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.
Charcandrick West, KC (76%/+65%)
Theo Riddick, DET (21%/+15%)
Josh McCown, CLE (17%/+11%)
Jamison Crowder, WAS (11%/+6%)
Marquess Wilson, CHI (12%/+5%)
Charles Sims, TB (24%/+5%)
Josh Huff, PHI (3%/+3%)
Chris Thompson, WAS (7%/+2%)
Zach Zenner, DET (1%/+1%)
Jaelen Strong, HOU (2%/+1%)
While these players are on the rise, some of last week’s suggestions lost value over the past week.
Derek Carrier, WAS (2%/-1%)
1. Brock Osweiler, DEN (0%)
2. Landry Jones, PIT (0%)
o It’s another down week for any fantasy teams needing instant quarterback help. I know my recommendation of stashing Broncos’ backup Brock Osweiler might feel like a broken record, but veteran Peyton Manning continues his poor play and the Denver defense and special teams units continue to win games for the Broncos. There is no chance Manning is benched while the Broncos are still winning and maybe only a small chance he’s replaced by Osweiler at all, but his terrible performance pretty much seals the fact that this will be Manning’s final season. On the year, Manning leads the league in interceptions and has just seven touchdowns to his ten interceptions and he is only the QB28, behind several players who have missed games due to injury or already had their bye week. We don’t really know what Osweiler offers or if he will be any better than what we’ve seen from Manning, but often times in dynasty leagues, that mystery carries increased value.
o With starter Ben Roethlisberger still out of action, the Steelers continued to roll with Michael Vick, until he suffered an injury of his own and third stringer Landry Jones entered the game. For Jones, it was the first playing time of his short career and he performed admirably, throwing two second half scores to ensure a Steeler win over one of the top teams in the NFC, the Cardinals. While any value Jones created will be flushed away with the imminent return of Roethlisberger, but he may have shown enough to earn the backup job over Vick, regardless of the health status of the former Eagles’ starter.
1. James Starks, GB (19%)
2. Ahmad Bradshaw, IND (13%)
3. Khiry Robinson, NO (3%)
4. Branden Oliver, SD (1%)
o One of the big stories of the season so far has been the disappointing play of Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy, a notorious slow starter. Lacy is just RB38 on the season and was essentially benched in favor of James Starks in Week Six. Starks played like he was comfortable in the starter’s role, totaling nearly 120 yards, along with two touchdowns, which was enough to make him the RB3 on the week. After a poor start in 2014 in which he was just the RB21 after six weeks, Lacy finished as a top-six back, going on a tear the last six weeks of the season. Lacy has looked even worse this season, but I don’t expect the team to completely move away from using him, but Starks is one of the top adds of the week nonetheless.
o Things move quickly in the NFL. After waiting for a phone call from a team for over a month, veteran free agent Ahmad Bradshaw was signed less than a week ago and then quickly elevated to the team’s top backup behind Frank Gore. Bradshaw got some action in the team’s Sunday night loss to New England and should see more snaps as the weeks go along. Considering how the team utilized Bradshaw in the passing game, he’s an excellent short-term option for dynasty contenders.
o It may not show up in the box score, but I love the way Saints’ running back Khiry Robinson is playing this season, doing anything and everything he can when he’s on the field. Of course, playing alongside starter Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, that time is somewhat limited, but Robinson is still an asset to New Orleans. He’s certainly not a player you can start on a weekly basis, but if either of the backs in front of him were to suffer an injury, he could see a hard and fast rise in dynasty value.
o In San Diego, rookie running back Melvin Gordon continues to have his issues. In Week Six, he dealt with both a minor injury and a pair of fumbles and both cost him playing time. The beneficiary of Gordon’s absence was the back who surprised the Chargers with his play a year ago, Branden Oliver, who had his best game of the year by far, totaling over 60 yards on 11 touches. The team is not going to give up on their early round pick, the former Wisconsin running back, but they could opt to use Oliver more often than they have prior to Week Six.
