Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 10
It’s Tuesday again, and this is the place where you’ll find out about under-owned players and the week’s hottest pickups. If you’re juggling defenses based on the matchups, I have a few ideas for you. We’ll even look ahead to predict the popular additions for future weeks before you have to spend a waiver pick on them. Within each section the players are listed in the order that I’d pick them up.
Notes: Scoring is standard non-PPR. Ownership percentages are based on Yahoo leagues as of Monday night at 11:45 PM Eastern Time. FAAB values are listed as a percentage of your season budget and are based on a standard, 12-team league with 15 roster spots. Use my values as a starting point and adjust them to fit your league size and the tendencies of your competitors. If a player does not have a FAAB value, it means that I’m recommending that you pick him up as a free agent after waivers clear.
These players are already on most fantasy radars, but they need to be owned in significantly more leagues. Either due to impressive performances or increased opportunities, the values of these players are on the rise. If your league is small, has shallow benches, or is filled with deadbeat managers, you might be lucky enough to stumble across one of these players on your waiver wire.
Joique Bell (DET – RB): 19% Owned, 9% of FAAB
I mentioned Bell as a Looking Ahead prospect after week four, and he was at the top of my Hot Pickups list last week. His performance this week was overshadowed by Mikel LeShoure’s three touchdowns, but Bell had 109 total yards and a touchdown of his own. Bell continued his superior efficiency trend, topping LeShoure’s yards per carry, 5.6 to 4.4.
LeShoure isn’t in immediate danger of losing his starting job, but both backs still have value. When the Lions are playing from behind, Bell is used heavily in the no-huddle offense. When they’re nursing a healthy lead like they were on Sunday, they keep LeShoure fresh by using Bell more. Bell’s versatility gives him a ton of upside and makes him a decent flex play for the rest of the year.
Before this week’s games, these players were on the fringe of fantasy relevance in standard-sized leagues. They should be the hottest additions of the week.
Marcel Reece (OAK – RB): 4% Owned, 12% of FAAB
Taiwan Jones (OAK – RB): 2% Owned, 6% of FAAB
Both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson left Sunday’s game with high ankle sprains. They’ll likely miss multiple games, leaving Reece and Jones to run all over the rush-friendly defenses left on the Raiders’ schedule.
Reece led the team in receiving this weekend with 95 yards and a touchdown, while Jones only had six yards on two touches. According to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, coach Dennis Allen said that Jones’ lack of playing time was due to concerns about ball security. Until Jones works out these issues, Reece should score solid RB3 fantasy numbers.
Emmanuel Sanders (PIT – WR): 6% Owned, 11% of FAAB
Antonio Brown left Sunday’s game with an injury that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin described as a “mild” high ankle sprain. Even though Brown has yet to be ruled out for the Monday night game against the Chiefs, it would not surprise me if Brown misses a couple of games. Sanders, who had 20 yards and a touchdown in Brown’s absence, would get the start if Brown were out.
What’s most interesting to me about this situation is that Brown’s snap counts had already been on the decline since week three, and Sanders’ playing time had been on the rise. Sanders played more snaps than Brown in week eight when both receivers were healthy and had the better fantasy day.
Sanders’ value could shift a lot depending on injury updates on Brown, but based on the trends prior to the injury, Sanders still has some value even if Brown’s diagnosis becomes more positive as the week goes on.
Chris Ivory (NO – RB): 6% Owned, 7% of FAAB
Mark Ingram (NO – RB): 27% Owned, 4% of FAAB
The initial timetable for Darren Sproles’ broken hand was 4-6 weeks. Later, the pendulum of optimism swung all the way towards the possibility of him playing this week in a key divisional matchup against the Falcons. As with most things in life, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
Pierre Thomas seemed to be next in line for increased playing time, but the Saints ended up splitting the backfield workload pretty evenly between Thomas, Ivory, and Ingram against the Eagles on Monday night. Ivory actually came out on top with the lone rushing touchdown on 11 touches. Ingram had nine touches, and Thomas had eight.
Thomas is likely to be taken in your league since he’s 72% owned, but Ivory is worth owning as well. His career 4.9 yards per carry is much more appealing than Ingram’s 3.6. Ivory could make for a decent flex play in three of the next four weeks with two games against the Falcons and one against the Raiders.
James Starks (GB – RB): 12% Owned, 6% of FAAB
Starks averaged a measely 6.4 fantasy points per game last year, so last week’s 6.1 point performance felt very familiar. We sort of know from experience what Starks is likely to do, but it’s hard to ignore him as he starts to get more reps in the Packers’ high-scoring offense.
