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Waiver Wired
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Waiver Wire: Malcolm's Rise

by Raymond Summerlin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Welcome to the 14th edition of Waiver Wired for the 2016 season. The first week of the fantasy playoffs brings with it some changes to the column.

First and foremost, pickups are heavily weighted by how much the player can help you this week. Stashes still have value, but the present is much more important in a one-and-done format. Secondly, the watch list has been replaced by a look at some of the best matchups to exploit the rest of the way in order to plan ahead for a potential championship. Finally, The Drop List has been dropped because any player not in the starting lineup – within reason – can be dropped for any player who will be in the starting lineup this week. That is especially true for extra kickers and defenses as well as quarterbacks and tight ends.

Despite the other changes, recommended adds are still available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and deep cuts are players owned in five percent or fewer.

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1. Joe Flacco
2. Alex Smith

Running Backs
1. Charles Sims
2. Kenneth Dixon
3. Justin Forsett
4. Alfred Morris
5. Derrick Henry

Wide Receivers
1. Malcolm Mitchell
2. Brandon LaFell
3. Ted Ginn
4. Tyler Lockett
5. Pierre Garcon

Tight Ends
1. Ladarius Green
2. C.J. Fiedorowicz
3. Vernon Davis
4. Jermaine Gresham

Defense/Special Teams
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Tennessee Titans

1. Nick Novak
2. Matt Prater
3. Kai Forbath

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1. Joe Flacco, Ravens – Owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
I am not excited to play Flacco coming off his only good performance of the season, but the cupboard is bare under 50 percent ownership and he has been stacking volume all season. With the Patriots’ lackluster defense ahead this week, he might be able to find success again. Streamers are hopefully not needed with the bye weeks over.
Recommendation: Streaming option in 14-team leagues

2. Alex Smith, Chiefs – Owned in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues
Smith’s picture should be next to the term “low-upside” in the dictionary, but he has another solid matchup against the Raiders on Thursday night and is very unlikely to pull a Kaepernick. That gives him some value for teams in need of a reliable starter.
Recommendation: Streaming option in 14-team leagues

Desperation Options: It looks like Robert Griffin III will start this week, but the offense around him is too bad and the risk of an in-game injury to too high to really trust him in the fantasy playoffs…We have no idea if Trevor Siemian will play, but he is in a great spot against a Titans defense which gave up 316 yards and three touchdowns to Matt Barkley before their bye. Siemian was putting up solid fantasy numbers of his own before the injury, and he would be an interesting option if healthy…Brock Osweiler is terrible, but he did throw for 269 yards and two scores last time he faced the Colts. He is probably a top-20 option this week.

Week 15: Sure to be dropped after a disastrous game against the Bears which left me looking for a place to hide on Twitter, Colin Kaepernick will find himself in a good spot against the Falcons if he is given the starting nod Week 15. Whether anyone is crazy enough to trust him outside of DFS is another story…Trevor Siemian will certainly get his job back once healthy after Paxton Lynch’s display against the Jaguars, and he has a nice schedule down the stretch. The Patriots are not a defense to shy away from…Alex Smith’s ceiling is not very high, but he does get the Titans.

Week 16: Blake Bortles could be dropped with the Vikings and Texans next up on the schedule, but he will be worth a look against a Titans defense which was shredded by Matt Barkley before the bye…Trevor Siemian’s good run continues with a trip to Kansas City, although we will need to see him healthy and performing well before this game to trust him. 

Week 17: Blake Bortles is once again in a good spot against the Colts, but that assumes he still has the job at this point...Ryan Tannehill melted down against the Ravens, but he threw for 387 and two scores last time he played New England, and that was on the road...Trevor Siemian finishes out the season with Oakland at home. He threw for 283 and two against them in Week 9 on the road.

