Players are sorted by position and ranked based on priority. This means that, in most formats, you’ll want to pick up the first name listed if several are available. Note that this advice is strictly for redraft formats and usually will lean towards a fairly standard 12-team PPR league.
I received more Waiver Wire requests than usual on Twitter ( @PFF_MikeClay ) this week, so you’ll notice that each position has a ‘Quick hits’ section, where I will provide brief analysis and a recommendation on a few additional players.
Tyler Thigpen – Dolphins
Chad Pennington is on Injured Reserve and Chad Henne is week-to-week with an injury of his own. Tyler Thigpen is expected to start for Miami on Thursday and a strong performance could earn him the starting nod the rest of this season, especially considering that Henne was benched prior to Sunday’s game in favor of Pennington. It’s worth noting, however, that Miami first turned to Henne, not Thigpen, when Pennington went down. Unless Thigpen impresses, it could be one start and done – assuming Henne is healthy in time for week 12. So, is Thigpen worth the add? I’d say yes. Unlike Henne/Pennington, Thigpen is unlikely to complete more than 60% of his passes, but will chuck the ball down field more often. The drop in completion % isn’t a good thing for possession receivers Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess, but it will mean an improved yards-per-reception and should lead to a few additional passing touchdowns. On that alone, Thigpen is barely worth QB2 consideration, but we also need to consider his legs, which will translate into a handful of “bonus” points every week. He’s a good QB2 to own as long as he’s the starter.
Shaun Hill – Lions – I’ve been mentioning him for a few weeks now. The Lions are among the league’s pass heaviest team and he’s been effective as the commander of the offense. He should be owned in all leagues.
Jon Kitna – Cowboys – The only team passing more than Detroit is Dallas. Kitna is a borderline QB1 every week and should be owned in all formats.
Tony Pike – Panthers – Jimmy Clausen could miss a few weeks after suffering a week 9 concussion. Even if he misses a few weeks, Pike is not worth starting or rostering in fantasy.
Keiland Williams – Redskins
Williams took advantage of Ryan Torain and Clinton Portis’ absence on Monday night, racking up 139 total yards and 3 scores on 20 touches. Williams has served as depth at tail back for Washington this season, but his main role has been as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. With Torain and Portis due back in week 12, Williams is unlikely to approach 20 touches again this season. In fact, he may not play much at all if Torain returns to early down duty and Portis fills in on passing downs. We can only speculate at this point, but Torain is the player of this trio that I’d want to own right now. Williams would be #2 considering that he has some upside. Portis could easily end up the team’s top fantasy back going forward if Shanahan decides he’s earned his job back, but his upside is very low.
Justin Forsett – Seahawks
Seattle acquired Marshawn Lynch earlier this season, which all but pushed Justin Forsett to fantasy irrelevance. That may not be the case anymore. Lynch has struggled (2.9 YPC), while Forsett continues to run the ball well (4.7). In fact, Forsett has only 11 more carries than Lynch for Seattle this season, but has racked up 180 more rushing yards. Forsett is also doing all of the work on passing downs, which actually puts him ahead of Lynch in my PPR rest-of-season projections. You want Lynch in standard scoring leagues, but Forsett is still a sleeper in PPR, especially considering that he’s been the better player.
Jason Snelling – Falcons
Despite only 3 carries (compared to 17 for Michael Turner), Jason Snelling easily outperformed Turner on Thursday thanks to 6 receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. Snelling has been impressive over the last 2 seasons, but is that enough to warrant a spot on fantasy benches? It depends. Every top running back has a handcuff and some are better to own than others. Snelling is one of the better ones and has even more value considering Turner’s struggles to stay healthy. If you have an empty bench spot and Snelling is on the wire, snatch him up.
