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Antonio D'Arcangelis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Through The Wire - Week 9
11/2/15; Updated: 11/3/15 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 highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can help your squad and may still be available in your league.

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


Derek Carr, OAK – Carr threw for 333-4-0 in the drubbing of the Jets on Sunday, and while he’s only about 55-60 percent owned in fantasy leagues, he’s a talented QB on a team that throws the ball a lot. Carr should be owned in all 12-team leagues and is worth a look if you’re struggling at the position every week.

Josh McCown, CLE – McCown (25-35 percent owned) was just 18-for-34 in his pass attempts but threw for 211 yards and 3 TDs in the loss to Arizona. His next couple matchups before a Week 11 bye are tough divisional games with the Bengals and Steelers, and while he shouldn’t be a priority grab based on the difficult schedule, it’s impossible to ignore his upside and the fact he’s thrown 11 TD to just 4 INTs this season.

UPDATE: It appears that McCown is legitimately questionable for Thursday’s game, as he’s dealing with a rib issue. Not good news for the passing game, nor breakout TE Gary Barnidge.

Jay Cutler, CHI – The Matt Forte injury will likely mean Cutler (60 percent owned) and company lean more on Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett over the next few weeks. He threw just one TD pass against the Vikings, but the matchup in San Diego next week could be a shootout.

UPDATE: Tyrod Taylor, BUF – Taylor is supposedly 100 percent after dealing with a knee injury the past few weeks. He practiced and worked with the first-team offense Monday and Rex Ryan announced he was ready to go for Week 9. Taylor makes for a low-end risk/reward QB1 against a Miami defense he beat up for 277 yards and three scores Week 3.

UPDATE: Marcus Mariota, TEN – Mariota (35-50 percent owned) is looking to get in a full practice on Wednesday, and the Titans just fired Ken Whisenhunt. There’s not too many guys as talented as Mariota in the NFL, and with many QB situations tenuous, it’s possible he reemerges as a solid option during the season’s second half.

QB Updates

Teddy Bridgewater, MIN – Bridgewater had a weak fantasy day with just 187-1-1 and 21 rushing yards, as Minnesota kept the ball on the ground in the first three quarters. He’s still an excellent prospect but his fantasy value is fading as other teams are more committed to airing it out and feature QBs with more upside.

Alex Smith, KC – Smith threw for just 145-2-0 but added 78 rushing yards and a TD on the ground in the win over Detroit. With Jamaal Charles out of the equation, he’s starting to look more like a viable fantasy backup with spot-start upside.

Jameis Winston, TB – Winston also bolstered his 177-1-0 passing line with a rushing TD in the surprise victory over the Falcons. When his receiving corps is more intact, he’ll have bigger upside – and the Giants defense next week looks like a nice matchup.

Nick Foles, STL – Foles voided turning the ball over for the second straight game and threw for 191-1-0 with a two-point conversion. The TD was a long one – a 66-yard pass to probably his best passing game weapon, Tavon Austin.

RB1: DeAngelo Williams had 20-plus carries in each game during Bell's two-week suspension.

Running Backs

DeAngelo Williams, PIT – The Le’Veon Bell injury (torn MCL) has assured that he’ll miss the remainder of the season and vaults Williams (50 percent owned) into the top spot on the waiver wire this week. He excelled in the bell cow role in the season’s first two weeks and will be a solid RB1 the rest of the way.

Jeremy Langford, CHI – If Matt Forte misses significant time, Langford (10-20 percent owned) will assume most of the RB duties in Chicago. There’s not a long list of RBs you must add this week, but Langford is definitely near the top.

Joique Bell, DET – Bell’s ankle appears to finally be healthy and with Ameer Abdullah struggling, the veteran back (56 rushing yards on seven carries Sunday) could see more work. He’s nowhere near as valuable as the two backs listed above, but makes a decent consolation prize.

Shane Vereen, NYG – Vereen (65-75 percent owned) has been used almost exclusively in the Giants passing game, which is a potent unit. As coverage continues to shift toward stopping the one-man wrecking crew that is Odell Beckham, Vereen, Dwayne Harris and Rueben Randle get more targets. With the TEs hurting, Vereen makes a solid add in PPR leagues if he’s available.

UPDATE: Kendall Gaskins/Shaun Draughn, SF – I’m personally staying away from the mess that is the San Fran RB situation, but the newly acquired Draughn has the most upside of the healthy backs in the system. He’s a deep-league RB3/flex at best. Gaskins didn’t do much with the work he got last week. The Niners are completely lost and their new QB is Blaine Gabbert. Yikes.

UPDATE: Antone Smith, CHI – I’m mentioning Smith because he’s got some explosiveness and a passing down role with the Bears could be in the cards absent starter Matt Forte. While Langford will tote the rock and shoulder most of the load, Smith’s history with the Falcons shows he has an affinity for the end zone. He’s not a high priority add by any means, but he may get some opportunities at San Diego and St. Louis in weeks 9 and 10.

RB Updates

Darren McFadden, DAL – McFadden ran well (64 yards on 20 carries) and added 6-49-0 receiving in a difficult matchup, lending some credence to the possibility that he’ll emerge as a decent RB2, especially once Tony Romo returns and Dez Bryant is 100 percent healthy. Joseph Randle is injured and having a mental meltdown and may not play for the Cowboys the rest of the season, if some of the bizarre reports of him calling the police on himself are true.