1. Charles Sims, Bucs – Owned in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues
Sims is coming back this week, and it could not come at a more interesting time after Doug Martin was mysteriously absent from the final three drives against the Chargers. Martin said after the game he was “bent back” but expects to be fine. Jacquizz Rodgers closed out the game Sunday, but Sims would likely take on a lot of work if Martin is forced to sit and Sims is healthy, which is almost certainly the case considering he both began practicing and is being activated when first eligible. Even if Martin plays, which seems very likely, Sims will have a fantasy-worthy role in a good matchup against the Saints. It is a risk, but Sims will be worth a look in his first game back.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Kenneth Dixon, Ravens – Owned in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues
After playing more snaps than Terrance West last week, Dixon took a backseat to his battery mate against the Dolphins. This backfield should be back and forth the rest of the way, and, as we saw against Miami, West seems to have the better shot at a touchdown. Still, Dixon will see 10 touches more often than not, and the Patriots have given up the fifth-most catches to running backs this season. Dixon remains in the FLEX conversation.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. Justin Forsett, Broncos – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Devontae Booker struggling and Kapri Bibbs on injured reserve, the Broncos’ decision to claim Forsett off waivers Monday is interesting. Forsett was not good with the Ravens and could not jump Dwayne Washington or Zach Zenner in Detroit, but he had the best season of his career under Gary Kubiak in Baltimore. Forsett knows the offense, so it would not be surprising if he is able to start contributing this week and take over the backfield in the near future. He cannot be used against the Titans, which puts him behind the other two, but he has some upside.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Alfred Morris, Cowboys – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
5. Derrick Henry, Titans – Owned in 45 percent of Yahoo leagues
Handcuffing the top backs makes more sense as we near the finish line, and these are the two best options. Morris is a bit higher because he might find his way into the starting lineup without an injury if the Cowboys lock everything up early, which seems like a real possibility, but both are near must-adds for Ezekiel Elliott and DeMarco Murray owners. They are not bad upside stashes for anyone.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Desperation Options: Ty Montgomery, who is clearly Green Bay’s best option in the backfield, played 29 snaps to just 11 for Christine Michael and seven for James Starks against the Texans. He also led the team with 40 yards on the ground, although Michael saw more carries. That is all good news for Montgomery, but he still has a volatile workload and has to match up with the Seahawks this week. That is about as risky as it gets…Jerick McKinnon out-snapped Matt Asiata 51-to-21 against the Cowboys and caught a touchdown. This is still a backfield to avoid if possible, but McKinnon is a reasonable dart throw…Sims is the better option, but if Doug Martin sits, Jacquizz Rodgers should have an early-down role…The Bills have been more explosive at home this season, and Mike Gillislee has six touchdowns in his last seven games…It seems like Shane Vereen will be back this week, but that is a big risk to take in a bad running game against a team which limits opportunities…Bilal Powell had been getting touches, but those dried up Monday night. This is an offense to avoid moving forward.

Week 15: Having LeSean McCoy for Week 15 should be amazing with the Browns coming to town, but Mike Gillislee could be worth a look as well in that good of a matchup…Rex Burkhead saw 12 touches against the Eagles in a game the Bengals dominated, and the Steelers have given up catches to running backs all season…The Vikings actually have a decent matchup against the Colts, and Jerick McKinnon dominated snaps against the Cowboys. There could be something here.

Week 16: The Ravens' backfield should remain a timeshare, but Dixon could be on the better side of it against the Steelers, who give up receptions to backs…Charles Sims should be all the way back in time for this rematch in New Orleans

Week 17: With Dallas seemingly on pace to lock up the No. 1 seed early, Alfred Morris could get a lot of run against the Eagles. He is a must handcuff for Ezekiel Elliott owners…If Justin Forsett is going to take over the backfield, he would have had plenty of time to stake his claim by the time the Raiders roll into town in what should be a meaningful game…Shane Vereen is on the way back, and he went for 95 total yards and a touchdown against the Redskins the first time around.

