Adam Levitan

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wire: Week 6

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Most of the waiver-wire additions we’ll make this year will fit into one of the following two categories: Plug-n-plays stemming from injury or young players waiting to get their chance.

This week, however, we begin to take a look at some veterans currently sidelined by serious injury. The viability of these stashes comes down to your league’s format. I’m in some leagues with 10-man benches, others with five-man benches and one has an IL spot. In other words, some of us have room to wait and see on Percy Harvin and others don’t. Some of us are 5-0 and virtually assured of a playoff spot and others are 2-3 and need to win every week. Understand your league and your needs when thinking about the likes of Harvin, Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree, Jonathan Stewart, Andre Brown and Shane Vereen.

On to the assets. Here is how I would rank the top players available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues at each position. Notes and recommendations on each player will follow below.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $30,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 6. It's $10 to join and first prize is $4,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

Quarterbacks
1. Terrelle Pryor  
2. Brandon Weeden
3. Nick Foles
4. Chad Henne
5. Josh Freeman

Running backs
1. Zac Stacy
2. Andre Ellington
3. Marcel Reece
4. Roy Helu
5. Shonn Greene
6. Jonathan Stewart
7. Brandon Bolden
8. Da’Rel Scott
9. Donald Brown
*Pierre Thomas is owned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’d be my No. 1 RB add if available.

Wide receivers
1. Rueben Randle
2. Keenan Allen
* Harry Douglas
3. Percy Harvin
4. Terrance Williams
5. Kendall Wright
6. Mario Manningham
7. Leonard Hankerson

Tight Ends
1. Brandon Pettigrew
2. Coby Fleener
3. Garrett Graham
4. Jordan Reed
* Heath Miller is owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues. He’d be my No. 1 TE add if available. Check out last week’s Wired for more notes on him.

Defense/Special Teams
1. Vikings
2. Browns
3. Bucs

Kickers   
1. Robbie Gould
2. Ryan Succop
3. Adam Vinatieri


QUARTERBACKS
1. Terrelle Pryor, Raiders – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
I can’t fathom why Terrelle Pryor is available in 71 percent of leagues. He’s been the top add in this space ever since the preseason and is only getting better as a passer each week. Pryor currently ranks fifth in completion percentage (68.3), sixth in yards per attempt (8.13) and eighth in passer rating (97.6). The scary part is that he’s “only” averaging 57.2 rushing yards a game and hasn’t scored with his legs yet. Capable of more rushing stats, Pryor is bordering on a weekly top-12 option. 
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Brandon Weeden, Browns – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
Brandon Weeden is not as good as Brian Hoyer. Let’s just get that out of the way and move on, since Hoyer (knee) is out for the season. Weeden didn’t show much progress during his starts in Weeks 1 and 2, combining to go 47-of-86 (54.6 percent) for 516 yards with one touchdown and three picks in a pair of losing efforts. But those performances came without future All-Pro Josh Gordon in the lineup. When Weeden came on for Hoyer last Thursday night, he still hung onto the ball far too long and stared down receivers, but he showed off his powerful arm. He finished 13-of-24 for 197 yards with a score in the win over the Bills. Weeden gets a plus matchup at home against the Lions this week and figures to be in comeback mode plenty at Green Bay in Week 7. The Browns aren’t going to be able to run the ball effectively most weeks, which will lead to a decidedly pass-happy attack.   
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

3. Nick Foles, Eagles – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
If Michael Vick can’t run, he’s not a viable NFL starter. So this hamstring pull is more worrisome to him than most quarterbacks. Vick isn’t going to play against the Bucs in Week 6, is certainly in doubt for Week 7 and coach Chip Kelly is giving Nick Foles an outside chance to run with the job. I wouldn’t bet on that. While Vick was capable of masking the Eagles’ lack of receiving weapons not named DeSean Jackson, Foles isn’t nearly as creative. In seven games last year, he averaged 242.7 yards and threw six touchdowns against five picks. And now Andy Reid’s pass-happy attack has been replaced by Kelly’s run-heavy scheme.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

4. Chad Henne, Jaguars – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Blaine Gabbert (hamstring, ineffectiveness) is out at least a couple of weeks. It’s certainly possible he’s made his last humiliating throw as a Jaguar. Henne isn’t even an average NFL quarterback, but he has a history of racking up garbage-time points. Over the final seven games of last year, Henne averaged 267.0 passing yards per game with 10 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He’s capable of moving the chains against soft zones, something he’ll see plenty of against the Broncos in the second half Sunday. Denver has been installed as a 28-point favorite.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

5. Josh Freeman, Vikings – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Vikings gave Josh Freeman a $3 million contract, far more than Christian Ponder ($1.29M) and Matt Cassel ($1.65) are making. Freeman won’t be in the mix to start this week as he adjusts to his new home, but the Vikes aren’t giving him this much coin to hold a clipboard for too long. It’s certainly possible he’ll start in Week 7. Freeman’s warts were well documented in Tampa, but the way things went down there should be a wake-up call. He’s a very capable deep-ball thrower, an aspect of the game the Vikings must explore as defenses stack boxes to stop Adrian Peterson. There’s a little stash appeal here.
Recommendation: Should be owned in two-quarterback leagues

Watch List: Mike Glennon, Ryan Tannehill, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Thaddeus Lewis – The matchup is certainly right for Glennon this week. He’s off a bye and gets the Eagles’ inept defense at home. … Tannehill is on a bye, but he should be owned as a reasonable backup in most formats. … Geno lit up the Falcons Monday night. That’s not saying much these days. … Fitzpatrick’s Week 5 line was fluky. He’s a mess. … Lewis is up off the practice squad and will start for the Bills this week. His legs aren’t a big enough weapon to get him on the fantasy radar.

Editor’s Note: For more waiver thoughts and news from around the league, follow Adam Levitan, Rotoworld Football and our dominant News Page.


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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.
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