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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.
Marcus Mariota had his best fantasy day
as pro, highlighted by an 87-yd TD run in the fourth quarter.
Mariota, TEN – Albeit in a favorable matchup, Mariota
had his best fantasy game as a pro, throwing for 268-3-1 and adding
112 rushing yards and a TD on the ground – a facet of his game
we haven’t seen much this season. Mariota is owned in about 50-70
percent of fantasy leagues and I know of more than one format
where he was acquired as a free agent on Sunday morning and deployed
for this huge game. The Jets have been tough on opposing QBs but
if you’re looking for upside, you might as well look to the talented
UPDATE:The Jets secondary
has been struggling relative to their work early in the season,
and this unit may still be without Darrelle Revis, which definitely
increases Mariota’s upside. He’s worth adding and
considering in all formats unless you have a bona fide Top 5 QB.
Gabbert, SF – Gabbert is owned in just 5-10 percent
of fantasy leagues and had a marvelous game in Week 13, earning
the 49ers a win over Chicago and throwing for 196-1-0 with 75
rushing yards and a TD, the score a 44-yard TD run that ended
the game in OT. The Browns are listless on offense and defense
right now and Gabbert could be a sneaky QB2 in a good matchup
in Week 14.
Taylor, BUF –I neglected to include Taylor because
he’s so highly owned in one of the regular formats I use to project
ownership levels, but a quick glance at some other sites has shown
ownership rates as low as 35 percent and as high as 75 percent.
In any event, he’s worth a look given how poorly the Eagles defense
has played. I’m throwing out their high-water mark from last week
because, let’s face it, that was not the New England Patriots
– it was a hobbled group of street performers disguised as NFL
Winston, TB –Same goes for Winston, who I didn’t
expect to be available in so many formats. He’s got an excellent
matchup and tons of upside. This could be another high-scoring
Fitzpatrick, NYJ – Fitzpatrick had his second-best
fantasy game of the season with 390-2-0 and 22 rushing yards against
the Giants. He’s a solid low-end QB1 play at home versus the Titans
in Week 14.
UPDATE:This could turn into
another shootout, which makes Fitzpatrick-Marshall a very appealing
stack in DFS as well. I’m rolling him out in at least one
fantasy playoff game as well.
Osweiler, DEN – Osweiler wasn’t asked to do much in
Week 13 versus the Chargers, finishing with just 166-1-1 in a
boring but decisive win. The defense did all the work here, but
he could be forced into throwing more against the Raiders in Week
14. Stay tuned.
UPDATE:Cassel was terrible
on what appeared to be some simple throws and only showed some
heart in the final two minutes. He’s not a guy to consider
in the fantasy playoffs.
Davis, CLE – Davis had a rough Sunday, throwing for
230-0-1 and losing a fumble in the loss to Cincy. We could see
Manziel next week with the Browns taking on the 49ers and looking
to their future.
UPDATE:Johnny appears to be
getting the start against San Fran, but that doesn’t make
me feel very warm and fuzzy when considering some of the other
young QBs available in most leagues. Avoid him unless you are
Jones, WAS -He handled most of the workload after
Alfred Morris got benched in the final three quarters Monday night,
and appears to be set for a solid matchup against the Bears in Week
14. He's only available in shallower formats and about 20-25 percent
of most leagues, but he's a guy who could have a huge impact during
the fantasy playoffs and he's capable of monster games.
White, NE – White caught a career-high 10-115-1 and
makes an excellent addition heading into a difficult Week 14 matchup
with the Texans. While he’s owned in about 60-65 percent of leagues,
there are plenty of formats where he just didn’t make rosters
because of the uncertainty that surrounds the Pats’ running game.
Now, he appears to be the best option to rack up dump offs (so
he’s got big-time PPR value) and has a good shot at scoring.
