Here come the hurricane Sandy-shortened reccomendations for waiver wire pickups as we cross the midseason point of the 2012-2013 season.
Matt Hasselbeck (QB – Ten): Unless you play in an extremely shallow league where guys like Josh Freeman might still be available, Hasselbeck seems to be the cream of the crop as far as waiver wire quarterbacks go. Jake Locker is sidelined, and Hasselbeck is the starter. Tennesee has been playing better, balanced football. Chris Johnson is now producing up to the standards of both fans and his contract, and Kenny Britt is back in action as well. Throw in the talents of Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, and Jared Cook, and you have an offense that has serious potential. Similarly, when the only alternatives in most leagues seem to be guys like Russell Wilson, Mark Sanchez, or Blaine Gabbert, it’s almost a no-brainer to roll with Hasselbeck if you are in need of a spot-start QB.
Jonathan Dwyer (RB – Pit): Pittsburgh fans absolutely love this guy, and after two weeks, the rest of the NFL world is starting to figure out why. He has a hard-nose, between the tackles-style of running that is very similar to what Jerome Bettis used to bring to the table. His back to back 100+ yard games make him the first Steeler runningback to accomplish that feat since Willie Parker in 2008, and he would have had even more fantasy points in those games if Pittsburgh decided to give him the ball on the goal line. Common sense would dictate that Tomlin continue to roll with Dwyer, which would make him a solid #2 RB. However, with Mendenhall coming back, you never know what is going to happen. Despite this, you can be pretty positivte that if you wait to find out what direction Pittsburgh is going to go with, Dwyer will be unavailable. If you have the space, and need a RB, this is the guy.
LaRod Stephens-Howling (RB – Ari): Still only owned in 30% of leagues, despite being a starting RB. Maybe his stinker against San Francisco scared off some owners? If you were unable to grab Dwyer, take a look at LSH against a very vulnerable Packers defense. Similar to Rashad Jennings last week, LSH should figure heavily in this game due to his ability to catch and run with the football. Even if the Cardinals get blown out, you can be pretty sure that LSH will still be catching screen passes and putting up points in the 4th quarter.
Titus Young (WR – Det): Finally produced in line with his expectations. His ownership has dropped close to 40% since the beginning of the season, and it is not hard to see why. Even with his monster, 9 catch-200 yard-2 TD performace last week, he still is averaging less than 8 points a week, and his only prior TD came on a lucky, batted-down hail mary pass. Hopefully last week was him turning the corner. If you have room on your bench, nab him up now, as you won’t get another shot to pick him up. Having said that, I still have reservations about starting him due to his, and the Lions’ inconsistency. Additionally, the Lions just went out and signed Mike Thomas from Jacksonville, though that is not nearly as concerning as the aforementioned points. The upside here is obvious, and hopefully if you have stuck with him thus far, or were lucky enough to grab him it will pay off for you as we approach the fantasy playoffs.
Danny Amendola (WR – StL): The Rams are on bye this week, but now would be the time to grab Amendola if he was dropped in your league. He is only owned in 40% of leagues, and should be back in week 10. Sam Bradford loves throwing him the ball, but the reason why I rank Titus Young as a better option is due to the Rams schedule for the remainder, which sees them play Arizona, Seattle, and San Francisco twice. Despite this, with the incredible amount of targets Amendola was getting before his injury, it would be hard to look him over, especially in PPR formats where he had seemingly turned himself into a poor-man’s Wes Welker before going down.
Dennis Pitta (TE – Bal): Has largely been forgotten about after being heralded as the “next stud TE” by many owners after his encouraging start to the season. After the Ravens’ blowout loss to Houston, it wouldn’t surprise to see them start looking back towards Pitta. While someone like Scott Chandler or Dustin Keller would almost certainly be a better answer in the long run, the Bills face Houston this week, and the Jets are on bye.