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.
Note: Sign up for FanDuel today and receive a FREE ENTRY into a one-week fantasy football league for real money. Finish anywhere in the top-half to win cash. Enter now.
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.
Javorius Allen, BAL (72%/+60%)
Spencer Ware, KC (63%/+56%)
Ahmad Bradshaw, IND (31%/+25%)
Shaun Draughn, SF (28%/+11%)
J.J. Nelson, ARZ (9%/+8%)
Tyler Lockett, SEA (19%/+4%)
Leonard Hankerson, ATL (11%/+2%)
Matt Schaub, BAL (2%/+2%)
Jonathan Grimes, HOU (3%/+1%)
Cody Latimer, DEN (2%/+1%)
Brock Osweiler, DEN (18%/+1%)
Not every player gained value over the past week. These are the players trending down.
Johnny Manziel, CLE (3%/-2%)
Matt Hasselbeck, IND (11%/-1%)
1. Brock Osweiler, DEN (18%)
o It’s not a great week for those needing a quarterback (looking at you, Tony Romo owners) but there are a couple of options. First, I’m shocked to see Denver’s new starter still owned in only 18% of Yahoo leagues. Brock Osweiler won his first matchup in a tough game with the Bears, and was able to follow that with a come-from-behind win over defending Super Bowl champion New England, the Patriots’ first loss. Osweiler threw for 270 yards and a score. It wasn’t a day of huge fantasy numbers for Osweiler, but a win over the Patriots gives his some much-needed job security while Peyton Manning recovers from a foot injury. With the Broncos in good shape to earn a playoff spot, Osweiler has a good chance to be the team’s starter not only for the remainder of this season, but heading into 2016 as well.
1. Jay Ajayi, MIA (17%)
2. Brandon Bolden, NE (7%)
o Clearly, if you need a running back, you could be in trouble. For the second time in three games, rookie running back Jay Ajayi led the Dolphins in rushing. Unfortunately, Ajayi only managed six rushing yards on three carries. The firing of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor could create waves in the offense and with the rumors of starting back Lamar Miller leaving as a free agent this coming offseason, the job could really open up for Ajayi.
o The New England Patriots’ backfield continues to be difficult to project. In their Week Twelve matchup against the Broncos, it was Brandon Bolden who played the role formerly held by Dion Lewis. Bolden was hardly involved in the running game, but caught four passes for 84 yards and a long touchdown. Previously, James White was considered the favorite for the passing down role, but he has struggled, catching just two of five targets against Denver. I’m still not confident in projecting how the Pats will use Bolden, White, LeGarrette Blount or any other running back they might find, but you could do worse than Bolden in PPR leagues.
1. DeVante Parker, MIA (4%)
2. Kevin White, CHI (4%)
3. Tyler Lockett, SEA (19%)
4. J.J. Nelson, ARZ (9%)
5. Seth Roberts, OAK (1%)
6. Devin Smith, NYJ (0%)
7. Jeff Janis, GB (0%)
o The Dolphins had a nightmare of a game against the Jets on Sunday, trailing by multiple scores for nearly the entirety of the game. This led to Ryan Tannehill attempting 58 passes and a long-awaited big game from rookie receiver DeVante Parker. Parker caught four passes for 80 yards and his first career touchdown. This was easily the best game of Parker’s young career and hopefully a sign of things to come. While Parker has struggled to get on the field, he is more talented than many of the pass catchers playing ahead of him. This breakout game could show that Parker is ready for more playing time and increased targets in the Dolphins’ offense.
o We finally got some positive news on Bears’ rookie receiver Kevin White, who is set to begin practicing soon. Its still uncertain if or when White will suit up this season, but being cleared to practice is a step that has many dynasty owners breathing easier after hearing only bad news regarding White’s injury status for the past few months. If you’re in a shallow league where an owner gave up on White due to the injury issues, grab him while you can.
o The shootout of the weekend came in Seattle, where the Seahawks and Steelers traded scores. For Seattle, all pass catchers were involved as Russell Wilson had a huge day throwing the ball. While Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse were the beneficiaries of Wilson’s touchdown throws, rookie Tyler Lockett caught four passes for 47 yards and continues to give dynasty players hope as the future of the Seahawks’ passing game. He’s another player I’m very surprised to see with such a relatively low ownership, but those of you in smaller or shallow leagues can take advantage.
o A week after his breakout game, Cardinals’ wide receiver J.J. Nelson was back at it again, hauling in a pair of passes for 53 yards. Michael Floyd and John Brown are both back and healthy and the Cardinals are sure to make use of their sudden overflow of talented receivers. The future of Floyd, a free agent following the season, could be in question with the play of Brown and Nelson. If he leaves town, that would obviously open things up for the speedy rookie.
o On Sunday, I saw many people on Twitter asking “Who is Seth Roberts?” after the Raiders’ rookie receiver torched the Titans’ secondary, catching six passes for over 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Raiders have looked like a completely different team this year, in large part due to the additions of free agent Michael Crabtree and rookie Amari Cooper, but Roberts has been an under-the-radar WR3 for Oakland. As the third or fourth option in the Raiders’ passing game, don’t expect these type of numbers often, but Roberts is proving he has talent and deserves a roster spot in most dynasty league formats.
o Another high-scoring team from Week Twelve was the New York Jets, who exploded for 38 points against the Dolphins’ fading defense. Much like the Seahawks, everyone got into the act, including rookie Devin Smith, who posted a 2/33/1 line in the blowout. Smith will not be passing Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker on the depth chart anytime soon, but as a Day Two pick in the NFL Draft, he is well-deserving of a dynasty roster spot and might be worth a buy-low attempt early in the offseason.
o I normally wouldn’t suggest a player as a waiver wire add who is coming off a game where he didn’t even record a reception, but that’s just what I’ll do in the case of Jeff Janis. A Rotoworld favorite, Janis could see an uptick in his playing time soon if the struggles of fellow second year receiver Davante Adams continue. On the Thanksgiving night affair, Adams struggled mightily yet again, catching two of 11 targets. Also, check your waiver wire for Ty Montgomery, who has been out with an ankle injury. He too could see increased playing time at Adams’ expense once healthy.
1. Scott Chandler, NE (8%)
2. Luke Willson, SEA (1%)
3. Blake Bell, SF (0%)
o We all saw Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski go down with what looked like a season-ending knee injury in the Sunday night battle between the Broncos and Patriots. The good news is that it appears that Gronkowski’s injury was not as severe as first assumed and he will return to the field this year. The bad news is he could still miss multiple weeks, which might spell the end of your fantasy season. In his place, target the Patriots’ new starter, Scott Chandler. Chandler has actually been used often this season, already gaining the trust of quarterback Tom Brady. With Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and others out of action, Chandler could see a plethora of targets over the next couple of weeks.
o Gronkowski wasn’t the only star tight end to suffer a scary injury. The Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham went up for a pass in the end zone and came down with a torn patella, ending his season. In his place, the team will likely turn to Luke Willson, who was a popular sleeper pick prior to Seattle’s trade for Graham. Willson should see a major increase in snaps and targets and with the number of tight ends going down with injury, could be useable as a fantasy starter.
o Not many things are going right for the San Francisco 49ers lately, but they did have their rookie tight end, Blake Bell, making some impressive plays in Week Twelve against the Cardinals. Bell caught three passes for 67 yards and given the recent trade that sent Vernon Davis to the Broncos, the team is clearly looking for their next starting tight end. Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek will also be vying for that job, but Bell is the one with the most upside.
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