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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 an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Taylor, BUF – The Bills continue to play well and Taylor
looks ready for his 2016 breakout. After a disastrous Week 1,
Taylor had a big game against the Jets and now has three straight
wins. He’s a threat to run and with defenses likely taking note
of LeSean McCoy’s monster game against the Rams, there’ll be impetus
to throw and run the ball more himself. He’s got solid matchups
the next two games and in Week 8 he could get in a shootout with
Tom Brady and the Patriots. With Taylor available in about 30-50
percent of fantasy leagues, you won’t find another guy with as
Smith, KC – The Raiders allow the most fantasy points
to opposing QBs, and guess who the Chiefs face in Week 6? This
could be a defensive struggle or a shootout – it’s difficult to
tell with all of the uncertainty regarding the Chiefs offensive
game plan, but Smith has a favorable matchup on the road.
Prescott, DAL – Prescott is still available in about
a third of fantasy leagues and had a solid game in Week 5 against
a tough Cincinnati defense, throwing for 227-1-0 with 12 rushing
yards, a rushing TD and lost fumble – his first turnover. The
plan is to bring Tony Romo back after the team’s Week 7 bye to
face the Eagles, which means Dak only gets one more shot to prove
he’s worthy of starting. Even if he’s not much of a factor in
redraft leagues, he needs to be owned in all dynasty formats as
Romo is definitely injury-prone.
UPDATE: The results of a Monday
MRI showed that Romo’s back has healed but he isn’t
yet ready for team drills and it looks like a while before he’ll
be in shape to practice, giving Prescott some more time to show
off his wares and earn some more fantasy cred.
Mariota, TEN – UPDATE: Mariota (40-60 percent owned)
had a monster fantasy day in Week 5 with 163-3-0 passing as well
as 60 rushing yards and a TD on the ground. He’s definitely
a risky play, but gets a favorable schedule the next few games
(CLE, IND, JAC, @SD). If he can develop more chemistry with his
receivers, the sky’s the limit.
Bradford, MIN – The Vikings are on a bye in Week 6,
but Bradford is just 20-40 percent owned and looks to finally
be in a good spot to succeed. He’s not a high priority, but someone
to look at if you’ve been struggling to find consistent options
Hoyer, CHI – Hoyer now has three straight solid fantasy
performances after completing 33 of 43 pass attempts for 397-2-0
in Week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts. All signs point to him
remaining the starter even when Smokin’ Jay Cutler’s thumb is
healthy enough to twiddle on the sidelines.
Lynch, DEN – Lynch looked very much like a rookie QB
in his first career start Sunday, throwing for 223-1-1 in a devastating
loss to the Falcons. Lynch added 18 rushing yards but will give
way to Trevor Siemian (non-throwing shoulder) against the Chargers.
Siemian was 50-50 to face Atlanta but will likely be rushed back
to avoid another loss.
UPDATE: Gary Kubiak is not coaching the team this week due to
health problems (get better, coach!), but Siemian is expected
back for the Thursday game against the Chargers.
Keenum, LAR – Keenum is awful and had 271-0-2 in Week
5. It would take something cataclysmic on the fantasy landscape
or some sort of personal epiphany that gives him the ability to
throw the ball well for him to be worth starting the next few
weeks. Stay away.
Anderson, CAR – Anderson gets the start tonight (Monday),
and the update is coming Tuesday.
UPDATE: Anderson threw for 278 yards and looked to be on the same
page with Greg Olsen (9-181-0) and Kelvin Benjamin (5-70-0), but
threw two terrible interceptions and lost a fumble - turnovers
that helped cost Carolina the game. He threw behind Olsen on what
would have been a sure goal line TD and a disastrous end zone
INT in the fourth quarter showed why he’s not a starter
in the NFL. The Panthers are at New Orleans in Week 6, and they
hope to have Cam Newton back in time for that matchup.
Stanton, ARI – Stanton wasn’t asked to do much Thursday
night, but he ended up throwing 28 passes anyway, completing 11
of them for 124-2-0. The two TDs masked a hideous performance
that will be forgotten once Carson Palmer returns from the concussion
protocol. Palmer is reportedly in the final stages and should
be back for a tasty Week 6 matchup at home against the Jets.
