Published on October 15th, 2013 | by Alex Rikleen0
Waiver Wire Weekly – Week 7
Hello everyone. Let’s talk waivers.
The beginning of the season is gone. In terms of waivers, we have entered the slow period. At this point, in a normal season, only one or two more studs will emerge from non-injury situations. The available reward is smaller, but as the unknowns decrease, so is some of the risk.
An important thing to remind yourself now that we are here: we are dealing with fringe-level players. Sure, the goal is to find Julius Thomas or a Danny Woodhead – guys you can play almost every week – but those players are incredibly rare at this point in the season. Far more often we are looking for Robert Woods, Donnie Avery, or Sam Bradford – guys we start when we have to, but who usually ride the bench.
One reason I bring this up is Chris Ogbannaya. One week after the Richardson trade, Preston and I recommended you snag Ogbannaya, especially in PPR leagues. In week two of the Browns’ punt-the-season-(maybe?) experiment, Ogbannaya was barely used, registering no carries and only two targets. Ogby (this guy needs a nickname so badly, I hate typing out his full name) was dropped in droves, but unwisely. A closer look revealed that the whole of the Browns’ backfield was ugly – Rainey got only two carries and one target, while McGahee was ugly as the main back, averaging less than 3 yards per carry. Unsurprisingly, Naya (that sounds bad, “Ogby” is better) bounced back in week six, with five carries and 12 targets totaling 85 yards and a touchdown.
Ogby’s story (it’s decided, I’m sticking with Ogby) demonstrates a core principle that should be applied to mid- and late-season acquisitions: These guys are multi-week investments. Only sell them prematurely if another obviously better option appears. You are not starting them the week you grab them anyway, so don’t panic if their production is inconsistent. I hope you picked up Chris Ogbannaya after week 5, and I hope you didn’t drop him after last week’s near-goose-egg, because now there will be more competition for him. Ogby won’t get a touchdown every week, but he will be a big part of their passing game.
And now for your regularly scheduled waiver wire pickups.
Free Agent Finds:
Rueben Randle (owned in 55% of leagues) – Wide receivers don’t suffer from Eli Manning’s turnovers – arguably, receivers benefit from them, since they guarantee that the Giants are always playing from behind. The Giants have bordered on three fantasy WRs for years, so this development is not much of a surprise. Noticing Randle’s back-to-back standout performances hardly make me stand out from a crowd, but what I’m arguing for here is that managers should buy in. He’ll have down weeks, and unless something happens to Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz I’m not advocating Randle as more than a WR3, but I would happily pick him up in all leagues.
Zac Stacy (7%) – Not sure why his ownership is still so low (though I expect it to near 50% by next weekend). Stacy is the guy in St Louis. Any lead back warrants universal ownership.
Stephen Hill (3%) – Yeah. That’s right. Stephen Hill can be picked up in all leagues, not just deep ones. I don’t care that he is only owned in 3% of leagues. Hill suffered a concussion on the second play of the game week four, and was limited the following week. He led the team in targets in three of the other four games, and trailed only Santanio Holmes in the fourth game. Geno Smith and the Jets are easily good enough to produce one quality fantasy wide receiver. Hill should be owned over the second receiver on teams like Arizona and Washington, both of which are only capable of sustaining one fantasy pass-catcher at a time. He should also be owned ahead of Nate Washington, (54% ownership) and permanent “time to let go” candidate Sidney Rice (still 91% owned, one week exceeding 3.5 points). I am considering dropping Kenbrell Thompkins in favor of Hill in all leagues.
Brandon Jacobs (2%) – Jacobs shined with David Wilson was out last weekend. Whether Wilson has been a disaster or a disappointment has yet to be determined, but if Jacobs keeps this up then Wilson will become a drop candidate. Don’t get too optimistic about Jacobs – he was unsigned very recently after all – but he is taking advantage of his opportunity so far.
Chris Ogbannaya (1%) – see above.
Popular Pickups To Avoid:
Joseph Fauria – Insert previous weekend’s random over-performer here. Three catches on three targets for three touchdowns is not happening again. Season-to-date targets? Nine. Stay away.
