The Waiver Wire Matinée: Volume Four
By John Kerwin
Injuries and bye weeks are starting to become weekly issues for a majority of fantasy owner, and we find ourselves digging for gold each and every week as we peruse the waiver wire in search of needs and wants. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find great waiver wire additions outside of injury replacements as we push past the first quarter of the season, and it is imperative that you think before you make impulsive additions and drops. I just acquired Greg Olsen off of the waiver wire as my TE2 in one of my 12-team leagues thanks to an ignorant owner dropping him because he was on bye. You will see plenty of owners make naive mistakes, and it is a top priority to capitalize when they do. With that, I welcome you to the Week 4 edition of The Waiver Wire Matinée. Enjoy this week's article and remember to tailor your pickups to your needs unless it is a must-own player.
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.
Drama/Suspense: Stay On The Edge Of Your Seats
Matt Cassel (1 Star) – Let's not be fooled by the solid 248 yards and two touchdowns Cassel finished with in his first start for the Vikings. This is something we have seen from him before and this is still a run-first football team. Greg Jennings made a spectacular play on a 70-yard touchdown reception that really padded Cassel's stats on Sunday. He is going to be nothing more than a game manager in most weeks and should be trusted as a dependable QB2 at this point in the season. I would much rather roster the likes of Brian Hoyer – who filled this exact spot in my Week 3 article – than trust a proven, yet mediocre quarterback. Cassel will be able to do enough to keep Christian Ponder on the bench, but shouldn't produce to the point he merits a spot on a 12-team roster.
Thriller: Big Play Potential
Robert Woods (3 Stars) – Woods was the favorite target of EJ Manuel on Sunday and should be on your list of favorites on the waiver wire this upcoming week. It was very unclear who on the Bills roster would secure the WR2 spot opposite of Stevie Johnson, but the talented rookie out of USC looks to be gradually doing just that. Woods led the team in targets on Sunday and finished with a team-high four receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. He also nearly missed a second touchdown on a catch at the edge of the end zone that he just couldn't quite secure before stepping out of bounds. Woods is a deep threat who is looking like a reliable option for Manuel as he, himself, continues to grow. These two will continue to build chemistry as the season and their careers progress, and I suggest trying to find room on your roster if you are weak at the wide receiver position. I don't see Woods as a weekly WR3 yet, but he is definitely in the WR4 territory with plenty of time to elevate himself to being worth of starting each week. Keep an eye out for the connection between these two rookies this season.
Mystery: Will The Success Continue?
Alshon Jeffery (3 Stars) – There were plenty of Jeffery believers heading into the season, but after a measly six catches for 53 yards through the first two games, he was easily found on waiver wires all over the fantasy world. Although he bounced back Week 3, it just wasn't enough to appease fantasy owners. After his standout performance on Sunday, it is time to reconsider. Jeffery turned double-digit targets into five receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. Cutler is showing more and more trust in him every week, and it was noticeable throughout the entire game against the Lions. It is tough to place any trust in a guy who is the third option behind Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett, but his play-making ability is worth the consideration. The Bears shouldn't be in too many shootouts like they were in caught in the middle of against the Lions, but Jeffery could be a sneaky addition to your bench if you can live with playing guessing games with his spotty production. I see Jeffery as a WR4 at this point in the season, but he could slide into the WR3 or Flex positions if he can continue to stay relevant for multiple weeks in a row.
Action: The Workload Will Be There
Heath Miller (4 Stars) – Miller was a forgotten man heading into the majority of fantasy drafts this season because of the horrendous injury last season that inevitably kept him out of the first two games of the season. The Steelers have been struggling and Miller is the most reliable receiving threat that Ben Roethlisberger has. Antonio Brown is going to be his primary target, but we all know Big Ben's love for Miller and the attention he shows him in the red zone. I would definitely pickup Miller as a solid TE2 and stash him on your bench. You are going to continue to see solid production from him throughout the season and he can be trusted in case of injuries or bye weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if Miller is a consistent starter on plenty of teams rosters towards the end of the year.
