Adam Levitan

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wired Debut!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


TIGHT ENDS
1. Julius Thomas, Broncos – Owned in 24 percent of Yahoo leagues
Julius Thomas – not Joel Dreessen or Jacob Tamme – currently sits atop the tight end depth chart of a Peyton Manning offense. That alone should get your blood flowing. Add in the fact that Thomas is a highly athletic 6’5/255 former college basketball player that drew some comparisons Jimmy Graham when he came out of Portland State, and the blood should be boiling. Thomas is no better than fourth in line for targets, but Manning likes him. Thomas recorded four catches in each of the three exhibition games he appeared in. For more on how he'll be used against the Ravens this week, check out Evan Silva's mind-blowing Matchups piece.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all 12-team leagues

2. Coby Fleener, Colts – Owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
Coby Fleener had an awful August. He dealt with a concussion and minor knee sprain. When he was on the field, he dropped passes in traffic and lost a fumble. Still, Fleener has the athleticism to play the move tight end spot in Pep Hamilton’s double-tight base formation. He also has old college buddy Andrew Luck as his quarterback. Coach Chuck Pagano said he expects Fleener’s catches to double off his rookie campaign, when he had 26. That’s certainly doable.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Brent Celek, Eagles – Owned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues
When the Eagles drafted Zach Ertz and signed James Casey, some thought Celek would end up released. It never came close to that. Celek has been Chip Kelly’s primary tight end throughout the entire spring and summer, with Ertz and Casey only playing in special packages. In the third preseason game, Celek led the Eagles in targets with seven. The Philadelphia Daily News says it’s “clear” he’s going to be a “big part” of the passing game. Although Celek will be blocking plenty as an in-line tight end in a run-first offense, he can be a bye-week fill-in for us.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

4. Heath Miller, Steelers – Owned in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues
About nine months ago, Miller blew out the ACL, MCL and PCL in his knee. Somehow, he’s avoided the PUP list to start the season, which means the Steelers expect him to play sometime before Week 7. For now, it looks like Miller is targeting Week 4. Remember that in 15 games before going down last year, Miller set career-highs in catches (71), yards (816) and touchdowns (8). He was Ben Roethlisberger’s go-to guy, and he did it without much burst or athletic ability. Even if Miller is a step slow coming off the injury, he’ll still be moderately effective.
Recommendation: Worth a stash in 16-team leagues

Watch list: Dwayne Allen, Ed Dickson

DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS
1. Colts – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
I discussed how Terrelle Pryor can be an effective fantasy option above. That does not mean that he’ll be an effective real-life quarterback. Behind a brutal offensive line that lost stalwart left tackle Jared Veldheer (triceps), the Raiders are going to struggle to score many points here. They’re playing on the road against a Colts team that added some firepower to their defense (Erik Walden, Ricky Jean-Francois, Bjoern Werner, LaRon Landry).

2. Browns – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Browns are hosting a Dolphins team that comes in with high expectations following an offseason spending spree. We know that often blows up in NFL teams’ faces. The Browns’ wildly underrated front seven should eat up the Dolphins’ suspect offensive line and Joe Haden can handle Mike Wallace.

3. Chiefs – Owned in 4 percent of Yahoo leagues
We hate to go on the road when streaming a defense, but we get a shot at Blaine Gabbert nursing a thumb injury and playing without Justin Blackmon (suspension) here. The Chiefs are certainly talented enough – they had four Pro Bowlers on defense last year in Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston. Brandon Flowers was ProFootballFocus’ No. 7 corner.  

KICKERS
1. Randy Bullock, Texans – Owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
Bullock won the 2011 Lou Groza award as the nation’s top kicker while at Texas A&M. He missed his entire rookie year with the Texans due to a groin tear, but is back and was 6-of-7 on field goals in the preseason. Shayne Graham tied for third in the league with 38 attempts while kicking for the Texans last year. The strong-legged Bullock will get opportunities, starting this week against the Chargers.

2. Greg Zuerlein, Rams – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
Given all the buzz Zuerlein generated last year, I’m shocked his ownership numbers are so low. This guy made seven field goals of 50+ yards last year and went 7-of-7 from 40-49 yards. He’ll be kicking in a dome against the Cardinals Sunday.

3. Garrett Hartley, Saints – Owned in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
When streaming kickers, we look for guys playing in domes for good offenses. Hartley fits the bill perfectly. His ceiling might not be as high because Drew Brees is so effective in the red zone, but he won’t faceplant. Hartley will be part of a shootout against the Falcons this week.



Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan



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