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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 9
10/27/14; Updated: 10/28/14 Users...
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!
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 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 still be lurking in deeper leagues. I’ll also provide an occasional daily fantasy recommendation, as I’m hopelessly addicted to DFS sites.

Off the Top - Includes my premier recommendations. These are sometimes players available only in more shallow leagues, and occasionally guys who are more ready but are thrust into the fantasy spotlight because of opportunity or exceptional production. Usually, they are available in at least 25 percent of public leagues.

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. Usually, these players are available in at least 50 percent of public leagues.

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 because I don’t always love them. For the most part, you’ll find these players available in about 75-100 percent of fantasy leagues

Each week, I’ll also provide a brief update on the 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 Let’s get to some of the players who could be still out there on the waiver wire and in the free agent pool as you prepare for Week 1!

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

Note: Each player’s next four matchups are listed in parentheses ( ). Since IDP league composition is so varied, I’ll just list defensive players per position and use their Yahoo ownership rates – which due to site ranking anomalies and the high rate of variance in availability, are often much lower than actual ownerships rates.


Off The Top

Carson Palmer, ARI (@DAL, STL, DET, @SEA) – While the shoulder injury and missed time damaged his fantasy value, Palmer has played well the past three weeks (including 329-2-0 in Week 8) and is owned in just 50-75 percent of fantasy leagues. He faces a Dallas defense that’s average versus opposing quarterbacks and could yield some big plays.

UPDATE: The Cowboys defense looked too aggressive at times on Monday night, and the season-ending injury to Justin Durant will hurt them. Palmer is shaping up to be a great value play in DFS and a possible top-5 play in 12-team leagues this week.

Digging Deeper

Kyle Orton, BUF (BYE, KC, @MIA, NYJ) – He’s made a couple appearances in this column already and is on a bye in Week 9, but he’s worth mentioning again (8-20 percent owned) because of his low ownership rates and ability to post big numbers in favorable matchups. In a big week for quarterbacks, Orton posted 238-4-0 and was among the top-five.

Brian Hoyer, CLE (TB, @CIN, HOU, @ATL) – UPDATE: I just can’t abandon this guy, even though he’s now without his tight end and his performance has been lacking. He’s not a great bet to finish 2014 with top-15 numbers, but he’s got a great shot to be a top-10 quarterback facing the Bucs. If you really need a quarterback this week and nobody’s available, give Hoyer a long look.

Scouring The Barrel

Michael Vick, NYJ (@KC, PIT, BYE, @BUF) – UPDATE: I’m not a big fan of his play these days but he’s apparently getting the start against the Chiefs in Kansas City in Week 9. Vick turns the ball over too much and hasn’t had a significant fantasy game since Week 2 last season. However, those first two weeks were solid – 203-2-0 with 54 rushing yards and a TD on the ground (and a lost fumble) in Week 1 at Washington and 428-2-0, 34 rushing yards and another rushing TD in Week 2 against the Chargers. Incidentally, he played the Chiefs in Week 3 and that started his descent into the sad towns of Turnoverville and Injury Junction. Now, he’s got to carry an entire team on his back and is in play in DFS as salary relief in GPPs.

Derek Carr, OAK (@SEA, DEN, @SD, KC) – Carr is an inconsistent fantasy option and his low ownership rates reflect that, but in the right matchups there’s plenty of QB2 value here. He’s a major risk, but look for the Raiders to play catch-up the next few weeks and give Carr a chance to post solid numbers.

Brandon Weeden, DAL (ARI, @JAC, BYE, @NYG) – UPDATE: If the back contusion prevents Tony Romo from starting on Sunday (in a short week), then Weeden makes an interesting add in deeper leagues and would have value in DFS play. He looked good on a couple drives Monday night while Romo was attended to in the locker room.


Ryan Tannehill, MIA (SD, @DET, BUF, @DEN) – Tannehill was an unmitigated disappointment in Week 8, throwing for just 196-1-1 with 48 rushing yards in what should have been a productive matchup versus the Jaguars. Instead, the Dolphins had zero offense in the first half and were forced to rely on a pair of interception returns (one for a 81-yard TD) to win in Jacksonville. His upside is too low to trust on a week-to-week basis in single-QB formats.