UPDATE: Palmer is expected to clear the concussion protocol today
(Tuesday) and resume starting duties.
Starks, GB – Starks (20-40 percent owned) had 12 carries
for 33 rushing yards and 3-19-0 receiving after Eddie Lacy went
down with an ankle injury on Sunday night. Should Lacy miss additional
time, he’ll be a popular add this week and could be worth a look
as an RB3/flex option against the Cowboys.
UPDATE: Lacy was glad he could walk on his injured ankle less
than 24 hours after sustaining the injury against the Giants,
but he’s questionable for Week 6 and could miss a week or
two of action, giving Starks another shot at meaningful fantasy
Asiata, MIN – Yes, he’s still available in about 50-75
percent of fantasy leagues despite my prediction that he could
exceed McKinnon’s value with the additional goal line work. Asiata
had a big game Sunday with 55 rushing yards and a TD on 14 carries,
adding 3-46-0 receiving in the win over hapless Houston. The Week
6 bye is a monkey wrench, but he’s not going away as a fantasy-relevant
RB and should post decent numbers in weeks 8-10 (@CHI, DET, @WAS).
Booker, DEN –UPDATE: The rookie RB had his best game
as a pro Sunday, carrying six times for 23 yards and adding 4-36-0
on six targets. He’s not going to out-touch C.J. Anderson unless
the veteran gets injured, but this is looking more like a 60-40
timeshare going forward. Booker is available in about 50-60 percent
of redraft leagues and should be owned in all 12-team formats.
Rodgers, TB –UPDATE: He’s on a bye in
Week 6, but Rodgers appears to have a good understanding of Dirk
Koetter’s offense, which he ran during his time in Atlanta.
Rodgers looked solid in a workhorse role on Monday night, rushing
for 101 yards on 30 carries and adding 5-28-0 on six targets.
With Charles Sims (knee) a recent IR designee and Doug Martin
dealing with a hamstring injury that kept him out of the past
three games, Rodgers is a “hot hand” who could be
asked to shoulder a heavy workload even when Martin returns for
favorable matchups in weeks 7-10 (@SF, OAK, ATL, CHI).
West, BAL – West tallied 95 yards on 11 carries and
added two catches for negative-6 yards. He’ll likely remain the
starter but a new offensive coordinator (Marty Mornhinweg replaces
the recently fired Marc Trestman) could change that when Kenneth
Dixon is at full strength.
Morris, DAL – With 33 yards on six carries behind the
impressive running of Ezekiel Elliott and a great offensive line,
Morris remains the top handcuff in fantasy. He needs to be owned
in all formats.
Zenner, DET – Zenner gained just 9 yards on seven carries
against the tough Eagles defensive line, and added 2-23-0 receiving.
With Dwayne Washington on the way back and the Lions scouring
the streets for viable RBs, Zenner might not get the big chance
we were expecting.
Perkins & Bobby
Rainey, NYG – Perkins carried the ball just twice for
9 yards and caught 1-of-2 targets for 13 yards in Week 5 against
the Packers, while Rainey shouldered much of the load for the
Giants, hauling in 6-52-0 and gaining 22 rushing yards on five
carries. Even with the Giants sticking mostly to the passing game,
Perkins was a distant third for touches behind Orleans Darkwa
and Rainey. Perkins should be ignored for now in redraft leagues,
while Rainey will have some value as a low-end FLEX in PPR formats,
even if Rashad Jennings (thumb) returns in Week 6.
With injuries to Kevin White and Eddie
Royal, Cameron Meredith became the breakout star of Week 5.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Coates, PIT – Coates (50-60 percent owned) had 6-139-2
and was targeted 11 times by Big Ben. He had a few drops but the
Steelers are making an effort to get him more involved as both
a deep threat and a chain-mover with plenty of coverage rolling
to Antonio Brown. He should be owned in all formats.
