Grab’em while they’re hot! Week 5 is getting ready to start and the waiver wire continues to bear fruit. Bye weeks are in full swing this weekend too with Carolina, Miami, Minnesota and the New York Jets all off. My recommendation is to dig deep this week. The season is really starting to take shape and waiver wire gold tends to get slim in the middle of the season.
Jay Cutler, CHI – The Bears are not staging a comeback or anything this year but fantasy value can still be found on losing teams. Jay Cutler came back last week and had his best game of the season despite his bum hamstring. The Andrew Luck and Drew Brees injuries should be a wake-up call to all owners. Stashing a good streaming QB on your bench is valuable and Jay Cutler has yet to really hit his full stride this season. Playmaker Alshon Jeffery should be returning soon too giving him another dynamic player to target. He is only owned in 25% of leagues.
Brian Hoyer, HOU – Houston plays on Thursday and that might be the only reason Brian Hoyer doesn’t replace Ryan Mallett in week 5. Mallett is too inexperienced and immature to handle his poor play and benching properly so I do expect Hoyer to win back the starting position soon. Houston isn’t setting any offensive records but Hoyer does have DeAndre Hopkins to target. Plus, we haven’t really seen the full impact of Arian Foster returning. Foster should open up the field a bit more and Hopkins continues to play very well despite his QB handicap. Hoyer is wide open and only owned in 1% of leagues. He must have a lot of family playing fantasy football.
Duke Johnson Jr., CLE – We knew Duke Johnson Jr. was going to find his way onto the field this season. Though he remains the backup - for now - the Browns have found a way to use him effectively. In his last 2 games Johnson has 15 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. He’ll continue to get some touches too, but his impact in the passing game is obviously a big plus for a guy only owned in 31% of leagues.
Charles Sims, TB – The RBBC approach is starting to take on a bit of a new look this season. Players like Lance Dunbar, Duke Johnson Jr. and now Charles Sims are finding success through the air when they sub in. Sims has 10 receptions for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns. His value is further increased based on the fact that he is the third down back for Doug Martin. I will point out too that I like him in DFS lineups, especially as a FLEX. He is only owned 11% of leagues.
Allen Hurns, JAX – The waiver wire gold is few and far between this late into the season, but I believe Allen Hurns has just that type of value as a WR3. He has made the most of his opportunities early, racking up 13 catches for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hurns narrowly missed making my waiver picks last week and quite honestly I am disappointed in myself. He is still only owned in 19% of leagues. That won’t last long after putting up two consecutive weeks of WR3 numbers.
Willie Snead, NO – A new name that should make his way onto everyone’s radar is Willie Snead. He has overtaken Brandon Coleman as the 3rd wide out in New Orleans. The amount of playtime he is seeing gives him good enough upside to make my picks this week. He also plays in the Saints pass happy offensive system. For now he is a streaming option with high upside. I predict his ceiling will continue to rise as the season moves on. He is only owned in 3% of leagues.
Leonard Hankerson, ATL – Atlanta is rejuvenated under new Head Coach Dan Quinn; especially on the offensive side of the ball. Julio Jones was predicted to dominate, and he has, but Roddy White was a question heading into this season because of his age. Enter Leonard Hankerson to offer the Falcons another option in the passing game. Through the first 4 weeks he has been boom or bust, but is seeing a good number of targets for a guy only owned in 19% of leagues. Whether or not he gains more consistency is still up in the air, but don’t pass up on the number 2 wideout in a top 5 passing yards per game offense.
Gary Barnidge, CLE – After the two weeks the 30 year old Gary Barnidge has had I would be an idiot not to recommend picking him up. He has 12 catches in his last two games for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. The tight end position continues to be a popular streaming position as the talent pool has large gaps between tiers. Injuries are another issue with the TE position; see Jordan Reed (SHOCKER). Barnidge is a bright spot on an otherwise dismal Browns team. His is only taken in 9% of leagues.
Antonio Gates, SD – Injuries are starting to mount up for the San Diego offense with Stevie Johnson exiting in week 4 and Malcom Floyd going through concussion protocol. That is why it surprises me that Antonio Gates is still only owned in 54% of fantasy leagues right now. Gates is finally back after serving his 4 game suspension and will no doubt make an immediate impact. Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates have long been a great fantasy marriage. The injuries only boost his ceiling in his week 5 return.