1. Stefon Diggs, MIN (7%)
2. Marquess Wilson, CHI (12%)
3. Devin Funchess, CAR (17%)
4. Phillip Dorsett, IND (4%)
5. Jeff Janis, GB (0%)
6. Keshawn Martin, NE (0%)
o The top waiver wire pickup of the week, by a wide margin, is Vikings’ rookie receiver Stefon Diggs. It wasn’t long ago the Vikings receiver corps looked deep and as if there may not be a role for Diggs, the former Maryland star, but again… things change quickly in the NFL. Charles Johnson has gone from potential WR1 for the Vikings to a major disappointment and now he’s dealing with an injury. Mike Wallace may not be an ideal fit for Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings and Cordarrelle Patterson continues to show he’s not an NFL caliber wideout. Taking advantage of all of these issues is Diggs, who enjoyed a coming out party in Week Six, catching seven passes for 129 yards, easily leading the team in both categories. At only 21 years old, Diggs is at the beginning of a nice career and scooping him off the waiver wire could be rewarded for the next few years.
o With the return of star receiver Alshon Jeffery, I was unsure if Marquess Wilson would remain a part of the Bears’ game plan. While it was Jeffery and Martellus Bennett dominating targets, Wilson made the most of his four looks, catching a deep ball for 46 yards and totaling 54 on the day. Wilson is likely to remain the prime deep threat for Jay Cutler and the Bears, making him a nice dynasty stash, considering the Bears will be playing from behind in the majority of its games this year.
o The good news is Panthers’ rookie Devin Funchess had the best game of his season in Week Six. The bad news is it only took two catches for 24 yards to qualify for that title. With Kelvin Benjamin out for the season, the Panthers continue to lack talent at the receiver position, relying heavily on tight end Greg Olsen. I’m still convinced Funchess is the most talented receiver on the team, so if he can get through this slow start, he could become a valuable player for the Panthers, and fantasy teams, down the stretch.
o With Andrew Luck back in action, the Colts looked like a different team, keeping things close for most of the way against undefeated New England before suffering defeat. Luck threw for over 300 yards and three scores in his return, once again spreading the ball around. Even T.Y. Hilton has been unable to establish himself as a dominant receiver in this offense. Instead, Luck is keeping everyone involved, including rookie Phillip Dorsett, who is playing a larger role in the offense. Dorsett played a season-high 30 snaps on offense, which matched his total from the two prior games combined. If an impatient owner gave up on Dorsett too soon, he’s well worth a waiver claim in all dynasty leagues.
o The Packers suffered yet another injury to a wide receiver last week. After losing star Jordy Nelson for the season and playing without Davante Adams in the past three weeks, rookie Ty Montgomery suffered an ankle injury that forced him out of the game. In his place, Jeff Janis entered the game and played well, catching two of four targets for 79 yards, which was good enough to lead the team in yardage. While it’s early, it appears as if both Adams and Montgomery will suit up for the Packers in Week Eight, following their bye week, but Janis is still worth an add in deeper dynasty leagues.
o The final wide receiver recommendation could be considered a bit of a reach, but I like what I’m seeing from new Patriots’ wideout Keshawn Martin. The Pats traded for Martin early in the regular season and he’s played sparingly since, including one catch for 39 yards against the Colts in Week Six. What’s turned me on to Martin is his age (he’s just 25) and the fact that the Patriots liked him enough to trade for him. New England has a long history of busting when it comes to drafting receivers, but they’ve been very successful in acquiring receivers via trade, including Wes Welker and of course, Randy Moss. Moss is obviously a special case, but Welker was not a highly regarded player when the Patriots targeted him to improve their receiving corps. Expecting Martin to be the next Welker is not really fair, but I do think he could fill the Danny Amendola role as early as 2016, making him worth a shot in leagues with deeper rosters.
1. Eric Ebron, DET (18%)
2. Ben Watson, NO (10%)
o The Detroit Lions finally won a game in Week Six, overtaking the Bears, but they did so without one of their best young weapons, Eric Ebron, who missed his second consecutive game with a knee injury. Ebron did get in some practice before being ruled out for Week Six, so he has a chance to play in Week Seven and pick up where he left off after the first month of the season. If Ebron was dropped in your shallow dynasty league, now is the time to get him.
o Last week, Saints’ tight end Ben Watson enjoyed a personal best day, matching a career high with ten receptions and eclipsing his best yardage mark with 127. While his Week Six performance will likely go down as the best game of his career, he is decent option as a bye week starter going forward in 2015. With Tyler Eifert and Martellus Bennett on bye in Week Seven, Watson could be a decent fill in.