The waiver wire can swing from feast to famine in as little as a single week. Last week there were three running backs (Thomas Rawls, Javorius Allen, and Spencer Ware) that were available in most leagues that literally stepped onto the field and were productive players in their first game. Fast forward to this week and the pickings at the position are extremely slim. Players like David Johnson and Andre Ellington are owned in most leagues, but if they are available in yours, then they would be my top selections this week.
We do dig in and give a couple of running backs a mention in this week’s story. Some big name tight ends got hurt last week, so we attempt to fill that void with a trilogy of options there. A handful of wide receivers fill out the rest of this week’s list. We do set aside our top category as we are just not seeing anyone that can step in and have an immediate and high fantasy impact.
TE Scott Chandler, New England
This listing as our top selection is not a knee jerk reaction to the injury to Rob Gronkowski. Early reports out of New England indicate that despite being carted off the field on Sunday night, there is no structural damage so he will not miss a significant amount of time. Chandler was a big part of the Patriots passing game when Gronkowski was in the game, as New England loves to get two tight ends on the field to create mismatches in the secondary. Given the injuries that they are struggling with at wide receiver, this will continue to be paramount to the success of the offense. Tom Brady will continue to look in Chandler’s direction with or without Gronk in the lineup.
RB Shaun Draughn, San Francisco
As Carlos Hyde continues to miss time, Draughn has stepped in to the point where San Francisco may continue to give him the ball when Hyde returns. His involvement in the passing game continues to impress as against the Cardinals he caught five passes for 35 yards. Add that to his 15 carries for 51 yards and that’s not a terrible day for a backup runner. Pickings are slim on the waiver wire for running backs so if Draughn is out there he is worth a look for those in need.
WR Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh
Completely off the fantasy radar for the majority of this season, Wheaton lit up the Seattle secondary for 201 yards and a touchdown. His nine catches were more than he had in the last seven games combined! We have our doubts that this is a performance that can be repeated, but at the very least, he is a solid pickup as defenses concentrate their efforts on slowing down Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.
On the Radar
WR DeVante Parker, Miami
The Dolphins season continues to spiral down the drain, with ownership making another gasp at reviving the season by looking to a different offensive coordinator. With Rishard Matthews sidelined due to injury, Parker stepped in and caught four passes for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Jets last week. Matthews is expected to miss some time with broken ribs, so look for Parker to have an active role in this offense going forward.
RB Brandon Bolden, New England
Bill Belichick is a tough nut to crack, so figuring out which running back on the Patriots will get to see the ball is a guess from week to week – even when there are only two or three to choose from! For that reason, we temper our expectations here for Bolden, as he will be highly unpredictable. When New England feels like running, LeGarrette Blount carries the rock, but when the ball goes into the air, they have been working Bolden more and more into the weekly game plan. He got loose for a long touchdown pass last week against Denver, so he is capable of getting the job done in the air.