Last week’s waiver wire article featured a few solid pickup recommendations, including Nate Washington of the Titans and his huge performance against the Jets. Yet no player had me more on edge than my top quarterback recommendation Jay Cutler. At halftime against the Detroit Lions, Cutler’s numbers were downright pitiful. I was full of regret and more than annoyed with the performance as I’m sure many Bears fans were as well. Luckily second-half garbage time created enough fantasy points to make his performance worthy of a decent fantasy start. Jay Cutler ended the day off with 317 passing yards and two touchdowns… the turnovers were a different story altogether.
I’m going to include my 5 Waiver Wire rules in every article this season, as the questions I’m asked each week can be sometimes the definition of over-thinking things.
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.
Waiver Wire Quarterbacks
Cleveland Browns| Owned in 1.3% of all ESPN leagues
It shouldn’t be long before Brian Hoyer is officially named the Cleveland Browns starter for the remainder of the 2013 season. The Browns are very interesting franchise to say the least, yet it’s hard to not see the writing on the wall with their quarterback situation. Since taking over, the Browns have won two games in a row and have played extremely well. Hoyer is a perfect bye week replacement quarterback that should get you enough points to be satisfied while regular starter has his one week vacation. The Buffalo Bills are allowing 277 passing yards per game and have given up eight touchdowns in four games. I hate recommending Thursday night players, but for the Cleveland Browns this Prime time game is as big as it gets.
Other recommended Quarterbacks: Terrelle Pryor (Raiders) and EJ Manuel (Bills)
Waiver Wire Running Backs
San Diego Chargers | Owned in 17.8% of all ESPN leagues
Danny Woodhead has definitely been flying under the radar. While players like Eddie Royal or Philip Rivers have been the talk of the Chargers impressive start to the 2013 season, it’s players like Woodhead that have been sneaking productive throughout the first four weeks of the season. Jody Smith had Danny Woodhead as one of his top sleepers for week four, but to be honest I don’t think anyone really expected the former Patriot to go off the way he did. Woodhead tallied a combined 86 total yards with five receptions and two touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys. The Chargers schedule looks promising and Woodhead is a solid pickup for those looking for running back depth, especially in PPR leagues.
New England Patriots | owned in 2.5% of all ESPN leagues
Bill Belichick is the kind of coach that rewards his most productive players. Blount’s performance against the Falcons on Sunday night should have earned him more carries moving forward. The team seems to be losing a little faith in Stevan Ridley, as it was almost a near split of carries between Blount and Ridley in week four.
There is always risk in starting any New England Patriots not named Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski. The team loves to spread the ball around using mismatches to expose weaknesses in their opponents. LeGarrette Blount is the kind of player that you should start with the sole expectation of vulturing a touchdown and nothing more. He is a “I’m desperate” type starter.
Short Term Starter: Roy Helu (Redskins)
Other Recommended Running Backs: Andre Ellington (Cardinals), Jacquizz Rodgers (Falcons)
Waiver Wire Sleeper:
Rashad Jennings (Raiders)
Truthfully I’ve always liked Rashad Jennings and I was surprised that he didn’t win the number two running back job in Oakland. For those you who don’t remember, Jennings was the backup to Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville from 2009 to 2012. He averaged at least 5 yards a carry the first two years of his NFL career before getting seriously injured and not playing at all throughout 2011 season. With the injuries to Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece (both Questionable), Jennings does have an opportunity to possibly start this weekend against Chargers. If you are in a jam and need starter for this weekend, Jennings might be a decent option. The Chargers are allowing 5.2 yards per carry on the ground and have given up on average 120 yards per game rushing. Jennings is a deep sleeper and should be only used if you’re completely screwed.
Investment Waiver Wire Pick-up:
Mark Ingram (Saints)
If you have room on the bench and are willing to take a chance on stashing a player away in hopes that they get traded, Mark Ingram is your guy. He is being dropped heavily this week and his stock couldn’t be lower.
It’s not often that teams with winning records trade players away (take note fantasy owners), yet the New Orleans Saints have an abundant amount of running back talent and have already seen decent production out of Khiry Robinson. If the Saints can acquire an additional depth player that can help them on their playoff run, I don’t see why they wouldn’t get rid of Mark Ingram. If you have the bench room add him in hopes of a possible trade.
Waiver Wire Wide Receivers
Buffalo Bills | owned in 5% of all ESPN leagues
In my opinion, there are always week to week situational wide receivers that you can pick up and plug-in at any time. I personally have never needed to take such measures as I usually stash decent talent on my bench for flex and bye week depth, still of all the available talent that one may want to pick up this week Robert Woods seems to have the most upside. Woods has seen a massive spike and targets in the last two weeks. The Bills 2nd round rookie WR was targeted 10 times against the Jets and eight times against the Ravens. The Buffalo Bills schedule has been somewhat difficult to start the season, yet as things progress the team should have more opportunities to get the ball downfield. This may not be the week that you want to pick up and start Woods as they play the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. However, if Joe Haden is going to shut down Stevie Johnson, Woods may continue to see a high number of targets. Overall, I think this former USC Trojan WR will develop into an excellent weapon for the Bills.
“I Told You So” week 4 Recommendation: Nate Washington 4 rec, 105 yards 2 TD’s
Other Recommended Wide Receivers: Justin Blackmon (Jaguars), Marlon Brown (Ravens), Terrance Williams ( Cowboys), Jerome Simpson ( Vikings)
Waiver Wire Tight Ends
Pittsburgh Steelers | Owned in 23.6% of all ESPN leagues
The Pittsburgh Steelers are having one of the worst seasons that I can ever remember. They never seem to have a lead in the game creating a lot of garbage time opportunity for the wide receivers and tight ends. Health Miller has always been a productive reliable target for Big Ben, and is worthy of a start.
Other Recommended Tight Ends: Coby Fleener (Colts), Brandon Pettigrew (Lions), Garrett Graham (Texans)
Photo Credit: SI.com