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.
All players mentioned will be owned in less than 20 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues. 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 Waiver Wired suggestions that gained value, with current Yahoo ownership percentages and percentage change in parentheses.
Martavis Bryant, PIT (42%/+34%)
Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (35%/+26%)
Charles Sims, TB (25%/+18%)
Donte Moncrief, IND (15%/+12%)
Jonas Gray, NE (18%/+12%)
John Brown, ARZ (21%/+11%)
Michael Vick, NYJ (9%/+6%)
Kyle Orton, BUF (9%/+1%)
Christine Michael, SEA (4%/+1%)
Kenny Stills, NO (13%/+1%)
UPDATE: It’s no surprise to see Steelers’ rookie receiver Martavis Bryant as the top added player after back to back impressive performances and on Sunday Night Football, he made it three in a row, as Bryant has now scored a touchdown in every game he’s played this season. He should be able to keep it up in Week 10 as the red hot Steelers take on the Jets’ hapless secondary. Several other rookies highlighted the list, as the top six most added players were all rookies.
While these players are on the rise, some of last week’s suggestions lost value over the past week.
Tyler Eifert, CIN (14%/-1%)
Davante Adams, GB (13%/-1%)
UPDATE: The only players who lost value over the past week did not play as the Packers and rookie Davante Adams were on bye and Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is still not ready to return to the field, though some reports expect him back in Week 11.
1. Kyle Orton, BUF (9%)
2. Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (10%)
3. Mark Sanchez, PHI (4%)
4. Ryan Mallett, HOU (0%)
o While many who are desperate for a quarterback might be chasing Mark Sanchez this week, I’d be looking for an under the radar Kyle Orton. Orton, owned in only 9% of Yahoo fantasy leagues, could be overlooked this week after the Bills were on bye, but he’s been performing at a high level since claiming the starting job from the struggling EJ Manuel. Over the month-long stretch of Orton’s starts, he is the QB9 in fantasy leagues, and rookie Sammy Watkins has blossomed playing alongside the veteran. Don’t look for Manuel to get his job back anytime soon.
o Vikings’ rookie Teddy Bridgewater has been struggling this year, which is surprising considering the good mix of talent around him, along with his offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Bridgewater showed signs of turning things around in Week 9 though as he had his best game of the year, leading his team to a win against Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. Even better news, if Bridgewater is on your league’s waiver wire, you might be able to wait another week to grab him since the Vikes are on a bye this week.
o As you know by now, Eagles starter Nick Foles suffered a broken collarbone, which will effectively end the fantasy football portion of his season. Foles could return in as few as six weeks, but for now, this is Mark Sanchez’ team and this could be the chance the former Jet has been looking for. His struggles in New York are well known, but he also had some success there, finishing as a QB1 in fantasy leagues. With the Chip Kelly quarterback-friendly offense, this is the best-case scenario for Sanchez and he is a must add for Foles owners or those in 2QB leagues.
o After the disappointing play of Houston in Week 9, head coach Bill O’Brien alluded to possible changes needed on the team and refused to acknowledge that Ryan Fitzpatrick’s job is safe. Behind Fitzpatrick are Ryan Mallett and rookie Tom Savage. Most seem to think Mallett would get the first shot at starting. If you’re playing in a 2QB league, Mallett, and maybe even Savage, are worth a stash.
1. Alfred Blue, HOU (12%)
2. Jonas Gray, NE (18%)
3. Daniel Thomas, MIA (2%)
4. Marion Grice, ARZ (0%)
5. Benny Cunningham, STL (17%)
o Pickings are thin at the running back position this week, but with a couple of starters dealing with injuries, you could find their backups filling in as serviceable fantasy options. First off is rookie Alfred Blue, backup to Arian Foster, who suffered a groin injury Sunday. The Texans have been ominously quiet about Foster’s injury as coaches called his status “day to day.” The good news for Foster, and the bad news for anyone searching for help at the running back position, is that the Texans are on bye in Week 10, meaning we’ll likely have to wait a few days before learning more about Foster’s actual status. In the meantime, grab Blue as the groin injury could be on the Montee Ball level, which could keep him out multiple weeks.
o The running back usage remains confusing and frustrating in New England, but with few options out there on the wire, grabbing rookie Jonas Gray might be your best bet. Although Gray actually led the Patriots in rushing, he was out-snapped and outplayed by Shane Vereen, as you might expect. With Stevan Ridley and Vereen both entering free agency, Gray has a shot to be the next Patriots’ lead back in 2015, along with a few big games sprinkled in for the remainder of this season.
o Another runner who suffered an injury in week 9 was Dolphins’ starter Lamar Miller. The Dolphins are already without veteran Knowshon Moreno for the remainder of the season and now Miller has a sprained AC joint, which could keep him out of action in Week 10. If he does miss the game, veteran Daniel Thomas would be the prime beneficiary as the Dolphins face off against the Lions, which is not a great matchup regardless of who draws the start.
o Rookie back Marion Grice sent dynasty owners flocking to the waiver wire a couple of weeks ago as there were reports that he was taking a portion of the first team reps at practice. With Stepfan Taylor out for the remainder of the year, someone will need to pick up the slack and Grice finally saw some action in Week 9, rushing for his first career touchdown. Starter Andre Ellington is not suited for goal line touches, so Grice could see a nice value increase if he maintains those touches in the red zone.
o If you play in PPR leagues, Rams backup Benny Cunningham continues to be a decent RB3 or flex play. He led the team in receptions in Week 9, and although he gets relatively few carries, he makes up for it in receptions.
