson, SEA (@STL, @CAR, NE, @SF) – Monday night’s
debacle aside, Wilson has done an excellent job for a rookie QB.
He didn’t play a flawless game against the Packers (and
the second TD was a gift), but he’s in line for some decent
matchups and short fields based on how well the Seattle defense
Scouring The Barrel
Shaun Hill, DET (MIN, BYE, @PHI, @CHI) – Starting QB Matthew
Stafford was injured in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss
to Tennessee and Hill tossed a couple TD passes and threw for
172 yards in limited duty. He’s a capable NFL QB and could
be relevant if there’s anything to the Stafford injury.
An MRI (scheduled for Stafford on Monday) will give us some indication
whether or not Hill should be added to rosters and whether or
not he’ll start Week 4 against the Vikings.
Palmer, OAK (@DEN, BYE, @ATL, JAC) – All things considered,
Palmer had a solid game against a tough opponent (24-for-34, 209-3-1)
but may have lost Darrius Heyward-Bey for multiple weeks following
a scary collision. Stay tuned.
Sam Bradford, STL (SEA, ARI, @MIA, GB) – Bradford turned
in a real stinker against the Bears, completing just 18 of 35
pass attempts for 152 yards, no TDs and two INTs. He’s facing
some tough matchups in the coming weeks.
Kevin Kolb, ARI (MIA, @STL, BUF, @MIN) – Kolb had another
impressive outing void of turnovers, tossing for 222-2-0. He’s
got a handle on the starting gig for now and could still be worth
a pickup in deeper leagues.
Off The Top
Leshoure, DET (MIN, BYE, @PHI, @CHI) – Leshoure wrested the
starting job from Kevin Smith and got lots of work Sunday (134
total yards, TD) in the loss to the Titans. He’s available in
just fewer than 50 percent of leagues and should be the top back
added this week off the wire if he’s out there.
Williams, ARI (MIA, @STL, BUF, @MIN) – The second-year back
didn’t find paydirt in Week 3, but he’s the best RB option in
Arizona and should be considered a decent RB3 with upside. Williams
(47 percent owned) probably won’t get much competition from Beanie
Wells if he and the Cards keep rolling.
Rodgers, ATL (CAR, @WAS, OAK, BYE) – Rodgers didn’t earn the
start despite Michael Turner’s DWI arrest, but he’s in line for
consistent touches this season and should be owned in all 12-team
formats. His Sunday rushing totals weren’t all that impressive,
but he added 5-35-1 receiving to make it a productive day.
Thomas, MIA (@ARI, @CIN, STL, BYE) – The injury to Reggie
Bush means a healthy Thomas could be the new back to own in Miami.
Keep and eye on Reggie’s status heading into Week 4, because the
next couple matchups could be interesting. The latest word is
that Bush has avoided major injury, but I’m making a claim
on Thomas tonight in the league where I own Reggie, who is reported
to miss just one game at the most.
Scouring The Barrel
Woodhead, NE (@BUF, DEN, @SEA, NYJ) – Woodhead is still used
to grind out tough yards and in goal line situations, and while
he’s never going to have huge value, he’s a capable bye week fill-in
who can pay dividends in deeper leagues.
Choice, BUF (NE, @SF, @ARI, TEN) – C.J. Spiller left Sunday’s
game with a shoulder injury and Choice stepped in, rushing for
91 yards on 20 carries. He’s probably the second-best RB addition
this week if the injury to Spiller is serious. Keep any eye out
for updates. Choice will likely get the start this week against
New England, and Spiller is expected to miss at least one week,
according to HC Chan Gailey.
Thomas, NO (@GB, SD, BYE, @TB) – Thomas had a TD reception
taken away but still combined for 66 total yards in the devastating
loss to KC. He’s probably the second-best fantasy option in their
backfield behind Darren Sproles (and ahead of Mark Ingram), but
he’s getting more involved as the weeks progress.
Brown, NYG (@PHI, CLE, @SF, WAS) – Brown’s huge Thursday night
performance allows fantasy owners to start him with confidence
the next couple weeks if Ahmad Bradshaw can’t go.
Richardson, STL (SEA, ARI, @MIA, GB) – The “other” Richardson
was relatively quiet with Steven Jackson back in action and the
Rams struggling to move the ball offensively. He’s just a blip
on the fantasy radar at this point.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Nate Washington, TEN (@HOU, @MIN, PIT, @BUF) – The veteran
receiver caught just three passes on Sunday, but one was a spectacular
71-yard TD in the fourth quarter from Locker. He’s now got
a couple TDs in three games and could be targeted more if TE Jared
Cook is forced to miss any time with his shoulder injury
WR Titus Young, DET (MIN, BYE, @PHI, @CHI) – Young hasn’t
set the world on fire thus far, but he had an excellent Week 3,
largely due to a desperation heave that he hauled in for a TD
as time expired to send the game into Overtime. He’ll be
tough to count on every week, but Week 3 was a step forward.
