Quarterbacks: Working The Waiver Wire Part I
How many times have you heard that you can only lose a draft in the early rounds, not win one? Well, you hear it with consistency because, for the most part, it is accurate. There are the exceptions (if you drafted Peyton Manning last year, you probably had a hard time not being competitive down the stretch), but for the most part, safety is the way to go in the early rounds.
It’d be great to draft your eight/nine starters in the first eight/nine rounds, but the odds of you hitting on each one of those picks is rare, making your ability to dig deep and find value late essential. But your research shouldn’t end there. This is something you need to do on a weekly basis in order to be successful. We will help you as the season goes on with constant waiver wire advice (full with a recommended percentage of your budget in which to bid), but why not get a head start on the competition?
Over the next week, I’ll be taking a look at PFF’s staff rankings and identifying players that project as strong Plug’N’Play options for specific weeks. Today, we take a look at the quarterback position, with running back and wide receivers coming up next.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (HOU): I’m not going to pretend that I’d be comfortable with FitzMagic leading my NFL team, but you could do worse from a fantasy perspective … especially in small doses. The Texans latest answer to their quarterback quandary totaled 986 yards with eight touchdowns and just two interceptions in his three top fantasy games, showing that he is still more than capable of exploiting favorable matchups. In fact, he’s always had that “skill.” In 2010, that meant two games with at least 300 passing yards and four touchdowns. From 2011-2012, he had five games with at least 300 passing yards and multiple touchdowns. Consistency? Nope, that’s not his style. But you’d be hard-pressed to argue that he has ever had a set of play-makers like he has now (sorry Roscoe Parrish and Lee Evans), making these two favorable matchups (his opponents gave up 2.5 touchdowns per interception last season) worth exploiting if you waited to select a QB.
Week 1 vs Washington Redskins
Week 2 @ Oakland Raiders
E.J. Manuel (BUF): We are in the age of dual threat quarterbacks, and while the Cam Newtons of the world get plenty of respect, this sophomore has managed to fly a bit under the radar despite adding two potentially big time receivers and a year of experience under his belt … until now. Again, in this spot start style of plugging in waiver wire level players, you don’t need a player you can count on routinely; you just need these three weeks. Manuel completed at least 70 percent of his passes, threw multiple touchdowns, and rushed the ball at least seven times in two of his final four games, giving Buffalo’s coaching staff a reason to put the ball in his hands more. All three of these opponents allowed at least seven yards per pass attempt in addition to averaging fewer than 2.5 sacks per game and ranking in the bottom half of the league in interceptions, three statistics that suggest Manuel should be comfortable and confident.
Week 3 vs San Diego Chargers
Week 4 @ Houston Texans
Week 5 @ Detroit Lions
Ryan Tannehill (MIA): While the Dolphins won only one more game in 2013 than they did in 2012, the statistical growth of their soon-to-be 26-year-old signal caller was nice to see from a fantasy perspective. He was relied on much more heavily (104 more pass attempts) and rewarded the Miami coaching staff for the increased opportunity by doubling his passing touchdown total in addition to completing a greater percentage of his passes and improving his TD/INT ratio. Off of a Week 5 bye, Tannehill welcomes a porous Packer pass defense that gave up nearly three times as many TD tosses as interceptions. The Dolphins boast an underrated array of weapons and they will need all the points they can get in this one.
Week 6 vs Green Bay Packers
In the next installment of this series, I’ll walk you through the remainder of the regular season, as I look to give you an edge should you encounter injuries/poor play as you attempt to make a push for fantasy greatness.