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.
|Check out the most
popular waiver wire pickups this week across thousands
of MFL leagues. Also, quickly see who's available on
your waiver wire this week by using the MFL
Power feature at FF Today. Just input your
league's 5-digit ID number away you go!
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 ()
Note: Updates are
noted in Red.
Off The Top
Smith, KC (DEN, @WAS, @OAK, IND) – The Chiefs are moving the
ball down the field a lot better and the defense has weakened
considerably, giving Smith (61 percent owned in Yahoo leagues)
more value entering a stretch of favorable matchups. Last week,
he had his most productive fantasy game of the season throwing
for 294-3-1 in the loss to San Diego. He’s worth adding in all
12-team leagues and giving a spot start if you want to make a
last-minute crack at the playoffs and don’t have an elite option
Fitzpatrick, TEN (@IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC) – Fitzpatrick (9
percent owned in Yahoo leagues) has excellent rapport with his
receivers and piled up 320-2-0 and 26 rushing yards in Week 12.
He’s got a slew of excellent matchups in the season’s final few
games and could be an enormous factor in the fantasy playoffs.
Don’t sleep on this veteran QB with upside.
McGloin, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Raiders HC Dennis Allen
already announced that McGloin (3-5 percent owned) would get the
start against Dallas on Thanksgiving, a confidence boost that
could help fuel a big game in what promises to be a holiday shootout.
Scouring The Barrel
Weeden, CLE (JAC, @NE, CHI, NYJ) – Weeden (2 percent owned)
should get the call in Week 12 but he’ll be a low-end QB2 facing
the Jaguars. Brown starter Jason Campbell (head, ribs) left the
game early and will have to pass through NFL concussion protocols
Schaub, HOU (@NE, @JAC, @IND, DEN) – It’s hard to say who’ll
get the start against the Patriots in Week 13 because both Keenum
and Schaub (9 percent owned) have had their struggles and we’re
not even sure if Gary Kubiak will be the one making the decision
because there’s a chance he could be fired this week. In any event,
the matchup is actually a favorable one, but it’s probably a situation
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (@BAL, MIA, CIN, @GB) – Even in
blustery weather conditions, Big Ben tossed for 217-2-0 –
a solid game in the win over Cleveland.
Cutler, CHI (@MIN, DAL, @CLE, @PHI) – The Bears desperately
need Cutler (ankle, groin) to get healthy so they can win some
football games. While Josh McCown didn’t have a disastrous day,
throwing for 352-2-1 with a lost fumble, he doesn’t have the arm
strength that makes Cutler a constant threat to go deep to his
Tolzien, GB (@DET, ATL, @DAL, PIT) – Tolzien got benched after
a 7-for-17 start, tallying 98 passing yards and 25 yards and a
TD on the ground. Matt Flynn will likely start under center on
Thanksgiving if Aaron Rodgers remains out.
Off The Top
Powell, NYJ (MIA, OAK, @CAR, CLE) – Powell (39 percent owned
in Yahoo leagues) shouldered the workload after Chris Ivory rolled
his ankle in the Week 12 loss to Baltimore. The Jets will probably
be without Ivory for at least a couple weeks making Powell an
excellent value add in PPR leagues.
Hillman, DEN (@KC, TEN, SD, @HOU) – Hillman (9-18 percent
owned) has been a healthy scratch the past few games but with
Knowshon Moreno on crutches following Sunday night’s game, the
Broncos will need to get carries from somebody other than Montee
Ball, who was benched for fumbling.
Scouring The Barrel
Bolden, NE (@HOU, CLE, @MIA, @BAL) – The Patriots offense
is filled with fumble bums right now, as both Stevan Ridley and
LeGarrette Blount coughed up the ball on Sunday night. Bolden
(6 percent owned) rushed for 58 yards and a TD as the Pats feature
runner afterwards, while Shane Vereen handled passing down work.
For now, Bolden is the best add but Ridley is still the best RB
on the team.
Cunningham, STL (@SF, @ARI, NO, TB) – Cunningham (3 percent
owned) ran all over the Bears (13 carries for 109 yards, TD) when
starter Zac Stacy left the game early with a concussion. Even
if Stacy can’t go next week, Cunningham is a risky flex play against
the 49ers tough ruin defense.
