The Waiver Wire Matinée: Volume Six
By John Kerwin
This has been one crazy season and we are only just heading towards the midway point of it. Star players seem to be falling like flies and individuals across the league are stepping up at every position. I welcome you all to the sixth installment of The Waiver Wire Matinee. Hopefully the past weekend treated you all well and I would like to hope my suggestions and opinions played a part. My main boasting point has been my streaming defenses and I can happily say that I once again picked a Top Three defense that I hope some of you started. My back-to-back picks of the Colts and Rams defenses will be hard to live up to, but we'll see if I can muster up some magic for my beloved readers. I must say there are quite a few players in this week's piece that could be very consistent contributors to your fantasy teams moving forward. Two players worth honorable mention that I just couldn't find room for this week are Kyle Rudolph and Jordan Reed. I won't elaborate too much, but at a very deep position, these two could be useful backups if you are thin at tight end. Good luck to each and every one of you this week and enjoy the article.
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.
Before we get in to your typical pickups for the week, we have a special mention. It is a very rare occasion that a player merits enough value to create a spotlight pertaining to nothing but the acquisition of that particular individual. Welcome to this anomaly, and hopefully it isn’t too late for you put a claim in for Keenan Allen.
Allen has exploded onto the fantasy the scene over the past few weeks as a consistent rookie standout. The Chargers receiving corps has been depleted this season from the loss of Danario Alexander in the preseason to the season-ending neck injury that Malcom Floyd sustained. At the beginning of the year, it looked as if Eddie Royal may breakout as the big play threat for Philip Rivers, but those hopes quickly faded away after the initial first couple weeks of the season. Many are still touting the talent of Vincent Brown, and I don’t blame them for this. There is no denying Brown may hold some value as a bench option, but Allen is emerging as the go-to target for a pass-heavy Chargers offense.
Over the past three weeks Allen has seen his targets rise from five, to nine, to 12 as he becomes a trusted option for Rivers. He has managed to accumulate 302 receiving yards over the course of those three games, and has also turned in two touchdowns. He is proving his big play ability and backing it up with sure-hands, because his only drop on the season came during the first game of his short career. His 76.7 catch percentage is sixth overall in the NFL, and he is only going to get better.
Allen has all the tools and essentials to be a big time receiver in this league for years to come, and his redraft value is at a must-own level at this point in the year. I wouldn’t hesitate to throw a large portion of your waiver budget or sacrifice your high waiver priority to cement your chances of landing this highly talented youngster. This is one of the acquisitions that many owners are going to look back upon as one of the foundation moves that catapulted their season.
Drama/Suspense: Stay On The Edge Of Your Seats
Nick Foles (3 Stars) – We all knew it was only a matter of time before Michael Vick missed time due to injury, but nobody was sure how Foles would fill his shoes. I was thoroughly impressed with the poise and play of Foles this past week against a solid Buccaneers secondary. Foles isn't a running threat like Vick, but the offense didn't skip a beat with him under center and that says a lot moving forward. Vick isn't getting any younger or durable and the Eagles have to start thinking towards the future soon. If Vick misses another week and Foles plays like he did on Sunday, he may find himself the new starting quarterback for the Eagles. If you are a Vick owner, he is a must-pickup and I'm looking to grab him either way if I don't have a backup on my roster. Foles is still a QB2, but is a great addition to teams who have yet to have their quarterback on bye.
Thriller: Big Play Potential
Aaron Dobson (4 Stars) – This is my top recommendation off of the waiver wire this week. I have a claim submitted in nearly every league that Dobson is available and that is majority of them. He is a more talented receiving option than Kenbrell Thompkins, but has unfortunately had a major case of the drops this entire season. Dobson led all Patriots receivers with 80 of the 88 snaps on Sunday, but once again dropped a few passes. This would normally scare me, but he a rookie and the Patriots receiving corps is very depleted. The questions marks surrounding Rob Gronkowski don't seem to be clearing up much and Danny Amendola left the game on Sunday after a horrific looking concussion. I can almost guarantee we won't be seeing Amendola this week and more than likely an extended period of time. Dobson will be the deep receiving threat for Tom Brady the rest of the way and I like his chances to become the go-to option aside from Julian Edelman. I would label Dobson as a WR3 this upcoming week with plenty of upside. Whether you are looking to replace Amendola, or fill the voids of guys like Randall Cobb or James Jones, I would definitely find room to pickup Dobson.
Mystery: Will The Success Continue?
Andre Ellington (3 Stars) – I've had my eye on Ellington for a couple of weeks now and I feel it is finally time to give him some recognition. I believe he has the skill set to be a solid running back for the Cardinals, but the organization seems to be hanging onto the fact that they signed Rashard Mendenhall to be their starting running back. Ellington is a superior receiving option to Mendenhall and has done a nice job toting the rock as well. We have seen consistent touches for him the past few weeks and I look for this to increase if his production continues. He can't be trusted as more than a fill-in flex option at this point in the year, but he is capable of becoming a starting flex option if his workload increases. Ellington's value is very dependent on PPR formats at this point, but an increased workload could change the entire situation. If a Cardinals running back has to be rostered, this is the guy I would be going after.