Bernard Scott – Bengals
New team, similar story. Like Snelling, Scott is one of the game’s top handcuffs. Considering his 5.1 YPC, compared to Cedric Benson’s 3.6, you’d think Scott would be more than a handcuff at this point. Unfortunately for those of us who have him stashed on our benches, that hasn’t been the case. Benson is up to 175 carries on the year, while Scott has only 24. There’s no indication that Marvin Lewis will make a change in the near future, but Scott is a guy you want to own if he does—or if Benson is injured. Also, keep in mind that the Bengals are all but eliminated and Benson is a free agent after this year. One would have to imagine that coach Lewis will want to see what he has in Scott. He’s good filler for that empty bench spot.
Jerome Harrison – Eagles
Harrison eclipsed the 100 yard mark on Monday night, but, if you watched the game, you know why. A first half 50 yard touchdown run aside, most of Harrison’s carries came when the Eagles were running out the clock in the second half. He has appeal as a high-upside handcuff, but he won’t see more than a handful of touches unless LeSean McCoy is injured.
Mike Tolbert – Chargers – You rarely find a back with 7 touchdowns on waivers, but Ryan Mathews is starting to emerge, so maybe someone foolishly dropped him. I expect Mathews to lead the team in carries from here on out, but Tolbert is still the goal line back and a borderline RB3. He should be rostered.
Mike Goodson – Panthers – Goodson is likely to be a one-week wonder. DeAngelo Williams is expected back in week 10, which means back to the waiver wire for Goodson. He’ll see a few 3rd down targets here and there, but that barely gets him top 50 consideration at RB.
Chester Taylor – Bears – Taylor saw 14 touches against the Vikings and the Bears are beginning to run more, but Taylor is still #2 in line for touches. His value is as Matt Forte’s handcuff.
Javarris James – Colts – James has scored 3 touchdowns in the Colts past 2 games, but has carried the ball only 17 times. Joe Addai is due back this week, Donald Brown is still ahead of him on the depth chart, and Mike Hart is week-to-week. Leave him on waivers.
Quinton Ganther – Bills – C.J. Spiller is expected to miss a week or two, which means Ganther is second in line for touches in the Bills backfield. Unless Fred Jackson gets hurt, however, Ganther won’t see more than 5-7 touches in a single game. He has little fantasy value.
Steve L Smith – Panthers
Someone suggested I cover Steve Smith in Waiver Wire this week. At first, that might seem ridiculous, but I’ve had so many people asking me if they should cut bait that it actually makes sense. In short, if he’s available in your league, place a claim. With Jimmy Clausen or Tony Pike running the show, his upside sure is limited, but, like I always say, there is value in the target. Despite missing a game, Smith has seen 21% of the Panthers targets, which is a very healthy number in terms of opportunity. Even if he catches fewer than half of them (very likely considering his QB situation), he should end up with close to 23 receptions, 292 yards, and a pair of scores the rest of the way. That isn’t exactly superstar material, but it’s enough to warrant a bench spot in all formats, especially considering that he is among the league’s most talented wide receivers.
Brandon Gibson – Rams
Gibson has been relatively quiet, but he’s been racking up the targets every week since Mark Clayton’s season-ending injury. Thanks in part to Sam Bradford’s improving accuracy, he was able to haul in 8 of his 9 targets on Sunday for 72 yards. Since week 3, he’s seen no fewer than 4 targets in a game and has seen 7+ on 3 occasions. Over the team’s last two games, he’s been targeted 16 times for 14 receptions and 139 yards. He’s scored only once this year, which is a concern, but you could do a lot worse at wide receiver in deeper leagues. He’s a top 60 option.
Early Doucet – Cardinals
Pre-season sleeper Early Doucet finally put together a decent game, racking up 6 catches, 71 yards, and a score on 10 targets. The Cardinals have been very inconsistent on offense, but they are among the league’s pass heaviest teams and Doucet is the 3rd option in the passing game. Still, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston account for a majority of Derek Anderson’s targets, limiting Doucet’s impact. He’s worth a flier in deeper leagues because of his upside, but he’s not yet WR5 material.