Dallas Clark – Too inconsistent for standard leagues, but has enough upside for some deep leagues. Most weeks, however, prepare to be underwhelmed.
Deep League Finds:
Percy Harvin (16%) – If your league has an IR spot, Harvin should be owned. There is no way to put that more clearly. There are a maximum of three IR eligible players worth passing on Harvin for. The rest of this is for those of you in non-IR leagues: Preston is much bigger on Percy than I am right now, since Preston would have you picking up Harvin in all leagues. I think it is still too early for standard 10 or 12 team leagues, as long as options like Randle and Hill are still available. Coach Pete Carroll has said he is “encouraged” and that Harvin is “close”, but noticeably failed to give any kind of timeline. It looks like Harvin will play at some point this season, and when he does he should have significant value.
Terrance Williams (46%) – At 46%, Williams is too widely owned for this category, but I can’t recommend him for all leagues. Williams played his way into Tony Romo’s good graces while Miles Austin was out. Dallas throws a ton, and has shown in recent years that it can support multiple receiving options. Williams will have duds, but he is better than most of the available options.
Joseph Randle (1.4%) – DeMarco Murray is doubtful for next week, so Randle is the last back standing. Randle is only recommended for deep leagues (as opposed to all leagues) because it seems that Murray will return soon, and Randle has limited upside. Randle can be started in week 7, which is often not the case for deep league finds.
Nick Foles (2%) – The Bucs secondary is no joke, and Foles lit them up for three touchdowns and almost 300 yards. He won’t be this good every time he plays, and he is (probably) still behind Vick on the depth chart. But in deep or 2QB leagues, owners of the notoriously injury prone Michael Vick should own Foles. If you don’t own Vick, however, Foles is probably not worth the roster spot.
Greg Little (3%) – Back-to-back 7-point weeks for the sophomore. He’s the 3rd or 4th target on a bad team – behind Josh Gordon, Jordan Cameron, and sometimes Davone Bess. But the targets are increasing, and the bad-team-factor has Cleveland throwing often. The trend is pointing in the right direction for Little.
Jerome Simpson (4%) – While we are talking about deep league wide receivers I’m hardly thrilled about, lets give Simpson his due. There are only three receiving targets on the Vikings, and one is the chronically disappointing Kyle Rudolph. With the new QB experiment that is about to take place in Minnesota, now might be the time for a flier on Simpson.
Time To Let Go:
DeAngelo Williams (100%) – Preston and I often disagree a little in this category (always in one of two ways: the drop is too obvious to bother writing about, or may be premature and we don’t want to look bad), but not when it comes to DeAngelo Williams. Zero touchdowns in 5 weeks as the lead back. Only five touches inside the 10 yard line (Cam Newton has four). That is without sharing carries Jonathan Stewart, who is eligible to return from the PUP list this week. Stewart might miss another game or two, but once he’s back Williams becomes a risky flex play at best. If you don’t believe me, ask someone who owned either of these two last year. The only reason to hold onto Williams is that Carolina has favorable matchups this week and next (St Louis and Tampa Bay), boosting his value even if Stewart returns. But DeAngelo’s days as a useful fantasy back are numbered.
Tavon Austin (93%) – I hate giving up on promising prospects, especially ones like Austin – St Louis traded up to reach for Austin in last year’s draft. But St Louis is not the respectably mediocre 9-7 team I predicted they would be this season, and Bradford has too many slightly-above-average targets. Austin will have some more good games this year, but his ownership rate vastly exceeds his value. I am keeping him in my 16 team league, but I would drop him in leagues of 12 or smaller.
It may have sounded silly when Preston recommended against dropping Stevan Ridley, but his ownership went down 5% last week… Fantasy managers are prone to panic.
DeAndre Hopkins – Houston’s quarterbacking can’t be this bad forever, and Hopkins has tons of talent. He is the second wide receiver on a team that has no third, and don’t forget about Andre Johnson’s lengthy injury history.