Decision making, it’s the difference between a great NFL quarterback and a failed one. It is also often the difference between a great fantasy owner and a failed one. With only 4 weeks left in the regular season, decisions become more and more important. The decision on not just who to start but the decisions on who to pick up off the waiver wire.
That is where we come in. Let’s look into Week 10 of the regular season and see just what nuggets we can mine from the vein of waiver wire gold. As always, let’s start with quarterbacks.
Colin Kaepernick had the best week of his NFL season this last weekend in a 41-23 loss to the Saints. Kaep threw for 398 yards and 2 touchdowns while also giving owners 23 yards rushing. He also had some turnovers, but with a stat line like that you can overlook a few mistakes as yardage and touchdowns more than make up for most mistakes in standard scoring. Kaepernick is available in 78% of leagues and he is literally fighting for his NFL career as well as that of his coach Chip Kelly, so there is a lot riding on the outcome of his games these days. The nice thing about that is that so far he has answered the bell and is fighting well.
As far as fantasy is concerned, understand that he will most likely be playing from behind in most games and not trying to force everything as the one time he did this last week when he threw an interception. His tight ends and running backs should continue seeing lots of work as he is going to need to use them on check downs due to the lack time he has in the pocket.
So with all of that in mind, you have to assume that I am suggesting you pick him up, right? Wrong, on second thought I really do not feel things are going to go well over the next few weeks for Kaepernick. I do believe his team will fare well on a fantasy level which you will see later due mostly to garbage time, but Kaepernick himself is going to be forced into a bunch of turnovers and going against the Cardinals defense this week and then the Patriots the next is not going to keep his completion percent up.
His completion percent had hovered in the mid-40s this year until he faced a very forgiving Saints defense this last week at which point he finished with a 61.5% completion rate. He will be back in the mid-to-low 40s next week and should really be left on the waiver wire despite how good things are starting to look for him. If you need QB help you should instead be looking at the QB who gets to face the defense that Kaepernick just had a great game against.
Trevor Siemian gets to face the Saints defense this next week and he is available in 83% of leagues. The Denver QB threw for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 30-20 loss to the Raiders last week.
The best thing about Siemian is he has been fairly consistent all year long. No, he is not Tom Brady, but as of right now most of you are looking for just a fill-in, not a starter. Well, a good bye week fill-in is exactly what you get with Siemian going into the Big Easy this Sunday, which no longer is just the nickname for the city of New Orleans but also their NFL team’s defense. The smart money takes the quarterback of the defending Super Bowl champs versus the Saints defense every day.
Another quarterback that is playing good ball right now and is playing against a team whose defense has been suspect lately is Case Keenum.
Keenum is available in 97% of leagues and has been very consistent over the last few weeks by having another nice week in a 13-10 loss to the Panthers. The Rams’ QB threw for 296 yards and 1 TD. As a bye week fill-in, he should be able to stay just as consistent if not show some improvement against a reeling Jets D.
This is the time of year in which running backs are usually more and more scarce, but after Sunday’s games, I am actually a little excited for the waivers this week as we have a couple of RBs that seem to be coming into their own and should be able to help you out.
Jalen Richard looked very nice in Oakland’s 30-20 win over the Broncos when the rookie running back ran for 62 yards on just 8 carries and also had a couple of catches for 10 yards.
Richard is available in 89% of leagues which also makes him very tantalizing. However, I have to caution you against grabbing him off of the waiver wire because if you had watched that game you would have seen that Latavius Murray seems to be getting hotter as the season goes on. Murray gave the Raiders 114 yards and 3 touchdowns on Sunday, so even though Richard had a great game, the backfield clearly belongs to Murray.
Couple that with the fact that they are on a bye next week, and until Sunday, Richard’s numbers had been consistently low, giving you an RB that should be passed up on this week.
Now, on the flip side of that is Tim Hightower who is available in 60% of leagues and even though he is the No. 2 RB in a semi-committee, he is being used more and more each week.
Hightower had 23 carries, which is actually 8 more than starter Mark Ingram, and he was able to use those carries to get 87 yards and a touchdown including 15 yards receiving.
Ingram had a great week as well, so it’s not like he’s going anywhere but I don’t think he needs to. It seems that there is enough backfield work for two. Hightower gets the Broncos at home next week which should be a good thing as the Broncos have struggled against the run so far this year.
Hightower has earned a nice little timeshare with Ingram due to his solid play and has given us two good weeks in a row. He really seems to be finding a nice groove as a change of pace back, which will be needed against the Broncos this next weekend.
DuJuan Harris is available in 69% of leagues and has been enjoying some quality playing time since Carlos Hyde has been banged up. In this last week’s loss to the Saints, Harris was able to carry the ball 10 times for 59 yards and also procure 5 catches for 83 yards and 1 td.
The 49ers play in Arizona next week and Hyde is still banged up. He may play, but as long as he doesn’t see some kind of remarkable recovery, Harris should see significant playing time which could equal nice fantasy value to you. You should be able to pick him up and use him this week with little concern. Extra points if you are in a PPR league as he is very active in the passing game.