Adam Levitan

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wire: Week 15

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

1. Dennis Pitta, Ravens – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
I thought the Ravens would really ease Dennis Pitta in as he came off a hip dislocation and subsequent surgery. Perhaps I should have known how desperate they would be for his services. Making his 2013 debut in Week 14, Pitta played on 36-of-85 snaps – and the Ravens called 33 passes on those plays. He finished with a 6/48/1 line on a team-high 11 targets, the kind of weekly numbers I expected before the season. With Anquan Boldin gone and Torrey Smith/Jacoby Jones natural deep threats, Joe Flacco was desperate for that mid-range security blanket. Furthermore, Flacco completes 75 percent of his red-zone passes to Pitta over the last two seasons and 44.6 percent to everyone else. To make a long story short, Pitta is back as a primary pass-catcher and gets the Lions in a dome Week 15. He’s a fine replacement for reeling Rob Gronkowski owners. I give him the slight nod over Jacob Tamme thanks to red-zone appeal and a potential Wes Welker return in Week 16.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Jacob Tamme, Broncos – Owned in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues
After sustaining a concussion in the Week 14 win over the Titans, Wes Welker now has two of them in the last month. He’s almost certainly out for Thursday’s game against the Chargers and he’ll be a question mark for Week 16 as well. So how does a wideout getting hurt affect tight end Jacob Tamme? Well, Tamme is the Broncos’ backup slot receiver. After Welker went down Sunday, Tamme played on 45-of-46 possible snaps. He ended up catching four passes for 47 yards on five targets in barely over two quarters of action, running the similar pick plays and quick hitters Welker normally does. There’s a comfort level with Peyton Manning from the Colts days and anyone playing every snap in this offense is going to have huge upside. Especially when they’re in the slot for a potential shootout (the over/under for Thursday’s game is a league-high 55.5 total points).
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. Garrett Graham, Texans – Owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues
Garrett Graham isn’t a special talent and has performed at a backup-caliber level most weeks, but that hasn’t stopped him from producing at top-10 levels often. It’s a simple case of volume. Over the last four weeks, Graham is averaging an absurd 11.5 targets per game – and turned that into 5.7 catches for 69.2 yards with two touchdowns. Owen Daniels (leg) could be back, but I’d be surprised if he got anything more than a bit role. Graham’s volume should be intact for a dome game at Indy in Week 15.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Delanie Walker, Titans – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
Delanie Walker didn’t play at Denver in Week 14 because of a concussion, but it would be a surprise if he’s not cleared for Week 15. It’s just in time for the dream matchup – home against Arizona. The Cardinals have been getting roasted by tight ends all season and Walker was really starting to come on before his head injury. In Weeks 10-12, he averaged 6.3 catches for 66.3 yards with two touchdowns. Walker is a serviceable plug-n-play for Gronk owners – and he gets the Jags in Week 16. He’s below Dennis Pitta and Jacob Tamme because his quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Scott Chandler, Bills – Owned in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
If all of the above are gone and you’re in search of a one-week matchup play, Scott Chandler is your man. The Cardinals are the league’s worst team at defending tight ends, but the Jaguars are right there with them in terms of ineptitude. We know Scott Chandler is a low-upside plodder averaging just 3.3 catches for 39.6 yards on the season, but he’ll at least be running free in this one.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 14-team leagues

Watch List: Brandon Myers, Ladarius Green, Rob Housler, Zach Ertz, Andrew Quarless – Myers has a touchdown in three straight games, but is an awful bet to keep up that streak against the Seahawks. … Green shockingly ran just five pass routes in Week 14. Impossible to trust at this point. … Housler is intriguing because the Titans’ pass D is susceptible on the inside. … Ertz will be a bigger part of the gameplan at MIN this week. … I’m not buying Quarless’ Week 14 breakout at all. He’s a blocker at heart.  

1. Jaguars – Owned in 1 percent of Yahoo leagues
Sneaky owners streamed in the Jags for last Thursday’s home game against the Texans and were rewarded with three sacks, two interceptions and a reasonable 20 points allowed. This rapidly improving unit is now tied for sixth in the NFL in fantasy points over the last four weeks and gets a home game against the Bills Sunday. E.J. Manuel appears to be regressing as he’s coming off a zero touchdown, four interception day that left coach Doug Marrone saying he wants to scale back what’s on his raw rookie’s plate.

2. Colts – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
This Colts defense should be embarrassed after they recorded zero sacks and zero quarterback hits while giving up 42 points to the Bengals in Week 14. Fortunately, a home game against the Texans will be chicken noodle soup. The dumpster fire is raging in Houston as Gary Kubiak has been fired and the team might be going back to pick-six machine Matt Schaub.

3. Eagles – Owned in 8 percent of Yahoo leagues
Credit DC Billy Davis as perhaps no unit has improved more from Week 1 until now. In the last seven games, the Eagles are giving up just 17.4 points per day. And over the last four games, they’ve generated 10 turnovers. Now they face a Minnesota team that will likely be without Adrian Peterson (foot) on Sunday.

1. Adam Vinatieri, Colts – Owned in 75 percent of Yahoo leagues
I think this ownership percentage is skewed by inactivity. Owners that stream kickers based on matchup likely dropped Adam Vinatieri for his tough spot at Cincy in Week 14 (four extra points, no field goals), but he needs to be scooped back up immediately. The Colts are back in the dome and facing a Texans team that is disintegrating. Vinatieri has major upside.

2. Nick Novak, Chargers – Owned in 44 percent of Yahoo leagues
Nick Novak finally cashed in on a dream matchup, hitting three field goals and four extra points against the Giants in Week 14. I usually try to avoid road spots for kickers, but the thin air in Mile High combined with a likely shootout (two dynamic offenses, two awful secondaries) is too good to pass up. Novak is a good bet for three field goals again.

3. Alex Henery, Eagles – Owned in 14 percent of Yahoo leagues
It’s another road spot, but this one is in a dome and the Eagles’ passing attack is going to absolutely shred the Vikings’ pitiful secondary. Alex Henery recorded zero points in Week 14 because neither team could even complete the kicking operation in eight inches of snow. He’ll be fine.

4. Matt Bryant, Falcons – Owned in 70 percent of Yahoo leagues
OK, the Falcons 3-19 Falcons are bad. But they look like Super Bowl champs when compared to the team they’re hosting on Sunday, the Redskins. Matt Bryant is in a dome (sense a trend here) and will benefit.

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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