Williams, SD – Williams (60-80 percent owned), caught
five passes for 117 yards and a TD from Philip Rivers Sunday.
He’s now seen 34 targets in five weeks and has 21-358-2 on the
season – solid WR3 numbers. The Week 6 matchup (DEN) is a tough
one, but Williams appears to be trending upward.
Hogan, NE – I’ve been apprehensive to use Hogan in
this space before I got a chance to see him with Brady at the
helm, but with 4-114-0 in Week 5 it appears Hogan can be a solid
risk-reward WR4 with upside. His value would skyrocket should
Julian Edelman miss any time this season, but the former Monmouth
standout is dealing with a head injury that briefly forced him
out of Sunday’s game – so stay tuned.
Kerley, SF – Kerley is perhaps the best fantasy WR
who never gets any props from owners. He’s just 10-20 percent
owned despite consecutive weeks with 6-plus receptions and a TD
(6-88-1; 8-102-1) and he’s playing every snap for the Niners.
If his ankle is okay moving forward, he’s a WR3 with more value
in PPR leagues.
Adams, GB – Aaron Rodgers isn’t playing all that well,
but he was smitten with Adams (25-35 percent owned) on Sunday
night. The third-year WR caught 5-85-1 on eight targets and should
be part of the game plan versus the Cowboys in Week 6.
Meredith, CHI – With Kevin White in IR and Eddie Royal
banged up, Meredith exploded for 9-130-1 (lost fumble) in the
loss to Indy. Just 3-5 percent owned heading into this week’s
waivers (most of those adds were likely FA pickups after the Sunday
games started), Meredith is a worthwhile ad but will struggle
to put up consistent numbers.
Thielen, MIN – I used Thielen (2-5 percent owned) in
some DFS lineups on Sunday, a move that paid off handsomely, as
he rattled off 7-127-1 in the absence of Stephon Diggs (groin).
Again, there’s the Week 6 bye, but Thielen proved he can be a
valuable commodity moving forward.
Aiken, BAL -UPDATE: If Steve Smith is forced to miss
time, Aiken could once again be fantasy relevant in the slot for
Baltimore. The Ravens play the Giants on the road this week. Aiken
hasn’t done much this season, but he’s a capable receiver
who saw 83 targets in the last eight weeks of 2015 – and
finished with 75-944-5 on the season. The return of Breshad Perriman
has changed his role, which could expand in the coming weeks.
Barnidge, CLE – At 60-80 percent owned, Barnidge (5-76-0
in Week 5) is a viable waiver wire option in a portion of formats
and could be in line for tons of targets if Charlie Whitehurst
remains the Cleveland starter.
Clay, BUF – Like his QB, Clay could be poised for a
breakout, as the Bills need to find targets in the passing game.
Clay (just 20-30 percent owned) has five catches in consecutive
weeks and is a high-upside TE2 as long as he doesn’t have any
setbacks with his knee.
Brown, ARI – Stanton wrecked Brown’s value in Week
5 but with Palmer back, the shifty WR will resume WR4 status.
UPDATE: As long as Carson Palmer is good to go for Week 6, feel
free to fire up Brown at WR4/Flex for the matchup with the Jets.
Woods, BUF – Woods was a huge disappointment in Week
5 (2-26-0 on six targets) and cost me a pretty penny as my low-price
flex/WR3 in many DFS lineups. I swung for the fences based on
what I presumed would be low ownership and a modest fantasy floor
considering his 13-140-0 on 18 targets in his previous two games.
Tate, DET – Tate had 3-39-0 on five targets and added
6 rushing yards on three carries. He’s still part of the offense
and hopefully will be more involved next week against the Rams.
Quick, LAR – Quick had 3-51-0 on four targets against
the tough Bills defense. He’s a longshot WR4 play facing the Lions
Inman, SD – Inman seems to alternate big performances
with fellow Chargers WR Tyrell Williams. He had just 1-3-0 on
three targets Sunday.
Celek, SF – Celek had five targets Thursday but hauled
in just one pass for 4 yards. He’s safe to drop in all but
the deepest leagues.