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
Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF (@HOU, @NE, MIA, @IND) – Fitzpatrick
(64 percent owned) is coming off his bye and facing a four-game
stretch that’s not unfavorable. He’ll have his struggles,
but in leagues where turnovers don’t count too much against
QBs, he’ll post solid numbers.
Wilson, SEA (MIN, NYJ, BYE, @MIA) – The rookie put up 236-2-1
in Week 8 and faces a relatively soft schedule coming up. He’s
owned in just 31 percent of fantasy leagues. Tom Brady owners
could do worse for a bye week fill-in during Week 9.
Scouring The Barrel
Moore, MIA (@IND, TEN, @BUF, SEA) – It looks like Ryan Tannehill
could be fine by Sunday but I’ve always been a fan of Matt Moore
(2 percent owned), a veteran backup with some big game potential.
During one eight-week stretch last season (Week 9 through Week
16), Moore threw three TDs in a game three times.
Josh Freeman, TB (@OAK, SD, @CAR, ATL) – Freeman continued
his assault with 262-3-0 in the decisive win over Minnesota on
Thursday night. He doesn’t have any red
matchups the rest of the way.
Brandon Weeden, CLE (BAL, BYE, @DAL, PIT) – The Browns-Chargers
game turned into a fantasy nightmare as powerful winds whipped
through Cleveland. Weeden just tallied 129-0-0 on 11-for-27 passing.
Quinn, KC (@SD, @PIT, CIN, DEN) –
Off The Top
Donald Brown, IND (MIA, @JAC, @NE, BUF) – A surprise participant
in Week 8’s win over Tennessee, Brown returned from his
knee scope with a solid game. He rotated in equally with Vick
Ballard and ran the ball well in overtime. This looks like a time-share
moving forward, but if you’re looking for a guy who may
have been discarded to the wire, the Donald might be available.
Brown, NYG (PIT, @CIN, BYE, GB) – Ahmad Bradshaw looks like
exactly what he is – a guy with foot and ankle problems. The Giants
struggled with the running game Sunday and will likely get Brown
– the team’s goal line back – the rock a bit more in the coming
Brown, SD (KC, @TB, @DEN, BAL) – The third Brown in a row
in this column, Ronnie didn’t run the ball a lot (four carries,
17 yards) but made hay in the passing game (7-85-0). I think he’ll
be getting the ball plenty next week, especially with Ryan Mathews
fumbling again during Week 8.
Thomas, MIA (@IND, TEN, @BUF, SEA) – Thomas ground out 42
rushing yards on 15 carries Sunday, capping his day with a TD.
Reggie Bush is still getting the majority of touches but Thomas,
now healthy, is clearly eating into his time.
Scouring The Barrel
Joique Bell, DET (@JAC, @MIN, GB, HOU) – Bell isn’t
the feature back in Detroit, but he gets a few points every week
and could be worth grabbing in deeper leagues.
Ronnie Hillman, DEN (@CIN, @CAR, SD, @KC) – Hillman ran
the ball well as the change of pace back during Week 8 and could
be coming into his own as the Denver running game picks up steam.
Hillman had the best game of his young career with 86 yards on
14 carries and has a favorable schedule during the next few weeks.
Thomas, NO (PHI, ATL, @OAK, SF) – Thomas looked good on his
eight carries, rushing for 43 yards and adding a couple receptions
for 6 yards. But the Saints offense never got going and the veteran
back finished with a ho-hum fantasy day.
Green, GB (ARI, BYE, @DET, @NYG) – Green had his best fantasy
game thus far (54 rushing yards, 4-28-0 receiving on six targets),
something that was nearly a foregone conclusion with Jacksonville
on the schedule. He’s just not much more than a decent RB3/FLEX
at this point.
Dwyer, PIT (@NYG, KC, BAL, @CLE) –
Ballard, IND (MIA, @JAC, @NE, BUF) – With Donald Brown active
and getting carries (14 for 80 yards) Ballard carried the ball
just 12 times in Week 8, rushing for 55 yards. He did clinch the
victory with his only reception of the game, a 16-yard TD that
saw him contort in midair as he flew over the pylon. We’ll probably
see about a 3-2 split of carries for Brown-Ballard going forward.
Jennings, JAC (DET, IND, @HOU, TEN) – Jennings had 115 total
yards (59 rushing, 6-56-0 receiving) but couldn’t get into the
end zone against the Packers. He also lost a fumble.
Stephens-Howling ARI (@GB, BYE, @ATL, STL) –
Harper, TEN (CHI, @MIA, BYE, @JAC) – One carry, -1 yard. Yeah.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
WR Denarius Moore, OAK (TB, @BAL, NO, @CIN) – If Moore
is still available in your league this will be your last chance
to grab him. He had a wonderful Week 8 (5-96-1) and his fantasy
history shows a high-risk, high-reward player you want to insert
in your lineup, balanced with steady performers at the other skill
WR Sidney Rice, SEA (MIN, NYJ, BYE, @MIA) – The next few
matchups aren’t favorable, but it’s impossible to
ignore that Rice has become the top target in Seattle. Rice snagged
6-55-1 in the loss to Detroit in Week 8.
