The Waiver Wire Matinée: Volume Three
By John Kerwin
Week 3 is in the books and the injuries are continuing to pile up. It is still early enough in the season to land a waiver gem, and it is the perfect time to fill your voids as players keep dropping. From a name you never expected to see this season to a name you shouldn't forget, I bring you Volume Three of The Waiver Wire Matinée.
Next to each name you will find a rating from 0-5 stars, and the rating exemplifies the priority you should place on this 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
Brian Hoyer (1 Stars) – If there is one thing the entire industry predicted heading into Week 3, it wasn't a 300-plus yard and three-touchdown performance from Hoyer. The departure of Trent Richardson left many solidifying the Browns as one of the worst two teams in the NFL. The lack of the running game is exactly what gave Hoyer the opportunity to steal the show in Minnesota on Sunday. I wouldn't be too eager to snag Hoyer off of waivers just yet, but I would keep an eye on his padded stats and the starting situation once Weeden is healthy. I wouldn't be surprised to see Hoyer keep the job if he continues with the type of production he had in Week 3, but he did have three interceptions, and it doesn't look like the regime is going to be very predictable this season. What you can rely on is a lot of pass attempts each week from a very unbalanced offense. Keep an eye on Hoyer for the time being, but don't make any moves just yet unless you are in a very deep league. Hoyer is a low-end QB3 still, but could be a sneaky spot-start if he remains the starter this season.
Thriller: Big Play Potential
Brandon LaFell (2 Stars) – It is very easy to fall victim to prisoner of the moment type of situations, but that is exactly what you need to be conscious of regarding LaFell. Plenty owners were dealt the agony of thinking LaFell was poised to breakout last season. With Steve Smith aging and no clear-cut WR2, it seemed likely that LaFell was going to be the benefit of a progressing Cam Newton. Unfortunately Cam didn't make the strides we expected, and neither did LaFell. Yes, he did have a multiple touchdown game in Week 3, but he only hauled in three receptions on five targets, and 53 yards is nothing to boast about. Ted Ginn also added a touchdown and is just as capable of being the main beneficiary each week. Unless you are talking about a 16-team league, I would do my best to avoid LaFell at this point in the season, but there is still time for him to show some consistency and actually become a fantasy asset. LaFell is nothing more than a WR5 at this point in the year.
Mystery: Will The Success Continue?
Johnathan Franklin (3 Stars) – This one goes out to the heavily missed former Football.com extraordinaire, Charles Murphy. Murph was sporting a Franklin Twitter background before most people even knew who he was. I was very tempted to put a “4 Star” tag on Franklin right here, but the only factor holding him back is Eddie Lacy. There is a reason Lacy was named the starter heading into the season and not Franklin, and it is also very telling that James Starks was the replacement after Lacy's concussion. The only thing that matter now is that Franklin is the only healthy option, and he shined bright on Sunday. A lot of experts predicted Franklin would take control of the starting job to begin the season, but to their dismay, Lacy didn't ruin his opportunity. I wouldn't expect Franklin to continue to be the workhorse back when Lacy is cleared, but I wouldn't be shocked if the Packers going with a change of pace rotation with Lacy and Franklin. He showed his explosive capability with his 103 yards on only 13 carries, and Franklin is someone everyone should be watching in Week 4. This is a guy I wouldn't hesitate to find someway to roster and await the outcome. I see Franklin as a low-end RB4 for the time being, but could definitely become a solid RB3/Flex option if Lacy doesn't hurry back to his starting role.
Action: The Workload Will Be There
Isaiah Pead (3 Stars) –There were some who were expecting a breakout season for Pead, but then the suspension came. We all knew Pead was in for an uphill battle when he found himself suspended in the midst of a wide-open running back competition. The other problem was the fact that the Rams offense has built its talent around the passing game and looked to become more of an aerial attack type of team with the departure of Steven Jackson. Unfortunately, just about all of this became true, but Daryl Richardson found himself injured early in the game, and Pead shined in the receiving game. With not many carries to speak of because of the early deficit, Pead was able to establish himself as a receiving threat while spelling Richardson. He only garnered 20 yards on six carries, but his seven receptions led the team. He was able to accumulate 43 yards on those receptions with a total of seven targets on the day. I'd say it is about time to find a roster spot fro Pead right now, because his low-end RB4-RB5 label could rise quickly if his playing time increases.