Brandon James – Colts
With Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez, and Blair White out of action, Brandon James stepped into the Colts slot position on Sunday. Peyton Manning kept him busy, throwing 8 passes his direction, 4 of which were caught for 36 yards. Those are rather underwhelming numbers for a Colts slot receiver, but, if Collie or White are out again this week, he will take on the same role and is worth WR3 consideration. If Collie or White return to action, he’s not worth a roster spot.
Duke Calhoun – Giants
With Steve Smith out until early December and Ramses Barden done for the year, Duke Calhoun will be the Giants #3 option at wide receiver. Considering how impressive the Giants pass game has been, Calhoun has some upside. The undrafted free agent played 28 snaps on Sunday and will see significantly more until Smith returns. Still, don’t expect him to take on 100% of Mario Manningham’s WR3 workload. Kevin Boss was more involved with Smith out this past week, seeing 7 targets for the first time since week 3, and should continue to see increased underneath targets. Furthermore, the team signed Derek Hagen on Tuesday, who could immediately challenge Calhoun for playing time. Calhoun is not a name you want in your starting lineup, but Smith owners in very deep leagues should consider him.
Vincent Jackson – Chargers – Week 11 will mark the end of Jackson’s suspension. If you’re in a league with crazy people, maybe Jackson is still hiding on waivers. Get him before his week 12 return.
Sidney Rice – Vikings – Similar to Jackson, Rice is probably owned in your league, but, if he isn’t, grab him as soon as possible. He is likely to return in week 11.
Earl Bennett – Bears – I’ve mentioned Bennett multiple times this season because it was clear pretty early on that he was progressively going to become the team’s #2 option at wide receiver. That said, Johnny Knox, Greg Olsen, Devin Hester, Chester Taylor, and even Devin Aromashodu are seeing handfuls of targets each week. Bennett has mostly been an underneath option and has shown little upside. He’s barely a WR5.
Brian Hartline – Dolphins – Hartline played more snaps than Davone Bess and was targeted 7 times on Sunday. He’s not a top 50 WR yet, but watch his numbers with Tyler Thigpen under center.
Kevin Walter – Texans – After a quiet couple of weeks, Walter was targeted 6 times and scored in week 10. Right now, he’s been way too inconsistent to consider adding and is barely a top 70 option at wide receiver. Don’t bother.
Arrelious Benn – Buccaneers – I discussed Benn last week, but he’s worth mentioning after he scored again in week 10. Still, he saw only 10 targets and has seen just 15 on the year. He’s only worth stashing in deep leagues because of his massive upside.
Donald Jones / David Nelson – Bills – In the not-so-anticipated battle to replace Roscoe Parrish, Jones ran 14 pass routes, while Nelson ran 9 on Sunday. It’s worth noting that the Bills called only 25 pass plays, however, as they were leading the Lions most of the day. Neither of these guys is worth a roster spot in all but very deep leagues.
Antwaan Randle El – Steelers – Randle El saw 9 targets in the team’s loss to New England, but most of the damage was done in the second half, when Pittsburgh was playing from well behind. He’s the team’s #3 WR, but that will mean no more than 3-4 looks most weeks.
Emmanuel Sanders – Steelers – Speaking of the Steelers, the rookie Sanders has been getting more involved on offense, but his 9 week 10 targets were mostly a result of Hines Ward’s neck injury. Sanders is a great own in dynasty leagues, but, with Ward due back in week 11, he’s not worth owning in redraft leagues.
Chris Chambers / Terrance Copper – Chiefs – The Chiefs are the league’s run heaviest team, but Chambers and Copper combined for 16 targets on Sunday. Considering they were getting blown out by the time the first quarter ended, this is a clear fluke. Don’t bother with either of them.
Kellen Winslow II – Buccaneers
I’ve noticed that Winslow is being dropped in a lot of leagues and it doesn’t make much sense. Winslow is 9th among tight ends in targets and has seen 21% of the Buccaneers targets, which is the 4th highest mark at the position. As mentioned in my Regression article 2 weeks ago, Winslow has been a bit unlucky in the touchdown department, but he did finally score on Sunday and is on pace for 69 receptions. Winslow is a TE1 and should be owned in all formats.
