It seems that every year some players come out of nowhere to help many teams win their fantasy football championships. Andy Dalton 2013, Odell Beckham Jr. 2014, and Tim Hightower last year all should ring a bell to even the most casual owner.
So who is it going to be this year? We are down to the last week of the regular season for most fantasy leagues, and for many of us, this week will make or break our season. The players you choose off the waiver wire could be the difference between you playing in the consolation bracket or getting your name engraved on the trophy.
It’s funny to think, after looking at the list of players I have for you today, that next year we could be reveling at your intuitiveness for taking this player because they helped you win a championship and are now a 1st or 2nd round picks, but the odds are very good that a player of that caliber actually is on your waiver wire right now.
Let’s do our best to find him and as always, let’s start with quarterbacks.
What a game Colin Kaepernick had for his fans and fantasy owners. Kaepernick who is available in 77% of leagues went down to Miami on Sunday and threw for 296 yards and 3 touchdowns while simultaneously rushing for 113 yards, giving standard league owners a 34-point day in the QB column. That is enough to make any owner in need of a QB to perk his or her ears up.
Kaepernick now gets to travel to Chicago where he will face the Bears in a battle of struggling teams. At face value, this seems like an easy pick for anybody looking to the waiver wire for a QB, right? Wrong. On second thought, I believe Kaepernick is in for a very long afternoon.
Don’t get me wrong, Kaepernick’s legs alone could make it worth your while but consider this. Chicago’s defense is in the top 15 versus opposing quarterbacks this season, (they are actually 14th). If that wasn’t bad enough, here is one more for you, Chicago is 4th versus the run. That is no good for Kaepernick owners. Kaepernick’s one saving grace is that you can usually assume he’ll give you at least an extra 5 points off of rushing alone. Going against a great run D like the Bears really stiffens the margin for garbage QB points, which let’s face it, is really what you are looking for with Kaepernick.
Kaepernick provides an interesting pick this week for sure, but if you want to make sure you don’t get skunked while also having the chance to put up good numbers then you should be concentrating more on Trevor Siemian.
I’ve mentioned him a couple of times this season but he keeps falling off of owner’s radar and because of that he rests as a very tasty 89% availability in most leagues. Last week, he got to play against the Chiefs and lost to them in overtime 27-30, but he made his fantasy owners very happy as he threw for 368 yards and 3 touchdowns and also rushed for 23 yards.
It seems that the game is starting to slow down for Siemian, which makes sense as it usually takes about a year for that to happen with QBs. Siemian has now averaged more than 250 yards and 2 touchdowns in his last 3 games. Add all of that to the fact that he gets to go to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars next week and you have yourself a very viable waiver wire QB for the next week.
If you are looking for an up and coming QB with an easy schedule look no further than Matt Barkley. Barkley, available in 99% leagues, had a nice fantasy game on Sunday versus a tough Titans squad throwing for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns. Now he invites the 27th ranked, against the QB, San Francisco 49ers defense to his home turf and with Jay Cutler still hurt, it looks like he’s going to get the nod again.
Right now Barkley is getting a second chance that doesn’t always seem to come for young quarterbacks who don’t make a big splash in their first few years and it seems that he is trying to capitalize on that opportunity. He is developing a good rapport with some of his young receivers, which we will talk about later, and looks to be able to put up good numbers this next week. If you have a QB need you could do a lot worse.
Speaking of worse, that is how I would describe the situation Derrick Henry owners are in this season. Henry has all the talent and ability to put up Ezekiel Elliott-type numbers, but he went to a team with Elliott’s predecessor DeMarco Murray who is 2nd in the league in rushing only behind Elliott.
Henry who is available in 53% of leagues had a really nice day on Sunday when he turned only 8 rushes into 60 yards and 1 touchdown. This should not come as a surprise to his owners as when given a chance this season he usually makes the most of it. The problem is again, he is behind the No. 2 running back in the league.
Henry is on a bye week this week then the games only get tighter as the season starts winding down. I really like Henry, but not for my starting lineup at the end of this season, he just does not get enough action to give you good numbers.
If it is action you are looking for, you should instead leer in the direction of Kenneth Dixon. Dixon who is still available in 75% of leagues, rushed 13 times for 49 yards and also caught 4 passes for 31 yards. Dixon faces Miami next week and you can expect much of the same.
He currently has been splitting the backfield with Terrance West but he has been putting up better numbers which in turn will earn much more of the workload going forward. The Ravens are in the thick of the hunt for the AFC North crown with the Steelers right now, so you have a lot of action with no letting off the gas in the near future with Dixon.
If you like the idea of lots of action then look no further than T.J. Yeldon of the Jaguars. Yeldon can still be found in 40% of league waiver wires. He did not put up very good numbers last week when he only touched the ball 6 times for 17 yards and caught 1 pass for 3. That is not the whole story though. Yeldon has been splitting the backfield with Chris Ivory who was starting to show improvement over the season, but in typically Ivory fashion, found his inner Glass Joe emerging as he hurt himself this last week. Enter Yeldon, even though you never hope for injury, it is what it is and now Yeldon will be getting the lion’s share of the touches in the weeks to come provided Ivory doesn’t have a miracle bounce back for the hamstring he pulled on Sunday.
Both backs have proven to be very effective fantasy backs when they had the backfield to themselves, but not very good in fantasy when both are healthy. Think of the former Carolina backfield of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and that’s what you have here.
So with Ivory banged up, Yeldon is a good pickup and start in the near future.