Horror: Be Afraid
LeGarrette Blount (1 Stars) – Don't be fooled by the 14 carries, because unless Stevan Ridley plays like many thought he would, the Patriots backfield will continue to be a three-headed mess. Bill Belichick has shown us that his stubbornness cannot be tested by injury. Even though Ridley had his ball security issues prior to Vereen's injury, Belichick refuses to give him his presumed workload back. Toying with many fantasy owners by giving Blount 14 carries is just cruel. The one possibility of value we would like to hope for are touchdowns for Blount, but he has zero of those after three weeks of the season. Brandon Bolden has quickly shown he is the most capable receiving threat out of the backfield, and Ridley is going to continue to get more touches if he can hang onto the ball. I would consider Blount as a RB4 at best with very little possibility of emerging as a consistent option for your fantasy teams.
Willis McGahee (1 Star) – It was nearly instinct to run to the waiver wire and search for McGahee when it was announced he was scheduled for a workout following the hours of the Trent Richardson fallout. The problem with this is that McGahee isn't guaranteed any type of workload just because he will be suiting up for the Browns on Sundays. The offense is going to be very pass-heavy, and I don't expect any type of consistency from a running back who is 32 years old. He showed us very minimal promise in his Browns debut, and I wouldn't expect a whole lot this season. As a RB4 I only see McGahee worth an add in deep leagues and times calling for desperate measures.
Independent Stream: Not The Big Name, But Worth The Look This Week
Indianapolis Colts (2 Stars): This is not a defense I would tell you to start very often, but after what we just saw them do to the 49ers offense and the fact that they play the Jaguars, it would be foolish not to consider this stream. By no means do you consider starting the Colts over teams like the Chiefs, Seahawks, 49ers, or defenses of that caliber, but if you find yourself an owner of the Dolphins or a mediocre defense then it needs to be considered. The Colts didn't overwhelm the stat sheet, but you don't need to be the greatest defense to defend the Jaguars. Consider the Colts a low-end Top 10 defense this week.
Box Office Bomb: Hopes Were High, But The Points Were Low
Andre Roberts (3 Stars) – There is still plenty of reason to have Andre Roberts on your roster, but the performance he had against the Saints on Sunday didn't help his cause. With the injury concerns surrounding Larry Fitzgerald, it seemed like a lock for Michael Floyd or Roberts to breakout. Unfortunately, Fitz still led the team with only 64 yards on five receptions, and the offense could never get rolling. Roberts did receive four targets, but was very disappointing with only one catch for six yards. It is really tough to trust a player who is nothing more than a third option on his own team when everyone is healthy. Robert is stuck in the low-end WR4 zone, and it doesn't look like he can be trusted to budge any closer to starting lineups anytime soon.
Blockbuster Of The Week: Must-See And Own
Joique Bell (5 Stars) – I have been doing my best to make sure that I don't place too many recurring names on this series as the season progresses, but I felt obligated to make sure Bell is 100 percent rostered. We all knew he was in for an adequate workload when Reggie Bush was scratched for Week 3, but what we all should know is that he is capable to maintaining flex production even with Bush healthy. The Lions offense has showed us that they don't plan on slowing down regardless of who is in the game. Bell was chosen as the primary backup to Bush not only because of his versatility, but because the Lions don't want a plodding running back slowing down the flow of their offense. Bell is a perfect goal line back who will catch multiple passes out of the backfield in every game. Throw in the fact that Bush has been very brittle over the years, and Bell could be a very useful asset more often than not this season. Consider Bell a low-end RB3 with high-end RB2 upside when Bush is out.