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.
Gary Barnidge (51%/+42%)
Willie Snead (44%/+41%)
Allen Hurns (56%/+38%)
Leonard Hankerson (56%/+37%)
Tavon Austin (48%/+32%)
Richard Rodgers (46%/+30%)
Kamar Aiken (24%/+22%)
Charcandrick West (11%/+11%)
Charles Sims (19%/+8%)
Blake Bortles (25%/+7%)
Dorial Green-Beckham (24%/+6%)
Jamison Crowder (5%/+5%)
Josh McCown (6%/+4%)
Theo Riddick (6%/+3%)
Derek Carrier (3%/+3%)
Stefon Diggs (2%/+2%)
Ahmad Bradshaw (3%/+1%)
While these players are on the rise, some of last week’s suggestions lost value over the past week.
Chris Givens (2%/-1%)
1. Josh McCown, CLE (6%)
2. Brock Osweiler, DEN (0%)
o If you are in search of a quarterback on your waiver wire, the bad news is you probably have very few options for Week Six. The good news is one of your options could be a top ten fantasy quarterback. While he’s missed a game and a half and has basically no one to throw the ball to, Browns’ veteran Josh McCown is currently the QB10 in fantasy leagues. In Week Five, he became the first Browns quarterback to ever throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games. McCown could be slowed this week though as he’s dealing with a bum ankle and faces off against the Denver Broncos’ elite defense. Nonetheless, McCown does not belong on waiver wires.
o I mentioned last week a pre-emptive stash of Broncos’ backup Brock Osweiler might be a savvy move considering the struggles of future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning in the early portion of the season. Following the team’s Week Five win over Oakland, Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak was asked if he’s considering benching Manning. The answer was a firm “no,” but the question even being asked lends some credence to the idea of grabbing Osweiler now is the move to make, especially if you’re a Manning owner.
1. Charcandrick West, KC (11%)
2. Theo Riddick, DET (6%)
3. Charles Sims, TB (19%)
4. Zach Zenner, DET (0%)
5. Chris Thompson, WAS (5%)
6. Pierre Thomas, FA (1%)
o As you already know, one of the top players in the game, Jamaal Charles, suffered a serious knee injury which will almost certainly put an end to his season. Whether you’re running an NFL team or managing a dynasty roster, it’s impossible to replace the production of Charles for your team. The first man up who will be given a chance to claim the Chiefs’ starting job is second-year back Charcandrick West. I suggested West as a stash last week when he overtook Knile Davis as the team’s primary backup, but I had no idea he’d become such an important player so quickly. West is by far the top waiver wire option in all league formats this week as he could be the team’s starter for the remainder of the season. Davis will obviously play a larger role than he has through the season’s first five weeks and the team is likely to add a veteran, but for now, this is West’s show.
o Many dynasty owners spent the offseason trying to predict how the Detroit Lions’ backfield would play out. Could veteran Joique Bell overcome his injuries and keep hold of the starting job? Or maybe electric rookie Ameer Abdullah would wow us all and leave Bell in the dust? Instead, it has been pass-catching back Theo Riddick who has been shown to be the team’s best option, at least when it comes to fantasy scoring. Riddick is the RB13 on the season, despite only carrying the ball two times through five games. Of course, Riddick is far better for those in PPR leagues, but he has so entrenched himself as part of the passing game, he has to be considered in standard leagues as well.
o Doug Martin finished Week Five as the top scoring running back, scoring a trio of touchdowns and carrying many fantasy teams to wins, but his teammate, Charles Sims had a solid day as well. Continuing to grow his role as the team’s receiving back, Sims led the Bucs in both receptions and yardage, more than doubling Mike Evans’ 41 yards. Sims also added over 50 yards on the ground and while Martin was the top scoring back, Sims nearly cracked the RB1 range as well, finishing as the RB13 on the week. Tampa is off with their bye week in Week Six, so there may not be much competition to grab Sims from your waiver wire, but I wouldn’t risk it if you have the roster space.
o I’ve already mentioned the Lions’ leading scorer at the running back position, but the man who led them in rushing in Week Five is also probably on your waiver wire, undrafted rookie Zach Zenner. Zenner received a lot of love this offseason, though it was still a surprise to some when he made the team, considering the depth the Lions have at running back. With Bell still dealing with injuries and Abdullah not yet living up to the hype, Zenner could continue to earn more snaps.
o Another PPR dynamo can be found in Washington. While Alfred Morris and Matt Jones battle it out each week to see who gets more carries, Chris Thompson sees action on third down and in other obvious passing situations. While he has not matched the numbers of Riddick and other backs who are heavily involved in the passing game, you can see it coming. Thompson caught six balls and in limited rush attempts, notched a five-yard per carry average.
o With the injury to Charles, the Chiefs will obviously add another running back, likely a veteran. It was reported on Monday the team would work out both Ben Tate and Pierre Thomas. Tate received multiple shots in 2014 and looked like he simply didn’t have it, while Thomas played an important role for the Saints as, once again, a pass catching specialist. If signed, Thomas offers a huge boost to the Chiefs’ backfield and could be their leading scoring runner. If you have the space, he’s worth a speculative add before any news breaks.
1. Jaelen Strong, HOU (1%)
2. Jamison Crowder, WAS (5%)
3. Marquess Wilson, CHI (7%)
4. Josh Huff, PHI (0%)
o Making his season debut, rookie Jaelen Strong wasted no time in making some big plays for the Texans. Strong only saw two targets and caught both passes, including a Hail Mary pass to end the first half. Both of Strong’s receptions went for touchdowns. With the Texans dealing with multiple injuries at the position, it was crucial for Strong to step up when given the chance. It will be hard to put him back on the sidelines now.
o Redskins’ rookie Jamison Crowder continues to produce and once again led the team in receiving. Both Crowder and veteran Pierre Garcon saw eight targets and while the rookie from Duke caught all eight looks, Garcon only hauled in three.
o With star receiver Alshon Jeffery once again out of the lineup, the Bears were led in receiving by talented but inconsistent Marquess Wilson, who grabbed six passes for 85 yards and a score. With Eddie Royal also battling an injury, even when Jeffery returns to the lineup, which is expected to be next week, Wilson seems to have earned a role. After teasing dynasty owners with his upside, many finally gave up after a quiet 2014 season, but Wilson is now back on the radar and should be considered as an upside end of bench stash.
o Another young player who many of us had given up on is Josh Huff of the Eagles. It also seemed like the Eagles themselves had given up on the former Oregon Duck, but in Week Six, he led the team in receiving as they blew out the Saints. Huff set career highs with his four receptions and 78 yards and also scored his first career touchdown. As the Eagles continue to spread the ball around, expect Huff to be in and out of the weekly plans.
1. Derek Carrier, WAS (3%)
2. Garrett Celek, SF (1%)
o With the status of starter Jordan Reed still is doubt as he deals with yet another concussion, it looks as if youngster Derek Carrier will get more playing time. Drawing the start last week, Carrier caught two of his three targets, including one touchdown. He’s not worthy of being a fantasy starter yet, but there’s room to improve and the Redskins will continue to use their tight end, be it Carrier or Reed.
o Posting a nearly identical stat line to that of Carrier was another replacement tight end, Garrett Celek for San Francisco. Celek caught three passes for 26 yards, but did find the end zone to bolster his fantasy scoring. With Vernon Davis due back soon, Celek’s role may diminish somewhat, but his play of late should have him on the radar of dynasty owners.