In this weekly series, I will highlight players that are speculative adds in deeper dynasty leagues, since the majority of players often covered in typical waiver wire columns have long been rostered.
No matter how deep your league is or how large the rosters, you should always keep a watch list of players you are considering adding, should the opportunity present itself. The group of names below will help you form that list.
I will note that the data presented is based on all Yahoo leagues, not just those designated as keeper or dynasty.
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First, let’s look back at last week's waiver wire suggestions that gained value, with current Yahoo ownership percentages and percentage change in parentheses.
Bryce Brown, SEA (49%/+49%)
A.J. McCarron, CIN (9%/+8%)
Fred Jackson, SEA (10%/+5%)
DuJuan Harris, SEA (6%/+1%)
Not every player gained value over the past week. These are the players trending down.
Johnny Manziel, CLE (5%/-10%)
Ladarius Green, SD (16%/-1%)
Jesse James, PIT (0%/-1%)
This week, and for the remaining weeks going forward, the Dynasty Waiver Wire will include a mixture of players who could be helpful for the fantasy playoffs, along with a large number of players who would make good stash options as the offseason nears. For many of you, the off-season may have already begun and now is the time to begin improving your roster for 2016.
1. Zach Mettenberger, TEN (0%)
o In Sunday’s matchup with the New England Patriots, rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota was getting hit early and often and was eventually forced to leave the game. It was later announced Mariota had suffered a sprained MCL and would not return to the field this season. With only two games and a capable backup in Zach Mettenberger, this is the smart move. I’m interested in adding Mettenberger as a stash option, not because he has a chance to unseat Mariota as the team’s starter in 2016, but because the Titans could use these final two games as a showcase in order to deal Mettenberger this offseason. There are many teams with a need at quarterback and there were rumors the Titans could deal him last offseason after they used the second overall draft pick on Mariota.
1. Christine Michael, SEA (10%)
2. Jerick McKinnon, MIN (3%)
3. Jay Ajayi, MIA (12%)
4. Steven Jackson, NE (1%)
5. Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR (7%)
6. Joey Iosefa, NE (0%)
7. Mike Gillislee, BUF (1%)
o This time last week, it was not at all clear who would be the lead back for the Seattle Seahawks going forward. After all, rookie Thomas Rawls had just suffered a season-ending injury and Marshawn Lynch was still dealing. They ended up signing former Seahawk, former Cowboy and former Redskin Christine Michael, who got the bulk of the carries and responded with a career-high 84 rushing yards. There is still little clarity with this situation heading into 2016, but Michael should have the starting role for the season’s final two regular season games and is worth considering as a starting option in fantasy playoff games.
o Veteran running back Adrian Peterson suffered an ankle injury that put him out of action for most of Sunday’s game. The early reports about his injury seem positive and he may be able to play in Week 16, which is good news for all involved. His absence serves as a reminder of the talent possessed by backup Jerick McKinnon, who carried the ball seven time, but was most effective as a receiver, catching four balls for 76 yards and a score. McKinnon will never be an every-down back, but with Peterson back this year, many seem to have forgotten about McKinnon.
o Once again, the Dolphins were led in rushing by rookie Jay Ajayi, the third time this has happened in the past six games. Fantasy owners of all formats have driven themselves crazy trying to understand how the Dolphins will use starting back Lamar Miller, and while he continues to routinely get the most carries, his performance has been very inconsistent. As Miller prepares to enter free agency, it would not be a surprise to see Miller bolt for a new team, leaving Ajayi with the job to himself.
o With LeGarrette Blount out for the season, the Patriots threw some darts in Week 15, using James White as their pass-catching back and a mix of Brandon Bolden and Joey Iosefa to carry the load. While they got an easy win over the Titans, the Patriots are always looking to improve and have signed veteran Steven Jackson as they prepare for a playoff push. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Bill Belichick and the Pats lean heavily on the proven veteran.
o With Jonathan Stewart out of action for Carolina, the team gave the ball to big rookie Cameron Artis-Payne, who gained a solid 59 yards on 14 carries. I didn’t expect Artis-Payne to be a factor in the passing game at all, but he chipped in two catches for 34 yards, giving him a scoring boost in PPR leagues. Stewart is still the man for the Panthers, but he’s also a player with a lengthy injury history, making the rookie from Auburn a player to keep an eye on. Expect Stewart back on the field in Week 16.
o I already mentioned the rookie Iosefa, who totaled 51 yards on 14 carries as Belichick again shows us why trying to predict the Patriots’ running back game plan is fruitless. Iosefa is a big back out of Hawaii who many viewed strictly as a fullback, but he responded well when the Pats gave him carries.
o Bills’ starter LeSean McCoy is once again dealing with an injury and he’s been called week-to-week with a torn MCL. It would be a surprise if McCoy plays again this year, considering there are just two games left and the Bills are under .500. This leaves rookie Karlos Williams, who is expected to carry the load, along with Mike Gillislee. With Williams dealing with an injury of his own, Gillislee has seen an uptick in carries in the past two weeks and responded with a touchdown in each game. Gillislee led the Bills in rushing Sunday, thanks in part to a 60-yard scoring run. Over the past three games, he’s averaging over 50 total yards per game and should see another increase in carries with McCoy out of action.
1. Josh Gordon, CLE (2%)
2. Leonard Hankerson, NE (6%)
o There’s not much to like at the wide receiver position this week when shopping the waiver wire. In a surprising move last week, the Atlanta Falcons released wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, who had clearly been their second best receiver behind Julio Jones. The New England Patriots wasted no time in scooping him up. While he didn’t see any action this past week, he could actually play a key role in the coming weeks. He’s well worth stashing as the Patriots have turned average players into fantasy starters in the past.
o This is another reminder to add Josh Gordon to your roster as quickly as you can, especially if he’s available on the waiver wire in a shallow keeper or dynasty league. Gordon is eligible to apply for reinstatement in early February and all reports have been very positive surrounding the suspended star. Gordon obviously carries a lot of risk due to his off-field troubles, but his upside and league-changing potential are well worth it.
1. Will Tye, NYG (10%)
2. Maxx Williams, BAL (1%)
3. Blake Bell, SF (0%)
o Giants’ rookie tight end Will Tye just continues to produce, yet is getting almost no attention in the dynasty community. Over the past month, since the Giants’ bye week, Tye has been the TE8 in PPR leagues, going over 10 fantasy points in each game. I expect the Giants to move on from Larry Donnell and give Tye a shot at the starting role in 2016.
o While he had a solid season as the Ravens’ starter at tight end, Crockett Gillmore has been placed on the injured reserve list with a back injury. This leaves plenty of playing time, and potentially some increased targets, for rookie tight end Maxx Williams. In anticipation of a second-year breakout, Williams will be one of my top dynasty targets this offseason.
o San Francisco rookie tight end Blake Bell continues to be a top option in the 49ers’ pass game. With the team dealing Vernon Davis seven weeks ago, Bell has filled in admirably and could be the favorite to start at tight end next season.
Players on Injured Reserve worth stashing for 2015 (under 20%): Jordy Nelson, Jace Amaro, Kelvin Benjamin, Zach Zenner, Justin Hunter, Arian Foster, Dion Lewis, Lance Dunbar, Breshad Perriman, Victor Cruz, Kevin White, Khiry Robinson, Devin Smith