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.
Scott Chandler, NE (76%/+68%)
DeVante Parker, MIA (30%/+26%)
Brock Osweiler, DEN (23%/+5%)
Brandon Bolden, NE (12%/+5%)
Seth Roberts, OAK (4%/+3%)
Luke Willson, SEA (3%/+2%)
Tyler Lockett, SEA (20%/+1%)
Not every player gained value over the past week. These are the players trending down.
Josh McCown, CLE (3%/-7%)
J.J. Nelson, ARZ (6%/-3%)
1. Johnny Manziel, CLE (3%)
2. Sean Mannion, STL (0%)
o Here we go again! After a two-week banishment to the bench, the Browns have named second year quarterback Johnny Manziel their starter for Week Thirteen. After veteran Josh McCown suffered a season-ending injury, the team turned to Austin Davis, who showed flashes in the team’s Week Eleven game against Baltimore, but was terrible against a strong Bengals’ defense last week. Facing a weak San Francisco defense at home is just the recipe for success for Manziel. It still seems to be a long shot that Manziel is the long-term answer for the Browns, but he makes an interesting stash option for those teams with excess roster spots or teams already eliminated from playoff contention.
o We’re really reaching here, but Rams’ rookie quarterback Sean Mannion could also be worth stashing in leagues with 30 or more roster spots. It’s no secret the Rams’ offense, specifically the quarterback play, has been pathetic. Both Nick Foles and Case Keenum have reminded us they should not be starting NFL quarterbacks and they have made superstar rookie Todd Gurley a non-factor as the season winds down. The Rams made a change at offensive coordinator and it seems the writing is on the wall for the future of Jeff Fisher and his coaching staff. They also seem very hesitant to give Mannion a shot, potentially because they realize that would signify waving the white flag on the season, and their jobs. It is clear that the Rams will have new leadership in 2016 and potentially Mannion will get a shot.
1. Jay Ajayi, MIA (17%)
2. John Crockett, GB (0%)
3. Kerwynn Williams, ARZ (0%)
o Yet again, my top waiver option at running back is rookie Jay Ajayi of the Dolphins. Starter Lamar Miller finally had a solid bounce back game, rushing for over 100 yards against the Ravens, while Ajayi was clearly second fiddle. Miller should continue to play the role of lead back for the season’s final weeks, but there is still a strong chance these are his final games in South Beach as he enters free agency. Ajayi would inherit the starting role and get a major boost in dynasty value.
o The Packers’ backfield is becoming as difficult as the Patriots to project on a weekly basis, evidenced by the five carries of running back Eddie Lacy last Thursday. With Lacy evidently being punished for a curfew violation, the Pack looked to veteran James Starks as their lead back, but it was rookie John Crockett, whom the team had just added from their practice squad, who led their running backs in rush yards. While you should not rush out to get Crockett from your waiver wire, he is a player to monitor over the season’s final weeks, considering the rumors that Lacy could be looking for a new team this offseason.
o For the second season in a row, it appears that backup running back Kerwynn Williams is making his case for a role in the Cardinals’ offense. Last year, with Andre Ellington missing time with an injury, Williams stepped in and totaled over 250 yards in the season’s final month. Now, Ellington is again injured, as is Chris Johnson. While rookie David Johnson carried the load, Williams got some carries as well and broke one for a long touchdown run. At this point, Williams would only be insurance for Johnson and will not be worth rostering when Ellington returns from his turf toe injury.
1. Dorial Green-Beckham, TEN (14%)
2. Cecil Shorts, HOU (12%)
3. J.J. Nelson, ARZ (6%)
4. Seth Roberts, OAK (4%)
5. Jaelen Strong, HOU (0%)
6. Rashad Greene, JAX (0%)
o Titans’ rookie Dorial Green-Beckham finally showed some of that promise I’ve been spouting off about all season, catching five passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. It was the first 100 yard game of DGB’s career and his second touchdown reception. After being used sparingly in the first half of the season, Green-Beckham now has been targeted at least five times in three consecutive games. With some holes on the Titans’ receiver depth chart, expect the former Missouri star to continue to establish himself as the top option in the passing game.
o Much has been made, and deservingly so, of the dominant season of Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but his fellow starter is having a solid season himself. Cecil Shorts, in his first year with the Texans, has been in and out of the lineup throughout the season, but averages more than four catches for 50 yards per game. He does not have a high ceiling, but with a floor approaching 10 PPR fantasy points, he is worth a roster spot in most dynasty league formats.
o After barely appearing in the season’s first two months, Cardinals’ rookie receiver J. J. Nelson has earned a role in the offense. Over the past three weeks, he’s averaging over 75 yards receiving to go along with two scores. Those numbers are heavily aided by his breakout game three weeks ago, in which he totaled 142 receiving yards, but he continues to see targets and snaps on offense, even with Michael Floyd and John Brown back and fully healthy.
o Speaking of breakout games, Raiders’ rookie receiver Seth Roberts had his two weeks ago and followed that up with a respectable 4/51 line against the Chiefs. Roberts is still the third option in the Raiders’ pass game, but is very worthy of a roster spot in deep dynasty leagues. Roberts has come a long way since making the team as an undrafted free agent.
o The 2015 season has bene filled with disappointing rookies and one of the chief offenders has been Texans’ rookie Jaelen Strong, who was once projected as a starter alongside Hopkins. Instead, Strong rarely sees the field and has just three receptions on the season. Strangely, two of those three catches went for touchdowns. Anyway, I don’t see things changing this year for Strong, but I still view him as a future starter and many may have completely given up on him after this slow start. If he’s free on the waiver wire, or even if I need to make a trade offer to get him, I’ll be targeting Strong.
o Jaguars’ starter Allen Hurns was out of action in Week Thirteen and while Allen Robinson more than made up for his absence, Blake Bortles spread the ball around. Rookie receiver Rashad Greene was one of the beneficiaries, catching his second touchdown of the season. This is becoming an offense I want multiple pieces of, and Greene is among the cheapest of those options. He did suffer a shoulder injury during the game, so monitor the latest news before acquiring him this week.
1. Luke Willson, SEA (3%)
2. Ryan Griffin, HOU (1%)
3. Tyler Kroft, CIN (0%)
4. Will Tye, NYG (2%)
o In their first game without starting tight end Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks used multiple tight ends, led by Luke Willson, who caught a pair of passes for 36 yards. This does not make Willson a fantasy starter for the rest of the season, but I do still like him as a stash for the future, especially considering the severity of Graham’s injury.
o Texans’ tight end Ryan Griffin only returned from injury a couple weeks ago, but has quickly established himself as the team’s top pass catching tight end. Over the past two games, Griffin is the TE7 in PPR leagues, averaging over 14 fantasy points per game. Unlike Willson, I would be comfortable starting Griffin in a pinch and he’s young enough that he could be the team’s starter going forward as well.
o With starter Tyler Eifert out, the Bengals leaned heavily on the starting receivers A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, but rookie tight end Tyler Kroft also got some run. Kroft caught his only target for a 17-yard reception. With Eifert likely to play next week, Kroft is nothing more than a stash, but the Bengals have shown in the past they will use multiple tight end sets, giving Kroft some value as soon as next season.
o The Giants have become accustomed to surprising production at the tight end position. Year after year an unknown or unproven player suddenly produces for the Giants. With last year’s surprise, Larry Donnell, missing time with an injury, rookie Will Tye has filled the void. Over the past three games, Tye is averaging double-digit PPR points and is just inside the top 12 tight ends over that time.
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