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.
First, let’s look back at last week Waiver Wired suggestions that gained value, with current Yahoo ownership percentages and percentage change in parentheses.
Knile Davis, KC (76%/+58%)
Donald Brown, SD (50%/+42%)
Kirk Cousins, WAS (48%/+40%)
Niles Paul, WAS (44%/+40%)
Khiry Robinson, NOS (42%/+24%)
Brian Quick, STL (38%/+22%)
Jerick McKinnon, MIN (19%/+7%)
Geno Smith, NYJ (13%/+4%)
Austin Davis, STL (1%/+1%)
Robert Turbin, SEA (3%/+1%)
Damien Williams, MIA (1%/+1%)
Daniel Thomas, MIA (1%/+1%),
Stedman Bailey, STL (1%/+1%)
UPDATE: Knile Davis again had a big day filling in for injured starter Jamaal Charles. As long as Charles is out of action, Davis is a potential fantasy RB1. Last week, the Chargers lost running back Ryan Mathews for an extended period of time and now they’ve lost Danny Woodhead for the remainder of the season. That makes Donald Brown the back to own in sunny San Diego. Finally, the duo of Kirk Cousins and Niles Paul continue to excel and have to have the folks in DC thinking they might be better off with this pair than the players they replaced, Robert Griffin III and Jordan Reed.
While these players are on the rise, some of last week’s suggestions lost value over the past week.
Eric Ebron, DET (8%/-3%)
Benny Cunningham, STL (6%/-3%)
Aaron Dobson, NE (17%/-2%)
John Brown, ARZ (8%/-1%)
Latavius Murray (1%/-1%)
Roy Helu, WAS (5%/-1%)
UPDATE: This is a unique group of players who have lost value this week, based on Yahoo ownership percentages. Aaron Dobson was a surprise inactive this week and he clearly is not endearing himself to the coaching staff. Eric Ebron may simply not be ready to be a consistent contributor in Detroit. John Brown may have fallen a bit last week, but it’s safe to say that won’t be happening this week, after his two touchdown performance.
1. Blake Bortles, JAX (6%)
2. Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (4%)
3. Geno Smith, NYJ (13%)
o Week Three saw a changing of the guard in Jacksonville. I’ve been suggesting rookie quarterback Blake Bortles as a waiver option each week with this time in mind. Bortles took over for an ineffective Chad Henne and in just one half of play put up enough fantasy points to finish as a high end QB2. Imagine what he can do with a full week’s worth of preparation.
o Another rookie quarterback will be taking over as well, but this time, it’s due to injury. The Vikings’ starter Matt Cassel broke multiple bones in his foot, which will keep him out of action for several weeks. This is now Teddy Bridgewater’s team. Hopefully he will find a way to get the ball to playmaker Cordarrelle Patterson more than Cassel did.
o Geno Smith just continues to post QB1 level fantasy weeks, yet he continues to sit on waiver wires. Do yourself a favor this week. Look at how your quarterbacks are actually performing, and then compare that to Smith’s number, which are admittedly aided by his rushing stats. Nonetheless, you might be surprised to see him outscoring your starter.
o The final quartet of quarterbacks are for those of you in either very deep leagues or superflex leagues, allowing you to start a pair of signal callers each week. Despite this week’s success from Austin Davis and Drew Stanton, who were both in the QB1 range, these are not players you want to start on a weekly basis, but they are players who will be starting for their teams and in some leagues, that’s all it takes to give them value. Stanton and Davis could both give way to the returning starters at some point, while it looks like Mike Glennon will have the job in Tampa for a while after the injury to starter Josh McCown. The Matt Moore suggestion is a pre-emptive move with the wild rumors of the Dolphins benching Ryan Tannehill.
1. Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL (7%)
2. Isaiah Crowell, CLE (18%)
3. Jonathan Grimes, HOU (2%)
4. Roy Helu, WAS (5%)
5. Jerick McKinnon, MIN (19%)
6. James Starks, GB (14%)
o The breakout running back of the week hails from Baltimore and we really should’ve seen this one coming, considering the injuries and other issues that have plagued the Ravens’ backfield the past few months. Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro stole the show this week, rushing for 91 yards and a touchdown. While he looked impressive this week, there are reasons to temper our enthusiasm. He was not involved in the passing game at all, and Bernard Pierce will be back soon, and he could return to his role as starter. Taliaferro is simply the best of the bunch this week.
o I’m surprised to see Browns’ rookie Isaiah Crowell still owned in less than 20% of leagues, especially considering that he’s currently the RB24 in PPR leagues, which makes him a low end RB2. Crowell hasn’t had his breakout game yet, but his carries and yardage are increasing each week and Browns’ fans seem to have already forgotten about Ben Tate.
