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 ()
Note: Updates are
highlighted in Red.
Off The Top
Dalton, CIN (NYJ, @MIA, @BAL) – Coming off his best game of
the season (372-3-0), Dalton is still available in about 20-30
percent of fantasy leagues. He’s past the easiest part of his
schedule, but you could do worse than Dalton if you need a bye
week fill-in QB for Week 8. He’s clicking with A.J. Green and
has all the weapons he needs to succeed regardless of matchup.
Pryor, OAK (PIT, PHI, @NYG) – Pryor is coming off a Week 7
bye and is available in 50-60 percent of fantasy leagues. While
his Week 8 matchup is a difficult one, he should be viewed as
a low-end QB 1 during his matchups with the Eagles and Giants
in weeks 9 and 10, when five QB1s have their bye weeks. Jump on
him if he’s in your free agent pool.
Scouring The Barrel
Keenum, HOU (BYE, IND, @ARI, OAK) – Keenum (1-5 percent owned)
made his “case” for the starting job in Houston by bringing some
life to the passing game and managing a 271-1-0 line. He lost
a fumble but didn’t throw any interceptions, a huge plus for his
chances of holding onto the starting job. He’s on a Week 8 bye
but has a favorable schedule from weeks 10-14.
Clemens, STL (SEA, TEN, @IND, BYE) – Sam Bradford will miss
the remainder of the 2013 with a torn ACL. Clemens is not the
answer and provides little value in fantasy leagues, but I’m using
this opportunity to point out that the Rams might pick up someone
with the ability to use the varied weapons this team has at its
disposal. Stay tuned.
Tannehill, MIA (@NE, CIN, @TB, SD) – Tannehill’s stat line
(194-3-2, lost fumble) was marred by turnovers and the upcoming
schedule doesn’t look all that great from a fantasy perspective.
I’d rather have Locker for my QB2 (see below) the rest of the
Locker, TEN (BYE, @STL, JAC, IND) – Locker came back earlier
than expected and had 326-2-1 (as well as 29 rushing yards) in
the loss to San Francisco. He’s got a Week 8 bye but figures to
be a solid QB2 during the second half of 2013. Also – I’m glad
I didn’t jump on the bandwagon and put Nick Foles in my recommendations
for Week 7 like just about every other fantasy writer in the biz,
instead focusing my attention on the talented Locker.
Chad Henne, JAC (SF, BYE, @TEN, ARI) – Henne piled up some
decent yardage (318-0-1 passing yards) but finished without a
TD pass against the Chargers. He could post similar numbers next
week against the 49ers, who’ve been allowing opposing QBs
some garbage time yardage in the second half.
Thaddeus Lewis, BUF (@NO, KC, @PIT, NYJ) – Lewis has the
job, for now, but also had a rough Week 7 (202-0-1, 13 rushing
yards) and can’t look forward to a favorable schedule on
the fantasy horizon. Even in two-QB leagues, he’s a low-end
Off The Top
Stacy, STL (SEA, TEN, @IND, BYE) – Stacy is still available
in 25-50 percent of fantasy leagues and is the lead back in the
Rams offense, which is now without Bradford. Stacy rushed for
53 yards against Carolina and scored his first career TD via a
4-34-1 receiving line. He’s a solid flex option going forward.
Helu, WAS (@DEN, SD, @MIN, @PHI) – I highlighted Helu’s upside
in my Week 5 recommendations, and had him rostered (and starting)
in two expert leagues yesterday, including the competitive CBS
Sports IDP Experts league. Shanahan loves Helu – who now has 52
points (averaging 17 per contest) over his last three games. Still,
he’s owned in just 30-50 percent of fantasy leagues and remains
a big part of the Redskins up-tempo offense.
Scouring The Barrel
Bolden, NE (MIA, PIT, BYE, @CAR) – It’s tough to tell if Bolden
(10-30 percent owned) will continue to get opportunities, but
he had 36 rushing yards on eight carries and a TD against the
Jets (primary RB Stevan Ridley had 11 carries for 50 yards and
a score). Monitor this situation heading into a favorable Week
Hillis, NYG (@PHI, BYE, OAK, GB) –
James, TB (CAR, @SEA, MIA, ATL) – Doug Martin has reportedly
torn the labrum in his shoulder and will be out for the year,
thrusting James into the spotlight. The rookie had 14 carries
for 45 yards and 3-8-0 receiving in relief of Martin on Sunday.