Jennings, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Jennings continues to
produce (especially in PPR leagues), totaling 73 rushing yards
and 4-49-0 in the loss to Tennessee. He’s worth starting as an
RB2 facing the Cowboys in Week 13.
Ball, DEN (@KC, TEN, SD, @HOU) – As mentioned above, Ball
(57 total yards in Week 12) fumbled on Sunday night but should
still be the lead back if Moreno (ankle) can’t go against the
Brown, IND (TEN, @CIN, HOU, @KC) – Brown laid an egg (two
carries, 1 yard; 1-(-2)-0 receiving) in the Colts loss to Arizona
as Trent Richardson was healthy enough to play, albeit ineffectively.
It’s hard to imagine either back exploding for a big game right
now, though Brown (who netted -1 yard on Sunday) has actually
looked better in limited work over the past few games.
Ogbonnaya, CLE (JAC, @NE, CHI, @NYJ) – Though Ogbonnaya (30
percent owned) was replaced with Fozzy Whittaker for the bulk
of Sunday’s tilt with Pittsburgh (a second quarter fumble by Ogbonnaya
limited his snaps in the second half), it’s hard to imagine he’ll
be in the doghouse for long. He had 41 total yards on six touches,
is the most complete back the Browns have, and could be essential
to the offense in Week 12 against the Jaguars.
Smith, ATL (@BUF, @GB, WAS, @SF) – Despite the fact he’s averaging
33 yards per carry in his last two games, Smith had just one carry
in Thursday’s loss to New Orleans. With not much to play for the
rest of the season, it wouldn’t hurt to see what the Falcons have
in Smith by giving him a healthy workload, would it?
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Edelman, NE (@HOU, CLE, @MIA, @BAL) – Edelman (35-40 percent
owned) exploded for 9-110-2 in the stirring comeback victory over
Denver, tying for the team lead (Vereen) in targets with 11. You
never know what Bill Belichick is thinking, but Danny Amendola
didn’t look great and Tom Brady seems to have a better connection
Burleson, DET (GB, @PHI, BAL, NYG) – Burleson played on 72
of the Lions 80 snaps on Sunday, hauling in 7-77-1 on 10 targets
in the loss to Tampa Bay. He got a lot of looks out of the slot
because Calvin Johnson was covered by Darrelle Revis during all
of the first half – before the shutdown corner left the game with
a groin injury. Burleson is a must add in all formats.
Donnie Avery, KC (DEN, @WAS, @OAK, IND) – Avery (8-18 percent
owned) has big-play ability and finished with 4-91-1 on Sunday.
If Andy Reid is smart, he’ll be utilized a lot like Edelman
was against the Broncos. As I mentioned before, the Chiefs offense
seems to be picking up as their defense begins to struggle.
Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN (CHI, @BAL, PHI, @CIN) – Patterson
(10-20 percent owned) can also contribute with the big hitter,
and his career high of eight receptions on Sunday is a promising
sign. He’s worth adding in deeper leagues and could be worth
a flex play against the Bears in Week 13.
Scouring The Barrel
Underwood, TB (@CAR, BUF, SF, @STL) – The Bucs offense is
looking sharp, and Underwood (3-108-2 on five targets Sunday)
offers a solid red zone target to complement stud WR1 Vincent
Jackson and TE Tim Wright. He’s owned in just 1-2 percent of fantasy
leagues and offers decent upside with some inherent risk.
Hunter, TEN (@IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC) – Hunter (6-109-1) is
a feast-or-famine rookie WR with a lot to offer fantasy owners
if he can get consistent snaps in the Titans offense. He caught
all six targets from Fitzpatrick on Sunday and will continue to
get some chances against the Colts in Week 13.
Floyd, ARI (@PHI, STL, @TEN, @SEA) – Floyd caught all seven
of his targets for 104 yards on Sunday, but Larry Fitzgerald snagged
both Carson Palmer TD passes. Floyd remains a quality WR3/FLEX
in 12-team leagues.
Wright, TEN (@IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC) – Finally, Wright (6-103-1)
made a big catch in the red zone as the titans toppled the Raiders
in the game’s waning moments. He’s now totaled 65-763-2 on the
season, 18th in receiving yardage among WRs and tied with Wes
Welker for 7th with 65 catches.
