Week 7: Waiver Wire – Catch and Release

Week 7. The eye of the hurricane. Again, we get another week with just two teams on bye – Oakland, and New Orleans. With the exceptions of Jimmy Graham and Drew Brees, we won’t be missing very many relevant fantasy parts this week. Don’t let yourself get lulled into a false sense of security though, because a combined 12 teams will have their BYE over the course of weeks 8 and 9.

Here are the recommendations for players you either want to catch now, don’t bother picking up, or keep on your radar for the upcoming weeks.


Andre Ellington (RB – Ari): The speedy, diminutive back continues to outplay the aging, injury prone Rashard Mendenhall. While it is looking unlikely that Ellington becomes the feature back this season, Mendenhall breaking down at some point this season isn’t exactly the longest shot you could take. Regardless, Ellington should be in line for 10-15 touches a week, and his hands and speed make him a scary pass-catching option. Right now, I would take him over guys like Joseph Randle or Zac Stacy, and he has the potential to turn into an all-around producer should anything happen to Mendenhall. Gets a big boost in PPR formats.

Keenan Allen (WR – SD): Forget DeAndre Hopkins and Cordarrelle Patterson. Keenan Allen, the 3rd round pick from Cal, is the rookie WR making waves this year. With atleast 6 catches, 100 yards, and a TD in each of his last two games, Allen should be owned (and most likely started) in all formats. 

Andre Brown (RB – NYG): Got runningback troubles? This could potentially be your answer. Brown is eligible to play week 10, and David Wilson will be out at least 4 more weeks with his neck problems. Brandon Jacobs is already banged up, which may lead the Giants to look for a free agent runner, but Brown should be in for a very nice workload upon his return. 

Harry Douglas (WR – Atl): This Falcons team, once thought of as contenders, is now in shambles. Roddy White continues to try to play at 50%, and continues to suffer setbacks. Rumors of Gonzo being traded to the Chiefs are swirling. Julio Jones out for the season. What can fantasy owners take away? Harry Douglas. By process of elimination, Harry Douglas is now the Falcons #1 WR. Expectations should be tempered, but the targets will certainly be there. You could do a lot worse on the waiver wire, and Douglas should see continued looks from a top QB for the remainder of the season.

Joseph Randle (RB – Dal): Take this one lightly; Joseph Randle will be the Cowboys starting runningback this week. DeMarco Murray is sidelined with a sprained knee and his status for this weekend is doubtful. Randle will pickup the workload by default with Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar injured and ineffective. If you are in desperate need of a starting runningback for THIS WEEK ONLY, Randle has a shot to put some decent points up on the board. He looked decidedly average filling in for the injured Murray against the Redskins, however, and shouldn’t be counted on for anything spectacular. 

Jarrett Boykin (WR – GB): Greenbay’s receiving corps. was thrashed against Baltimore, losing Randall Cobb for 6-8 weeks with a broken leg, and James Jones suffering a shin injury that leaves him questionable for the upcoming week. Boykin was literally the last remaining receiver on their roster, and turned his 6 targets on the day into 1 catch for 43 yards. In any case, he will now be catching balls from a premier QB, and could quickly turn some heads, and is worth a speculative add.


Willis McGahee (RB – Cle): McGahee continues to look old and slow with the ball in his hands. He was outplayed again this week by Chris Ogbonnaya, and continued to show that is he incapable of being a 4.0 YPC runningback anymore. McGahee is still the starter for the time being (the only justification for using a roster spot on him), but if he continues to make the absolute least out of his carries, I would expect Ogbonnaya to continue to see more work. 

Joseph Fauria (TE – Det): This one might end up coming back to bite me, but I would stay away from Joseph Fauria, despite his 3 TD effort last week. This guy is like a poor-man’s Kyle Rudolph with a better quarterback. If he doesn’t score, you’re not going to get any points from him. His fantasy production literally rests entirely on his ability to catch touchdowns, and with Calvin Johnson recovering – that window would seem to be closing. 


Chris Ogbonnaya (RB – Cle): Ogbonnaya continues to be the bright spot in the Cleveland backfield. Outplaying McGahee again, Ogbonnaya showcased his pass catching abilities, grabbing 7 balls for 61 yards and a TD. Expect a bigger workload from the shify back if McGahee continues to struggle.

Riley Cooper (WR – Phi): Cooper could enter into the world of fantasy relevance if Nick Foles lands the starting job in Philadelphia. It would be a rash decision to pick him up based solely on his 4 catch, 120 yard, 1 TD effort against the Cowboys – but if he explodes again, you risk missing out.