Alex Green has been an abysmal rusher, so this week he was relegated to third down duties. Starks and Randall Cobb took over the backfield on first and second downs. These playing time shifts make Starks worth stashing away to see if he can do more with his opportunities than he did last year.
Brandon Myers (OAK – TE): 22% Owned, 5% of FAAB
Myers has the fifth most receiving yards per game amongst tight ends this year, and he caught the first two touchdowns of his career this past weekend. He’s been a consistent and reliable fill-in all year. If he can continue to score, his stock will rise quickly.
T.Y. Hilton (IND – WR): 8% Owned, 5% of FAAB
Donnie Avery (IND – WR): 15% Owned, 3% of FAAB
In Andrew Luck’s record-setting passing day, both Hilton and Avery had over 100 yards receiving. The main differences were that Hilton also snagged a touchdown and Avery left with a hip injury late in the game. If both were healthy, I’d prefer Avery, so watch his injury status carefully. In the meantime, I’ll take the healthy pass-catcher in a thriving pass offense lined up opposite Reggie Wayne.
Ronnie Brown (SD – RB): 10% Owned, 4% of FAAB
Over the past four weeks, Brown has averaged more than seven fantasy points per game, mostly as a pass-catching, third-down back. He’s also caught 20 passes over that span, making him start-worthy in PPR leagues.
Golden Tate (SEA – WR): 11% Owned, 1% of FAAB
I’m curbing my enthusiasm for Tate’s two-touchdown performance because the Vikings’ defense puts a heavy emphasis on slowing down teams’ WR1s, leaving other receivers poorly covered. In previous weeks Donnie Avery, Brandon Pettigrew, Andre Roberts, and Mike Williams all had more receptions and yards than their respective teammates, Reggie Wayne, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Vincent Jackson. This week they were focused—somewhat unsuccessfully—on trying to shut down Sidney Rice, leaving Tate more open than usual.
Free Agents: Unless you’re in a deep league, I’d wait for these guys to clear waivers before picking them up. A couple of them are only useful as one-week fill-ins if the starters ahead of them miss a week. The others are bench fodder for deeper leagues.
Danario Alexander (SD – WR)
Joel Dreessen (DEN – TE)
Logan Paulsen (WAS – TE)
Jerricho Cotchery (PIT – WR)
Evan Royster (WAS – RB)
Lance Dunbar (DAL – RB)
Donald Driver (GB – WR)
Bernard Pierce (BAL – RB)
Rob Housler (ARI – TE)
Kevin Ogletree (DAL – WR)
Michael Floyd (ARI – WR)
Through the first eight weeks of this article series, if you started one of our top two recommended defenses every week, then your D/ST roster spot has generated more points per game than the eighth-best D/ST in fantasy. Juggling defenses succeeds again!
This week we have four teams on the bye, and 14 others are owned in more than half of leagues. That only leaves me with 14 to choose from, and none of them are in my top 13. This could be a tough week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 20% Owned
The Bucs D/ST unit has scored double-digit fantasy points in half of their games and have only scored under seven twice this year. This week, San Diego will visit Tampa Bay having yielded an average of 15 fantasy points per game over their last three.
New York Jets: 36% Owned
The Jets should put up a good fight at Seattle, aided by an extra week of bye-week preparation. This will be a good old-fashioned slug-fest.
Dallas Cowboys: 18% Owned
The Cowboys head to Philly after putting up a good fight against the undefeated Falcons. The Eagles have allowed double-digit fantasy points to opposing team defenses in half of their games and are the fifth most generous in fantasy points allowed per game.
Take a hard look at your bench. I bet you have at least one guy sitting there with little upside who will never be in your starting lineup. Ditch him for a high-upside free agent with the potential to catch fire. Take some proactive chances with your bench if you want to stay ahead of the curve.
Cedric Benson (GB – RB): 10% Owned
Much like Beanie Wells, who was mentioned in this section last week, Benson is on the special “designated to return” version of injured reserve. He can’t play before Week 14, but is likely to resume his featured running back role at that time.
The catch is that he’s mostly just a potential play for Week 16. He’ll face a solid Lions’ rush defense in his first week back, followed by a brutal matchup at Chicago in Week 15. However, if you have a deep bench, he could be worth stashing for his championship game matchup against the Titans in week 16.
We’re almost through the bye weeks. There are just four teams this week and four more next week. Make sure you’re covered.
Aside from that, keep an eye on your trade deadline. Most leagues cut off trading in a week or two. Keep wheeling and dealing to improve your starting lineup and playoff matchups.
Share your thoughts and chat with Austin on Twitter @AustinNFL.