Another week in the books, another set of guys hanging around at the edge of the high school gym, waiting for you ask them to dance. You sexy stud, you!
I'm not going to mince words - this week is rough on the waivers. Players you absolutely should pick up - Ben Tate, Mike James, Riley Cooper, Aaron Dobson - aren't available unless you're playing in a league with your grandmother, and the players that are available, well, let's just say that you're rolling the dice.
But hey, you're here, so let's get into it, shall we?
If you're looking for a sure-fire, plug-and-play starter, look no further than Andre Brown, the emergent survivor of the dumpster fire that is the Giants offense. In smarter leagues, you're one or two weeks too late on him, but for whatever reason, as of this writing, he's still available in 54% of Yahoo! leagues; he makes our cut by the slimmest and most Romanian gymnast of margins.
It's certainly true that the Raiders defense isn't exactly the olden corps of their 1970s heyday - they rank just #23 on our power rankings - but you simply can't ignore any RB performance that goes above the century mark. Brown ran the ball well, caught the ball well, and blocked well - all of things that will only give Ol' Man Coughlin more reason to force-feed him the rock against the #26 power-ranked GB defense. After all, do you really want Eli Manning throwing the ball 40 times with how he's looked the past month?
Oh, and his top two comparables? Ronnie Brown and Matt Forte. Not bad company at all.
The old man is back, and he's telling you to
get off his lawn pick him up, right quick.
Of course, let's not pretend Carson Palmer is something he's not; he's immobile, playing for a bad team that somehow still thinks Rashard Mendenhall deserves to be RBBC with Andre Ellington, and his offensive line sucks. His NEP is just about league-average, and his top comparables include Drew Bledsoe (slow, statue), Matt Hasselback (slow, statue) and Kyle Orto..you get the point. So where's the value?
(Go look at his schedule. Yes, I'll wait. Go.)
That's a nice five-game slate, isn't it? Nothing like the Jags to turn back the clock on Father Time, right? Tack on the return of Michael Floyd and - fingers crossed - the continued deployment of Andre Ellington, you've got a buy-low candidate that will at the very least get you consistent performance that is above the rest of the waiver wire chaff. After all, do you really trust Scott Tolzien? Really?
I don't like repeating myself, especially when I told you to pick him up last week. Why don't you listen to me?
Here's what I wrote, still quite applicable:
You just knew that Darren McFadden wasn't going to be able to stay healthy. He's the West Coast Danny Amendola, just running and getting injured all the live long day.
Enter our man Rashad Jennings! Jennings is just the kind of back who thrives in this situation, sort of like when you call in Jesse Eisenberg for a role when Michael Cera isn't available. Whether it was his spurts of competence in Jacksonville backing up MJD or the Week 4 performance where he ripped off eight receptions against the Redskins, Jennings is going to give you workman-like production for as long as he gets his opportunities. Or, more accurately, when someone more talented gets injured.
His comparables all point to competence: Duce Staley, Tim Hightower, and Thomas Jones all make an appearance in his top five. He's not going to win any games for you, but he'll get you 10 points for the one week you might need it and really, isn't that what this article is all about?
Mark Ingram/Tavon Austin
I'm going to knock these two cats out, two-for-one hotstepper style.
If this were NCAA fantasy football and it were 2011, I'd say to drop everything and pick up these two now. Unfortunately for you and the kind of girls I assume they're pulling these days, this isn't college anymore and, well, the bloom is more than a little bit off of both of their roses. For Ingram, he's stuck behind two very NEP-efficient backs in Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas and for Tavon Austin, he's struggled so much with running actual routes that he's had multiple weeks with snaps in the single digits. Needless to say, both of these guys have significant red flags so far as playing time.
The good news though is that they're both coming off their best games in forever. Ingram's upside is an RBBC playing the old Chris Ivory role in New Orleans, doubly so when the game is a blowout; Tavon's upside is a boom-or-bust big play guy, a midget Kenny Stills fighting for playing time as St. Louis figures out whether or not it's a legitimate playoff contender. They're clearly both high-risk options - and both have NEP efficiency scores of well below replacement level - but if you've got an entire roster of consistent stability, one of these two may be worth the gamble.
Want to know how bad Jake Locker has looked these past two weeks? So bad that Ryan Fitzpatrick suddenly seems like a better option. Yikes.
Tennessee is a mess - which makes you wonder how in the world they're nearly a .500 team, really - but if you look close enough, you can see that beneath all of the disappointment, that team does have some actual playmakers lurking around the fringes. Kendall Wright? PPR monster. Nate Washington? Underrated veteran. Delanie Walker? Solidly efficient TE with decent comparables (Owen Daniels, Jeremy Shockey). Chris Johnson? Never speak of that disappointing sack of self-serving media quotes ever again!
Even with CJ2k playing like he wants to be playing for a semi-pro team that plays at a closed high school next year, Fitzpatrick does have a history of competency and a surprisingly decent matchup against the Colts, who got torched by the vastly inferior Kellen Clemens and Rams WR corps.
Try to get Palmer first - assuming Foles, Keenum, etc. are unavailable - and then hold your nose and take the plunge on Fitz. That water is going to be cold, but bye-week beggars can't be choosers.
We'll have a great D/ST streaming article up and available later this week, so let's make this one simple: underrated defense at home against Geno Smith. Good for a 10 pointer at least, potentially more if the Buffalo wind and snow swirls up. Get your wings.