Cairo Santos, KC – Kansas City’s losing streak continued in week 4 but Cairo Santos had a hell of a game. Most kickers are lucky to see half the number of field goals Santos made last week. His 7 field goals were good for 27 fantasy points. Streaming kickers is popular because, well, they’re kickers. Kansas City plays Chicago next week and it’s a favorable matchup for Jamaal Charles. That said, Alex Smith handicaps drives and an improved Bears defense should be good enough to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone.
Robbie Gould, CHI – The only game in which Robbie Gould has yet to put up favorable kicker numbers is the Seattle game where Chicago was shut out. He has 41 points on the season despite that, and is one of the most accurate kickers in the NFL. Jay Cutler is back and Matt Forte hasn’t been traded yet so I like the Bears ability to move the ball against Kansas City next week. Gould is owned in 18% of leagues which is just ridiculous considering his history and the numbers he has put up this season.
New York Giants – If you are heading into week 5 and find yourself in need of a defense then the New York Giants offer a good matchup option. There are two huge advantages to their week 5 matchup. One, San Francisco is traveling across the country. Two, and most important, San Francisco is the worst offense in the league led by an increasing disappointing Colin Kaepernick and coached by an increasingly greasy Jim Tomsula. Coach and Quarterback aside, you can’t ignore the numbers. The Giants have yet to put up big numbers as a D/ST this season, but they are 3 of 4 on the season in maintaining double digit fantasy points.
Working the waiver wire is an important skill for all fantasy team managers, regardless of their team's record. Sure, it may be easier to sit back and relax if your team has been performing at a high level these past several weeks - but that's exactly what you shouldn't be doing. There is always someone who is not performing up to expectations and there are always up and coming players on the wire to bring onto your roster and hope that they will end up being the Victor Cruz or Devonta Freeman of that year. Generally, we recommend not sticking with players week after week who are under-performing and instead picking up one of our waiver wire picks and crossing your fingers. On the other hand, teams that have been performing poorly can catch back up with a great pickup like Charcandrick West or Brandon LaFell. So choose wisely this week as you're browsing the waiver wire and keep our picks in mind. Happy hunting!
Josh McCown, CLE – Wasn’t this guy coaching high school football like 3 years ago before the Bears called? It really should come as no surprise that a journeyman QB like Josh McCown is finding success with the Browns. In any case it doesn’t really matter who it is or what team. The bottom line is that in his last 3 games he has 1154 yards with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception. There are plenty of underperforming quarterbacks with better names out there. You know who they are and if you’re one of them then you should pick up McCown.
Jay Cutler, CHI – He makes his second consecutive appearance this week. While his fantasy scores have yet to truly impress his attempts and consistency are important to look at. The Bears continue to battle and Adam Gase seems to be getting the most out of Jay Cutler. His numbers are also being hindered by the fact that he is working with inexperienced WR5’s and 6’s. I really like Jay Cutler’s matchup next week against a dismal Detroit Lions team.
Charcandrick West/Knile Davis, KC – It’s always a sad day when a top running back goes down. At least for the owner who drafted him it is. This one is a double dose but I am leaning towards Charcandick West as the pick up here. West proved himself and was the backup before Jamaal Charles went down. Knile Davis will no doubt see an increased roll as well. Andy Reid seems to like West more at this time and he should be targeted first.
Charles Sims, TB – The second repeat of the week. Charles Sims is still only owned in 19% of leagues. He now has 3 weeks of consistent numbers to go on. He added four more receptions in week 5 for 85 yards. While Doug Martin continues to impress in Tampa Bay I don’t see them changing what’s working. That means Sims remains a high end prospect when it comes to RBBC players as he continues to hit double digit fantasy points three weeks in a row.
Jamison Crowder, WAS – Over the last 3 games Jamison Crowder has 197 yards on 21 receptions. Much of his usage is due to DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed being sidelined with injuries. That being said in week 5 he caught all 8 of his targets and is developing great report with Kirk Cousins. It would be nice to see him get in the end zone. Again, it’s week 6 and the pickings are getting slim as we focus on less than obvious waiver targets. Jamison Crowder is a good pick up that you can stash when Jackson comes back. Honestly I could see his value stay strong even on Jackson’s return as the field will be spread more.
Brandon LaFell, NE – It is that time to consider reaching out for Brandon LaFell. He is still on schedule to return in week 7 or 8. He was the clear number 2 in New England last year as he set personal bests in receptions, yards and touchdowns. The way the Patriots continue to play (cheat) makes LaFell a much anticipated return for fantasy owners. If you have the room on your bench and can wait a couple of weeks for his return then go ahead and grab him early.
