The Waiver Wire Matinée: Volume Nine
By John Kerwin
It was quite the week for owners across the fantasy landscape, as many players were able to produce big time numbers from all positions. Waiver wire acquisitions throughout the season were lighting up scoreboards. Guys like Zac Stacy, Nick Foles, Keenan Allen, Mike James, and many others were able to show some sparks as they lit up the stat sheet and the emotions of fantasy owners everywhere. Make sure you aren't overlooking possible pickups as the season progresses, because you never know when another guy like the group above will begin his breakout as the next hot commodity.
I welcome you to Volume Nine of The Waiver Wire Matinée. Get ready to get your claims in, because the fantasy playoffs are approaching quickly and owners are looking to solidify their rosters for the stretch run. Next to each name below, you will find a rating from 0-5 stars. 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
Suspense: Stay On The Edge Of Your Seats
Case Keenum (3 Stars) – We have a new gunslinger in town, folks, and you better make sure he is not being overlooked on your waiver wires. Keenum was able to impress his own coaching staff enough that it looks like he has secured the starting quarterback job for the Texans. The Texans have been a run-first offense over the past few years, but all the injuries to their backfield this season have created quite a tempting passing game as far as fantasy implications are concerned. It looks like we will need to add another boost to that passing attack with Keenum under center. He was able to put up 350 yards passing with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a losing effort to the Colts on Sunday night. If this is any indication of things to come, Keenum could be a very productive quarterback for owners in-need of a backup. Arian Foster left the game with a back injury and just hasn't been able to really stay healthy all season. Ben Tate has had his troubles staying completely healthy as well, so I would expect Keenum to continue to get his opportunity slinging the rock. Andre Johnson looked like the Johnson of years ago torching the Colts secondary and it is nice to see a quarterback who looks like he can consistently get him the ball down field. I have Keenum locked in as a high-end QB2 with upside. Don't hesitate to make room for this guy if you are riding a single quarterback or could use an upgrade.
Thriller: Big Play Potential
Riley Cooper (3 Stars) – Cooper has quietly been looming as a border line pickup for most of the season, but just hasn't been able to be consistent with the injuries at quarterback seemingly every week for the Eagles. It looks like Nick Foles has locked the job up barring injury and Cooper benefited majorly from Foles' aerial attack. Cooper was able to haul in three touchdown catches on Sunday, including a 63-yard bomb from Foles in the second quarter. The Eagles have shown they want to be a potent offense and Cooper could be a big part of it moving forward as the second option in the receiving game behind DeSean Jackson. If he continues to see playing time, Cooper is a WR3 as far am I'm concerned and should find his way onto any rosters this week. Don't be afraid to stash Cooper on your bench if you could use the receiver depth.
Mystery: Will The Success Continue?
Andre Brown (4 Stars) – This is a repeat from last weeks article, because I want to emphasize the value you are getting if you can land Brown. 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 entering 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 the definite capability of becoming a starter on many rosters.
Drama: Watch As It Unfolds
Aaron Dobson (3 Stars) – Dobson has put together strong back-to-back weeks and it looks like all the returning options in the offense have benefited the rookie wide out. If you recollect, I tagged Dobson as my favorite pickup a few weeks back and hopefully most of you listened to me then before it is too late. Tom Brady finally looked like himself for the first time this season and Dobson was the beneficiary of two touchdowns and 130 yards receiving. There was plenty to go around as the Patriots trounced the Steelers and it looks like Dobson has legitimately left Kenbrell Thompkins in his rear view mirror. Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola will probably be the main targets moving forward, but Dobson has proven that his big play ability can stretch the field for the Patriots. I'd lock Dobson in as a strong WR4 with upside moving forward and add the depth to my roster if wide receiver help is needed.
Action: The Workload Will Be There
Mike Brown (3 Stars) – Brown was starting to gain value even before Justin Blackmon's indefinite suspension and now he has reached must-own status. The Jaguars have proven that they are still fantasy relevant even amidst being a very sub-par football team and the garbage time production has kept Cecil Shorts in starting lineups all year long. Brown is a talented youngster who is going to assume Blackmon's role in the offense for the remainder of the season and could be a very consistent producer with the Jaguars forced to throw the ball so often. I'm tagging Brown as an immediate WR3 due to his opportunity and owners could be pleasantly surprised at the upside he is going to bring in this pass-heavy offense.