Rudolph, MIN (@DET, TEN, @WAS, ARI) – Rudolph (48 percent
owned) has drawn comparisons to Rob Gronkowski and Sunday proved
he deserves some red zone recognition. He’s the top TE add for
Week 4 and should be owned in most 12-team formats after his 5-36-2
performance on Sunday.
WR Nate Burleson, DET (MIN, BYE, @PHI, @CHI) – He keeps
getting it done and from a PPR perspective, he’s worth considering
as a WR3 in some weeks. Burleson had 10-69-1 in the loss to TEN
and usually benefits from Megatron double-teams.
Scouring The Barrel
Shorts, JAC (CIN, CHI, BYE, @OAK) – He’s a big-play receiver
who‘s not targeted all that often, but he found the end zone again
in Week 3 on an 80-yard bomb from Blaine Gabbert. I can’t justify
dropping proven fantasy commodities to pick him up, but you might
not have that problem.
WR T.Y. Hilton, IND (BYE, GB, @NYJ, CLE) – Hilton’s
breakout Week 3 performance (4-113-1) was capped by a 40-yard
TD and overshadowed by the Gabbert-Shorts bomb, but the risk/reward
rookie was targeted eight times by Luck and is worth adding in
12-team and deeper leagues.
WR Danny Amendola, STL (SEA, ARI, @MIA, GB) – He didn’t
score, but 5-66-0 isn’t bad for PPR leagues, especially
considering how sluggish the STL offense was in Week 3.
WR Andrew Hawkins, CIN (@JAC, MIA, @CLE, PIT) – I was intrigued
by Hawkins speed after Week 1 and he didn’t disappoint in
Week 3, hauling in a 59-yard TD en route to a 2-66-1 day. He won’t
be available in too many leagues after this week.
TE Martellus Bennett, NYG (@PHI, CLE, @SF, WAS) – Bennett
posted 6-73-1 in the win over Carolina, and his owners should
be happy folks. You’re welcome, America.
TE Dante Rosario, SD (@KC, @NO, DEN, BYE) – As expected,
Rosario went quiet in Week 3, fumbling away his only reception
in the loss to Atlanta.
WR Donnie Avery, IND (BYE, GB, @NYJ, CLE) – Luck looked
elsewhere for his big plays, but at least 2-28-0 isn’t a
Off The Top
DL J.J. Watt, HOU (TEN, @NYJ, GB, BAL) – I doubt many IDPers
aren’t aware of this guy (81 percent owned), but just in
case, I’m including him here. Watt is poised for huge numbers
this season and already has 15 total tackles and 5.5 sacks in
three games. It’s also worth mentioning that I was all over
him as an upper tier guy in my rankings this season.
LB Donald Butler, SD (@KC, @NO, DEN, BYE) – Butler is emerging
as the best IDP option on his team. He had 12 total tackles on
Sunday and should continue to produce in the coming weeks.
DB Kyle Arrington, NE (@BUF, DEN, @SEA, NYJ) – The Pats
were victimized by some terrible calls in the fourth quarter on
Sunday night, eclipsing what was a solid performance from Arrington,
who made seven solo tackles. He’s worth consideration in
deeper IDP formats.
DL Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (SF, HOU. IND, @NE) – Wilkerson
has been racking up tackles (14 total this season) and should
continue to produce given the upcoming matchups. He’s an
IDP sleeper for sure, but one who’ll be consistent enough
without piling up sacks.
Scouring The Barrel
LB Russell Allen, JAC (CIN, CHI, BYE, @OAK) – Allen has
31 total tackles (22 solos) through three games and should be
owned in all IDP formats. ‘Nuff said.
DB Atari Bigby, SD (@KC, @NO, DEN, BYE) – Bigby has returned
to IDP relevance and posted 15 total tackles Sunday in the loss
to Atlanta. It could be a busy year for Atari.
DB Dawan Landry, JAC (CIN, CHI, BYE, @OAK) – Landry had
five total tackles on Sunday. Not bad, but not all that exciting.
LB Mason Foster, TB (WAS, BYE, KC, NO) – Foster followed
up a productive Week 2 with eight total tackles (seven solos)
against Dallas – a solid performance without frills.
DL Matt Shaughnessy, OAK (@DEN, BYE, @ATL, JAC) – He’s
been missing from the box score for a couple weeks now, although
his run-stopping presence was felt against the Steelers.
DB Patrick Peterson, ARI (MIA, @STL, BUF, @MIN) – He’s
a risk/reward guy, and Week 3 didn’t return much on the
investment (one solo).
LB Jerrell Freeman, IND (BYE, GB, @NYJ, CLE) – Freeman had
eleven solo tackles and two assists on Sunday, giving him 27 total
tackles on the season.
DL Tyson Alualu, JAC (CIN, CHI, BYE, @OAK) – Just two tackles
in Sunday’s win over indy. Keep him on your radar.