Week 5: Waiver Wire – Catch & Release

Here are the week 5 waiver wire recommendations. I’m going to try out a new style this week in hopes of helping some of the trigger-happy managers I have been getting Rashad Jennings hype-emails from all week long. Below you will find why you should stay away from Jennings, as well recommendations on other polarizing, waiver wire targets.


Alex Smith (QB – KC): Call him the poor-man’s Peyton Manning. Alex Smith makes tons of short-intermediate throws, and never turns the ball over. While game managing signal callers have never been a hot fantasy commodity, Smith continues to churn out 20+ point weeks with ease. Andy Reid is pass happy, and is going to continue to throw loads of YAC generating screens to Jamaal Charles, and Smith should continue to avoid the negative points from interceptions and sacks due to his efficient, quick passing. To date, he is scoring as a top 10 QB, and it wouldn’t surprise to see him continue.

Danny Woodhead (RB – SD): Woodhead continues to outproduce Ryan Mathews, and the Chargers continue to find interesting ways to line him up, and get him the ball. If his level of play remains high, his touches should only improve. As long as Philip Rivers continues his form, Woodhead should be a very solid producer.

Andre Ellington (RB – Ari): Ellington continues to outplay Mendenhall. This one is still more of a speculative add, but the young back’s stock should skyrocket if Mendenhall continues to disappoint. It’s worth noting that HC, Bruce Arians has already stated that he thinks Ellington is someone who can handle the everydown workload. Similarly, it’s pretty clear that Mendenhall is on his way out. 

Nate Washington (WR – Ten): Not a great play this week, but Nate Washington continues to be the most productive receiver for the Titans. With Locker injured, it is slightly unclear if that trajectory will continue, and he isn’t a great bet to produce against a dominant Kansas City defense this week, but keep an eye on him, because there is clearly still some gas left in the tank. His value is boosted by Kenny Britt being a dumbass, and more or less tweeting himself out of a job. 

Terrance Williams (WR – Dal): Here are some things you should never trust in the fantasy football world: Bill Belichick runningbacks, and Miles Austin’s hamstrings. Is it really any suprise Austin is injured again? Terrance Williams deputized, and did a nice job catching 7 balls for 71 yards. The only gripe was his goal line fumble, which HC Jason Garrett chalked up to “eagerness to score and help the team.” Austin looks set to miss another week, and Williams should be a very solid play – especially if the Cowboys get into a shootout against Denver.

Any Defense Playing Against the Jacksonville Jaguars: Seriously, people are scooping up the Jaguars opponents two weeks in advance in my league to get themselves a piece of that buttery match-up. If the Jags can limit any opposing fantasy defense to under 10 points for the rest of the season, I would actually be very surprised.


Rashad Jennings (RB – Oak): I’m really flabbergasted as to why all the top “experts” are recommending Jennings this week. I get that RBs are in short supply, and he is most likely a starter, but there are two major reasons why I think he will badly fail. One, Jennings has never been able to be anything more than a change-of-pace back. When MJD went down in Jax, he was abysmal filling in with every down touches. Two, he gets more than 50% of his production from catching screen passes – which Terrell Pryor doesn’t throw. With Matt Flynn relegated to 3rd string, Pryor will continue to huck it downfield, and poach goal line carries – effectively neutralizing any value that Jennings will have until either Marcel Reece or McFadden return. 

Kris Durham (WR – Det): Every year, whichever wide receiver lines up across from Calvin Johnson is deemed a “sleeper” because of the passing nature of the Lions offense, and the attention CJ draws from opposing defenses. Every year, we buy into it (Ryan Broyles, Titus Young, Nate Burleson…), and every year they disappoint. I’m saving myself the frustration on this one. Last week Durham still managed to lead the Lions WRs in receiving yardage and he has a favorable matchup this week to boot, but temper expectations, as Stafford historically relies on Calvin Johnson and screen passes.


Chris Ogbonnaya (RB – Cle): Willis McGahee continued to look awful on Thursday night against the Bills, posting 72 yards on 26 carries for a gross 2.76 YPC. Additionally, the only reason he got is touchdown was from fortuitous penalties and playcalls that granted him FIVE tries to punch the ball in from within the 3 yard line. Ogbonnaya is a competent pass-catching back, and if McGahee continues to disappoint, look for him to grab a bigger role on a hot Cleveland team.

Mike Goodson (RB – NYJ): Many people think Goodson is the most talented runner on this Jets team, and Chris Ivory has seemingly been knocked down the depth chart. Not many expected Bilal Powell to hold onto the job, and Goodson should get plenty of opportunities to seize the role with the Jets top two WR’s out with injury.