Jacob Tamme, ATL – A prime example of week 6 thin pickins. Tamme had a great week last week with Leonard Hankerson exiting the game and Julio Jones nursing an injury. Those injuries are exactly why I like Tamme for one more week at least. It’s a Thursday night game so the Falcons have little time to rest their wounds. The New Orleans defense is also pathetically bad this season.
Robbie Gould, CHI – Chicago has surprised the last two weeks with comeback victories. Robbie Gould is actually the 7th best kicker when you look at fantasy points this season. The Bears have an ability to move the ball, without actually getting in the end zone; A big plus for fantasy kickers. He is also one of the most accurate kickers in the game today. It’s pretty offensive he is only owned in 23% of leagues.
Atlanta Falcons – Streaming defenses is a fickle thing. You’re going to have a better idea in your individual leagues depending on who is available. If you are looking for a little advice heading into week 6 then my suggestion is Atlanta. They have New Orleans on Thursday night in week 6. Traditionally Thursday Night Football is underwhelming due to lack of preparation so it’s a plus for defenses. They also have a pretty nice schedule over the next four weeks with New Orleans, Tennessee, Tampa Bay and San Francisco.
We step into week 8 with some more major injuries (Arian Foster, anyone?) and some really poor QB play that has called into question a lot of previously assumed starters like Peyton Manning. As always, we're here to make some suggestions for pickups to improve your team's current lineup. Remember, you should always be improving your fantasy football team throughout the season however you can, whether through trade or the waiver wire. This week is no different.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ – Since the Jets' week 5 bye, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a great streaming option at QB during the bye weeks. Four touchdowns and only one interception have led Fitzpatrick to two 20+ point weeks. Next week the Jets have a good match-up against the Raiders. The Oakland pass defense ranks last in yards per game this season. Fitzpatrick is another good streaming option in week 8 and is only owned in 28% of leagues.
Darren McFadden, DAL – The Cowboys have been dealing with injuries all year; Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and the most recent being Joseph Randle. Darren McFadden stepped in against the Giants in week 7. He racked up 152 rushing yards on 29 carries and a trip to the end zone. Hot pick Christine Michael only saw 5 attempts for 18 yards. McFadden will have the starting job until he proves otherwise. He is available in 64% of fantasy leagues.
Alfred Blue, HOU – In the lone game that the Texans leaned on Alfred Blue this season, he performed well. That was back in week 3 when Blue had 31 attempts for 139 yards and a touchdown. Arian Foster is out for the year with his torn achilles. Blue is the favorite to get the start in week 8. He’ll be a quick pick off the waiver wire this week so prioritize him high. He’s only owned in 17% of leagues.
Danny Amendola, NE – The Patriots look to be the lone juggernaut in the NFL to this point. Tom Brady continues to impress despite his age, and as always he makes everyone around him better. Recently Danny Amendola has capitalized on his opportunities. Over the last two weeks, Amendola has 191 yards and 1 touchdown. More important are his 18 targets (9 in each game) of which he has caught 15. That kind of catch percentage is only going to earn Brady’s trust. He’s available in 87% of leagues.
Marvin Jones, CIN – Cincinnati is coming off their week 7 bye with a juicy match-up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Leading up to their bye Marvin Jones had his best game of the season, catching 9 of 12 for 95 yards and a touchdown. He was a sleeper pick heading into the season and continues to have a high ceiling in this offense. I like the match-up in week 8 against the Steelers. Willie Snead and Michael Floyd owners might want to swap out now for better depth.
Eric Ebron, DET – At 6’5” 255, Eric Ebron is a great target for Matt Stafford. He has yet to really “break out” but if you are streaming tight ends you will want to look to Ebron in week 8. He gained a lot of trust last week catching all 5 of his targets for 89 yards and scoring his third touchdown of the season. Tight ends have been hard to come by this season, so roll with the hot hand. I also like him a lot in week 8 DFS line ups. He is available in 77% of leagues.
Blair Walsh, MIN – Hey everyone, Minnesota is 4-2 and in second place in the NFC North. The way the Bears and Lions have played the latter is not too impressive, but they are continuing to show signs of improvement and Blair Walsh is a good streaming kicker to take advantage of. Last week Walsh had 20 points against Detroit. This week he has a good match-up as Minnesota should be able to move the ball well against the Chicago Bears.
Green Bay Packers – They are owned in 73% of leagues, but the team to pick from this week goes against my morals (Editor's Note: Bears fan). The Packers have a great match up against the Broncos in week 8. Aaron Rodgers will be tested against one of the best defenses of the season, but he is too good to not find the holes. Peyton Manning will be forced to actually make plays in this one. I am willing to bet this leads to more mistakes that the Green Bay defense will capitalize on.
