The Waiver Wire Matinée: Volume Eight
By John Kerwin
If you are reading this then it is very likely that you are in-need of some waiver wire help as we head into the final stretch and fantasy playoff pictures are strongly taking shape. Before we get into the potential pickups for this week, I want to emphasize that everyone makes sure Andre Ellington is owned in every league they're in. The Cardinals have sadly announced that Rashard Mendenhall will remain the starter when he returns, but that shouldn't cut into the touches that Ellington has been receiving. He is the superior big play threat in the Cardinals offense, and will be the main back when it comes to receiving targets out of the backfield.
On that note, I welcome you to Volume Eight of the Waiver Wire Matinee. Many owners are scrambling to stay alive, and others are battling for top spots in their fantasy leagues as the seaosn moves on. There are still some great acquisitions available on a majority of waiver wires, and you need to stay focused and pay attention to the available prospects. I wish everyone the best of luck this week, and get your claims in before its too late.
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
Andy Dalton (4 Stars) – This is a guy that many labeled as a serviceable quarterback heading into the season, but Dalton has become much more than that over the last three weeks. He has strung together three straight weeks of 320-plus yards and three-plus touchdowns. It looks like he has finally realized that he can take major advantage of defenses zoning in on A.J. Green. The Bengals aren't going to be a run-heavy offense with Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Giovanni Bernard sharing carries this season, and this is a team on a mission to win their division. If you don't have a backup quarterback or are rolling with a struggling starter, I strongly advise making room for the ginger juggernaut. Dalton has to be considered a low-end QB1 with Top 10 upside at this point in the season. Hopefully you can ride that flame that is trailing behind him as he looks to keep the production coming.
Thriller: Big Play Potential
Drew Davis (3 Stars) – It was only a matter of time before another option in the Falcons receiving corps emerged as a viable pickup. Davis was very productive on Sunday, and managed to find the end zone as well. The Falcons running game looked pathetic at best on Sunday, and they look like a team that will be relying on Matt Ryan more often than not as the season progresses. Roddy White hasn't been able to get healthy all season, and Harry Douglas can't be the only productive receiver every week. If you are looking for a WR3/Flex fill-in then I suggest picking up Davis while you can. He is a great sleeper option as long as Roddy remains sidelined. He is not someone who is going to win you a fantasy championship, but could very well keep your season alive with all the injuries and remainder of bye weeks coming over the next few weeks.
Mystery: Will The Success Continue?
Andre Brown (3 Stars) – There are a lot of questions surrounding the Giants backfield as we are quickly approaching the return of Brown. David Wilson proved earlier this season that he is not the every-down back that many assumed he was enterting this season. As the Giants continue to play running back roulette with mediocre washed up players, I would be stashing Brown for his return. The Giants have won two straight games and are surprisingly still in the hunt to win the NFC East. They will need consistent running back play if they expect to stay in contention, and Brown gives them the most upside in all aspects of the game. He could be a very nice addition to teams looking for some running back help down the stretch and into the playoffs. Brown is an immediate RB3 when he returns, with definite capability of becoming a starter on many rosters.
Drama: Watch As It Unfolds
Tim Wright (3 Stars) – The Buccaneers have been a very entertaining team to follow this season, and it only keeps getting better every week. Mike Williams has been placed on injured reserve, and their rookie quarterback has showed instant rapport with his fellow rookie. Wright has been garnering a fair share of targets the past few weeks, and was able to find the end zone on Sunday. The Buccaneers don't have any go-to options on offense outside of Vincent Jackson. With the loss of Doug Martin as well, I expect them to be more of a pass-heavy offense as the season progresses. Look for Wright to be the second favorite option behind VJax. I have Wright as a high-end TE2 with capable TE1 prodction in any given week.