Week 4: Scouring the Waiver Wire

Andre Ellington (RB – Ari): For the second week in a row, I’m recommending Ellington. Though somewhat speculative, the rookie has shown considerably more explosiveness than the aging Mendenhall (who is also nursing a toe injury), and the Cardinals seem determined to get him involved in the offense. Ellington played four more snaps than Mendenhall this past week, and having already displayed his pass-catching abilities, there is a real chance he becomes a feature back.

Donnie Avery (WR – KC): In a surprisingly thin year for wide receivers, Avery could be a very solid pickup. To date, he is having a better season than Dwayne Bowe, and he should continue to garner tons of intermediate looks with YAC potential with the ever-efficient Alex Smith at the helm.

Marlon Brown (WR – Bal): Don’t be thrown by Brown’s mediocre stat line against the Texans. Flacco continues to trust Brown, and is lacking in short-mid range weapons. Emerging as a prime red-zone target, Brown should be in for a nice ride over the next several weeks; facing the Bills, Dolphins, and Packers weak secondaries.

Coby Fleener (TE – Ind): If Fleener is unowned, grab him now. With Dwayne Allen injured and no longer poaching snaps, there is a very solid chance for the former Stanford-standout to emerge alongside his similarly Cardinal QB.

Kansas City (Defense): This defensive unit produced the most probowlers out of any team in the league last year, yet went largely unnoticed due to the horrendous 2-win ceiling of Matt Cassel. Make no mistake, they are scorching hot right now, and the only seemingly dangerous opponent on the horizon until their week 10 bye is Houston.


Week 3: Waiver Wire Pickups

This past few days has been relatively volatile in the fantasy football world. Check out the week 3 waiver wire recommendations

Ryan Tannehill (QB – Mia): Tannehill has been quietly having a solid season, passing for 591 yards, and 2 TDs en route to the Dolphins unexpected 2-0 start on the road. Tannehill has also gotten relatively unlucky in the touchdown department, having several receivers tackled on the 1 yard line already. Tannehill has some explosive weapons in Charles Clay and Mike Wallace, and as chemistry develops, he should only improve.

Willis McGahee (RB - FA): This one is a slightly speculative add, but one that could end up paying dividends for fantasy owners. Word is that in the wake of Trent Richardson’s departure, the Browns are looking to sign McGahee. With the only other competition on the depth chart being the inexperienced Bobby Rainey, and FB Chris Ogbonnaya, McGahee should surely get the lion’s share of work, assuming he can pass the necessary medical evaluations.

Jacquizz Rodgers (RB – Atl): With SJax out for several weeks with an injury, the brunt of the load falls to Jacquizz Rodgers. He is a smaller, speedy back that will likely catch a decent amount of passes and could rack up some quality yards, but expect Snelling to poach goal line work.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR – Hou): Last week Hopkins finally showed owners why the Texans drafted him in the first round. There have been suggestions among the Houston front office that this kid could be better than Andre Johnson. In the meantime, Johnson remains injury prone and potentially sidelined, and Hopkins should be a great playmaker for Schaub. Johnson will continue to draw the better DB’s and most likely won’t turn into a red-zone machine overnight, leaving plenty of big play opportunities and TD looks for Hopkins.

Eddie Royal (WR – SD): Don’t be mistaken, Eddie Royal is not going to continue to rake in touchdowns at this pace. Despite the inevitable regression in the TD department, with Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander injured, and Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen not doing much of anything, Royal should remain a solid fantasy option for the foreseeable future – especially if Philip Rivers continues his sharp form.

Charles Clay (TE – Mia): Clay has earned the trust of Tannehill, and shown some explosive playmaking ability in the process. With 10 catches f0r 163 yards and an added 1-yard rushing TD, Clay should remain a solid option from here on out.

Alex Henery (K – Phi): With the effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s “blur/point-a-minute offense” it’s surprising that more owners haven’t picked up Henery. The Eagles put up 63 points in their first two games, and show no signs of slowing down. Henery should remain a very solid kicking option until Michael Vick gets injured, and/or the Eagles show signs of slowing down.

Minnesota Defense: The Vikings host a Cleveland team that has seemingly rolled over and entered the Clowney/Bridgewater sweepstakes. With Weeden injured, the Browns will look to Brian Hoyer this week. Oh, and their formerly best offensive player, Trent Richardson, now plays for the Colts. Take this one and say thank you.