Deep Cuts: Rex Burkhead played 27 snaps and saw 12 touches in a game the Bengals won going away. That is a very good sign. He is a legitimate option in deeper PPR leagues…With Dwayne Washington looking likely to sit out a while with an ankle injury, Zach Zenner should serve as the early-down back unless Ameer Abdullah returns at some point, which is not seeming particularly likely.

1. Malcolm Mitchell, Patriots – Owned in 29 percent of Yahoo leagues
With Rob Gronkowski out for the year, Mitchell is shaping up as a nearly every-snap player. He played 86% of the snaps against the 49ers and 85% against the Rams, both games Gronk missed, putting up 4/98/1 and 8/82/0 lines in those two contests. With Danny Amendola now looking likely to miss the rest of the regular season as well, Mitchell is locked into a big workload in a great passing offense. Mitchell will be a solid WR3 with upside this week against a Ravens defense which has given up 18 touchdowns to receivers this season.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

2. Brandon LaFell, Bengals – Owned in 16 percent of Yahoo leagues
LaFell had been getting the targets, but he finally turned them into something against the Eagles, going for 95 yards and a touchdown on five catches. He should continue to get solid target numbers moving forward, and he will have a very good chance to take advantage of them against the Browns this week.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Ted Ginn, Panthers – Owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
Ginn caught another long touchdown against Seattle, but the consistent catches and targets have been more impressive of late. He is averaging seven targets over the last seven games and has at least 40 yards in each of those contests. He also has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games. The Chargers are not a particularly good matchup, but Ginn has displayed a consistent floor with very good upside.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks – Owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues
Lockett’s performance Sunday night reeks of fool’s gold, but his history and his quarterback make him worth a look. Lockett did see six targets against the Panthers, but that has been the case three of the last four games. He also played around 60 percent of the snaps, which has been the case most games recently. Even the “big game” is a bit of a mirage considering he went for just 63 yards on five catches if the 75-yard touchdown run, which is not predictive in any way, is removed. He has the ability to make that run, however, and was close to some big plays against Tampa Bay the week before. He is worth adding in most leagues, but it is tough to sell him as a starting option in the first-round of the fantasy playoffs even in a good matchup against the Packers.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Pierre Garcon, Redskins – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
Garcon led the team in targets with Jordan Reed out and topped 75 yards for the third time in four games. With the Eagles falling apart on defense, he should have another solid game if Reed remains out this week. It is also important to note Jamison Crowder was reported with a hip injury, but he played the entire game. Garcon would be an even better option if Crowder sat out, although that seems very unlikely.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

Desperation Options: The entire offense could find more success with Robert Griffin III expected to start this week, but Corey Coleman is a risky option in a not particularly good matchup…Cameron Meredith came up with three big catches, but he saw his snap share and target total decrease. The Bears are in a good spot against the Lions…Dontrelle Inman had another long touchdown, but that was one of his two catches. He is going to fall around 50 yards most games, so he needs a touchdown to really return value…Taylor Gabriel is the poor man’s Ted Ginn. He likely needs a touchdown to really bring anything in standard leagues, but he has been getting around five catches consistently…Adam Thielen’s ceiling is capped in this offense, especially as Stefon Diggs gets healthier, and the matchup with the Jaguars is not great…Anquan Boldin is always a good bet for a touchdown, but he is not going to provide much without one…Will Fuller is always a risky play with Brock Osweiler under center, but the matchup does not get much better…Michael Floyd is pretty clearly the No. 2 receiver for the Cardinals, but he is behind Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, and possibly Jermaine Gresham in the pecking order.

Week 15: Taylor Gabriel will continue to be a boom-or-bust option, but there is a decent chance he booms against the 49ers…Tajae Sharpe is not worth using against the Broncos, but the Chiefs have given up the most points to receivers this season and he should avoid Marcus Peters for the most part…Dontrelle Inman got lucky to score a touchdown against the Bucs, but he could be worth a look against the Raiders if his good run continues.