Jermaine Gresham – Bengals
Gresham is worth a mention after exploding for 9 receptions, 85 yards, and a touchdown on 10 targets on Sunday. The rookie has been used exclusively as an underneath option for Carson Palmer, which has translated to a very low 7.4 yards-per-reception mark. He’s also been used near the endzone, with 3 scores on the season. Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco are accounting for most of the targets in Cincinnati, but Gresham is beating out Jordan Shipley as the #3 option. Gresham ranks out as a good TE2 to own with plenty of upside.
Kevin Boss – Giants
As mentioned, Kevin Boss saw a boost in targets this past Sunday with Steve Smith out of action and that trend should continue. After Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, Boss is the next-best receiving threat among non-running backs. Expect Boss to see 6-8 targets a game until Smith returns to action, making him an average TE2.
Rob Gronkowski – Patriots
Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski? Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez? A hot debate in fantasy this week is which of these two rookie tight ends is the one to own. There is no simple answer. In week 9, the team’s veteran tight end, Alge Crumpler (a blocker) was in on only 16% of the team’s snaps, but is generally in on 50-60%. Hernandez (the team’s worst blocker, but best receiver at the position), had been in on 80% of the offensive snaps in 4 of the 5 team’s games spanning from week 4 to 9, but played on just 15% on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Gronkowski had only been playing between 40-60% of the team’s snaps this season before a boost to 72% in week 9 and 90% in week 10. The team clearly seems to be leaning harder on the better blocking tight ends and away from Hernandez, the pass catcher. Instead, Deion Branch and Wes Welker are dominating the targets. It should be fairly obvious that this is going to be a week-by-week committee. If the Patriots are in a situation where they can open up the offense and don’t need extra help blocking for Brady, Hernandez will see additional work. If not, Gronkowski is going to dominate the snaps at tight end. In the end, Hernandez is still the one I’d want to own. He is a risky play this week, but he has some serious upside, meaning he should be owned. Gronkowski is also worth a bench spot considering that he will continue to be Brady’s go-to-guy in the redzone, but his reception totals will be limited.
Anthony Fasano – Dolphins
Fasano was on a lot of sleeper lists last week, but most of that was based on Chad Pennington being under center for the Dolphins. It worked out, however, as Chad Henne and Tyler Thigpen combined to target him 7 times. Fasano responded with 5 catches, 107 yards, and a touchdown. Despite the big team, Fasano is still not starting material in fantasy. Any 100-yard game by a tight end will raise some eyebrows, but tight end is way too deep this year to bother with Fasano. There are close to 20 better options.
Gijon Robinson – Colts – Jacob Tamme is beat up. If he misses any time, H-Back Gijon Robinson will replace him as the receiving tight end. He’s unlikely to see the targets Tamme was, but he did catch 19 balls as a back-up for this team back in 2008. There’s likely going to be better options than Robinson available if Tamme sits, but his upside in this offense makes him worth consideration.
Bo Scaife – Titans – Much like in 2009, Scaife is quietly racking up the targets this season, but isn’t getting enough yardage or touchdowns to warrant fantasy consideration. On Sunday, he put up 7 receptions for 51 yards on 9 targets, but failed to score. He currently sits third on the Titans with 15 % of their targets going his way, but his 8.8 YPR is, as alluded to, underwhelming. He’s barely in the TE2 discussion.
Zach Miller – Jaguars – A 52 yard touchdown reception opened some eyes Sunday, but Miller will continue sit 2nd in line at tight end behind Marcedes Lewis in a run heavy offense. He’s only worth an add if Lewis misses time.
Spencer Havner – Packers – TE/LB Spencer Havner was re-signed by the Packers this week after spending time with Detroit (strictly as a linebacker) this season. He’s worth a mention after he scored 4 touchdowns on 7 receptions for Green Bay last year. Although he could see the occasional target on play action from the 1 yard line, he’s way too risky to consider in fantasy.