Week 2: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

Check out these start/sit recommendations for week 2. Keep in mind that all the players listed in this section will be “bubble guys”, or players on the cusp. We realize you don’t need any help deciding whether or not to start Adrian Peterson or Calvin Johnson, but Marlon Brown, or Carson Palmer might be a different story.

Start ‘Em

  • Michael Vick (vs SD): Well, it seems as if Vick has gotten a handle on Chip Kelly’s “blur offense”. Owners should feel comfortable riding Vick until he gets injured, or starts turning the ball over in scores like we saw last season. For now, he should be a good play in the Eagles home opener against a San Diego defense that was just lit up by Matt Schaub.
  • Cam Newton (@ Buf): Don’t let his sub-Geno Smith-standard performance last week throw you off. Cam is still a premier fantasy QB when not matching up against the Seahawks defense. While the Bill’s seemingly reinvigorated front seven managed to give Tom Brady some problems last week, Cam should be able to post solid numbers in week 2.
  • Terrelle Pryor (vs Jax): Pryor may not be a godsend for the Raiders, but he gives them a chance to win games thanks to his elusiveness out of the pocket. Pryor has posted 20+ points in both of his career starts thanks to his rushing abilities, and he won’t get a much better matchup than this. Owners should be able to start Pryor with confidence this week in 2 QB leagues, and deeper formats. (more…)

Week 2: Waiver Wire Pickups

Scrambling for the waiver wire already? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season is here, leaving many owners quickly remembering how fickle the fantasy gods can be. Unsure of starting David Wilson behind his two fumble-inspired benching? Cursing Roddy White for not disclosing that high ankle sprain before you drafted him in the fourth round? Maybe you had a little too much faith in Danny Amendola’s ability to stay healthy. Regardless, here are a few waiver wire pickups for week 2 that will help your friends become reacquainted with that smug victory look of yours that they were missing.

Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Julius Thomas could rival Jimmy Graham as a top fantasy TE (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Carson Palmer (QB - Ari) - True to form, Bruce Arians has continued to lean on the passing game. In week 1 against a St. Louis secondary that is no pushover, the questionably-ginger veteran completed 65% of his passes for 327 yards and two touchdowns. While Arizona’s offensive line remains shaky, and Detroit’s strong defensive front could present problems this week, there should be no lingering doubts that Carson Palmer will be a solid LOW end QB1 and about as strong a QB2 as they come.

Joique Bell (RB – Det) – Despite playing behind big money free agent signing, Reggie Bush, Bell was able to have quite the game for himself. Posting 6 carries for 25 yards and two TDs to go along with 5 receptions for 67 yards is an absolutely incredible game for a backup runningback. Moving forward, Detroit has indicated that Bell will continue to receive the majority of goal line work, and his pass-catching skills make him worthy of a borderline flex play as is. Should anything happen to Bush, expect his stock to skyrocket in a hurry. (more…)

2013 Preseason Player Rankings: QB

  1. Aaron Rodgers (GB) - Sets himself apart from the others by being a consistent top passer, as well as managing to find the endzone on the ground several times each year.
  2. Drew Brees (NO) - Has been a top two QB in four of the past five seasons, and the Saints get Sean Payton back.
  3. Peyton Manning (Den) - 37 TDs and 11 INTs after spending the previous year rehabbing a surgically repaired neck. Peyton is statistically the best QB when it comes to connecting with the slot receiver, and the Broncos just picked up a pretty good one in Wes Welker.
  4. Matt Ryan (Atl) - Got his big deal, and the Falcons are in win-now mode this year for various salary cap-related issues. Ryan is about as safe a pick as you can get, and the Falcons picked up a versatile runningback in Steven Jackson, which gives him an extra passcatching weapon out of the backfield.
  5. Cam Newton (Car) - Cam reaped the benefits of being on a horrible team last season by ranking 16th in QBR, yet scored 4th among fantasy quarterbacks. He suffered a downright regression across the board from his 2011 season numbers in passing yards, passing TDs, and rushing TDs, yet still finished better than all but three signal-callers.
  6. Matthew Stafford (Det) - Calvin Johnson alone was tackled inside the 5-yard line eight times last season (five times inside the 1-yard line). If half of those would have connected for TDs, Stafford would have finished just fractions of a fantasy point under Peyton Manning in the quarterback rankings last season. Parting ways with the troublesome Titus Young, and adding a solid, pass-catching running back in Reggie Bush should help quite a bit. Stafford should have little trouble blowing by the meager 20 passing TDs he posted in 2012 and rejoining the elite. (more…)