Horror: Be Afraid
Roy Helu (2 Stars) – It has been quite some time since I heard someone use the word “Shanahanigans," but it may start trending in the very near future. Alfred Morris saw the most carries of this short season on Sunday, but Helu was only two behind him. Helu was also the only productive back as far as the receiving game was concerned. I wouldn't consider this a controversy as of right now because Alf has been very productive with his limited carries this year. The biggest reason I see Helu even holding value is the fact that the Redskins are playing catch up every single week, and he is a more reliable and dynamic receiving option. I wouldn't assume we can count on Helu as even a weekly fill-in at this point, but I would keep my eye on the conniving Mike Shanahan.
Rashad Jennings (1 Star) – I'm aware that Darren McFadden is as durable as a Styrofoam cup, but we have seen what Jennings is capable of doing with opportunity on a terrible team. He disappointed heavily with his opportunity to be fantasy relevant when filling in for Maurice Jones-Drew last season, and we can't expect much more this time around. First of all, McFadden's injury didn't look to be very serious. Secondly, Jennings was the product of a safety valve for a quarterback just trying his best not to make vital mistakes in his first start for the Raiders. Terrelle Pryor is going to return as the Raiders starting quarterback, and Jennings will be a sub-par runner even if McFadden misses a few games. The other issue is that Marcel Reece is very reliable and would steal touches from Jennings even with a McFadden absence. I wouldn't waste a roster spot on a running back who has little to no fantasy value for the remainder of the season.
Independent Stream: Not The Big Name, But Worth The Look This Week
St. Louis Rams (2 Stars): There is a very good chance the Rams defense is sitting on your waiver wire as we speak and there is no reason why you shouldn't be on your way to pick them up and start them this week. There were very high expectations for this young and athletic defense before the season, but a rocky start has quickly reminded us why it is so difficult to predict defensive success. The main factor as to why I expect the Rams to bounce back in a big way is the same reason I picked the Colts defense last week, the Jaguars. The Jaguars offense looks like the anemic mess that we all know, and I don't expect this to change with Blaine Gabbert under center. Start the Rams defense with confidence.
Box Office Bomb: Hopes Were High, But The Points Were Low
DeAndre Hopkins (4 Stars) – Hopkins may have had his worst game as a professional wide receiver, but I don't expect this to be a normal occurrence. It does scare me a bit that Hopkins only garnered a quarter of Andre Johnson's targets, but the Seahawks defense is very difficult to operate against. It wasn't until late in the game that he was finally able to catch his first pass, but I look for him to make up for this next week. The Texans have another tough game ahead against the 49ers, but it is a prime time game and Hopkins has already showed us that he can rise to the occasion. Don't panic if you own Hopkins, because brighter days are ahead. I still label Hopkins as a WR3/Flex moving forward.
Blockbuster Of The Week: Must-See And Own
Le'Veon Bell (5 Stars) – Bell isn't a player I expect everyone to see on their waiver wire, but I'm sure there are a fair share of leagues where Bell wasn't stashed until his return. It is not like we had seen anything from the rookie that could assure us he would be fantasy-relevant when he was finally healthy, but that time has arrived. I will admit that I wasn't (and still am not) the biggest believer in Bell's talent, but the opportunity is going to be abundant. The Steelers have quickly shown they plan on making Bell the workhorse back right from the start. He is a strong runner who will take advantage of the goal line opportunities, but don't expect any Adrian Peterson type highlight reels. His 3.6 yards per carry was nothing to boast about, but the two touchdowns will trump any lackluster type of yardage day. Bell did show consistency in the receiving game with four catches on four targets and hopefully this continues to be a trend. Bell must be owned in all formats, and is considered a RB3/Flex this weekend will see a workload capable of ascending him into the RB2 discussion as the season progresses.