The Waiver Wire Matinée: Volume 13
By John Kerwin
If you are reading this then I would like to say congrats on making the playoffs, or at least having the integrity to fight in the consolation bracket. Fantasy regular seasons are culminating and the fantasy playoffs are upon us, and it is time to really tighten up the rosters and make sure we are maximizing the efficiency at every position in our lineups.
I welcome you to Volume 13 of The Waiver Wire Matinee, and wish everyone the best of luck as the money rounds are approaching.
Next to each name you will find a rating from 0-5 stars, and the rating exemplifies the priority you should place on these pickups during the respective week.
5 Stars: Must-own player.
4 Stars: Strong acquisition and room should be made if possible.
3 Stars: On the radar and worth consideration.
2 Stars: Borderline droppable players, rostered in deep leagues.
1 Star: Barely worth calling a roster filler.
0 Stars: Drop immediately.
Suspense: Stay On The Edge Of Your Seats
Josh McCown (3 Stars) – There has been quite a bit of ups and downs for the quarterback position this season throughout the fantasy landscape. It is time to start considering benching guys like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and a few others as we head into the playoffs. McCown is a great replacement because of the weaponry that he has around him. The like of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery make it very easy to accumulate a touchdown or two every week. Also have Matt Forte in the backfield is a great addition. The Bears defense playing so miserable lately only helps the situation by forcing McCown to throw the ball early and often. This is definitely a guy I would consider grabbing and plugging in for one of the league's struggling quarterbacks.
Thriller: Big Play Potential
Brian Hartline (3 Stars) – The Dolphins are right in the middle of a wild card race and their running game is quite lackadaisical to say the least. Ryan Tannehill has been an efficient quarterback all season long, and he is going to have to rely on a veteran like Hartline to make a final push for the playoffs. Mike Wallace has been very spotty this year, and just isn’t the every down possession receiver he should be for the amount of money he is making. Hartline had 127 yards on nine receptions and a touchdown on Sunday, and that could be a sign of things to come from the steady receiver. I would make sure I have Hartline on my roster if I really don’t have a consistent WR3 heading into the playoffs, because he may be a difference maker these next few weeks.
Mystery: Will The Success Continue?
Rashard Mendenhall (3 Stars) – This is not the sexy name or the explosive guy that will break an 80-yard touchdown run on any given play, but he is a reliable option that is seeing consistent touches lately. Andre Ellington is dealing with a knee issue and the Cardinals haven’t hesitated to lean on Mendenhall as they fight for a playoff spot. The thought of Ellington taking over the workload isn’t going to happen this season and the Cardinals have been able to become a fantasy relevant offense this year. If I was heading into the playoffs with a weak RB3, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab Mendenhall and be prepared to toss him in. He isn’t going to score you 30-plus points, but could be that double digit guy you need at the end of your lineup.
Action: The Workload Will Be There
Donald Brown (3 Stars) – If you listen closely, you can still hear the echoes of every individual that selected Trent Richardson in the first round of their fantasy leagues this season. It is a somewhat depressing situation for anybody who has held onto Richardson for this long, because the Colts have finally pulled the plug. Brown was the starting running back on Sunday and will continue to be the primary ball carrier for a team that looks playoff bound. The Colts have been struggling mightily on offense, but Brown is going to get his touches regardless. He was able to find the end zone on Sunday, and should continue to see majority of the work. I would make sure this guy is on my team as a possible flex option for a playoff run.
Horror: Be Afraid
LeGarrette Blount (1 Stars) – This is simple; I am not going to trust any Patriots running back outside of Shane Vereen with my fantasy season on the line. Stevan Ridley’s fumble issues have opened the door for Blount and Brandon Bolden, but I don’t trust either option. The Patriots are starting to click in the passing game and Vereen is more than capable of carrying majority of the work with his receiving capabilities. Blount may vulture a few touchdowns, but that is going to be very unpredictable from week to week. I would steer clear of this guessing game of a situation.
Zach Ertz (2 Stars) – The Eagles passing game has been a new beast since Nick Foles starting doing his thing, but Ertz is more of a dynasty threat than an immediate impact player. He did have multiple touchdowns on Sunday, but Brent Celek also scored as well. DeSean Jackson had a quiet game and that isn’t going to happen very often. Throwing LeSean McCoy into the mix just creates too many mouths to feed. Ertz can’t be trusted as a TE1 until Celek is out of the picture completely. If you own him in dynasty though, keep him stashed.
Independent Stream:Not The Big Name, But Worth The Look This Week
Oakland Raiders D/ST (3 Stars) – This is as simple as targeting a miserable offense. The Jets are lacking any type of legitimate offensive weapon, and this match up is only going to get more intriguing if they announce Geno Smith the starter. I would be very inclined to start the Raiders defense over plenty others, because the upside is just what you need going into the playoffs.
Box Office Bomb: Hopes Were High, But The Points Were Low
Delanie Walker (2 Stars) – There were plenty of people relying on Walker to fill-in for Julius Thomas or just accumulate solid points, but Walker failed all his owners miserably. He was only able to haul in one reception for a measly five yards. Delanie Walker looked like he was emerging as a second option behind Kendall Wright, but he proved to us why it is so difficult to gauge this position outside of the top options. I would be very hesitant to trust Walker as anything more than a TE2 with the depth at this position.
Blockbuster Of The Week: Must-See And Own
Julian Edelman (4 Stars) – This was my unanimous choice as a must-own player heading down the stretch and his performance this past week only accentuated this. Edelman has basically taken over the second favorite target of Tom Brady and is the most reliable option on a potent Patriots offense outside of Rob Gronkowski. Danny Amendola just hasn’t been able to build the rapport with Brady needed to hog targets and Edelman is proving to be the consistent option. I would not hesitate to pickup Edelman and get him in every lineup you can heading into the playoffs, because the Patriots are starting to roll and he is going to be a large part of their success this season.
I feel obligated to extend an honorable mention to Ladarius Green. The Chargers continue to be a pass-heavy offense, and they're expanding the role of Green each and every week. He is the obvious successor to Antonio Gates and it is only a matter of time before he is a household name.