Horror: Be Afraid
Jonathan Stewart (2 Stars) – It is about time that Stewart finally found his way back onto an NFL field and I will admit that I was surprised at how productive he was able to be during his first week back. The simple fact is that there are way too many mouths to feed in the Panthers backfield and Stewart is coming off injuries to both ankles. I am a bit weary to throw a guy in my starting lineup that will most likely be second in the pecking order behind DeAngelo Williams and will be vultured for touchdowns by Mike Tolbert. Even though Stewart is the primary back in passing situations, I feel like it is going to take very selective weeks for solid production. It won't hurt to stash Stewart on your bench if you are weak at running back, but it will be tough to rely on consistent points from him each and every week. I see Stewart as more of a RB4 with flex capability, but the points will be very spotty.
Cole Beasley (2 Stars) – The Cowboys have shown that they are going to air the ball out as much as Tony Romo can handle this season, but the primary targets are going to continue to be Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Terrance Williams. Beasley garnered his highest target total this season with nine, but was only able to net 68 yards and zero touchdowns. Beasley has been a surprisingly solid target in the slot for Romo, but it will be very tough to gauge his production with the depth chart leaving him behind three other pass catchers. DeMarco Murray being healthy again doesn't make it any better either, because the Cowboys actually have a legitimate rushing attack with Murray back. If there is a receiver to own not named Dez, it is Terrance Williams. Beasley is nothing more than a WR4 in any formats and I would probably leave him for somebody else to worry about unless you're in a deeper league..
Independent Stream: Not The Big Name, But Worth The Look This Week
New York Giants Defense (3 Stars) – The Giants were a defense that was drafted in many leagues and the expectations were very high for this unit heading into the season. The team couldn't have looked any worse to start the year, but they have looked like a different team over the course of their current two-game winning streak. The Giants get the Raiders at home this week and we could see their streak continue against an up and down team. The Raiders were man-handled by the Eagles this past weekend and Darren McFadden found himself injured yet again. Terrelle Pryor is dangerous with his dual-threat capabilities, but the loss of McFadden could leave their offense looking very one-dimensional. Rashad Jennings had a great outing against the Eagles, but isn't someone who the Giants have to game plan around. If they can jump out to an early lead and force Pryor into early passing situations, they could have a field day with the erratic quarterback. I'm looking for the Giants to solidify a Top Ten defensive ranking against the Raiders this week.
Box Office Bomb:Hopes Were High, But The Points Were Low
Kenny Stills (3 Stars) – I still have a lot of faith in the talent of Stills, but many owners were very high on him this past week with Marques Colston inactive. Drew Brees, however, did his best to show us why it is so unpredictable and impossible to trust a Saints receiver not named Jimmy Graham. Graham, Lance Moore, and Pierre Thomas all had more targets than Stills and Brees wasn't able to connect with him on any long balls like we've seen earlier this season. It is very frustrating to trust receivers in this offense, because even Colston has been mediocre from a fantasy standpoint all year. I'm not giving up on Stills for this year, but don't expect any type of consistent production moving forward with the sporadic targets spread across the board.
Blockbuster Of The Week: Must-See And Own
Chris Ivory (4 Stars) – I have been waiting all season for Ivory to breakout and it looks like he is finally playing like many expected. When the Jets signed Ivory, I expected it to only be a matter of time before he was the workhorse back. Unfortunately an injury and Bilal Powell increased the amount of time it took for Ivory's hold on the job to take place. After 34 carries and over 100 rushing yards a few weeks ago, Ivory only received a little more than a handful of carries the week after. It looked as if the Jets organization would continue to play games with fantasy owners but after his performance this past Sunday, it is safe to say Ivory should remain the starting running back. The talent he possessed was never questioned from what we saw from him during limited time with the Saints, but he seemed to always be on the injury report. Don't be surprised if he finds himself injured at some point again this season, but you won't have much invested in him if you are able to grab him off waivers. Being able to pickup a starting running back off the waiver wire this late in the season is rare and it's especially rare to find one with the talent that Ivory possesses. I see Ivory as a great RB3/flex option and possibly a low-end RB2 moving forward if the Jets continue to show faith in him. Make sure this guy is on a roster when Week 10 kicks of – preferably yours.