Robert Griffin III, WAS (@MIN, BYE, TB, @SF) – Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Griffin was a no-go and Colt McCoy got the start – and the win – on Monday night. Even if he’s ready, he’s a major risk because of his balky knees. With a Week 10 bye I don’t think Washington will take the chance. But if he gets the start you have to like the matchup, right?

Austin Davis, STL (@SF, @ARI, DEN, @SD) – Davis couldn’t get much done against the Chiefs, posting 160-1-1 and completing just 15-of-25 pass attempts. Like Tannehill, he’s not a great option in season-long leagues, and is more of a game-to-game fill-in or cheap DFS option.

Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (WAS, BYE, @CHI, GB) – Bridgewater had a turnover-free game with 241-1-0 in the win over Tampa Bay. He could be in play as a desperation plug-in versus Washington, especially with six teams on bye and so many quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Kyle Orton) unavailable.

Mike Glennon, TB (@CLE, ATL, @WAS, @CHI) – He finished Sunday with 171-1-1 but the Bucs are bad and there’s no semblance of a dependable passing game – even in decent matchups. Avoid Glennon against the Browns and the rest of the way unless you’re a big-time gambler with a Quasimodo-sized hunch.

Running Backs

Off The Top

Mark Ingram, NO (@CAR, SF, CIN, BAL) – Ingram (still just 69 percent owned on Yahoo) had the best game of his career Sunday night, rushing for 172 yards and a TD on 24 carries. His running helped put away the Packers and he solidified himself as a RB1 in certain matchups. From now on, he’ll be a big factor in the Saints offense.

Knile Davis, KC (NYJ, @BUF, SEA, @OAK) – The Chiefs have made an effort to get Davis the ball more, and he’s explosive on special teams, factors that led him to a 49-yard rushing day (16 carries) and a 99-yard kickoff return for a TD. He might be worth rolling out in deeper formats next week against the Jets.

Digging Deeper

Jonathan Stewart, CAR (NO, @PHI, ATL, BYE) – Stewart doesn’t have a lot of upside, but he’s a serviceable RB3/flex as long as DeAngelo Williams is out. His main problem is Cam Newton’s need to pick up TDs on the ground and scamper for a few yards himself behind a less-than-ideal offensive line.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (@PIT, TEN, BYE, @NO) – Taliaferro (10-30 percent owned) had his best game thus far, toting the rock seven times for 27 yards and two TDs and adding 2-42-0 receiving. While this may have been partially due to Bernard Pierce’s inactive status, he appears to be a bigger part of the offense going forward.

UPDATE: Taliaferro is looking more and more like a decent add this week facing the Steelers. He’s a big load at over 225 pounds and the Steelers line and linebackers are definitely a weakness.

Scouring The Barrel

Charles Sims, TB (@CLE, ATL, @WAS, @CHI) - UPDATE: Sims (5-20 percent owned, depending on site) is expected to get a long look when he returns from the IR/Designated to Return list, largely because the team doesn't believe in Bobby Rainey as their long-term answer at the position and Doug Martin could be traded before the impending deadline. He's drawn comparisons to Matt Forte, who was underwhelming for many scouts when he first joined the Bears. If you can't get Rainey, Sims could be a great stash.

Theo Riddick, DET (BYE, MIA, @ARI, @NE) – Riddick had a monster game as a receiver Week 8, hauling in 8-74-1 despite only three carries for 5 yards as a runner. He’s worth a look in deeper formats but this may have been his only major window for big-time fantasy production.

UPDATE: Jim Caldwell said this week the Lions plan to use both Riddick and Reggie Bush going forward, with Riddick in a Darren Sproles role. Riddick is now firmly on the RB4/FLEX radar in PPR leagues.

Juwan Thompson, DEN (@NE, @OAK, @STL, MIA) – Thompson scored twice on two TD plunges, and could be more involved in the next few weeks if Montee Ball isn’t ready to return and the Broncos jump out to some early leads.


Ronnie Hillman, DEN (@NE, @OAK, @STL, MIA) – Hillman tallied 109 rushing yards and 3-29-0 receiving – and had a pair of rushing TDs vultured by Thompson. Hillman is clearly the back to own in Denver, but Thompson is worth a look as a TD-dependent lottery ticket play in GPP tournaments.