Week 16: 
Adam Thielen’s ceiling is capped in this offense, but it was promising to see him get so many targets against the Cowboys even with Stefon Diggs back. He could end up being useful in a great matchup against the Colts…Marqise Lee is the No. 2 in Jacksonville at this point, and that could be a good thing against the Titans…Jordan Reed will likely be back by this point, but Pierre Garcon has a decent matchup with the Bears.

Week 17: Tyler Lockett’s big game Sunday night seems like fool’s gold, but he does have a tantalizing matchup with the 49ers…Anquan Boldin needs a touchdown to really return value, but he could get one in a good matchup with the Packers…We will see where the Texans are at this point, but Will Fuller will be in a good spot against the Titans.

Deep Cuts: 
Robby Anderson seems to have a connection with Bryce Petty, who looks set to start the final four games of the season…Nelson Agholor played every snap against the Bengals, which he had basically been doing before being benched. That is a good sign, but he has never had fantasy value. Paul Turner, however, could be worth a look in PPR formats if Jordan Matthews is not able to make it back this week…Breshad Perriman has not been seeing much work, but he has three touchdowns in four games. That is not going to continue, but his Dynasty value remains strong… Since Marquess Wilson decided to pick up a groin injury four snaps in, Josh Bellamy once again played a big role for the Bears, catching 4 passes for 93 yards. He now has 15 targets in the last two games.

1. Ladarius Green, Steelers – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
There is some risk here as Green only played 48 percent of the snaps against the Giants, but he is running routes on almost all of his plays and is clearly the third-best option in the passing game behind Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. The Steelers should feed him targets when he is on the field, and the Bills have given up some big games to tight ends in the last few weeks. Green has enough upside to take the plunge even in the first week of the playoffs.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

2. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans – Owned in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues
Fiedorowicz lost a touchdown and some targets to Ryan Griffin, but he still led the team in targets and operates in the only part of the field in which Brock Osweiler can consistently complete passes. The upside has not really been there of late, but he did hang 6/85/1 on the Colts last time these two teams played. He remains a back-end TE1 and has a decent schedule down the stretch.
Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues

3. Vernon Davis, Redskins – Owned in 37 percent of Yahoo leagues
Davis struggled in a tough matchup last week, but he still managed to come out with five catches for 47 yards. He also came up just a yard short of the end zone, which would have made the day quite a bit nicer. Davis faces a similarly difficult test this week against the Eagles, but he will be locked into an every-down role if Jordan Reed is forced to sit again. That makes him a viable streamer in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Streaming option in 12-team leagues

4. Jermaine Gresham, Cardinals – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
Gresham did not find the end zone against Washington, but he played a better game than his 5/35/1 breakout the week before. Gresham now has at least five targets in four of the last five games, and the Cardinals do not have much else to throw to behind David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Gresham should stay involved, although he will need a touchdown to really return value outside of PPR leagues. Luckily, the Dolphins have given up seven of those to tight ends already this season.
Recommendation: Streaming option in 14-team leagues

Desperation Options: Dennis Pitta had not topped 60 yards in a game since Week 2 before last week and had not scored a touchdown. Rostering him feels like the definition of point chasing…Vance McDonald crashed and burned with the rest of the offense in my own personal version of hell, but he had been pretty consistent before Sunday…Jared Cook is going to have a big game again, but he is never more than a dart throw. He can run the type of seam routes which give the Seahawks -- perhaps especially the Earl Thomas-less Seahawks -- trouble…With Josh Hill out for the season, Coby Fleener should see more consistent playing time moving forward…Dwayne Allen scored three touchdowns almost out of nowhere on Monday night, but he had the same number of targets as Jack Doyle, played fewer snaps than Doyle, and ran fewer routes than Doyle. This game is likely not predictive, and the Texans have shut down tight ends anyway.