Rodgers, ATL (@ARI, @CAR, SEA, @TB) – Rodgers has a monster
game despite just 16 rushing yards on eight carries. The scatback
posted 8-46-2 receiving and has performed like a high-end RB2
in PPR leagues since Steven Jackson went down.
Ellington, ARI (ATL, BYE, HOU, @JAC) – Thursday night games
are where production goes to die. Ellington had just three carries
for 3 yards and two receptions for 10 yards.
Randle, DAL (@DET, MIN, @NO, BYE) – Randle filled in for 65
rushing yards and 3-28-0 receiving, meeting humble expectations
in Demarco’s Murray’s stead.
Ogbonnaya, CLE (@KC, @BAL, BYE, @CIN) – Obgonnaya only rushed
four times for 15 yards and didn’t catch either of his measly
two targets in the passing game. It was a disappointing performance
in a matchup that could have provided some moderate value.
Jacobs, NYG (@PHI, BYE, OAK, GB) –
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Off The Top
Douglas, ATL (@ARI, @CAR, SEA, @TB) – Douglas went off for
7-149-1 in the win over Tampa Bay. With Julio Jones done for the
season and Roddy White still nursing hamstring and ankle injuries,
there’s little doubt which wideout will be receiving the most
targets for the Falcons going forward.
Williams, DAL (@DET, MIN, @NO, BYE) – When Miles Austin went
down with another hamstring injury, I included Williams in this
column. But even with Austin active, Williams is emerging as a
favorite target for Tony Romo. On Sunday, the rookie hauled in
6-71-1 on seven targets and now has TDs in three straight games.
Reed, WAS (@DEN, SD, @MIN, @PHI) – I added Reed (available
in 65-75 percent of leagues) on a couple of my teams last week
but neglected to find a starting spot for him in a 14-team league
where I now need a huge night from Rueben Randle (and a sub-par
performance from my competitor’s Adrian Peterson) for a victory.
I should’ve known better; Reed blew up for 9-134-1 and solidified
his place in the Redskins offense going forward. The 6-2, 243-pound
rookie TE out of Florida was drafted in the third round and has
drawn (football) comparisons to Aaron Hernandez. He’s now caught
13 of 15 targets in his last two games and should be added in
Boykin, GB (@MIN, CHI, PHI, @NYG) – Boykin exploded for 8-103-1
and should continue to see targets with Randall Cobb out and the
devastating neck injury to Jermichael Finley including the TE’s
status for the rest of the season, and possibly his career (Finley
was still in ICU as of Monday morning). Boykin is owned in just
25-40 percent of leagues and is a must-own WR3 with upside in
Heyward-Bey, IND (BYE, @HOU, STL, @TEN) – Heyward-Bey (4-44-1,
30 rushing yards on Sunday night) is facing a Week 8 bye and has
been inconsistent throughout his career, but the opportunities
he’ll see in the Colts offense (with Reggie Wayne out with an
ACL injury) outweigh the baggage.
Scouring The Barrel
Kerley, NYJ (@CIN, NO, BYE, @BUF) – Kerley is still available
in most 12-team redraft leagues and is Geno Smith’s top receiver.
He had 8-97-1 on Sunday and 15-184-2 over his last three games.
Brandon Gibson, MIA (@NE, CIN, @TB, SD) – Gibson (4-15
percent owned) had 5-40-2 in the loss to Buffalo but is emerging
as a red-zone favorite of Tannehill. He’s worth a look in
deeper formats and has 29-322-2 on 41 targets this season for
Brazill, IND (BYE, @HOU, STL, @TEN) – The Colts receiver is
immensely talented and is no longer suspended. He’s yet to figure
into the Colts offensive plans but makes sense as a super-deep
sleeper with Wayne out for the season. He’ll get plenty of reps
in practice over the next couple weeks and makes an interesting
Hartline, MIA (@NE, CIN, @TB, SD) – Hartline put up a solid
PPR line (6-69-0) but couldn’t find the end zone as Brandon Gibson
caught two of Tannehill’s three TD passes.
LaFell, CAR (@TB, ATL, @SF, NE) – Steve Smith (5-69-1) got
most of the glory for abusing the trash-talking Janoris Jenkins
and LaFell managed just 3-35-0 in the win over the Rams.
