Thankfully, week 10 was short on major injury news (Sorry Mike James owners), but this also means that the waiver wire pickings will be slim in 10 and 12 team formats. Special thanks goes to the good people over at reddit.com (/r/fantasyfootball). Appreciate all the upvotes! And if you ever want to get my opinion on your lineups/ trade offers during the week, please post your questions in the forums.
All of the players appearing in my weekly waiver wire article are owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo fantasy football leagues.
The “You should have already picked these guys up list” – Ben Tate, Shane Vereen, Rashad Jennings
Andre Brown – Running Back – New York Giants (48% owned)
The New York Giants pulled a fast one on fantasy owners and the Oakland Raiders, as they announced that Peyton Hillis would remain the lead back going into week 10. Brown proceeded to carry the rock 30 times for 115 yards and a TD, while Hillis saw just 5 carries. Andre will be one of the few 3 down feature backs left in the NFL heading into week 11, and his ownership number should skyrocket over 90% this week. Grab him if you can, as he becomes an immediate RB2 in all leagues going forward.
Riley Cooper – Wide Receiver – Philadelphia Eagles (47% owned)
Ok. I’m a believer. In week 9 Cooper had 5 receptions for 139 yards and 3 TD’s, and he followed that up with a 3 reception/ 102 yard/ 2 TD performance in week 10. In both weeks, Cooper burned the opposing secondary for big scores, and he has shown a clear connection with QB Nick Foles. While I’m not ready to proclaim Cooper as must start WR2, he is clearly a WR3 with upside as long as Foles is under center in the uptempo Chip Kelly offense.
Donald Brown – Running Back – Indianapolis Colts (16% owned)
The week 10 matchup with the St. Louis Rams got quickly out of hand, so the stats can be a little misleading, but one thing is clear. Trent Richardson is still in free fall mode, and Donald Brown has looked like the more explosive option out of the backfield for Indianapolis. T-Rich has been hampered by a recent ankle injury, and it isn’t outside the realm of fantasy football probability that Brown could start to see significant playing time in the near future. Donald’s 2 carries for -1 yards in week 10 don’t jump off the page, but the 5 receptions for 64 yards (including a neat little 13 yard scamper for a TD) provided solid fantasy value in the few deep leagues where he was started. D.B. obviously isn’t a must start back yet, but he is rapidly emerging as one of the top handcuffs to own behind a floundering Richardson.
Case Keenum – Quarterback – Houston Texans (28% owned)
It is a sign of exactly how shallow this week’s waiver wire is, that Case Keenum comes in as one of my top adds off the wire this week. To say the rookie has been impressive would be putting it mildly. Through his first 3 NFL starts, Keenum has thrown for 822 yards, 7 TD’s and a shocking 0 INT’s. It is safe to assume we have seen the last of Matt Schaub in Houston, as Keenum has taken better care of the ball, and given the team some much needed stability at QB.
All that is fine and dandy, but the real reason that you want to pick up Keenum is his upcoming schedule..
That is starting in week 11, and 4 of those games are against lower ranked pass defenses (OAK, JAX, DEN). Keenum can help out owners that may have an injured QB (Cutler?), and should be considered a top priority in 2 quarterback leagues .
Tavon Austin – Wide Receiver – St. Louis Rams (40% owned)
I’m really not looking forward to the flood of start/sit questions that I will be receiving for Tavon Austin, and frankly I was a little surprised to find out that he was still owned in 40% of leagues. How 4 out of every 10 fantasy owners managed to hang on to him this long is beyond me… but the ownership numbers don’t lie. Tavon totaled 3 TD’s in week 10, but only 2 counted in most formats as he contributed one on special teams. The fact remains that Tavon is just another WR for the Rams that will have to contend with Austin Pettis and Chris Givens for looks. It was a very nice week 10 performance, but until we start seeing him emerge as the top target in this offense, he should be left stashed on your bench.
Players to keep an eye on
Nate Burleson – Wide Receiver – Detroit Lions (8% owned)
If all goes according to plan, Nate Burleson (arm) will be activated for week 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Former Lions WR2 Kris Durham will head back down the depth chart to accommodate the move, and Burleson will resume his customary role playing second fiddle to target and red zone monster Calvin Johnson.
Owners in 12 team leagues will want to consider plucking Nate off waivers this week, as he was surprisingly effective in his 3 weeks of action before the car accident (19 receptions, 239 yards), and plays for a team that loves to throw the ball. Consider Nate a decent WR3 in 12 team PPR leagues, as he was seeing over 6 receptions per game early in the season.