Sproles, PHI – Sproles (50-60 percent owned) had his
best game of 2015, racking up 66 rushing yards on 15 carries and
adding a punt return TD against the Pats. He supplanted DeMarco
Murray as the primary back in Chip Kelly’s Week 13 game plan and
could be used heavily again in Week 14 against the Bills. The
Eagles offense is finally getting interesting!
UPDATE:Ryan Mathews could
get cleared to play this week and would seriously hinder Sproles’
chances at repeating the volume he got in Week 13. Keep an eye
on the injury report and inactives list regarding this situation.
If Mathews (40-80 percent owned) is active, I expect him to get
a lot of work.
Abdullah, DET – Abdullah (70-75 percent owned) rushed
for 67 yards in 13 carries on Thursday and appears to be the Lions’
primary (and most talented) ball carrier going forward. The Rams
defense is tough but it’s likely the Lions will use a lot of Abdullah
in this Week 14 matchup – especially on early downs.
Thompson, DEN – If you’re desperate at RB, perhaps
Thompson (universally available) could get some value as an RB3
next week against the Raiders, especially if C.J. Anderson misses
any time. Hillman hasn’t set the world on fire and Thompson appeared
to be the short-yardage/change-of-pace back once Anderson left
UPDATE:Thompson is about the
only low-owned (0-10 percent) RB I’d consider adding and
using for this week, especially with news that C.J. Anderson’s
ankle is “pretty sore.” You’ll have to stay
tuned on how this develops throughout the week.
Anderson, DEN – Anderson rolled his ankle after gaining
42 rushing yards on seven carries. He added 1-12-0 on his lone
target and didn’t play following the injury. We’ll update you
on his progress tomorrow.
UPDATE:As I said, the ankle
is very sore, and his previous issues makes me think they’ll
avoid pushing him as they try to get healthy for the playoffs.
Johnson, ARI – The Cards said Johnson would get about
25 touches, and they were right – the talented rookie rushed for
99 yards on 22 carries and added 2-21-1 on three targets. He’s
a quality RB2 play next week against the Vikings.
Riddick, DET – Riddick had just one carry for 4 yards
but added 5-27-0 on six targets. He’s a PPR specialist with marginal
15-18 point upside as a flex play in those formats, with a floor
around 4-5 points.
Herron, IND – “Boom” carried just twice for 8 rushing
yards but added 3-16-0 in garbage time against the Colts. The
promise that he’d fill the Ahmad Bradshaw role was greatly exaggerated,
because he didn’t see many snaps. Unless the Old War Dog (my buddy’s
terrible nickname for Frank Gore) is injured, he doesn’t have
Bolden, NE – Bolden carried the rock three times for
22 rushing yards and added 1-2-0 in the loss to Philly. The Pats
struggled to get much from their running game and James White
(10-115-1 on 13 targets) stole the show out of the backfield despite
only two carries for 4 yards.
Bell, DET – Bell had 2-25-0 receiving but a paltry
5 rushing yards on eight carries. Abdullah is clearly the back
to own in Detroit and starting to make some headway.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Ginn Jr., CAR – I added Ginn (60 percent owned) last
week in a couple of leagues but failed to start him – a dumb decision
considering the matchup and the faded prospects of the guy who
I started in his place (the injured Jarvis Landry). Still, it’s
nice to have him on my roster and he could be an excellent play
facing the Falcons in Week 14.
Green-Beckham, TEN – The tall, imposing rookie WR finally
had his breakout game with 5-119-1 on six targets from Mariota.
He’s 20 percent owned and could be looking at even more targets
against the Jets next week, though he’s definitely a risky play.
UPDATE:I’m wary of going
all-in on him, but a smattering of DGB as a WR3 across the fantasy
landscape may be in order for Week 14. He’s an exciting
player with plenty of upside and he seems to finally have the
confidence of Mariota and the staff.
Coleman, NO – With Willie Snead out with a calf injury,
Coleman (5 percent owned) stepped up with 4-73-1 on seven targets
in a tough matchup, hauling in his first TD since Week 1. If Snead
misses more time, Coleman makes a nice WR4 pickup.