Week 15: We will see how Ladarius Green fares moving forward, but the matchup against the Bengals is about as good as they come...He will not be worth much of anything if Jordan Reed is back, but Vernon Davis could explode if given the opportunities against Carolina...If he is able to keep it going, Jermaine Gresham is in a good spot at home against the Saints.

Week 16: C.J. Fiedorowicz will be a TE1 the rest of the way, but the matchup against the Bengals is particularly appealing…If Dwayne Allen can take over the starting job following his big game, he will be a good fantasy bet against the Raiders…Austin Hooper has been invisible in two tough matchups following the bye, but the Panthers are a prime spot if he can show something the next couple games.

Week 17: If Ladarius Green keeps getting snaps, he could win some championships against the Browns…Jared Cook is an up-and-down mess, but he does get the Lions and the Packers have focused on the tight ends in good matchups this season…With Josh Hill out for the rest of the season, Coby Fleener should have a more consistent role moving forward. If that turns out to be true, he would be a solid option against the Falcons in what should be a meaningful game.

1. Atlanta Falcons – Owned in 15 percent of Yahoo leagues
Atlanta has been getting more pressure and forcing more turnovers lately, and Jared Goff has been gifting both the last two weeks.

2. Cincinnati Bengals – Owned in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Bengals forced Carson Wentz into three interceptions last week, and now they get the Browns and likely starter Robert Griffin III.

3. Tennessee Titans – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
The Titans will be a far less attractive option if Trevor Siemian is able to play, but Paxton Lynch showed nothing to be afraid of against the Jaguars last week. The Titans are usually able to get pressure, and they could force the rookie into a few mistakes. If Siemian starts, the Redskins and Chargers will be better options than Tennessee.

Week 15: The Panthers have run hot and cold on offense recently, but Washington gets them at home on Monday night…The Dolphins had been playing well before the disaster in Baltimore. They could have a chance to redeem themselves against Bryce Petty on Saturday night…It is never a bad idea to target the team playing the Jaguars, and that is the Texans this week.

Week 16: San Diego has been a solid DST all season, and they get the Browns. Easy peasy…As mentioned above, the Falcons have been playing better on defense, and they get the Panthers, who could be in freefall by this point…The Titans play the Jaguars this week. You know the drill.

Week 17: Finally getting pressure, the Steelers should be a solid option the rest of the way, but they get a dream matchup with the Browns this week…It will depend on where Tennessee’s defense is at this point, but they do get Brock Osweiler in what could be an important game as the playoffs are concerned…The limits of the target-the-Jaguars strategy will be tested by the Colts this week.

1. Nick Novak, Texans – Owned in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues
Novak continues to be an undervalued option, and there are few better matchups than playing the Colts in Lucas Oil.

2. Matt Prater, Lions – Owned in 47 percent of Yahoo leagues
Prater has multiple attempts in each of his last six games with at least three attempts in five of those contests. It does not hurt he gets to kick indoors this week.

3. Kai Forbath, Vikings – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
Forbath has multiple attempts in two of his three games with the Vikings, and the Jaguars give up the most points to opposing kickers.

Week 15: All three names listed above will be good options again next week, with Novak getting the Jaguars at home, Prater traveling to face the Giants (although the weather could be a concern), and Forbath getting the Colts at home...Chandler Catanzaro has been a bit hit or miss, but he gets the Saints at home.

Week 16: Targeting Jacksonville is always a good idea, and Ryan Succop gets them Week 16...Sebastian Janikowski is in a great spot against the Colts...Caleb Sturgis gets a date with the Giants.

Week 17: Jason Myers has been up and down playing with a broken offense, but it is always nice to have a kicker playing indoors Week 17, especially in a great matchup against the Colts...Kai Forbath gets the Bears at home and, importantly, indoors...Matt Prater gets the Packers at home and, again, indoors.

Raymond Summerlin
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.