Action: The Workload Will Be There
Darrius Heyward-Bey (3 Stars) – I am not the biggest fan of DHB, and he really hasn't been able to live up to his potential throughout his career with the Raiders and now with the Colts. The simple fact is that Reggie Wayne being lost for the season opens up plenty of available targets to go around for the Colts. They have been a pass-heavy offense this season, and Trent Richardson is not getting it done in the backfield. I expect T.Y. Hilton to receive the largest boost with Waynes absence, but DHB could be a very nice addition if he can build some rapport with Andrew Luck. He is nothing more than a WR4 right now, but the potential of double-digit targets could quickly change this in a hurry.
Horror: Be Afraid
Montee Ball (2 Stars) – A couple goal line carries and a touchdown isn't going to change my perception of Ball in one week. This guy proved early in the season that the Broncos aren't going to trust a rookie running back with a full workload. All it would take is one fumble or a missed block that puts the health of Peyton Manning in jeopardy for his leash to be yanked back to the sideline. It is nice to see the Broncos trying to get Ball more involved in the offense, but Knowshon Moreno has been productive enough to keep the starting job and the majority of the carries and looks in the receiving game. I would only suggest keeping Ball stashed if you have depleted running back depth or need Ball in case of a Moreno injury. Ball is nothing more than a low-end RB3 that will depend on touchdowns to salvage value as a starter in any lineups.
Lance Moore (2 Stars) – Moore has finally returned from his wrist injury and hauled in a touchdown from Drew Brees on Sunday, but I still don't trust him. I honestly don't trust a single receiving option on the Saints roster besides Jimmy Graham. Marques Colston has been driving fantasy owners crazy all season, and the rookie Kenny Stills looks like the most legitimate deep threat that the Saints have right now. If you are going to take a flier on a Saints receiver, make it Stills. Brees has been spreading the ball around way too much to trust any of the receiving options on a weekly basis, and nobody is going to be a stellar option in PPR formats. Colston was the only receiver to attract more than four targets on Sunday, and he still only received six. Don't get blinded by the name, just steer clear of this unpredictable recever.
Independent Stream: Not The Big Name, But Worth The Look This Week
Oakland Raiders (3 Stars): This is not a defense that anybody envisioned as being labeled as a great start this season, but the Raiders have been surprisingly strong on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders were able to create a very frustrating day for Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday, and this trend should continue heading into their match up with the Eagles this week. With Michael Vick injured yet again, it looks as if Matt Barkley may be the starter this week. Barkley has been a turnover machine so far in his rookie season, and there is no reason to assume this won't continue. The Eagles were shut out on offense by Giants, and looked absolutely inept the entire game. They couldn't even get anything going with Vick in the game, and they're much more erratic with Barkley under center. Start the Raiders defense with confidence this week and expect solid points from this unit.
Box Office Bomb: Hopes Were High, But The Points Were Low
Roy Helu (2 Stars) – Way too many people were too eager to be patient and let Helu come back to earth. The talk of a running back by committee was quickly creating buzz across the fantasy landscape, but Helu's miserable performance this past week should be a lesson learned. Alfred Morris received the majority of the carries this past week, and Helu was very unproductive with the five carries that he was able to get. He was only targeted one time against a vulnerable Broncos defense, and that says a lot. Helu just can't be trusted as a startable option at this point in the season. He is nothing more than a RB4 for me, and his upside if dependent on game flow. It looks as if the Redskins will be very hard to gauge each and every week, and I'd rather not take the risk with many other stronger options at the position.
Blockbuster Of The Week: Must-See And Own
Marvin Jones (4 Stars) – It is only suiting that a receiver playing with one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league right now finds his way on this list. Jones is not only a waiver wire target, but is the hottest commodity on the market right now. Four touchdowns on Sunday, and six over the course of his last three games in very impressive. It is even more commendable when he is sharing targets with one of the best red zone threats in the entire NFL. Believe it or not but Jones has the second most fantasy points of any receiver the last three weeks, and that is only behind Calvin Johnson. Dalton looks locked in right now, and Jones has been his favorite target over the past few weeks. It looks like there is finally a receiver capable of benefitting from the coverage that Green attracts each and every week. Jones is a strong WR3 addition to your rosters with upside to put up monstrous numbers. This guy better not be sitting on any waiver wire by the start of this weeks games.