At this point in the fantasy football season, some teams begin to be eliminated from post-season play. You, of course, know how to work the waiver wire to continually upgrade your roster so that you are not one of those teams. Right? Here are some great pickups for week 10 and beyond. It's way past due to dump some of those bench-warmers that you've been keeping around and trade them out for some real, live fantasy production.
Kirk Cousins, WAS – Week 10 is a tough bye week on quarterbacks. Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan are all taking the week off. Kirk Cousins is a good streaming option this week if you need a quarterback. While Cousins isn’t a sexy name there are positives heading into week 10; namely the matchup against the Saints defense. Add the fact that DeSean Jackson should be 100% and Cousins has a good ceiling this weekend. He’s only owned in 10% of leagues.
Blake Bortles, JAX – Usually I would avoid putting a guy owned in 52% of leagues on this list, but again this is a tough week for quarterbacks and Blake Bortles deserves some due credit. His cumulative points have him as a top 10 fantasy quarterback right now yet he remains available in almost half the leagues out there. While his ball security is an issue with 10 interceptions this season he also has a knack for multiple touchdown passes per game. 6 of his 8 games this season Bortles has multiple touchdowns. He has a decent matchup with Baltimore in week 10.
James White/Brandon Bolden, NE – The New England Patriots are about the worst team to speculate about. On a healthy week we can’t be sure what Belichick is thinking. That being said Dion Lewis is lost for the season and somebody will see an increased roll. The popular consensus seems to lean towards James White being that player. He only has 9 carries this year so there’s a lot we don’t know about him. Brandon Bolden stepped in this last week when Lewis went down. He only saw one rushing attempt to his 4 passing targets where he caught 3 including on for a touchdown. Both guys should be targeted on waivers this week for teams in need of RB depth.
James Starks, GB – This is not a name Eddie Lacy owners want to see on this list. James Starks has had opportunities to take over the starting gig before and missed that chance. The difference this year is that Eddie Lacy looks BAD. In week 6 Starks proved himself on the ground with 112 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries; this last week he did it through the air catching 6 of 8 targets for 83 yards and a touchdown. It’s getting late in the season and Lacy owners may want to handcuff him. Other fantasy owners may need the depth. Either way Starks is available in 60% of the leagues and drawing interest heading into a week 10 matchup with Detroit.
Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN – When Kendall Wright went down it was Justin Hunter stepping up to the starting position. Hunter was unimpressive as Dorial Green-Beckham saw a team high 10 targets. He grabbed 5 of those 10 for 77 yards. This wasn’t exactly a tough defensive match up so there is no reason Hunter should have struggled to get open. I really like the targets DGB saw and with Wright likely to miss week 10 he needs to be taken off waivers.
Michael Floyd, ARI – Arizona faces a tough matchup in week 10 at Seattle. That matchup only makes me like Michael Floyd more heading into week 10. He is unlikely to draw the heavy pressure of the defense and should continue to quietly put up solid WR3 numbers. In his last 3 weeks Floyd has 215 yards and 3 touchdowns. John Brown’s return in week 10 will make for an interesting side bet as Floyd continues to try to earn his job back.
Crockett Gillmore, BAL – Week 8 reminded me why I am glad the Bears canned Marc Trestman. Steve Smith Sr. is lost for the season and somehow Crockett Gillmore wasn’t used properly. Expect that to change as Baltimore comes off the bye week to play Jacksonville in week 10. They really have no choice but to get Gillmore more involved. I am not saying he has TE1 value, but against Jacksonville in week 10 it’s a favorable match up and players streaming Tight Ends will want to take a hard look.
Connor Barth, TB – It wasn’t until week 5 that Connor Barth saw the field. Yet he has accumulated 52 points in 4 weeks of games. Tampa Bay has plenty of weapons to move the ball and have continued to improve this season. Barth’s stats alone prove this. Any time a kicker is perfect on the season and consistently earning double digit points he needs to be owned in more leagues than just the current 14%.
Pittsburgh Steelers – I’m going to be honest with you guys. This is a flier pick based on the matchup. Pittsburgh hosts Cleveland in week 10 and while Josh McCown should be back, it’s still the Browns. Honestly, week 10 is a tough match up for streaming defenses and I hope you aren’t that unlucky.
We're joined by fantasy football veteran and former drinkfive.com contributor Vince Foss as we discuss the very best plays moving forward into championship week. We'll analyze the matchups and go over recent NFL news and updates that can impact the production of your players.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!