Normally, I start with a little opening about the week and dive into the picks for the waiver wire. This week, I’m going to go a little different to open…
It’s one thing to get waiver advice from this site. It’s another thing to get it from someone who is in first place. It’s even nicer when they’re the same person. That is exactly the case right now in the Razzball Writers League, where I am the top banana by myself at 6-1. Hooray for me at the halfway point. Enough chest-thumping, let’s get into the meat of the column.
This week is going to be a very key one on the waiver wire. This is Week 8 and each of the next two weeks feature six teams on bye. If you make the right move this week, you can potentially sit back and reap the benefits while your opponents scramble each week trying to make moves. First, the byes. This week, it’s San Francisco and the New York Giants. Week 9 features Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee sitting out. Week 10 has Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, San Diego and Washington at home on the couch. Week 11 is a little easier with Baltimore, Dallas, the Jets and Jacksonville on a bye. And Carolina and Pittsburgh close it out on Week 12.
We’re going to have to keep this in mind as we evaluate our selections.
Target Carson Palmer of Arizona to help you get through the byes. His offensive weapons are finaly starting to fire as Michael Floyd has scored in each of his last two games. Andre Ellington looks very good right now out of the backfield and makes life easier for Palmer. His schedule (PHI, at DAL, STL) looks pretty easy on paper.
Andy Dalton of Cincinnati can also be a big key to bye-week success. Dalton has a tough one with Baltimore this week but games with Cleveland and Jacksonville offer promise on the big bye weeks. AJ Green should be back at full speed which always helps. Yeah, he probably is gone but it’s worth a look and he fits the theme this week. You might have to trade for him which is also going be a theme on this column too.
Colt McCoy of Washington is an interesting proposition. Going to Dallas and Minnesota on consecutive weeks sets up for a potential to put up a good number of points. The problem is that the Redskins are talking about Robert Griffin III coming back this season. Washington is 2-5 and four games behind Dallas for the top spot in the division. The Cowboys-Redskins game is on Monday night so you can get painted into a corner quickly.Monitor the news on RGIII as we get closer to the weekend but I’m not going to jump on him. He’s put up mediocre results at best and I wouldn’t want to risk my season on a mobile quarterback coming back off of his second knee injury in as many seasons.
Kyle Orton of the Bills has thrown for 297 yards per game and five total touchdowns in his three starts. He made Sammy Watkins look great last week but the Bills had to go to the last second, literally, to beat Minnesota. He has the Jets this week so he can be used if you want to stream quarterbacks. Going forward, he has a bye, then Kansas City and Miami. Like I said…one week only on Orton.
This is where the column gets interesting. We have several options to choose from and some of them are total traps.
Tre Mason of the Rams is one of those players. Mason has the potential to be a breakout like Zac Stacy was last season or he could get buried in an RBBC situation if and when Stacy gets let out of the doghouse and Benny Cunningham figures out what his role is on the depth chart. While Jeff Fisher figures out ways to screw with us, look at Mason’s schedule the next few games. He’s at KC, at Arizona and at San Francisco before hosting Denver. Those are three of the top five teams in terms of rush defense (Arizona #1, Denver #3, San Francisco #5; KC is #18). Mason had 27 snaps in the last game and Cunningham had 19 so he’s not a clear number one back.
Unless Tre Mason is the second coming of Kool-Aid Man, he’s going to be rushing into brick walls and you’ll have to temper your expectations with him.
Then there’s Denard Robinson of the Jaguars, a guy called Shoelace. He was the first Jacksonville running back to look like a real NFL player this season with 127 rushing yards and a touchdown against Cleveland. Jacksonville’s next three games (Miami, Cincinnati, Dallas) scream out rushing bonanza so that’s working with him.
The other thing working against him is Gus Bradley apparently hates his running backs. The Jaguars have a weak offensive line to begin with. Toby Gerhart hasn’t been right since getting horse-collared in Week 1 at Philadelphia. Storm Johnson was supposed to be the man but was put on a secret carry limit of 10 carries against Tennessee two weeks ago. Storm had two carries last week. Safe to say the sun is shining and that’s not good for Storm as he fades into a complimentary role.
Robinson looks like the player to get this week if you need help at running back. Or just want to screw over your league mates.