Fauria, DET (DAL, BYE, @CHI, @PIT) – Fauria followed up his
breakout week with just one catch for 15 yards. He’s a decent
option next week against the Cowboys, who’ve struggled to contain
Jones, CIN (MYJ, @MIA, @BAL, CLE) – Jones had another excellent
week, hauling in four catches for 57 yards and a TD. He now had
three TDs on the season and is emerging as a viable WR4 in 12-team
Goodwin, BUF (@NO, KC, @PIT, NYJ) – Goodwin put up a goose
egg against the Dolphins as the offense never really got going
but grinded out a victory with a lot of help from a defensive
score in the first half.
Off The Top
DL Cameron Jordan, NO (BUF, @NYJ, DAL, SF) – Jordan has
5.0 sacks this season through six games and is coming off a bye.
He’s likely available in the majority of IDP leagues with
thin benches – because there’s just never enough room
to stash DLs on byes, is there? He’s got some favorable
matchups the next few weeks.
LB Justin Houston, KC (CLE, @BUF, BYE, @DEN) – He’s
been relatively quiet since his Week 3 breakout but appears to
be healthy following a Week 4 head injury. He’s at 10.0
sacks on the season and is still out there in a few leagues.
DB Reshad Jones, MIA (@NE, CIN, @TB, SD) – I added Jones
and plugged him in my Week 7 lineup and was rewarded with 10 total
tackles (nine solos) and a sack. I’m sold – go ahead
and add him if you’re looking for a consistent contributor
DL Geno Atkins, CIN (NYJ, @MIA, @BAL, CLE) – I’m sure
Atkins has been dropped in about 50 percent of IDP leagues following
what has been a disappointing season so far. Atkins benefited
from relatively obscurity last season but after signing a huge
five-year, $55 million extension for the Bengals, he’s often
double teamed by opposing linemen and has struggled to make plays.
While he’s got 4.0 sacks and his tackle numbers are way
down, I’m expecting a rebound and a lot more consistency
from the 300-pound interior lineman in the coming weeks.
Scouring The Barrel
Woodley, PIT (@OAK, @NE, BUF, DET) – Woodley now has sacks
in four straight games and seems to be over his knee issues. He’s
got some upside in the next few matchups for the surging Steelers
Wolff, PHI (NYG, @OAK, @GB, WAS) – The rookie safety had his
best game as a pro on Sunday, recording five solo tackles, a PD
and an INT against the Cowboys. He’s got favorable matchups over
his next four games and sports tons of upside on a defense that
relies on its secondary to make plays.
Greene, CHI (BYE, @GB, DET, BAL)–
DL Cameron Wake, MIA (@NE, CIN, @TB, SD) – Wake (knee)
was active for Sunday’s game but the Bills did an excellent
job neutralizing him, holding the elite pass rusher to just one
solo tackle. Lewis did get sacked four times, but it wasn’t
Wake who got to him.
LB DeAndre Levy, DET (DAL, BYE, @CHI, @PIT) – Levy continued
his consistent 2013 season with eight total tackles (seven solos)
and a PD in Week 7.
Trevathan, DEN (WAS, BYE, @SD, KC) – With MLB Wesley Woodyard
still out (neck), Trevathan collected eight total tackles and
a PD in the loss to Indy. Paris Lenon got the start at MLB and
finished with eight total tackles and two PD.
DB Tyrann Mathieu, ARI (ATL, BYE, HOU, @JAC) – Mathieu had
his first disappointing IDP performance of 2013, collecting just
two solo tackles on Thursday night. He’s still an emergent
Richardson, NYJ (@CIN, NO, BYE, @BUF) – Richardson applied
some solid pressure to Tom Brady but finished with five tackles
on the day and no sacks, according to the preliminary stats. I
watched the game and believe at least a half-sack will be added
to his tally on a play where Brady fumbled right before the half
(Pats OL Sebastian Vollmer recovered) and Calvin Pace was credited
with the full sack. The official NFL Gamebook already credits
Richardson with sharing the stop.
DB John Cyprien, JAC (SF, BYE, @TEN, ARI) – Cyprien had
just four solos and an assist in what should have been a more
productive IDP performance. The rookie safety should be viewed
as a low-end DB3 going forward – he’s just too inconsistent
to trust every week.