As the season wears on, waiver wire columns are less and less helpful. Playing time becomes a nearly-crystal clear picture and each injury, each change in situation, has a clear beneficiary. In week four, we are still waiting for things like a C.J Spiller breakout game, or for David Wilson to get 20 touches one time (JUST ONE TIME COUGHLIN PLEASE), but most of the meaningful waiver moves have been made. The vast expanse of fantasy knowledge makes it so that the Alfred Morris‘s and Randall Cobb‘s being on the wire in your league in 2013 is next to impossible. The general fantasy community is just too smart to let guys like that slip through the cracks anymore, so the waiver wire is more about churning the bottom of your bench to turn WR5’s into WR3’s and RB4’s into RB3’s with an upside of an RB2, and that idea reflects itself in this week’s list. Being cautious with your FAAB dollars or #1 WW priority isn’t profitable anymore, so don’t be afraid to act aggressively.
As we are wont to do at Rotoviz, I’m not going to waste your time. Brandon Bolden, Jacquizz Rodgers and other obvious WW adds aren’t on this list. If you think I forgot someone, or want some specific advice on to what to do with your individual roster, feel free to contact me on twitter, @davismattek.
|Jennings, Rashad RB OAK||The data points that are available for Jennings are pretty confusing. He had long been hyped as the heir apparent to MJD’s throne, averaging above 5 yards a carry in limited work, before having a disastrous year with the Jaguars in 2012, averaging 2.8 YPC. Darren McFadden is suffering from a hamstring injury and Marcel Reece is also sidelined with a knee injury. Jennings is all Oakland has in the backfield and as McFadden’s season with Pryor up until this point had shown, playing with the electric young QB made the Oakland running game unexpectedly productive. If McFadden and Reece are gone for meaningful amounts of time, Jennings is in a nice situation, even if we aren’t exactly sure about his talent.||1-High|
|Blount, Legarrette RB NE||In the absolute dream scenario season for Stevan Ridley, he played less than 50% of snaps. The last 2 weeks, he has been out touched and out snapped by Legarrette Blount. Ridley and Brandon Bolden are going to continue being involved in the offense, but for the moment, it appears that Blount is closer to being the lead back than Ridley is. Athletically, Ridley isn’t really much of a marvel and most of the value in this Pats backfield is going to come from touchdowns, meaning that it’s going to be frustrating to predict but valuable if one of the 3 runners pays off. This is a trend to monitor, but you want to do what you can to acquire Blount.||1-High|
|Pryor, Terrelle QB OAK||Pryor was inactive on Sunday versus the Redskins and in most 12 team leagues, I’d imagine that it would be hard for an owner with a short bench to hold on to Pryor. If that’s the case for your league, spend whatever WW priorty or FAAB dollars you think is the minimum to get him. He has 198 rush yards through 3 contests and his fantasy totals would be much higher if 1) Jacksonville wasn’t so putrid that he spent an entire half handing off the ball and 2)Darren McFadden didn’t vulture a PASSING touchdown. The upside is there with Pryor and it’s pretty wise to take advantage of this ‘buy low’ scenario||1-High|
|Blackmon, Justin WR JAC||If for whatever reason, he is on your wire, the time to add him is now. It’s likely that an impatient owner in your league dropped him for the Nate Washington‘s of the world and the upside for Blackmon this season is there. Jacksonville is supremely terrible, resulting in a lot of garbage time and plenty of pass attempts. Cecil Shorts is leading the league in targets but with Blackmon coming back, we’ll probably see that shift Blackmon’s way. Towards the end of last season, Blackmon became the more preferred target and when Gabbert is eventually benched, Henne will use the big Oklahoma State WR extensively. Top 12 upside isn’t there because of the offense, but it’s entirely possible that garbage time makes both Shorts and Blackmon serviceable WR2’s.||1-High|
|Helu, Roy RB WAS||Do whatever you have to get Helu onto your roster. He has the fastest agility score in NFL combine history, which is a metric that correlates with RBs that are good in the passing game. The Redskins offense hasn’t been anything to write home about, but with Alfred Morris banged up with a rib injury, there is a real chance that Helu ends up starting several games for the Washington professional football team rather soon.||1-High|
|Hoyer, Brian QB CLE||One game against Minnesota could have easily been a fluke, and Cincy was indeed missing many of their top corners and safeties, but what Hoyer is doing is backed by volume. Getting to drop back and throw the ball 40 times a game to the likes of Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon is going to artificially inflate the value of any quarterback and as long as the Browns keep chucking the ball, Hoyer will be a pretty safe QB2. I think a problem we make when evaluating WW QB’s is needing to see top 5 upside, but that’s pretty silly. Grabbing Hoyer as a streamer or even a starter in a 16 team league is still an intelligent move, even if he isn’t going to threaten Peyton Manning totals.||2-Medium|