Action: The Workload Will Be There
Zac Stacy (4 Stars) – It is about time the Rams finally showed some consistency with their running back situation. Two weeks in a row now, Stacy has been the lead back and has received the bulk of the carries. He doesn't bring a whole lot of flash, but he doesn't need to. His stature and size make him a very difficult runner to bring down, and he seems to be making wise decisions making his move and hitting the hole hard. The Rams have finally come to the realization that Daryl Richardson isn't a very effective every-down back and they unleashed their rookie with the trust needed to make him worth rostering. Stacy isn't going to be a RB1 by any means, but is definitely worth the spot as a RB3 or lower if you need the depth. If the Rams offense can find some type of consistency and start being as productive as we assumed they would be before the season, then Stacy has a legitimate opportunity to become a solid flex option each and every week moving forward. I wouldn't hesitate to find a spot on your roster if you could use another running back.
Horror: Be Afraid
Joseph Randle (2 Stars) – Just when DeMarco Murray was reaching his peak value, he gets injured. This seems to be a recurring issue with Murray, but I don't see a lot of value in Randle. He was only able to accumulate a measly 17 yards on 11 carries when Murray went down, but he did find the end zone. Randle is an undersized back who is much quicker than fast. He doesn't run with the power that Murray does, but can add a bit more value in the receiving game. If Lance Dunbar can get healthy, he is much more of a threat to steal touches in the running game than Randle. I assume the Cowboys are more likely to turn to a pass-heavy offense with their stellar passing game than turn a heavy workload over to Randle. Don't be fooled by the perceived opportunity, because Randle easily has the capability of letting you down if you plug him into your starting lineup. Randle is nothing more than a very low-end RB3/RB4.
T.J. Yates (1 Star) – No, don't even think about doing it. Just because it looks like Yates may be the starter for the time being doesn't mean you should consider picking him up. Yates managed to throw two interceptions in the absence of Matt Schaub and Arian Foster is finally living up to his skill level. The Texans looked like a train wreck this past week and I don't see the passing game being elevated in any fashion. This is going to continue to be a run-first team and Yates won't have the opportunity to merit a start on any of your teams. Just do yourself a favor and forget that he even has the possibility of starting during the upcoming weeks.
Independent Stream: Not The Big Name, But Worth The Look This Week
Carolina Panthers (3 Stars): The Panthers started this NFL season off with a very impressive defensive performance against the Seahawks and they have continued to be stout since then. The Panthers defense has managed to keep the team in nearly every game this season and they have to be licking their chops with the thought of a match up with the Buccaneers this upcoming week. The Panthers kept Adrian Peterson in check the entire game on Sunday and Doug Martin will have a very difficult time finding running room against this run defense. As good as the run defense has been, the pass defense has been even better. They picked off Matt Cassel twice on Sunday and Mike Glennon could be in for a long day this upcoming week. With Mike Williams dealing with a hamstring injury and the rest of the offense besides Vincent Jackson struggling, I expect the Panthers to continue their surprising success this week. Grab this defense and ride them while they are hot, because it could be big points from an unpredictable position this week.
Box Office Bomb: Hopes Were High, But The Points Were Low
Garrett Graham (3 Stars) – The loss of Owen Daniels raised a lot of interest around Graham after his early season success with Daniels healthy, but that was quickly derailed by the Rams defense. Graham was next to useless for your fantasy teams this past week and a major disappoint for everyone who scooped him up off of waivers and plugged them into their lineups. He is going to score some points as the only tight end option for the Texans, but it looks like it could be very unpredictable production. T.J. Yates is a downgrade as quarterback and the Texans are going to be a run-first team regardless of the quarterback. Graham is nothing more than a TE2 moving forward and there are plenty of other options out there with the depth at the position this season.
Blockbuster Of The Week: Must-See And Own
Brandon Jacobs (3 Stars) – This pick is a bit deceiving, because I don't think Jacobs is going to be a long-term answer for your fantasy squads, but he is going to be a factor the next few weeks. Jacobs surprised just about all of us with his performance this past week and the injury to David Wilson looks like the opportunity is going to be there for the next couple weeks ahead. Once Wilson and Andre Brown are both healthy, Jacobs is going to be just about worthless for fantasy purposes, but take advantage of the situation while you can. The Giants have been horrendous this season and they showed they have no choice but to try and run the ball more effectively to stay in games. Jacobs looked like a rejuvenated version of himself on Thursday and hopefully can be a sneaky start the next few games as well. I see Jacobs as a solid flex play while Wilson is out and he obviously has the potential to produce like a RB2 for your respective teams. Don't go out and try to trade for Jacobs if he is already owned, but if he is available, go grab him for immediate purposes.