I find myself dragging my feet with this week’s Waiver Wire article. I researched available fantasy football talent, I looked at upcoming NFL match-ups and even looked into many nagging injuries to some of the NFL’s most elite players. Yet the way this season has unfolded, I don’t see any must-have upgrades that would be extremely helpful for a fantasy owner. No major injuries have occurred after three weeks in the NFL (knock on wood) to create an opportunity for a backup to start and succeed with the exception of Jacquizz Rodgers. Who by the way, played extremely well considering his Wikipedia page says he stands tall at 5-foot-6. The speedy Atlanta Falcon RB does hold some value in PPR leagues but is likely to have all goalline opportunities vultured by Jason Snelling. Snelling is 5 inches taller and is 40lbs heavier than Rodgers. In a bind, both RB’s have some value depending on what you’re looking for, but being such a pass happy team, both come with very high risk.
Last week’s waiver wire article was more about fantasy advice moving forward that was about recommending a certain criteria of talent you should add to your bench. I created a waiver wire list of rules to live by which seemed to be very helpful, so I’ve decided I’m going to add them to every article this season just in case you missed out.
Waiver Wire Rules to Live By:
Ask yourself: “Will I ever start him?” If the answer is no, then don’t bother picking that player up.
Try to avoid dropping talented RB2’s. Injuries can create starters overnight.
The Drop can sometimes end up being better than the pick-up. Fantasy Noobs will drop great talent all the time, read over the transaction log regularly.
If you have a winning record, why mess with the Wire?
The less you pick up, the higher your waiver claim. Patience is a virtue.
In last week’s waiver wire article I ranked Bilal Powell as the top RB I recommend you pick up. Powell’s performance against the Buffalo Bills helped the Jets lockup a huge divisional win with his 149 rushing yards on the ground. Powell also made two catches for 9 yards, bonus points for those of you in PPR leagues.
I also added Eddie Royal to last week’s waiver wire pickup article …sort of. I have been very vocal about him being a fluke or two-week wonder and warned many of you that he’d be a complete waste of your time. Jody Smith and I kicked off our 2013 Gridiron Experts video hangout last Friday, where I had mentioned I was eager to tweet out the hashtag #EddieSpoil after a flop week against the Titans.
Before I jump into this week’s collection of waiver wire gems, I recommend you do yourself a favor and look beyond week four as the bye weeks hit us fast and furious in October. This week Carolina and Green Bay are on a bye, but the following week features four NFL teams on bye weeks, including: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Washington. If you can get the jump on a replacement player or defense in advance for week five, you’ll be thinking like a champion and thank yourself later.
Waiver Wire Pickup: Quarterback
Jay Cutler– Cutler is owned in 70.9% of all ESPN leagues. His fantasy production has been somewhat vanilla as of late, but as I had mentioned above fantasy owners need to start considering options for the following weeks, not just this Sunday. Jay Cutler goes up against the Detroit Lions this week, the Saints week five and the pitiful New York Giants defense in week six. Cutler’s fantasy value should increase drastically over the next four weeks.
Ryan Tannehill– To my surprise Ryan Tannehill is only owned in 10.2% of all ESPN fantasy leagues. The Miami Dolphins are 3-0 and play Monday night in a monster game against the New Orleans Saints, who are also 3-0. For those of you looking for a changeup from a frustrating fantasy quarterbacks (RG3, Colin Kaepernick) Tannehill may surprise you in a game that is likely to get into shootout.
Andy Dalton-Second year quarterback Andy Dalton is owned in 29.2% of all ESPN leagues. The Bengals travel to Cleveland this week to take on a divisional rival. Cincinnati is flying high after upsetting the Packers and look to continue their winning streak on the road this week against a defense that doesn’t seem as a elite as people were making them out to be. Dalton is a decent low when starter if you have a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Cam Newton on a bye this weekend.
Other QB’s:Terrelle Pryor (OAK)
Waiver Wire Pickup: Running Back
Jacquizz Rodgers or Jason Snelling- As I mentioned above, both running backs come with some value but unfortunately are two halves of one productive talent. Rogers will rack up yardage and Snelling will likely find the end zone. Gambling with either one could backfire, but if you’re in a pinch both should see touches this week.
Daniel Thomas– Dolphins backup running back Daniel Thomas has two touchdowns in three games. He’s not getting the amount carries that would warrant an actual start in any fantasy leagues, yet the Dolphins are not afraid to go to him when they need a big play. Thomas is the kind of player you will stash on your bench for a rainy day.
Other RB’s:Ronnie Hillman (DEN) Willis McGahee (CLE)
Waiver Wire Pickup: Wide Receivers
Donnie Avery-With his recent time in Indianapolis and the addition of Andy Reid in Kansas City, I think I can speak for a lot of fantasy owners when I say “it’s about time”. Donnie Avery didn’t really stand out throughout training camp but had an amazing game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. The Chiefs finally found a way to utilize Avery’s speed and elusiveness getting him the ball underneath in crossing patterns. The Eagles defense have a lot of trouble defending Avery and I’m sure the Chiefs plan to test more secondaries out this season with his blazing speed.
Brian Hartline– I said it last week, and I’ll say it again… Hartline is very underrated and deserves a waiver wire claim. He is a valuable part of the Miami Dolphins passing game and after three weeks of NFL action Hartline already has 238 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Kenbrell Thompkins– After a couple poor weeks, Patriots wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins actually dropped last week 3.9% in all ESPN leagues. He is currently owned in 35.4% of all fantasy leagues entering this waiver wire claim. Again, like I have mentioned in our Gridiron Experts weekly video hangout, the Patriots had extra time from playing the Jets on the Thursday night game in week 2 and seemed to work out a lot of miss cues and kinks. Thompkins rookie nerves seem to have calmed in week 3 and his performance against the Buccaneers was very promising finding the endzone twice.
Santonio Holmes & Stephen Hill- I may be jumping the gun a little here by recommending Santonio Holmes or any Jet wide receiver for that matter, but after seeing Geno Smith’s performance on Sunday I think the team took huge strides forward. What really caught my eye was how Geno Smith trusted his receivers. He made a few tough throws when his wideout wasn’t completely open. Most rookie quarterbacks fear the interception and hold the ball too long. Smith however, let his skilled targets make a play and come down with the ball at key points of the game.
Nate Washington *Assuming Kendall Wright is already owned in your league* -Washington is a fifth-year Titans starter and a nine year NFL veteran. His fantasy production struggled last season yet Washington has been somewhat productive after three games for the Titans. With Kenny Britt becoming more and more irrelevant to the Titans future, Washington should be there to make grabs to help the Titans passing game move the chains. The Titans schedule isn’t the greatest over the next couple weeks but Nate Washington does deserve a spot on your bench if you have room.
Other RB’s: Brandon LaFell(CAR) *Bye*
Waiver Wire Rant
Jordan Cameron– How the hell is Jordan Cameron only owned in 74.4% of all ESPN fantasy leagues? He is 2013’s top Tight End behind Jimmy Graham. Next week when I look Cameron better be at 100% own.
Mike is the founding member at Gridiron Experts with over 1000+ articles credited to his name. With over 20 years of fantasy experience, Mike has a very unique style when picking sleepers and gems. He has always had a outside the box look on the NFL and rarely gets sucked into the hype over players or buzzing offenses. Mike looks at the game as a whole and doesn't focus solely on individual stats. Football is not Baseball, and you need to factor in more when researching players to draft. Mike has one year old son and is expecting a daughter in late July (2015).
Mike lives on the West Coast and is happily married to a beautiful woman who also loves sports. Sundays are spent with friends and family watching games from opening kickoff to well into the evenings.