|Ogbonnaya, Chris RB CLE||It’s a touchdown explosion in Cleveland! Ogbonnaya outsnapped Bobby Rainey and Willis McGahee combined and played both fullback and running back against Cincinatti this weekend. He isn’t an explosive player, but for two weeks in a row, I’ve started him in my flex of a 16 team league and have been encouraged by the results. If you’re scraping the bottom of the barrell to find 8 or 9 PPR points, Silent G is going to be your guy, week in and week out it would appear.||2-Medium|
|Woods, Robert WR BUF||This is right about the time when rookie wide receivers start to have an impact. Woods basically went undrafted in most leagues, as he should have, but with Stevie Johnson getting blanketed by opposing teams #1 corners, the opportunity is there for Woods. Expecting more 5-80-1 games is foolhardy (even though he almost had another touchdown that was called back), but given that the Bills are running over 75 offensive plays a game, there is no reason to believe he is going to stop being targeted and with E.J Manuel playing well and seemingly favoring him, he should be owned in all 12 team leagues.||2-Medium|
|Ellington, Andre RB ARI||I’d be more enthusiastic about Ellington if it seemed that the coaching staff was interested in getting him the ball. Bruce Arians, when asked about getting Ellington more touches, said that the rookie already had enough on his plate. That, in conjuction with playing behind what is still one of the league’s worst offensive lines, and being in a timeshare with Mendenhall make him not all that attractive of an option. Palmer is showing a willingness to throw the ball to Ellington, which I like, but until he either gets more playing time or shows that he can be flex worthy with what he is getting now, I’m not too excited.||2-Medium|
|Washington, Nate WR TEN||I wrote last week that Washington is the type of player that I seldom own, so of course he drops a 4-105-2 line against a stout Jets defense. Since 2005, Washington has only 4 2-TD games and I don’t expect that trend to continue, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick replacing the injured Jake Locker, Washington will probably become a PPR WR3 with ease.||2-Medium|
|Williams, Terrance WR DAL||Williams actually came out of Sunday’s game versus the Chargers better than I expected. He made dumb rookie mistakes, but gathered 8 targets in Miles Austin‘s hamstring-related absence and was on the field almost twice as much as the next closest receiver. If Miles is out for additional time, Williams becomes viable as a flex candidate in 12 team leagues because of the VERY soft schedule coming for the Cowboys||2-Medium|
|Pettis, Austin WR STL||It’s appearing that no matter who is calling plays in St. Louis or who Sam Bradford has to throw too, it’s going to be a middling offense. Pettis leads the team in targets and thus far has been the only Rams pass catcher to demonstrate anything resembling reliability. We’re getting to bottom of the barrel levels, but I can’t argue with 29 targets and a 62% catch percentage with 2 touchdowns through 4 games. We’re seeing Pettis’ upside, but he isn’t the joke that we had assumed||2-Medium|
|Simpson, Jerome WR MIN||Look, if you want to buy into the idea that Matt Cassell suddenly makes Kyle Rudolph, Jerome Simpson and Greg Jennings fantasy relevant, be my guest. This is the second time this season we’ve seen Simpson explode for over 100 yards and we may even see it happen again, but don’t be the guy who blows FAAB dollars on him, never starts him, and then drops him.||3-Low|
|McGrath, Sean TE KC||Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce were unable to play with injuries and Alex Smith loves his tight end. McGrath may be a decent streaming option but with those 2 set to return, I’m not blowing any FAAB.||3-Low|
|Robinson, Khiry RB NO||For the time being, Robinson is filling the Mark Ingram role, playing in obvious running situations. He played 17 snaps to Pierre Thomas‘ 28 versus the Dolphins and actually got 12 carries in mop up duty. He is most likely nothing, but we also know better by now than to write off a running back in this backfield. Purely a stash right now, these are the types of lotto tickets that can pay off down the stretch .||3-Low|
|Toon, Nick WR NO||For very, very deep leagues only, Toon is someone to watch. Marques Colston has a history of being banged up and Robert Meachem is no picture of health either. Toon is basically the back up X or Split End WR for the Saints and he actually was active for the Saints on Monday night, running 22 pass routes and catching a pass for 18 yards. As a Colston owner in several 16 team leagues, I’m making sure Toon gets on my roster this waiver period.||3-Low|
Update: Da’Rel Scott has been cut by the New York Giants, which makes Micheal Cox the worthwhile handcuff to David Wilson. It’s a real possibility that the Giants are just bad and no RB in that entire backfield ever ends up being worth a damn, but if Tom Coughlin stubbornly sticks Wilson in the doghouse further, Cox is the only other running back on the roster who run, pass block and catch passes out of the backfield. He will cost nothing to acquire and it’s probably best to monitor him, instead of add him (outside of deep leagues) but he is firmly on the waiver wire speed dial.