Brian Leonard / Bobby Rainey – Running Back – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3% owned)
Mike James went down (fractured ankle) at the half yard line on Monday Night Football with an ankle injury, and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game. Brian Leonard came on as the replacement back, but was a plodding runner against a weak Dolphins while 3rd stringer Bobby Rainey busted off a huge run, and ran in for a TD. We will have to wait and see on this backfield, as both Leonard/Rainey are in the mix to be the starter in week 11.
In week 10, Bobby Rainey finished with 45 yards and a TD (8 carries) while Leonard went for 57 yards on 20 carries. Schiano clearly favored Leonard with the early down work, but we will have to wait for news as to the week 11 starter before knowing who to nab off waivers.
Tiquan Underwood – Wide Reciever – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1% owned)
Mike Williams went down with a hamstring injury, and it is Tiquan Underwood who will be stepping as the new WR2 for the Bucs behind Vincent Jackson. Yet another name to consider in 14/16 team leagues, and a player to keep an eye on in the weeks ahead for 10/12 team formats.
John Carlson – Tight End – Minnesota Vikings (2% owned)
It looks like the Minnesota Vikings might have a decent weapon lurking behind Kyle Rudolph (out til at least week 14) on their TE depth chart. In week 10, against a poor Redskins secondary, Carlson had 7 receptions for 98 yards and a TD. A lot of that yardage can be chalked up to Christian Ponder and that noodly appendage he calls an arm, but fantasy owners will take the checkdowns where they can get them. With Ponder (dislocated non-throwing shoulder) expected to be back on the field in week 11, Carlson will make a decent TE2 in most leagues, and owners who have been holding on to Heath Miller will probably want to make the move
Jerricho Cotchery – Wide Receiver – Pittsburgh Steelers (14% owned)
What the what? Jerricho Cotchery has 4 TD receptions in the last 2 weeks? The Steelers WR who is currently 3rd on the depth chart behind Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders has become the new WR vulture in fantasy. With rookie Markus Wheaton expected back soon, Cotchery is unlikely to hold any fantasy value, but you can be sure that owners’ of Brown and Sanders are none to happy that the passing TD’s aren’t going to their guys. Cotchery is one of those names I have to add in, as questions will be asked about his crazy lines the past 2 weeks, but he is no better than a desperation WR3/Flex play in 14 and 16 team leagues at this juncture.
Dennis Johnson – Running Back – Houston Texans (21% owned)
With Arian Foster out for the season, and Ben Tate playing through his rib injury, Dennis Johnson is quickly popping up on fantasy owners radar. His week 10 production was minimal (4 carries/ 10 yards), but if you are looking to handcuff an injury risk like Tate (considering that he is playing through 4 broken ribs), make Dennis Johnson one of your priority adds this week. He should not be considered an option unless Tate goes down to injury, so make sure you only add him as a deep waiver wire stash or handcuff for current Tate owners.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Quarterback – Tennessee Titans (1% owned)
The Titans have already confirmed that Jake Locker is expected to miss week 11, which means Ryan Fitzpatrick will be back under center for Tennessee. This is really only news in 2 QB leagues, but if you are looking for quarterback depth off waivers, Fitzpatrick will be one of the few available this week.
Cordarrelle Patterson – Wide Receiver – Minnesota Vikings (15% owned)
Patterson has been flashing his big play ability on special teams this season, and just caught a TD on 2 passes for 22 yards in week 10. Not very impressive numbers, so you may be wondering how his name makes this list? That would be thanks to his good buddy Jerome Simpson, who was arrested for DWI this past weekend. Thanks to a history which includes a felony drug plea deal, Simpson could end up missing time, and the biggest beneficiary would be Patterson. Right now, it is simply a situation to monitor, unless you are in a 16 team league where every deep league WR is a must add.
Waiver Wire Stashes (Late season return)
Dennis Pitta – Tight End – Baltimore Ravens (2% owned)
Pitta is expected to return around weeks 12 or 13 for the Ravens. Owners in 14/ 16 team leagues that need TE help should give him a look off waivers.
Michael Crabtree – Wide Receiver – San Francisco 49ers (20% owned)
Crabtree could be activated any time between weeks 12-16 depending on his rehab. He is an incredibly talented receiver, but it is fair to wonder just how quickly San Francisco will be rushing him back. I still consider him a stash in 10 and 12 team leagues for owners heading for the playoffs, but would put his odds at productive numbers no higher than 50/50.
Randall Cobb – Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers (36% owned)
Cobb won’t be eligible to return until week 15. If your league plays through week 17, you can consider stashing him, but the Packers may be out of the playoffs by that time, and would have no reason to rush Cobb back to action.
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