Buffalo has become a mess at running back this week. Fred Jackson is out potentially for multiple games with a groin injury. CJ Spiller might be out for the season with a collarbone problem. That brings up the less-than-intimidating duo of Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown. The Buffalo running game could be in for a few good games with its favorable schedule.
But who do you take? Dixon has 175 carries in his five-year career and is good for about two touchdowns a season. He has 12 receptions so you can forget about him in PPR formats. Brown has 878 yards and six touchdowns in two full seasons in Philadelphia. He came to Buffalo in the offseason and has been a healthy scratch so far in 2014. Brown also adds the extra pass-catching dimension so he should be your PPR target in the wire of those two.
Brown also has the potential for breakout games. He has three career games of more than 110 yards and posted back-to-back chart-busting games in 2012. Do you remember when he posted 43-347-4 on the ground in a two-week span? He might be able to do something like that again when the Bills take on the Jets this week. Dixon looks like a one or two week play depending on Jackson’s groin while Brown should have longer value as he fills in for Spiller.
Do not pick up Arizona RB Stepfan Taylor. Yes, he had two scores this past week but he is like the Chiefs and Joe McKnight. Who? The guy who scored twice against Miami and you never heard from him again. Yeah, that’s what Taylor is.
You can’t go wrong with Odell Beckham Jr of the Giants. He proved us right last week with a two-touchdown game. Well, you could go wrong since they are on a bye this week but Eli Manning has the right kind of chemistry with him to let the rookie have a solid second half of the season.
Cecil Shorts III of Jacksonville disappointed last week but he remains a nice pickup even in PPR leagues. Allen Robinson has quietly put up solid numbers as well if you want to go a little deeper on the Jags.
The Seattle wide receiver situation has gone plum loco after Percy Harvin was traded the Jets for a conditional pick. They’re left with Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse as the top two targets. Baldwin had a 7-123-1 game in the loss at St. Louis and he has the better potential to put up the bigger numbers for the rest of the season. Seattle is going to need to pass when Marshawn Lynch has difficulties running against nine men in the box. That leaves Baldwin outside in man coverage and with a couple of moves he can be gone. Tight end Cooper Helfet is only worth rostering in the deepest of leagues.
Don’t forget about Mike Evans of Tampa Bay. Evans missed a couple games with an injury before Tampa’s bye week. Louis Murphy had a couple good games in his place but Evans should be ready to start again. Couple that Mike Glennon under center and the possibility of a Vincent Jackson trade and this could make the rookie the WR1 on the Bucs depth chart. Even if VJax stays put, he should put up good numbers with Minnesota, Cleveland, Washington and Atlanta next for the Bucs.
Jimmy Graham played Sunday and did nothing, hopefully he does more this week. The position continues to run thin but there is hope. I’ve started to see this name crop up a little more on various waiver wires and if you can’t get him, trading for him should be a snap.
Jason Witten is your best option here. The Dallas tight end is on bye on Week 11 which gets you through the huge bye weeks. In Weeks 9 and 10 the Cowboys take on Arizona and Jacksonville which are gold for tight ends. This season, he has 23-266-1 which is nowhere near what we’re used to with him. His numbers are down there in the Heath Miller range (27-275-1) so it gives you an idea who he compares to.
Keep an eye out for Larry Donnell of the Giants who is another buy-low candidate. If he gets dropped tomorrow, be ready to pick him up Friday. The Giants take on Indy, Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Jacksonville and Tennessee coming out of the bye. Donnell should be back on the rise against those opponents.
Randy Bullock of Houston continues to put up solid numbers (3FG, 2XPT) like he did last night in the loss to Pittsburgh. Nick Folk is someone to pick up with Buffalo, KC, Pittsburgh, the bye and Buffalo again in the coming weeks—all are favorable matchups.
Defenses & Special Teams
This week, we can stream Buffalo DST against the Jets and they’re coming off a solid outing against Minnesota (five sacks, two interceptions). Miami (at Jacksonville) is also a good play. Kansas City DST has three solid matchups in a row with St. Louis, the Jets and Buffalo so they would be an excellent way to get through the big bye weeks. You’ll probably have to get these guys in a trade since I doubt they’d be on the wire now.
Hopefully this helps. If you can prepare now (and also follow me on Twitter), you can sit back and watch the rest of your league panic on those weeks and collect wins in the chaos. Good luck!