WR Dexter McCluster, KC (@SD, @PIT, CIN, DEN) – McCluster
shows up once in a while in the box score, and Week 8 was his
time to shine (15 rushing yards, 6-54-1 receiving on eight targets).
You can’t expect consistency from anybody in the Chiefs’
offense, but I’m baking on a decent Week 9 for the shifty
young speedster against the Chargers.
Scouring The Barrel
WR Drew Davis, ATL (DAL, @NO, ARI, @TB) – Drew Davis, an
undrafted receiver out of Oregon got the call in Week 8 with Harry
Douglas out. Davis had two catches for 30 yards, including a 15-yard
TD where he was wide open in the back of the end zone. He’s
not worth a pickup at this point, but he’s worth monitoring.
Cobb, GB (ARI, BYE, @DET, @NYG) – With Jordy Nelson inactive,
Cobb had 5-28-1 in the win over Jacksonville. He remains a focal
point of the offense and a top fantasy option at WR as long as
Greg Jennings is out.
Roberts, ARI (@GB, BYE, @ATL, STL) –
Gordon, CLE (BAL, BYE, @DAL, PIT) – Gordon ended his TD streak
but managed to haul in 3-46-0 on five targets in poor passing
conditions. He should get back on track next week against a depleted
Moss, WAS (CAR, BYE, PHI, @DAL) – Moss grabbed 4-21-1 in the
loss to Pittsburgh but appears to be RGIII’s new favorite target
near the red zone.
Young, DET (@JAC, @MIN, GB, HOU) – Boo-yeah. Young was the
top-scoring WR in Week 8 with 9-100-2. If you started him on my
recommendation, you are welcome.
Kerley, NYJ (BYE, @SEA, @STL, NE) – Kerley was okay on Sunday
despite a poor showing by the Jets offense. He caught 5-43-0 on
11 targets, giving him 22 targets over his last two games and
37 over his last four.
Shorts, JAC (DET, IND, @HOU, TEN) – Shorts came through with
8-116-0 and had a TD catch reversed after an official review.
He’s coming on strong and should be viewed as a solid WR3 moving
Givens, STL (BYE, @SF, NYJ, @ARI) – The rookie had his best
game as a pro with 3-63-1, including a 50-yard TD that gave the
Rams a lead that quickly evaporated as the Pats offense heated
Paulsen, WAS (CAR, BYE, PHI, @DAL) – Paulsen had 4-43-0 in
the loss to the Steelers. Not bad for a guy on zero fantasy teams
Off The Top
Burnett, GB (ARI, BYE, @DET, @NYG) – He’s had a few quiet
weeks, so he might be available in some shallow IDP formats. I
started Mark Barron over him in the same league I benched Wesley
Woodyard (see below), so I’m not all that excited about my management
skills coming out of Week 8. Burnett had 11 total tackles (nine
solos), a sack and a fumble recovery against the Jaguars and he’s
got a favorable schedule coming excluding the Week 10 bye.
LB Colin McCarthy, TEN (CHI, @MIA, BYE, @JAC) – The darling
of preseason IDP cheatsheets (although not mine) is finally healthy
and could be a big factor over the next few weeks. He’s
likely available in scores of fantasy leagues because of his ankle
problems and four missed games.
Woodyard, DEN (@CIN, @CAR, SD, @KC) – Woodyard was all over
the field against the Saints (13 total tackles, a sack, two PD,
INT), and he’s probably the best nickel LB in the league so far
this season. He should be owned in all IDP formats and now has
35 total tackles in his last three games.
DL Cameron Jordan, NO (PHI, ATL, @OAK, SF) – Jordan got
off to a great start in 2012, has played relatively well since,
but is coming off a disappointing Week 8. He’s got 30 total
tackles and 3.0 sacks this season. I think he’ll shine in
the next few weeks as the Saints put more emphasis on getting
to the QB.
Scouring The Barrel
DB Thomas DeCoud, ATL (DAL, @NO, ARI, @TB) – Meow.
No seriously, DeCoud is a big-game performer with plenty of IDP
upside. Give him a shot the next few weeks as the Falcons get
into some dogfights with some potent NFC offenses.
DL Michael Bennett, TB (@OAK, SD, @CAR, ATL) – No team has
a more favorable schedule for DLs than the Bucs over their next
four games. Bennett had a minor leg injury at the end of Week
8, but he’s supposed to be fine, according to HC Greg Schiano.
Verner, TEN (CHI, @MIA, BYE, @JAC) – Verner had nine total
tackles and remains a solid DB play in deeper IDP formats.
Sheard, CLE (BAL, BYE, @DAL, PIT) – Just two assists in the
7-6 victory over the Chargers. I’m throwing this game out as a
Nicholas, ATL (DAL, @NO, ARI, @TB) – Nicholas returned to
action with six total tackles and a PD.
Adams, DEN (@CIN, @CAR, SD, @KC) – Adams had just three tackles,
largely because the Saints offense didn’t spend too much time
on the field and when they did, Woodyard made all the plays. Adams
is still a decent DB3.
Blackburn, NYG (PIT, @CIN, BYE, GB) – Blackburn recorded four
solos and an assist before leaving the game with a hamstring injury.
It appears that he could miss some time.
McDonald, SF (BYE, STL, CHI, @NO) –