Darren McFadden, OAK (@SEA, DEN, @SD, KC) – McFadden had just 59 rushing yards and lost a fumble on 12 carries, while contributing 4-26-0 receiving in the loss to Cleveland. He’s a RB3/flex but his value is capped by the presence of MJD and a lack of Raiders scoring.

Khiry Robinson / Travaris Cadet, NO (@CAR, SF, CIN, BAL) – Robinson was scratched with a forearm injury and Cadet was used mainly as a receiver, hauling in 4-40 on five targets.

Benny Cunningham, STL (@SF, @ARI, DEN, @SD) – Cunningham had four carries for 27 yards but caught just one pass for 8 yards. This is a full-fledged committee with not-so-clearly defined roles, making it a situation to avoid for fantasy owners.

Denard Robinson, JAC (@CIN, DAL, BYE, @IND) – Robinson got the start for the second straight week, totaled 108 rushing yards on 18 carries and added 1-10-0 receiving, even though Toby Gerhart was available. He’s a limited upside RB3/flex play.

Bryce Brown / Anthony Dixon, BUF (BYE, KC, @MIA, NYJ) – As expected, Bryce and Boobie both had trouble breaking through against the Jets tough run defense, averaging around 2.0 yards per carry on a 3-to-1 Dixon-Brown carry split. The Bills are on a Week 9 bye.

Stepfan Taylor, ARI (@DAL, STL, DET, @SEA) – Taylor (calf) left the Week 8 game against the Eagles without a carry and did not return. He’s off the redraft radar in all but the deepest of leagues.

UPDATE: Taylor will miss approximately 2-4 weeks, and Marion Grice takes over as Ellington’s backup. Grice is nothing more than a deep-league stash.

Antonio Andrews, TEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @PHI) – With Shonn Greene active (but firmly in the doghouse after his Friday night arrest), Andrews wasn’t activated for Sunday’s game.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Off The Top

Brandon LaFell, NE (DEN, BYE, @IND, DET) – LaFell (just 35 percent owned on Yahoo) has established himself as one of Tom Brady’s favorite options, and he should be busy against Denver in week 9 as the Pats try to stay with Peyton Manning and move the ball more vertically on offense.

TE Heath Miller, PIT (BAL, @NYJ, @TEN, BYE) – Miller is 60 percent owned on Yahoo and re-established himself as a viable TE with a monster Week 8 against the Colts. The Steelers offense looked awesome and Miller still has some upside in the right matchup.

Andrew Hawkins, CLE (TB, @CIN, HOU, @ATL) – UPDATE: Hawkins has been getting consistent targets this season except for one game in Week 6 (2014: 10, 12, 10, BYE, 9, 2, 9, 9) and the Browns are now likely without Jordan Cameron (concussion) for a couple weeks. While savvy fantasy owners have already snatched up Hawkins, he’s still available in about two-thirds of Yahoo leagues, where his ownership rates are similar to Riley Cooper and Greg Jennings. Hawkins (36-470-1 on 61 targets) has seven more catches and 15 more targets than Cooper (29-305-1, 47 targets) and seven more catches and 14 more targets than Jennings (29-383-2 in eight games). This could be a decent Week to stack a couple passing-oriented Browns (Hoyer & Hawkins) in salary cap tournaments and pay up at RB and TE.

Digging Deeper

Martavis Bryant, PIT (BAL, @NYJ, @TEN, BYE) – Both Bryant (7 percent owned) and Markus Wheaton (38 percent owned) were impressive on Sunday, but who wasn’t? Still, I’d value Bryant as a more traditional complement to Antonio Brown and a better red zone target going forward.

John Brown, ARI (@DAL, STL, DET, @SEA) – Brown caught the go-ahead 75-yard TD pass that beat the Eagles, and he had a total of 5-119-1 on the day. Michael Floyd went without a catch and both appear to be boom-or-bust WR3/4 going forward.

Scouring The Barrel

Donte Moncrief, IND (@NYG, BYE, NE, JAC) – Moncrief (just 3 percent owned) was one of many waiver wire darlings who made themselves known during the crazy Week 8 tilt between Pittsburgh and Indy. Moncrief looks like he’s got plenty of value from here on out with Reggie Wayne on the shelf once again. Snatch him up while you can.

Mychal Rivera, OAK (@SEA, DEN, @SD, KC) – If Carr continues to take only what the defense gives him, he’ll be throwing Rivera’s way quite a bit in the coming weeks. He hauled in 7-83-0 on nine targets Sunday against the Browns, who are usually stingy with opposing tight ends.