Graham, HOU (NE, @JAC, @IND, DEN) – Graham had 5-32-0, a disappointing
stat line in a favorable matchup following his Week 11 breakout.
The QB situation in Houston hurts his value.
Streater, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Streater had an okay
day with 5-93-0, but lost a fumble. He’s now at 40-600-2 on the
season and not bad for a guy who was a fantasy afterthought heading
into most drafts.
Cotchery, PIT (@BAL, MIA, CIN, @GB) – The Steelers didn’t
need Cotchery to beat the Browns in swirling winds and he went
without a catch in Week 12. He’s not a great option against Baltimore
and is safe to drop in 12-team formats.
Rivera, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Rivera has just one catch
for 10 yards and left the game early to be evaluated for a concussion.
Wright, MIN (CHI, @BAL, PHI, @CIN) – Wright saw just one target
and was held without a catch in Week 12. Not a great week for
my barrel picks.
Off The Top
Johnson, CIN (@SD, IND, @PIT, MIN) – The Bengals are coming
off a Week 12 bye and Johnson is coming off his best game of the
season in Week 11. The Chargers may be flying high after their
divisional win over the Chiefs but the Bengals pass rush will
find ways to get to Philip Rivers.
LB Wesley Woodyard, DEN (@KC, TWEN, SD, @HOU) – Woodyard
seems to be recovered from his neck injury, posting 15 total tackles
in the OT loss to New England on Sunday night. He’s got
another favorable matchup in Week 13 facing the Chiefs.
DB Antrel Rolle, NYG (@WAS, @SD, SEA, @DET) – Rolle is
about the only defensive back who’s played well for the
Giants this season. He’s racked up 62 total tackles, 2.0
sacks, five INT and nine PD and has picks in four of his last
five games. He’s a solid DB1 facing the Redskins in Week
DL Cameron Heyward, PIT (@BAL, MIA, CIN, @GB) – Since assuming
a bigger role in Week 8, Heyward has 25 total tackles, 3.0 sacks
and three PD – awesome numbers for a DL available on most
Scouring The Barrel
DB William Moore, ATL (@BUF, @GB, WAS, @SF) – The Falcons
will look to Moore to provide some run-stuffing help against the
Bills in Week 13. Thus far, Moore has had a relatively quiet season
(61 total tackles, 1.0 sacks, INT, four PD). He’s due for
some big plays in Buffalo.
Cole, MIN (CHI, @BAL, PHI, @CIN) – Cole, who racked up 13
total tackles and a sack on Sunday, may not get another start
at LB once Erin Henderson (personal) returns to the team, but
it’s worth noting that Henderson has received poor grades this
season. Stay tuned.
Peppers, CHI (@MIN, DAL, @CLE, @PHI) – Peppers followed up
a huge week with a dud, recording just one solo tackle in the
loss to the surging Rams. The Bears had a lot of trouble getting
pressure on Kellen Clemens, and couldn’t stop the running game
DB Barry Church, DAL (OAK, @CHI, GB, @WAS) – Once again,
Church paced the Cowboys with 13 total tackles (eight solos) and
leads all defensive backs in the league with 93 total tackles
(and 75 solos) on the season.
LB Kevin Burnett, OAK (@DAL, @NYJ, KC, @SD) – Burnett had
his second-best fantasy performance of the season, recording 11
total tackles, 0.5 sacks and a PD. He remains a steady LB3 with
DB Alterraun Verner, TEN (@IND, @DEN, ARI, @JAC) – Raiders
QB Matt McGloin managed to protect the ball pretty well, throwing
just one pick. Unfortunately, it didn’t go to Verner, who
compiled four solo tackles in the last-minute win over Oakland.
LB Brad Jones, GB (@DET, ATL, @DAL, PIT) – Jones had a second-straight
big game, piling up 10 total tackles (six solos) and a sack in
the OT tie with Minnesota.
DL George Selvie, DAL (OAK, @CHI, GB, @WAS) – The Giants
kept Selvie off Eli Manning but couldn’t contain Jason Hatcher,
the Cowboys standout DT who had two sacks in the win over New