o Not only did starter Arian Foster miss this week’s game, but early reports say his status for the upcoming weeks are unclear as well. While it was rookie Alfred Blue doing the damage in Week Three, consider Jonathan Grimes as well. Grimes earned the backup running back job entering the season, but have been sharing the role with Blue. If Foster does indeed miss multiple weeks, it’s not a bad idea to stash the pair of Texans’ backs.
o Luckily it was not serious, but Redskins’ running back Alfred Morris had an injury scare in Week Three and backup Roy Helu reminded us with just a couple of plays why it was once him who fantasy owners were chasing. Helu scored on a short run and had one reception that he took for 55 yards. If you already own Morris, this is one situation in which I would consider the ever-popular handcuff.
o We all know about the situation in Minnesota by now regarding star Adrian Peterson. While it is unclear how long he will be out of action, what is clear is the lack of upside and big play ability that new starter Matt Asiata brings to the table. Soon, the Vikings should consider giving dynamic rookie Jerick McKinnon more touches. Of course, this is the team that still refuses to give consistent touches to Cordarrelle Patterson, so maybe we shouldn’t assume anything.
o Trouble seems to be brewing in Green Bay. First, starting running back Eddie Lacy was concussed, and then he’s posted back-to-back poor fantasy weeks. Some dynasty players are beginning to question whether he is the stud running back we thought he was. The good news for Lacy owners is the defenses get easier from here, beginning next weekend with the sieve that is the Bears rush defense. Adding veteran James Starks is more of a “just in case” play.
1. Jordan Matthews, PHI (18%)
2. John Brown, ARZ (8%)
3. Allen Robinson, JAX (2%)
4. Marvin Jones, CIN (15%)
5. Kenny Britt, STL (9%)
o Eagles’ rookie Jordan Matthews finally came alive in Week Three, just when the team needed him the most. In a game with division rival Washington, Matthews hauled in eight balls for 59 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career. Like most rookies, Matthews’ production will vary widely from week to week, but he should be rostered in all dynasty formats.
o I’ve already mentioned Cardinals’ rookie slot man John Brown, who also found the end zone twice in Week Three. Both Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd are still waiting for their first score of the season, while the shifty Brown now has three.
o After doing almost nothing in Week One, Allen Robinson has quickly established himself as the go-to receiver in Jacksonville. The rookie saw ten looks in Week Three, catching seven for 79 yards. He is still somewhat under the radar, as evidenced by his meager 2% ownership in Yahoo leagues. Now is your chance to grab a fantasy starter off the waiver wire!
o Cincinnati wide receiver Marvin Jones has yet to take a snap this season after injuring his foot in the pre-season, but recent reports have him returning after the team’s Week Four bye and we’ve already seen the type of production current starting wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is posting. Expect Jones to quickly earn his job back and puthimself back in the minds of dynasty owners.
o After two consecutive weeks of basically no production from Rams’ receiver Kenny Britt, he finally showed up, with five receptions for 69 yards. It’s nearly impossible to predict how the Rams’ targets will be distributed on a weekly basis, but Britt gave us a bit of a reminder what he is capable of, just when we were ready to part ways with him forever.
o If you’re in a deep league and desperate for wide receiver help with the byes beginning in Week Four, consider the pair of Chargers veterans receivers, Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal. Inexplicably, Royal continues to be a touchdown threat, while Floyd is loading up on looks from quarterback Philip Rivers.
1. Jared Cook, STL (17%)
2. Jace Amaro, NYJ (1%)
3. Derek Carrier, SF (2%)
4. Eric Ebron, DET (8%)
o One player I’ve always had my doubts about is St. Louis tight end Jared Cook. Expectations always seem to outweigh production when it comes to Cook, but it seems that he is finally putting things together. At a position where so many players are disappointing fantasy owners, either with injuries or simply their subpar play on the field, Cook is stepping up. He’s the TE10 on the season so far and could become the constant in the Rams’ passing attack.
o Jets’ rookie Jace Amaro finally had the big game that those who saw him play in college knew he was capable of. While he didn’t post huge numbers, he did catch three of his four targets for 54 yards. Amaro should continue to grow in his role as a pass catcher on a team that desperately needs more of them. Don’t expect to be able to use him much this season, but this should pay off by 2015.
o Little known 49ers tight end Derek Carrier became a hot name at the end of last week when it was announced that starting tight end Vernon Davis would be out of action in Week Three. Carrier ended up receiving only a pair of targets, catching one for a big 23 yard gain. While Davis should be back soon, another backup tight end, Vance McDonald has been dealing with injuries as well and has failed to meet expectations. Carrier could be gaining some ground on the depth chart.
o I already mentioned the down week from rookie tight end Eric Ebron. In fact, after recording his first three receptions of his career in Week Two, Ebron was only targeted once against the Packers. The Lions will not be using Ebron consistently, as they have two other tight ends worthy of snaps, not to mention some great wide receivers. This is more of a stash for the coming years, if someone was foolish enough to give up on Ebron this early.