Nelson, ARI – Nelson is fast becoming a popular red
zone target for Carson Palmer. He had just 2-34-1 in Week 13 but
has two scores in his last three weeks. He’s a good dynasty add
and could see more snaps if any of the regular WRs miss time with
their nagging injuries. Stay tuned.
UPDATE:Nelson played fewer
than 15 snaps on Sunday? Seemed like more. Anyway, maybe he’s
not a great option this week, especially with the other receivers
Hartline, CLE – The Browns opponents are stacking the
line and rolling most of their coverage to Travis Benjamin and
Gary Barnidge, leaving Hartline (5-10 percent owned) to collect
receptions. He had 8-83-0 on 11 targets in Week 13 but maintains
a similar low ceiling/high-floor projection for Week 14.
UPDATE:Benjamin is questionable
for Week 14 and Hartline had a solid 6-77-0 line with Manziel
under center in Week 10. He’s worth a look in PPR and deeper
leagues as a WR3/flex.
TE Richard Rodgers, GB – He reeled in the game-winner on Aaron
Rodgers Hail Mary and ended up with 8-146-1 on the day, despite
being owned in about half of fantasy leagues. He’s the top TE
add this week.
Tamme, ATL –Leonard Hankerson is done for the
year and Tamme has a couple good matchups. He could draw a bunch
of targets this week as the Falcons try to solve the juggernaut
Panthers and stay in playoff contention.
Seferian-Jenkins, TB –If he’s starting
against the Saints, I might give him a whirl, but he’s disappointed
fantasy owners since his Week 1 breakout and lingering shoulder
issue. The matchup is an excellent one, but this is a situation
that requires heavy monitoring.
Clay, BUF – Clay has disappeared at times this season
but had 4-66-1 in Week 13, scoring his first TD since Week 3.
Like Rodgers, Clay’s ownership is at about 50 percent.
Griffin, HOU – If all the top TEs are gone and you
need a good red zone guy as your TE2, Griffin is universally available
and has two scores in as many weeks. He caught 3-29-1 in Week
13 and has developed good rapport with Brian Hoyer, supplanting
Garrett Graham as the main TE in Houston. The Pats represent a
difficult matchup, but with most of the coverage probably going
to DeAndre Hopkins and the other WRs, Griffin could sneak in a
score again like Zach Ertz did against the Pats in Week 13.
Baldwin, SEA – Only Allen Robinson (10-153-3) and Antonio
Brown (8-118-2, PRTD) had better stats at WR in Week 13. Baldwin
(5-94-2) is a good bet for more looks against a Ravens team that
struggles to contain wideouts, though he’s now 80-90 percent owned.
He’s the best of my Week 13 recommendations at WR, which had a
bunch of good ones!
Wheaton, PIT – Wheaton’s 3-50-1 was overshadowed by
bigger games from Brown and Martavis Bryant, but the guy is still
getting targets (six in Week 13) and is still available in about
60-75 percent of leagues.
Parker, MIA – Parker had 3-63-1 on five targets and
makes me 3-for-3 from last week. Damn, I’m good!! He should continue
to get looks with the Miami WRs corps dinged up and the coaching
staff gauging their talent.
UPDATE:Rishard Matthews is
likely to be out once again, which could mean upwards of 10 targets
for the rookie Parker (30-60 percent owned) on Monday night against
Boldin, SF – My first miss (at least non-TD this week)
– though he should have done better than 5-37-0 on his 13 targets
Sanu, CIN – I’ll admit that Sanu was a longshot to
begin with, but I expected more than one target (zero catches)
and one carry (7 yards).
Thomas, JAC – Both Thomas (2-15-1) and Chandler below
scored, but I expected more than five targets and modest output
for big Julius. He’ll do better next week, so if you added him,
don’t be discouraged.
Chandler, NE – Chandler was the fifth-highest scoring
TE of Week 13 with 4-61-1 on seven targets. He’s likely to get
looks if Gronk is still out for the tilt at Houston.