NFL Fantasy: Riding the Waiver Wire
As we all await the start of our Fantasy Football season, with most drafts complete or on their way we watch for players that are sitting on the waivers unclaimed, looking for the next Marques Colston, Victor Cruz, Arian Foster or Jordy Nelson. Week-by-week we look at the waiver wires, sifting through highlights so we can scoop up the next big fantasy superstar.
Many die hard NFL fantasy players, like me, make notes of players on waivers that are producing and could be the next big thing. The reality is that most everyone in your league likely has the same approach, or at least their spin on it. The problem is we all wait too long to pick up these players and scold the owner who grabs them first. This year things are going to change because we’re going to stop carrying dead weight on our squads and drop players who aren’t producing.
First thing is stay away from players I like to call “Project Players” in Dynasty Leagues. These are players who have the potential to be superstars, but it’s going to take 2-3 years for it to happen. Let someone else use up one of their roster spots for the entire season while they suffer through bye weeks of making tough decisions on who to drop and who to keep.
Always try to keep in mind a player on your roster who you have no problem dropping should you need to pick up another player. If you do this, it will make picking up guys from the waiver wires less stressful. When dropping a player look to the waiver wire first to see if there are similar players of the same caliber. Make a note of them so if the player you pick up is a bust you can still pick up your original player or the other players you noted.
When adding NFL Rookies off the waiver wire if they’re going to produce right out of the gate then keep them on your squad, but if not drop them. Let’s face it, with only a few exceptions most NFL wide receivers only start approaching their potential in year three. Running backs, depending on the depth chart and offensive line, usually take about two years to adjust to the speed of the game. Quarterbacks depend on their supporting cast; who is he going to pass to and who is going to help in the back field, to determine how fast they produce.
Some guys to track on the Waiver Wire:
Steve Smith STL- Coach Fisher is super excited about his performance in a camp and what he’s going to bring to the Rams offense. A healthy Sam Bradford should help the Rams passing game and Smith is currently looking like he just might be the #3 WR on the team which could lead to productive weeks.
Rashad Jennings JAC– With no MJD and trade rumors flowing around look for Jennings 4.7 YPC to be a nice addition to any Fantasy team. Jennings may end up the starting running back and getting the bulk of the carries for the Jaguars all season long. In fact you might want to pick up Jennings or even draft him right now given the uncertainty in the MJD situation.
Vick Ballard IND – looks like Indy is going to run a running back by committee to start the year but the second Donald Brown stops producing look for Ballard to be promoted to full time starter. Andrew Luck may be the next big thing in Indy, but teams with rookie QBs tend to run the ball a lot early in the career of those QBs. This Rookie out of Mississippi State is a powerful back who can grind out yardage, and might even get a chance as a goal line back.
Vincent Brown SD – I know he’s injured and won’t be back till week 9 but do yourself a favor and open your calendar and select November 03, 2012 8am and write “Pick up Vincent Brown”. This kid has worked way too hard not to be a super star. The Chargers are thin at WR and will not hesitate to put Brown into the lineup, and give him a large role as soon as he’s healthy. He could be very valuable in the second half of the season and fantasy playoffs.
Robert Turbin SEA – The rookie out of Utah State is the backup running back for the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch is the starter and has a long history of legal problems. Lynch is again facing charges related to a DUI and we know that Commissioner Goodell does not take kindly to players being arrested. Lynch was previously suspended for a similar incident in Buffalo. If the hammer falls on Lynch again, you’ll want to pick up Turbin. Leon Washington could also factor in here, so keep an eye on him as well, but I think Turbin is the better bet. Washington has never been known as a workhorse, and is more of a third down back. Seattle is also a team with uncertain and inexperienced QBs indicating they will also rely heavily on the run game.
Shane Vereen, NE – The 2011 2nd round pick out of California didn’t get much playing time last year. He was limited by a series of hamstring injuries most of the year, and never did adjust to the NFL game. Fellow 2011 draftee (a third rounder) Stevan Ridley of LSU appears to be the starter in New England, replacing the law firm, but he’s no sure thing either. If Ridley struggles the Pats will turn to Vereen and the high powered Pats offence can often lead to red zone TDs for whoever gets the RB job. Remember what I said above about RBs often taking off in their second year.
Visanthe Shiancoe, NE – With Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez the Patriots have built their offence around two TE sets, and using the unique talents of these Tight Ends. Now as long as they are healthy, we doubt Shiancoe will see the field enough to be relevant, but should either Gronk or Hernandez get hurt, you should be racing to the waiver wire to grab Shiancoe. He was always reasonably productive in Minnesota, and with playing time would be productive in New England. He may do nothing, but he’s someone you should have in the back of your mind should the Pats see a TE go down like Hernandez did for a few weeks last year.
Kevin Ogletree/Dwayne Harris, Dal- Two names to keep an eye on at wide receiver for the Cowboys. Miles Austin’s hamstring always seems to be hurting, and Dez Bryant picked up a minor knee injury this week. The ‘boys are thin at WR, but someone is going to get targetted by Tony Romo should Austin or Bryant’s injuries linger. It will be important to watch the Cowboys last two preseason games to see who has the upper hand here. Right now it appears to be Ogletree.
This year I’ll keep my eyes open to tip off my readers on the next big Fantasy super star. The second I feel a player is going to be the next big thing you’ll be the first to know.
Check back soon to get all the tips and tricks to help you with your league. If you have any questions about adding and dropping players or anything else related to fantasy football, feel free to leave us a message and we’ll try to help you make the right decision.
If you’ve got a suggestion for who to keep an eye on, leave us a comment below.