2013 Preseason Player Rankings: RB

  1. Adrian Peterson (Min) – No surprise here. Six straight seasons with double digit TDs, AP will continue to be the focal point of the Minnesota offense.
  2. Doug Martin (TB) – In his debut season, Doug Martin dazzled with 1,926 yards and 12 TDs. He did have a couple absolutely outrageous games towards the end of the season that provided a healthy stat boost, but the upside is obvious. Martin will also get a huge boost from the return of two great linemen, Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph.
  3. Jamaal Charles (KC) – Turned out a remarkable 1,745 yards at 5.3YPC the season after returning from a reconstructive knee surgery, which went largely unnoticed – primary due to the heroics of AP. Charles has never posted double digit TDs, but with Hillis (or anyone else) no longer around to poach goal line work, he has a legitimate shot this year. Andy Reid’s pass-first offense will most likely keep his carries in check, but he could easily see career highs in receiving . Either way, a full strength Charles should improve upon what he did last year.
  4. Marshawn Lynch (Sea) – He won’t catch many passes, but he is about as safe of a pick as you can hope for. Losing Percy Harvin is a strong indication that Seattle’s offense will continue to be focused on the ground, and it is a virtual guarantee that Lynch will get double digit TDs. Not an injury prone player whatsoever, but probably won’t produce many absurd games like some of the speedier backs, either.
  5. Ray Rice (Bal) – With the losses of Flacco’s two primary short-mid range targets, Pitta and Boldin, and the resigning of premier run blocking FB – Vonta Leach, it seems as if Baltimore’s may be shifting back more towards the ground. Concerns seem to have him slipping in alot of drafts, but Rice could present great value if he falls outside the top 5. His pass-catching ability makes him more attractive in PPR formats. (more…)

2013 Preseason Player Rankings: WR

  1. Calvin Johnson (Det) – The only receiver worth taking in the first round. Still managed to separate himself from the pack last season, despite his TD numbers being unusually low. Don’t worry though, he was tackled inside the 1-yard line a league-leading five times, and with what should be an improved Detroit offense, Megatron is providing every indication a monster 2013 is in the cards.
  2. Dez Bryant (Dal) – Really seemed to figure things out at the end of last season to the tune of 50 receptions, 879 yards, and 10 TDs in the last 8 games alone. For the mathematically challenged, that is a 100/1,758/20 line extrapolated over a full season. Obviously, it would be wishful thinking to expect that, but if Dez can find a happy medium between the two, he will provide more than enough to justify the #2 ranking.
  3. Brandon Marshall (Chi) – Was top-4 among all pass-catchers in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs last season. If Marc Trestman is able to open up the Chicago offense and get the best out of Jay Cutler, Marshall could very well surpass his numbers from last season. He is a physical beast, and should get loads of receptions and TDs regardless.
  4. AJ Green (Cin) – Green caught at least one TD every week from weeks 2-11, making him one of the best receiver in the NFL during that stretch. The problem – he tailed off extremely hard – catching only one TD after week 11, and posting under 10.0 fantasy points three times during that span, amid questions regarding Andy Dalton’s lack of arm strength. Rookie TE Tyler Eifert should help him, but he and Sanu will likely steal some red zone looks. (more…)

2013 Preseason Player Rankings: TE

  1. Jimmy Graham (NO) – On a tier by himself among tight ends this season, Graham should be able to well surpass his numbers from last year now that he has a healthy wrist and Sean Payton back calling the plays.
  2. Vernon Davis (SF) – I’m buying high on Davis this year. Pound-for-pound, Davis is one of the most physically gifted players in the league. With CK7’s favorite target – Michael Crabtree, out for a good chunk of the season, Vernon Davis has been lining up at WR in training camp to fill the void. Though the two failed to connect for anything resembling fantasy value in the final weeks of the season (an ugly 5 catches for 61 yards and 0 TDs in the final 6 games), it finally came together in the playoffs. For those anticipating Anquan Boldin to pick up the slack on his own, keep in mind he averaged a pedestrian 600 yards and 4 TDs per season as a Raven. Davis will need to be productive in order for the ‘Niners to put up points, and with a serious lack of alternative pass-catchers, this could be a career year for him.
  3. Jason Witten (Dal) – Hauled in an absolutely outrageous 110 receptions last year. While he may not get as many red zone looks as you would expect (never posted a season with double digit TDs, and only scored above 7 once), he is a PPR monster.
  4. Tony Gonzalez (Atl) – For a guy pushing 40, putting up 930 yards and 8 TDs last season was one hell of a feat. While he should remain a favorite option of Matt Ryan, you would have to think that some regression is in line. (more…)