23 years ago, former Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth told me, “Pete Rose will be in the Hall of Fame.” He imparted this to me as a nice gesture, simply because I chose the path less traveled, just as you should on this week’s waiver wire.
First of all, congratulations to the Kansas City Royals for their World Series victory. But anyone who watched the series probably noticed that whenever Pete Rose was speaking, especially post-game, fans would be screaming to, “let him in!”
It was almost distracting at times. Hearing these calls and chants however reminded me of the previously mentioned day in 1992 when the Commissioner’s path and mine crossed and he told me of the Hit King’s impending fate.
I was in college and my University held an annual event called the Tom McCall Forum where two speakers, usually one Conservative and one Liberal would meet on our campus and debate about a few of the day’s current hot topics.
This particular year, Commissioner Ueberroth, representing the Conservative side, squared off against the Reverend Jesse Jackson representing the Liberal side. Both were great speakers and entertained the crowd immensely. It was truly a good debate.
At the end of the debate, both candidates went into meeting rooms for breakout sessions that could be attended by faculty, media and a select few others. As this was a small Liberal Arts college in Oregon, (a very Liberal state), it should have been very little surprise that the masses swarmed to the breakout room with the Reverend Jackson.
Being a big fan of baseball, I was the pitcher on our college team and the Sports Editor of our campus newspaper, and an even bigger non-fan of large crowds, I decided to go see the Commish. As I mentioned earlier, it looked like the majority of people were headed the other way, but I was shocked as I entered the meeting room with my friend and second baseman Ryan, to see the only other person in the room was one of my reporters, Will.
Will looked at Ryan and I and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, looks like it’s just us. So Ryan and I sat in the second row of seats behind Will and waited. Eventually Mr. Ueberroth walked in, and when he did he stopped and did a visible double-take and said quietly with a smile, “Well I guess they like their Liberals around these parts don’t they?”
We would have been embarrassed for him but he didn’t give us the time to be as he quickly went up to his table on the stage, put his stuff down and told us that we might as well have fun with this and invited us up to his table. We all approached the table cautiously and he told us once more to sit down and let’s just talk. So we plopped down and put our stuff on the table and that was when he noticed it. My Cincinnati Reds key chain that I had just put on the table.
He looked up at me and said, “Thank you for coming, they may have more people over there but we are going to have more fun over here, and before we get started, let me just get this one out of the way and tell you right now that Pete Rose will be in the Hall of Fame.” He gave me a quick nod and a smile and we spent the next hour talking baseball, politics and much more.
It was a great ice-breaker that segued into one of my more memorable nights in college, all because I saw the crowd going one way and I chose to go the other.
If you have read my articles, you know that I often feel that the crowd is headed in the wrong direction on particular waiver wire sweethearts. I try to point out to you why this is not the best move and give you better alternatives to what the crowd is chasing.
So with that in mind let’s get started this week with Quarterbacks.
Jay Cutler has often been a name I turn to when he is available in a high percentage of leagues because love him or hate him, he can and usually does put up good fantasy numbers. The prevailing thought this week is that the Matt Forte injury will likely mean Cutler will turn more to the passing game and more notably Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett over the next few weeks.
Couple that with the fact that he is available in 80% of leagues and many owners are headed in Cutler’s direction, but I want you to think twice on this move. Cutler has enjoyed Forte in his backfield since he arrived in the Windy City. Forte in your backfield means that the opposing defense has to respect the run or swing passes out of the backfield. Defenses will no longer have to do this and the rookie Jeremy Langford isn’t scaring anyone.
Opposing defenses are going to take their chances providing help to their own backfield to cover Jeffery, Bennett and company. This will do nothing but hurt Cutler’s chances at everything except throwing more interceptions. Cutler’s value has dropped so you should instead consider:
Jameis Winston who is available in 82% of leagues. I will be the first to admit that I cracked a little on Winston earlier in the year, but the Oregon fan in me got excited after that first round match up with Marcus Mariota.
Since then however, Winston has been very steady. I knew he would have good games but I really did not believe he would be steady or solid. He is and he has. This last week against the Atlanta Falcons, he threw for 177 yards and 1 touchdown with a rushing TD to boot. He did this with a very banged up receiving corps. Once they get healthy he’ll have even bigger upside. Mash all that up with the sweet ingredient known as the New York Giants defense whom he plays next week and he looks like a nice waiver wire QB pick-up.
If you can’t get Winston, then look out west, more specifically to St. Louis where you will find Nick Foles, available in 91% of leagues. Foles, who very seldom turns the ball over, threw for 191 yards and 1 TD with a two-point conversion as well this last weekend against the 49ers.
He sports an emerging Tavon Austin in his receiving corps, but more importantly, he sports the hottest running back in all of football, Todd Gurley. With Gurley behind him he will be seeing defenses that are the exact opposite of what Jay Cutler is going to face. The boxes are going to be loaded and his receivers and tight ends are going to be single covered.
He faces Minnesota, Chicago and Baltimore in his next three games. With a running back like Gurley and a schedule like that, he is worth a serious look in any format.