Odell Beckham Jr., NYG (IND, @SEA, SF, DAL) – Beckham was on a Week 9 bye and has an excellent matchup this week against the Colts.

Doug Baldwin, SEA (OAK, NYG, @KC, ARI) – Baldwin had 6-61-0 on eight targets Sunday but the Seahawks offense looks out of sync. He’s a slight downgrade from last week, when it looked like he might emerge as a top 20 wide receiver.

Allen Robinson, JAC (@CIN, DAL, BYE, @IND) – The rookie had the most productive game of his young career with 5-82-1 on 10 targets from QB Blake Bortles. With the possible exception of Cecil Shorts, he’s the top receiving option on the Jags.

Kenny Stills, NO (@CAR, SF, CIN, BAL) – Stills had a decent follow-up to his Week 7 breakout with 4-57-0 on four targets from Drew Brees on Sunday night.

TE Gavin Escobar, DAL (ARI, @JAC, BYE, @NYG) – Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Escobar was a non-factor on Monday night, and is a desperation play even in DFS.

Corey Fuller, DET (BYE, MIA, @ARI, @NE) – Fuller tallied 3-43-0 on six targets Sunday against the Falcons. He’s on a Week 9 bye and is temporarily off the fantasy radar.



LB Anthony Barr, MIN (WAS, BYE, @CHI, GB) – Barr finished off a big day (eight solos, a sack, PD, forced fumble) with a 27-yard fumble return TD that ended the game in OT. Over the last two weeks, Barr has 18 total tackles, three FR, the TD and two PD, He’s beasting right now and is still available in a smattering of IDP leagues.

LB Avery Williamson, TEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @PHI) – Williamson (10 total tackles, sack, PD in Week 8) is on a bye this coming week but is on the field in nickel packages with Wesley Woodyard and is really starting to produce.

Defensive Backs

DB Kenny Vaccaro, NO (@CAR, SF, CIN, BAL) – Vaccaro is one of the most consistent IDP safeties in the game and had 10 total tackles on Sunday night. He’s tallied 40 total tackles a sack, INT and three PD this season in seven games.

DB Joe Haden, CLE (TB, @CIN, HOU, @ATL) – Haden is a playmaker who still draws plenty of action his way. He’s coming off a big game versus the Raiders (nine total tackles, two PD, FR) and is a solid tackler for his size.

Defensive Lineman

DL Robert Quinn, STL (@SF, @ARI, DEN, @SD) – Quinn, dropped in many IDP formats due to lack of production) finally had his breakthrough game (five solos, 2.0 sacks, FF) and is worth plugging in against the 49ers in Week 9.

DL Sharrif Floyd, MIN (WAS, BYE, @CHI, GB) – Floyd is a risky deep-league play at DL but he’s had two big weeks in a row, posting 13 tackles and 2.0 sacks over that span. He gets Washington in Week 9.


LB Chad Greenway, MIN (WAS, BYE, @CHI, GB) – Greenway had an okay game (nine total tackles) but was upstaged by Barr. The veteran is still an LB2 gong forward.

LB Don’t’a Hightower, NE (DEN, BYE, @IND, DET) – Hightower posted 10 total tackles and a half-sack on Sunday in the win over Chicago. He and Jamie Collins have really been stepping up with Jerod Mayo hurt.

DB Reshad Jones, MIA (SD, @DET, BUF, @DEN) – Jones (eight total tackles and a sack in Week 8) hasn’t missed a beat since returning from suspension. He’s got 24 total tackles, an INT, three PD and a sack in just three games this season.

DB James Ihedigbo, DET (BYE, MIA, @ARI, @NE) – Ihedigbo posted nice tackle numbers on Sunday with seven solos in the win over the Falcons in London. He’s a DB2 going forward but is on a Week 9 bye.

DL Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (@KC, PIT, BYE, @BUF) – Wilkerson had a relatively quiet game but managed five total tackles and a half-sack in the loss to Buffalo. He’s one of the most consistent IDP ends out there.

DL/LB Derrick Morgan, TEN (BYE, @BAL, PIT, @PHI) – Morgan had just two solos and a PD in the loss to Houston Sunday. He’s on a bye Week 9.