UPDATE: Randle has been waived by the Cowboys. He got his shot, and is obviously dealing with issues far more serious than an oblique injury. I wish him well, but he’s safe to expunge from fantasy rosters. This further cements McFadden into the “bell cow” role DeMarco Murray took up last season for the Cowboys.

Alfred Blue, HOU – Blue had a quiet day (38 rushing yards on 14 carries and 5-33-0 receiving) but appears to be the main RB option in Houston capable of RB2 numbers. He’s likely unavailable in most formats by now.

Khiry Robinson, NO – As expected, Robinson didn’t follow up his Week 7 breakout with anything of substance against the Giants – even though there was plenty of offensive production to go around. Robinson broke his leg and is out for the season.

Orleans Darkwa, NYG – Darkwa had just four carries for 23 rushing yards in the passing-centric loss to New Orleans. They obviously like the guy and want to get him carries, but he’s a TD-dependent player stuck in a four-headed RB committee.

UPDATE: The Daily News reports that Darkwa is dealing with a badly bruised tailbone, but is hopeful to suit up for Week 9 against the Bucs.

Mike Tolbert, CAR – Update coming Tuesday.

UPDATE: Tolbert had one reception for 40 yards but didn’t get any goal line rushing attempts like in Week 7. He could be in line for more work facing the Packers, but he can’t be trusted from a fantasy perspective unless Jonathan Stewart and Fozzy Whitaker both go down.

Matt Jones, WAS – Jones was on a Week 8 bye. We’ll see more as the team prepares for a Week 9 matchup with New England.

UPDATE: Washington plans on splitting carries between Alfred Morris and Jones in Week 9, according to coaches. I like Jones’ passing game upside a little more.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Tavon Austin, STL – Austin makes a great complementary offensive weapon to Todd Gurley and continues to see productive touches in the Rams’ offense. He broke out for 4-98-1 and added 21 rushing yards and a TD on three carries – though he did lose a fumble in the win over San Fran. He’s a high-risk, high-reward WR3/flex play.

Malcom Floyd, SD – I should have considered Floyd more in prepping for this week’s DFS matchups, but failed to take advantage of his 4-92-2 game – despite the possibility of more involvement with an injury to Antonio Gates. Keenan Allen left the Week 8 game with back spasms, so Floyd will likely continue to see targets in the pass-heavy offense.

UPDATE: Allen has a kidney issue that’ll keep him out indefinitely, and Floyd will likely pick up some of the slack, along with Gates, Dontrelle Inman and Stevie Johnson.

Willie Snead, NO – Snead hauled in 7-76-2 and lost a fumble in Sunday’s win over the Giants. He’s fully supplanted both veteran Marques Colston and the promising Brandon Coleman as the No. 2 WR in New Orleans.

Dwayne Harris, NYG – Harris got dinged up but finished with 3-37-2 as the Giants-Saints game turned into a shootout. He’s a WR4 with some upside.

Andre Holmes, OAK – Holmes may not repeat the two-TD fantasy performance of Sunday anytime soon, but he’s deep-league red zone threat in an increasingly potent offense.

Kamar Aiken, BAL – With Steve Smith out for the rest of the season, Aiken becomes the Ravens primary WR, at least until rookie Breshad Perriman (knee) can get healthy and up to speed in the offense, which will take at least 3-4 weeks. Aiken caught all six balls thrown his way Sunday and finished with 6-62-0.

TE Ben Watson, NO – Watson keeps producing at a high level in the Saints offense. He had 9-147-1 on 10 targets Sunday, and he’s still going strong in his 12th NFL season.

TE Jacob Tamme, ATL – Matt Ryan has an unhealthy Tamme obsession, and we must take advantage of it. The veteran TE had 10-103-1 on 12 targets Sunday vs. Tampa Bay, though that level of production may have been a matchup-dependent anomaly.

TE Crockett Gillmore, BAL – Gillmore had just two catches for 8 yards on Sunday, but one was a score. He’s a low-end TE1 with upside given the right matchup.

WR/TE Updates

Michael Crabtree, OAK – Crabtree’s 7-102-1 on 12 targets was a very nice payoff as I included him as my top WR selection to feature last week. Targets are a real thing, folks. Pay attention to them.

Danny Amendola, NE – Thursday night was a bust for Amendola, who had just one catch even though Tom Brady and the Pats had a prolific passing game. It happens.

Rishard Matthews, MIA – Matthews also had 12 targets, but caught 7-62-0. A solid game even without a TD.

Chris Conley, KC – Jeremy Maclin’s return hurt Conley’s value, and the fringe fantasy WR caught just 1-6-0.

Nate Washington, HOU – Washington followed up the Week 7 breakout with 4-74-1, not too shabby considering he is still only just 35-50 percent owned.

TE Jordan Reed, WAS – After the Week 8 bye, Reed should be ready to go against the Patriots, who will likely get ahead early and force Kirk Cousins to throw to his favorite target.

TE Clive Walford, OAK – Walford had two receptions for 13 yards on Sunday. He’s best acquired in dynasty leagues, as he may not see consistent production from week-to-week just yet.