1. Donte Moncrief, IND (15%)
2. Jordan Matthews, PHI (18%)
3. Davante Adams, GB (13%)
4. Kenny Stills, NO (13%)
5. Allen Hurns, JAX (14%)
6. Jarvis Landry, MIA (8%)
7. Taylor Gabriel, CLE (1%)
8. Kenny Britt, STL (9%)
o Although he had a relatively quiet night on Monday Night Football, as veteran Reggie Wayne made his return to the team, rookie Donte Moncrief would be my top target this week. Moncrief went off in Week 8 and showed the upside and potential that many expected from him since early in his college career. As I mentioned last week, even with Wayne back to retain his well-deserved targets, Moncrief is the future at the position for the Colts.
o Speaking of the future, Jordan Matthews had another nice game for the Eagles in Week 9, even after starter Nick Foles was lost for the game. Matthews racked up 40 receiving yards and scored a touchdown in the Eagles’ win over the Texans. Like Moncrief, don’t expect weekly consistency from the former Vanderbilt star, but do expect opportunity in bunches as early as next season. Jeremy Maclin, the team’s top receiver, is set to be an unrestricted free agent and his departure could open the door for Matthews to see a huge increase in playing time.
o Although the Packers did not play last week, I still can not recommend strongly enough adding rookie Davante Adams to your dynasty team. I can’t imagine many leagues where he is sitting on the wire, even those with the shallowest of rosters, but if so, it’s time to change that. On limited snaps playing most often as the team’s third wide receiver, Adams is currently averaging nearly eight fantasy points per game. While that may not be winning you games on a weekly basis, it is a bright picture of the future, especially if the Packers opt to let starter Randall Cobb walk as a free agent, as many expect.
o Over the past three weeks, we’ve seen a different Kenny Stills for the Saints. He’s not being limited to deep balls only, yet is being used more in all facets of the passing game and is the WR19 over that time span, outscoring his more publicized teammate, rookie Brandin Cooks.
o Another rookie receiver, Allen Hurns of the Jaguars, had a great game in Week 9. For the second time this season, Hurns eclipsed 100 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns in the same game. He’s the first receiver to do that twice in a season since Roy Williams of the Lions in 2004. With Blake Bortles spreading the ball around and the Jaguars suddenly having multiple options, there’s no reason to expect consistency from Hurns, who hadn’t broken double digit PPR fantasy points since Week 4 before last week’s explosion. With that said, he’s worth a roster spot in the majority of leagues and could even be a spot starter.
o It seems I can’t get away from this rookie class, and for good reason. While there’s plenty of time for some players to turn into busts, the production from all tiers of rookies has been truly amazing, from the first round studs to undrafted free agents. Among the most overlooked rookies this year is Miami wide receiver Jarvis Landry, formerly of LSU. Like most of his young counterparts, Landry has been inconsistent this year. He had his second big game of the season in Week 9, catching five passes, including his second touchdown of the year.
o And here’s yet another rookie wide receiver, this time one you might not be familiar with…Taylor Gabriel of the Cleveland Browns. Among all of the rookies, especially at the wide receiver position, drawing praise, Gabriel has been the biggest surprise and is currently the tenth highest scoring rookie receiver, which says a lot considering this draft class. With Jordan Cameron again dealing with the ramifications of a concussion and Josh Gordon still on the shelf for a few more weeks, Gabriel will have even more of a chance to earn some dynasty attention.
o Last week, I speculated that Stedman Bailey could benefit from the loss of Brian Quick. Instead, it was veteran Kenny Britt who stepped up, including an impressive 21 yard score. Although the Rams pulled out a win over division rival San Francisco, the reality seems to be that this offense is one fantasy owners should stay far away from. I still love Britt’s talent, but he may have wasted the prime of his career. He’s a desperation play at best.
1. Chase Ford, MIN (0%)
2. Mychal Rivera, OAK (1%)
3. Marcedes Lewis, JAX (1%)
o Since Vikings’ starting tight end Kyle Rudolph went down with an injury, relatively unknown Chase Ford has stepped in and played well, especially once rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took over as the starter. Ford’s best game as a pro came in Week Nine as he hauled in five balls for 66 yards and his first career touchdown. Ford and Bridgewater have a nice thing going and with Rudolph returning soon, it will be interesting to see if Ford has earned any playing time in possible two tight end formations. If you’re streaming tight ends, or simply dealing with injuries at the position, Ford is a solid option in Week 10.
o Another player who is playing at his best as of late is the Raiders’ Mychal Rivera. After easily eclipsing his career high in yardage in Week 9, Rivera bettered his fantasy output while catching a career best eight passes, including two touchdowns. It marked Rivera’s first two touchdown game of his career. While it is unlikely Rivera will continue at his pace of the past two weeks, he is showing clear improvement and Oakland is desperate for consistent playmakers. Look for an overhaul of this team during the off-season, meaning the season’s final few weeks will act as an audition for all players who have a chance to be back with the team next season.
o Speaking of returning, Jaguars’ tight end Marcedes Lewis has resumed practice and is eligible to return to game action as soon as Week 12. With the way the Jaguars have turned into a passing offense, and one that spreads the ball around, Lewis could really benefit. With Lewis out, Clay Harbor has scored in the TE2 range most weeks and few would argue that Lewis is the more talented of the two players. Considering he’s sitting on most waiver wires due to his early season injury, Lewis could be a real difference maker down the stretch.